OUR #1 RATED BEST CONDENSER MICROPHONES UNDER $500
As we always say, you don’t have to break the bank to invest in the best audio devices for your recording project. But if you are working on a more professional level, it’s sad to say but no one will take you seriously if you work with amateur devices.
A serious project calls for gear that is robust, advanced, and most of all, complete with all your audio work needs. Despite being of high quality, audio devices on the cheaper end don’t usually carry all the features you might need.
Condenser mics are one of the most essential tools in a studio – you just can’t record anything without it. Although there are plenty of inexpensive, high-performance mics out there, the ones with the higher price tag often come with special features that others do not.
These additional perks may not be a requirement, but if you’re working on something big and important career-wise, they’re definitely worth a try.
Below are some of our favorite condenser microphones under $500. There are other options beyond this price range, but we think $500 is a great place to start. Just check out the features they have and perhaps you’ll know why.
10 Best Condenser Microphones Under $500 in 2023
Sitting at the top of our list is the Rode NT2-A. What I love most about this condenser mic are its frequency and transient response; it’s been voiced to complement modern-day recording techniques and yet somehow, it still manages to produce that silky smooth sound like the mics in the 50s and 60s.
The Rode NT2-A also has three-position pick-up patterns, provides isolation from external causes that create unwanted noise, and it also comes with the SM6 shockmount – Rode’s top-notch suspension shockmount. In my opinion, this simple looking mic has got it all – what’s not to love about it?
- Offers versatility with its polar patterns
- Pads and High Pass filters
- Produces crisp and clear sounds
- Picks up high frequencies effectively
- Comes with the figure 8 polar pattern not common with mics within this price range
- Needs improvement picking up low ends
- The quality of the accessories included in the bundle is subpar
Compared to the Rode NT2-A, the Heil PR-40 does a better job of picking up the low ends. But here’s the thing: this mic is not made for acoustics and musical performances.
The Heil PR-40 is a great broadcasting mic – it’s perfect for speech, podcasts, and the like. So you might be wondering, what is this microphone doing on this list?
Not a lot of people are fans of the extended low end on this mic. But personally, I believe that the Heil PR-40 can do wonders for vocal sampling. If that’s the kind of thing you are looking for in a condenser mic, then this is your go-to option.
- Great pickup on the low ends compared to other mics
- Perfect for vocal samples
- Has a sturdy build
- Well-made with a simple design
- Comes with a stylish leather padded pouch for protection
- Does not do well with acoustics
- Has an overly bright high end
The CAD E100s is a super-cardioid microphone, which basically means that it has a low and narrow sensitivity on the back, not so much from the sides and the back. It is popularly known to be the best quiet microphone – no hiss or anything, supposedly.
On the downside, some customers have reported quality control issues with the company behind the CAD E100s. Although it’s not entirely the fault of the device alone, the inconsistency can really alter the audio experience of the customer. Otherwise, the CAD E100s is definitely one you should look out for.
- Super quiet
- Has remarkable low self-noise
- Produces a super smooth
- Full-bodied sound
- Has the ability to cope with various sound levels
- Quality control issues with the makers behind the mic
We’ve been reviewing broadcasting mics above, but what if you want something that’s specifically made for music artists? Is there a microphone that is versatile enough for both the studio and the stage? Good news – there is one!
The UK-made Aston microphone is one you should look out for. Apart from its durable, audio-quality enhancing body form, the Aston mic is known to deliver beautiful open sounds with impressive harmonics. What I love most about it is its direct-to-stand design.
These condenser mics can be expensive, and adding an additional shockmount to the list can be painful to the pocket. Thankfully, Aston has addressed that issue with its smart design.
- Does not need a shockmount with its direct-to-stand design
- Great for studio or stage performances
- Made for music artists
- Built like a tank
- Guaranteed durability that will last for years
- Needs a very high preamp to get it very hot
If you’re looking for a condenser microphone that’s all about capturing the atmosphere or ambiance, then the Shure KSM32/SL may be worth the investment.
This condenser mic has world-class components that guarantee the best audio quality possible. If you are working with acoustic instruments, wind instruments, and even vocals, the KSM32 successfully delivers your sound with a vibrant and clear tone.
In my opinion, this is one of the best condenser mics for musicians. Its sonic systems seem to be tailored specifically for capturing music and sound – not just speech.
- Works great with instruments and vocals
- Produces a crisp
- Clear and engaging sound
- Perfect as drum overheads
- Great for a live band
- Not so much for studio recordings
- Not as loud and clean as other mics with the same price
Love that classic vintage style? You’ll also love the JZ V11. Designer Juris Zanis created this mic as an attempt to create a mic that deserves a classic title.
