Microphones are a critical part of getting sound into your computer system for recording – audio or video, for podcasts, broadcast or simply amplifying the voice for public address. When it comes to situations where more precision and sensitivity is required, you no longer just talk about microphones in general but specific kinds like the condenser microphone. The condenser microphone is the preferred type of microphone in most studios because it offers a wider frequency response and also has the precision to reproduce the speed of a sound from the sound source (transient response).
There are so many different best condenser microphones from different brands on offer in the market today. Choosing one that will suit your purpose can be a very daunting task. To help you make the process of choosing easier, we have put together this list with some words of advice that will hopefully help you understand the exact type of condenser microphone you need.
Best Condenser Microphone Reviews
Before we proceed with the guide, we will offer you some of our picks. Consider this a cheat list that you can quickly use. Our pick includes: best overall condenser microphone, best large diaphragm condenser microphone, best budget condenser microphone, best condenser microphone for vocals and best USB condenser microphone. On this list, you can find something that will get you started quickly.
Best Overall Condenser Microphone
For anyone who has been dreaming of enjoying the best of tube sound in today’s condenser microphone, the Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone is the way to go. This is an all-round fantastic microphone that will shine on vocals and instruments. If you could only have one condenser microphone, this should be your choice especially given its price. It offers great value when compared to other microphones that come close to it in quality. With its large 1-inch capsule and gold plated diaphragm, ultra-low noise, Class A valve circuitry and impressive dynamic range, your highs, mids and lows will come out warm and silky smooth.
It is built to last with an internal capsule that is shock mounted, a mesh head made of heat treated steel, a long lasting satin nickel finish and a solid case for storing and securely moving it around. It comes with its own specially designed power supply and a 30 foot cable so you are not in any way restricted.
For the price the Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone is offered at, it is a great steal and a microphone that any studio in the world will be proud to own. There you have it – our pick for the best overall condenser microphone.
The name Neumann is one that many audio enthusiasts dream of having represented in their gear rack. If there was ever a brand that has stamped its name as an authority in the microphone industry, it is Neumann. However, with a lot of its microphones costing way more than many can afford, a lot of audio engineers were resigned to admiring them on catalogs. With the Neumann TLM 102, more people can now stop dreaming of a Neumann condenser microphone and own one.
The Neumann TLM 102 is a large-diaphragm microphone that is perfect for the studio. This compactly designed and attractive condenser microphone gives you a taste of the legendary Neumann sound. With the ability to handle SPL (sound pressure levels) of about 144 dB, you can use this microphone to record loud sound sources like drums, percussions and very loud amps. That said, you can also use it to record more quiet sound sources like vocals, soft instruments and more. This is possible thanks to its impressively fast transient response. Additionally, it has a little boost just above the 6kHz mark which gives vocals more presence, allowing them to stand out in your mix.
It is built for quiet recording with its capsule protected with a suspension system that reduces noise that can usually arise from handling or structural vibrations, this is aside from the shock mount included for the microphone. It also has a pop screen right behind the grille which stands as a filtering shield against plosives when recording vocals.
The stuff of legends is now affordably available in the Neumann TLM 102 and it is our pick for best large diaphragm condenser microphone.
We cannot in all sincerity present a list that does not have an option for the very budget conscious. We are aware that many get into recording with not much more than a strong desire. For those in this category, our pick for the best budget condenser microphone – the Audio-Technica AT2020 at just about $100 offers a very budget friendly entry into the world of best condenser microphones.
There is a tendency to assume that because a product costs far less than others that it somehow must really be inferior. Well, this is not so. The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a versatile condenser microphone which has a wide frequency response and a maximum SPL handling of 144 dB so you can use it on vocals and instruments with great results. You will get crisp, clear vocals with this be it male or female and also get great recordings of a wide range of instruments.
With no frills, bells or whistles, the Audio-Technica AT2020 delivers pure quality where it matters. It’s almost unbelievable that a microphone that can deliver such quality will go for such a ridiculous amount. This is just an amazing entry point into recording, making it perfect for the home studio owner.
Yeah, we know recording is not all about vocals but without vocals, most recordings will not be complete. Every sound engineer is always on the lookout for a condenser microphone that brings the best out in vocals. For the aspiring producer and sound engineer, we are giving you our pick of the best condenser microphone for vocals – the Rode NT1A.
The Rode NT1A is one condenser microphone that many homes and project studios have come to rely on to deliver awesome vocals. Well, that’s not to say that it only records vocals, it does record instruments wonderfully too but if you want vocals that stand out, it provides that little extra heave that sends the vocals over into the realm of awesomeness. No wonder it was the winner of the Electronic Musician 2004 Editor’s Choice Award.
Armed with a 1-inch capsule that is shock mounted, a high signal to noise ratio with a self-noise of just 5 dB, it’s little wonder that it is popularly regarded as one of the world’s most quiet studio microphones. Being this quiet, your vocals will have no extraneous noise coloring it.
It has a wide frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz so it is pretty versatile. Its maximum sound pressure level handling is 137dB so it is capable of handling loud sound sources.
Since we are focusing on vocals, the package comes with everything a singer needs to record in the studio. These include a pop filter, shock mount, 20 feet microphone cable, dust cover and a DVD that contains tips for recording.
So there you have it. Hurry and get your Rode NT1A today and begin to enjoy amazing vocals.
Did we forget our growing crowd of podcasters, vloggers, YouTube artists and more? Of course not. We know that many of these users prefer the plug and play ease that USB offers, so anything that does not come with a USB connection immediately becomes a hard sell. To you our recorders on-the-go, we present the Blue 1967 Yeti Pro, our pick for the best USB condenser microphone.
Now, there is a lot to this microphone. Starting from its design, it’s presented as a microphone that will comfortably sit on your desktop (and it will). However, you can also use it with a microphone stand as it is fitted with a mic stand mount that makes this possible.
Check this out, it comes with four switchable pick-up patterns. These include stereo, cardioid, omni and bi-directional. These offer so many options. As a podcaster, select the cardioid pattern when you are talking alone. When doing an interview, switch to the bidirectional mode and it will record from both the front and the back, allowing your interviewee to sit across from you and talk into the other side of the microphone. Okay, you do not want to talk but want to record a live band performing, choose either the Omni mode to capture a feel of the ambiance of the place or choose the stereo mode to get a stereo imaging of the performance.
The is the first microphone in the world to combine 24-bit/192 kHz digital recording resolution with an XLR output which is analog. Recording has never been easier with this USB condenser microphone. It’s plug and play all the way and it offers easy latency free monitoring via a headphone output. Want to find out more about this microphone, go get one and get ready to be blown away.