by Stefan Wyeth | 4,8 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 4 Minutes
small-diaphragm mics

The best budget small-diaphragm mics.  ·  Source: sE Electronics

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If you’re getting into recording instruments at home, clarity is going to be one of your main concerns. For this purpose, we’ve selected some of the best budget small-diaphragm mics to get you started.

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Also commonly referred to as ‘pencil mics’, small-diaphragm condenser mics are some of the most versatile recording tools available. Their slim, compact design allows them to be used in a range of stereo and mid-side configurations.

In addition, their wide frequency response makes them suitable for almost any sound source. From piano to vocal groups, percussion, and acoustic guitars, these mics can capture realistic performances without too much trouble.

Getting started with the best budget small-diaphragm mics?

Besides phantom power, cables, and mic stands the beauty is that you really don’t need much to use these mics. They don’t require much gain at all, so you’ll be able to get decent results going straight into your interface in most cases.

Although using a dedicated preamp can provide you with more precise gain control and a lower noise floor, it’s not essential when you’re getting started.

Let’s take a look at some basic cardioid condensers that can become new creative tools in your home studio.

Behringer C-2

If you’re getting into recording instruments at home, the C-2 is a great way to start. It’s an entry-level FET condenser, with a simple design and straightforward operation. Its cardioid pickup pattern makes it suitable for most recording applications.

Whether you’re looking to record piano, brass, woodwinds, percussion, or acoustic guitar, the C-2 has all the necessary accessories to get you started. Inside the carry case, you get windshields, mic clips, and a stereo spacer.

With a single switch, you can access the 120 Hz low-cut filter and -10dB pad. Overall, the C-2 provides value at an unbeatable price and adds a useful tool set to your home studio.

Behringer C-2

Behringer C-2

Behringer C-2 Stereoset

Behringer C-2 Stereoset

Customer rating:
(1049)

Presonus PM-2

Presonus has always had a knack for creating decent quality budget recording gear, and the PM-2 certainly falls into this category. This WYSIWYG pair of cardioid FET condensers comes with all the necessary accessories, including mic clips and a stereo rail.

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There are no pad or roll-off switches, but the 19 mm (0.74-inch) gold-sputtered diaphragm with 6-micron Mylar provides great recording quality for the price.

So if you’re looking to use basic stereo mic techniques, the PM-2 is suitable for a range of instruments and offers a great value package.

Presonus PM-2

Presonus PM-2

Presonus PM-2

Presonus PM-2

Customer rating:
(9)

Rode M5

From another trusted name in budget microphone technology, the Rode M5 is a widely used small-diaphragm condenser. The compact JFET design makes it useful in different stereo configurations on a range of different sound sources.

In addition, the M5 can handle levels up to 140 dB SPL, which makes it perfect for use as drum overheads. What’s more, it means it provides enough headroom to use short-range mic techniques that you might need in home recording situations.

The M5 is affordable, but still a worthy investment in your home studio‘s mic locker.

Rode M5

Rode M5

Rode M5 MP

Rode M5 MP

Customer rating:
(431)

Lewitt LCT 040

The LCT 040 is the entry-level small-diaphragm condenser from Austrian mic manufacturer, Lewitt. The extremely compact and lightweight design makes it easy to transport and convenient for close proximity XY or ORTF configurations.

Besides the carry bag, you also get mic clips and a set of windshields which can be useful for reducing harsh reflectivity in the less-than-ideal recording environments you might find at home.

Lewitt has a great reputation with mics, so the LCT 040 is a sure buy as far as sound quality goes.

Lewitt LCT 040

Lewitt LCT 040

Lewitt LCT 040 MATCH stereo pair

Lewitt LCT 040 MATCH stereo pair

Customer rating:
(126)

sE Electronics SE7

Also well-known for designing microphones that are both good quality and affordable, it’s no surprise to find the SE7 on this list. The rugged construction means they’re built to last, so you don’t need to worry about using them every day if you have to.

Furthermore, the SE7 can handle high-SPL sources, and with the addition of the -20 dB pad switch you can happily use these mics as drum overheads. In addition, the set comes with mic clips and windshields to get you started right away.

With its overall quality and utility, the SE7 is certainly one of the best options in this price range.

sE Electronics SE7

sE Electronics SE7

SE Electronics SE7 Stereo-Set

SE Electronics SE7 Stereo-Set

Customer rating:
(12)

What are your favourite budget small-diaphragm mics? Please let use know in the comments below!

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*Note: This article contains promotional links that help us fund our site. Don’t worry: the price for you always stays the same! We will receive a small commission if you buy something through these links. We appreciate your support!

Image Sources:
  • Behringer C-2: Behringer
  • Presonus PM-2: Presonus
  • v: Rode
  • Lewitt LCT 040: Lewitt
  • SE7: sE Electronics
small-diaphragm mics

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2 responses to “The best budget Small-Diaphragm Mics for Home Recording”

    peter says:
    0

    Better than any from the ones above is the Oktava MK-012

      Stefan Wyeth says:
      0

      Thanks for the suggestion, but at more than double the price it falls outside the scope of this post.

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