Its weight and finish are confident with its durability and quality. But appearance isn’t for aesthetic purposes alone. In fact, the unique flat basket design helps minimize sound reflections.
Personally, I like this mic because it does not have any tonal traits that can affect one’s natural sound. Aside from the bass lift, this mic gives you the most natural reflection you can get from a mic within this price range.
- Comes in a unique handcrafted design
- Produces a super crisp and clear sound without tampering the natural source
- Great with guitars
- Vocals and overheads
- Needs a pop filter to adjust its super strong proximity effect
If you’re really on a very tight budget but would like to enjoy the features of a good quality condenser mic, the Marantz Professional MPM-1000 offers the best price.
This condenser mic is one of the most highly-recommended options for those working on video commentary, podcasting, or for isolating instruments in a crowded environment.
Its cardioid pattern set-up picks up whatever is in front of the mic, capturing echo, background noise, and other sounds nearby. For a pocket-friendly mic, the Marantz MPM-1000 is very accurate. And with its large diaphragm and 20 to 20,000 Hz-wide frequency response, no sound can escape its capturing capabilities.
I would highly recommend this condenser mic for users who are on a tight budget, and for those who are working on simple recording projects. While it may not be the at professional-level, it offers the best quality among mics within its price range.
- Good quality entry level condenser mic
- Very affordable
- Fits a very tight budget
- Great for recording voice and spoken work
- Does not connect via USB
- Needs an adapter
- The quality of its tripod needs improvement
Is it possible for a USB mic to deliver professional studio-quality sounds? Some may have tried, but none were as close as the Thronmax MDrill.
This condenser mic features 48kHz/16-bit recording quality that is up to 10% clearer and more accurate than any other USB mic out there. Plus, with its ability to cancel out any ambient or background audio, you are sure to get an audio file that is true to its original sound
There’s a lot to love about this condenser mic, and I’m not really sure where to start. Perhaps it’s the Plug and Play capabilities of this mic that made me fall in love.
All you really have to do is to plug it in with a smart recording setting, select as input in the software settings, and you’re good to go. There’s no need to install anything anymore!
I also like that the Thronmax MDrill comes with 4 recording modes: Stereo, Bidirectional, 360-degrees Omni-directional Close-talk / Far-talk Smart Voice Capture (SVC), Voice Brilliant, and Long Distance Recording – basically everything you need to ensure complete and efficient sound capturing.
The zero latency headphone output, volume, and mic mute is perfect, plus the wide frequency response provides brilliant transparent sound as well.
- Nicely built
- Features a solid body made with great quality components
- Supports 4 various recording modes for better sound capturing
- High sensitivity
- Provides sound clarity and accurate recording
- Inconsistent sound quality
- The durability of the item needs improvement
If reliability is your number one concern when it comes to purchasing a condenser mic, then the MXL 990 might give you the reassurance that you need. This condenser mic is one of the most widely-known mics today and what’s more is that a lot of people swear by its quality.
The MXL 990 comes with an FET preamp and a large diaphragm that promises professional-quality sound recording. It supports both digital and analog recording and it is simply one of the more affordable higher-end condenser mics.
In my opinion, no other condenser mic within its price range can produce sound that has a silkier high end and tighter, more solid low and midrange.
- Produces full and rich tones
- Provides accurate sound capturing
- Comes with high-quality FET preamps
- The durability of the shockmount included needs improvement
Why You Should Invest On Condenser Microphones Under $500
If you’ve been reading our blog for quite some time, then you know that we don’t believe in price tags. Just because something is expensive, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best gear out there.
So why would we convince you to invest in condenser microphones under $500 when you can get a really good one for under $100?
The answer is simple: these condenser microphones are great for those who need it. As a professional, your needs would vary from someone who just started with recording. It has nothing to do with quality, but rather the features included in the apparatus.
If you are serious about recording and if you work with it on a daily basis, you might want to get something a bit more advanced. A higher-priced condenser can give you a bigger palette – more possibilities for sound customization.
But again, this would totally depend on what your needs are. Before purchasing, think about what you would like to achieve with your mic and your studio.
It was a tough decision but in the end, we still stuck with the Rode NT2-A as the best condenser microphone under $500. It produces great quality sound, easy to use, and also quite versatile. No matter if you are doing vocals or instrumentals, the Rode NT2-A can do the job without any problems.