Recording at home with high-quality output has never been so easy. If you're on a budget but you are creating content for music or entertainment, you'll benefit from a type of microphone called a condenser microphone. Condenser microphones are known for having the best frequency response and the best transient response (transients are fast bursts of energy, e.g., the attack of a sudden laugh or a high note).
On the other hand, dynamic microphones are more often used in live performance settings and can also be a cheaper option. Still, the sound quality may not work as well for singers, rappers, and gamers who record in a home studio made with vocals used for streaming.
Below are a few great condenser mics that I have tested out myself as a session singer and voice actor who often works from home in my studio, recording for hundreds of clients needing vocals for jingles, features, intros and similar projects. The only downside to condenser mics is that they pick up everything, so make sure you're doing proper soundproofing for your recordings in addition to getting a good mic.
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Audio Technica is a leader in the audio industry for a good reason. The AT2020 mic is one of my favorite affordable mics as a singer, hands down. I used it consistently and happily for over ten years before I got the AT4040 for a few hundred bucks more. It's actually a crime for the AT2020 to be under $100 since the quality is so good and close to the AT4040, but here we are.
This is a great starting point if you're recording from home that you will not be disappointed with. Do note that you will need an external power source for this as it's not a USB mic that can hook straight up to your computer. The highest quality mics are not USB mics. I recommend using an audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, one of the most popular interfaces. Also, don't forget to get a good pop filter since condenser mics pick up everything, including your mouth noises!
This mic is a really good starting point that will take you pretty far at the beginning of your journey as a musician or streamer. This is another mic that will need an external power source, but that shows you that this one can stand toe to toe with the big boys when it comes to audio quality.
This is great for in particular for rapping or voice acting, but do note that it's not the greatest at containing very loud sounds like high notes being belted when singing, or yelling with gaming, so if you need a great mic for very loud vocals, consider skipping this one.
Here's a very affordable mic that is ideal for beginner streamers recording for Twitch or Youtube. There's an obvious plus with the USB input if you're looking to start very simply without needing external power, and the sound quality that comes from this baby is not bad at all. It also has a built-in shock mount for those gamers that get a little too excited and have a tendency to bump the mic.
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One downside besides the quality of this mic compared to other condenser mics is that the quality control suffers when you have a USB microphone and don't have it connected to an interface that gives you more options. Also, be aware that this microphone is compatible with the Playstation console but not Xbox. If you have a good ear for mic sound quality, you might hate this one, so skip it. But it definitely isn't that bad at all if you're a beginner on a budget! Most people will not notice. One other thing that doesn't matter much, but I thought I'd mention it: they look really sleek and cool. I especially like the pink one.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
If you are ever in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services for your music project or brand, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her song services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.