Recording vocals at home can be challenging no matter what style of music you make. To assist you, we’ve selected some of the best condenser mics under $300 for this purpose.
You’ll require phantom power when using condensers, but also these mics prefer quieter non-reflective environments. They’re also sensitive to plosives and sibilance, so pop shields and reflection filters are worth looking into.
The more you push the gain of your mic preamp, the more room ambience you’ll pick up. So keep this in mind, especially when working with a softer singing vocalist that doesn’t project their voice in a pronounced fashion.
Choosing the best condenser mics under $300
For the purpose of recording solo vocals at home, you generally only use a cardioid pickup pattern unless you’re doing something experimental and ambient which would likely also require the use of a more professional live room.
The mics we’ve chosen each have their own distinct characteristics, so we’ll discuss these and hopefully find something suitable for your home studio.
It might not suit everyone’s voice or vocal style, but the AT2020 is arguably the best $100 mic you’ll find of its kind. While technically a medium-diaphragm mic, it still captures plenty of detail and can handle high-SPL sources.
It doesn’t have low-cut or pad switches, but these aren’t features you’re looking for in an entry-level mic at this price. Meanwhile, the AT2020 is also great on instruments and amp cabinets.
Overall, it’s a great first mic for any home studio‘s mic locker that will likely still get plenty of use should you choose to upgrade in future.
The Rode NT1-A is another tried and tested budget mic that can easily yield professional results. Provided you watch your distance, it provides excellent intelligibility and the high-frequency detail favours plenty of modern music styles.
The NT1-A is prone to picking up plosives, but luckily it comes with a shock mount and pop filter to help regulate this. In addition, there is a slight peak in the 3 kHz range that will need some tweaking in post.
Nevertheless, this is still a great vocal mic that will also get decent results on acoustic guitar, or in overhead configurations.
The trusted AKG Perception series condenser mics have been around for years, and the P220 is still a great value option for home vocal recording. It can handle high-SPL sources and is also equipped with a pad switch and a 300 Hz filter.
The large 1-inch diaphragm has a characteristically bright overall sound, but it still provides plenty of warmth in the lower end of the spectrum. This makes it suitable for a wider range of voices and vocal styles, which also favours beginners still developing their technique.
Overall, the P220 is a budget studio workhorse that can also work wonders on instruments and amp cabinets.
sE Electronics SE2200
The SE2200 is a clean-sounding condenser with an amazing amount of clarity and detail. In addition, it gives you more customization options with two pad settings (-10 and -20 dB) and two low-cut filter settings (80 and 160 Hz).
What sets it apart is it doesn’t colour the sound or add any type of vintage vibe, so look elsewhere if that’s what you’re after. The characteristically transparent tone also makes the SE2200 suitable for different vocalists, which is useful.
Although it carries a slightly higher price tag, this is still an excellent and versatile recording tool.
Lewitt LCT 440 PURE
Austrian mic manufacturer Lewitt is a relative newcomer to the game but has nevertheless built a stellar reputation in the recording industry in this short time. The LCT 440 PURE is certainly a testament to the impact of Lewitt as a company.
It combines meticulous construction and build quality with incredibly transparent detail and low self-noise. What’s more, you don’t need to drive your preamp too hard to get a decent signal from the LCT 440.
As a package, it’s hard to beat in terms of overall value and the endless positive reviews speak volumes.
Also worth checking out:
- Beyerdynamic M90 Pro X
More about microphones
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- Audio-Technica AT2020: Audio-Technica
- Rode NT1-A: Rode
- AKG P220: AKG
- SE2200: sE Electronics
- LCT 440 PURE: Lewitt