Let’s talk about finding a good budget studio microphone. Whether you’re after the best budget studio vocal microphone or you’re looking to record instruments, your first priority should be what money is in your pocket.
It’s a bad idea to go all out and spend every penny that you have. When scouring the internet for the best budget studio microphone, we recommend being reasonable with yourself and aiming for the best studio mic under $1000. This is a good starting point as you can build your studio up in the future.
In this article, you’ll find some of the best budget studio microphones for vocals, as well as budget home studio microphones and even the best budget studio microphone USB for podcasters and streamers. We’ve got you all covered.
Shure SM57 – $109.75 (£101)
Here’s our favourite budget home studio microphone. We can guarantee that you’ve been to a gig or listened to music and an SM57 has been set up to capture the drums or bass guitar, and more!
The Shure SM57 is a staple of capturing audio. Its durability and quality have made it a sought after piece of equipment in studios far and wide. They’re truly the best-known and most widely-used dynamic microphones on the market.
The Shure SM57 is an instrument microphone, but that’s not the limit of its capabilities. Its tight cardioid pickup pattern means the microphone receives sound only from one direction (directly in front) while rejecting sound immediately around it.
This makes them great for capturing snare drums or guitar amps!
Shure MV7 – $265.50 (£195)
The best budget microphone for podcasting and the best budget studio USB microphone, the Shure MV7 is one of Shure’s more recent releases.
It brings the best of USB recording as well as traditional XLR capabilities into one super-powered microphone. The included app, MOTIV, allows us to pick and choose from a number of preset tones. This is why we think it’s the best budget podcasting microphone.
The Shure MV7 also has an auto-level feature that minimises any risk of clipping your recordings by accident.
It is one of the pricier microphones on our list, but it’s worth every penny for its fully-featured microphone that will serve you for years to come.
sE Electronics X1 – $109.50 (£99)
We’re sure you have been looking for a microphone under $100 that doesn’t compromise on quality, and we’re sure you’ve had a hard time doing so. But we have a solution for you!
The sE X1 microphone is a fantastic multi-purpose large-diaphragm microphone that we can use in a pair as drum overheads or we can place one in front of a guitar cabinet. Its -20dB is fantastic for avoiding any signal clipping.
The se X1 also excels with lead vocals with its 100Hz high pass filter for clarity and allowing the vocal signal to be present in a big mix. Its low self-noise of 16dB also makes the sE X1 a viable option for quiet sound sources too.
MXL 990 – $104.50 (£90)
For detailed recordings of acoustic instruments such as guitars, a microphone capable of picking up precise details is a must.
Of the best affordable studio mics that can capture that signal in detail, the MXL 990 large-diaphragm condenser microphone is one of the top dogs. Fear no more about losing beautiful details where the extra precision helps you capture accurate, rich tones in a way dynamic mics can’t.
The MXL 990 is one such mic. Its large diaphragm ensures the captured sounds have colour and flavour which, for the price tag, are hard to beat.
Shure SM58 $109.25 (£94)
The SM57 is capable of capturing recordings of vocals with great detail, a singer’s best friend is more likely to be an SM58 as it’s far more suited to the task of capturing vocals.
The Shure SM58 is the vocal counterpart of the SM57, hence the similar names. The 58 packs the same durable build and doesn’t compromise on reliability. The difference, however, is a slight change in frequency response. The 58 has a slight boost in the mid and upper frequencies to enhance your vocals.
SM58 are also fantastic for live scenarios too. Its durability makes the 58 great for travelling!
MXL 440 $103.25 (£89)
The MXL 440 is very new to the marketplace but packs a whole lot of value. Its a large-diaphragm condenser with three pickup patterns (MXL 4000 has three polar patterns: Cardioid polar pattern, Omnidirectional Polar Pattern, and Figure-8 polar patterns).
A switchable -10dB pad on its rear for super loud sound sources allows us to manage our sound pressure levels, and a bass roll-off switch allows us to control extreme low-end basses by applying a high pass filter to add clarity remove muddiness and also block low-end noise.
The MXL 440 is also super easy to set up and adjust. Even if you’re so into tech, you won’t have a hard time with this microphone. There’s no additional software setup or driver settings at all! We think this is the best budget studio recording microphone for beginners!
AKG P120 – $96.86 (£73.10)
The AKG P120 is a highly versatile microphone at a very low price point. Its durable build works complement its capabilities across a multitude of recording settings. It’s truly a jack-of-all-trades condenser microphone for home and studio recording. Whether vocals and/or instruments, the captured sound is balanced and clear.
The AKG P120 Project Studio Condenser Microphone is definitely one of the most affordable XLR microphones for home studios. Condenser microphones at this price range often don’t pack the quality that producers desire. But in this case, the AKG Project Studio line goes above and beyond the expectations of many for a budget studio condenser microphone with its versatility.
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