Buying the right microphone that will suit your need is very vital especially if you are on a tight budget. But choosing a microphone can be confusing especially when it’s your first time recording. A loud singer might want to use a condenser mic to accentuate her nature timbre, but could also use a ribbon microphone if her tone needs to be tamed!
Condenser microphones are generally much more expensive compared to dynamic microphones, but many less expensive condensers are made. If you are looking for the best condenser microphone for recording vocals, here are our top picks.
5 Best Condenser Microphones for Recording Vocals 2023
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid
- MXL V67G Large Capsule
- Rode NT1A Condenser
- AKG C214 Professional Condenser
- Neumann TLM 102
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid
This condenser microphone is a USB-enabled device ideal for home or any small studio application. It has high Sound pressure level (SPL) handling and the wide dynamic range feature provides an intense versatility like no other. Aside from that, it also provides extended frequency and superior transient response.
When you buy the Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid now, you will also own a stand mount for 5/8″-27 threaded stands, a 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter and a soft protective pouch. With is black solid builds, it looks durable and can last long enough.
- With accessories when bought
- Produces solid sound
- Need a USB conversion box
MXL V67G Large Capsule
MXL is a well-known company that offers the best variety of quality microphones for all your audio needs. This V67G condenser is large in size in the pressure gradient condenser capsule with a length of 32mm. To describe this capsule, the best phrase is “old school tube mellow.”
The color and design are very creative especially the gold-sputtered and 6-micron density diaphragm. The style is very sleek without the suffering of the quality since the company claimed it be as durable as the other microphones they had. When bought, a black storage pouch and mic stand holder is included.
- Creative design
- Produces crisp sound
- Chance of hollow sound
Rode NT1A Condenser
Aside from being Amazon’s choice, this condenser microphone is also a good buy since it is from Rode, a very good company known for its tech products. It is a little expensive compared to other condensers in this list, but surely, it will give you the result you want your microphone to produce.
The style of this Rode NT1A capsule is very eye-catchy since its 1-inch size is with gold a plated diaphragm and a Cardioid polar pattern. It features an ultra-low noise, self-noise of only 5dB. It includes an RØDE SM6 shock mount, pop filter, and dust cover when you buy it on Amazon.
- Produces awesome sound
- With ultra-low noise
- A little expensive
AKG C214 Professional Condenser
This one is another Amazon’s choice, a little bit expensive just like the Rode NT1A but they have different styles and features that you will definitely love. Even if AKG C214 is designed with an all-metal die-cast body with a shock- and scratch-resistant finish, it is still lightweight.
This is really good for recordings since it features an integrated suspension to reduce mechanical noise. Aside from that, it also highlights a switchable 20dB attenuation pad that allows recording of loud sources of up to 156dB SPL. When bought in Amason, the condenser microphone comes complete with a carrying case, windscreen, and spider-type shock mount.
- All metal but lightweight
- Reduces mechanical noise
- Produces a nice sound
- The complete package when bought
- A little expensive
Neumann TLM 102
Neumann is a company that provides great microphones and other musical products. TLM 102 condenser microphone has a large diaphragm with cardioid directional characteristics (pressure gradient transducer). Aside from its compact and unique design, it also stars a high maximum sound pressure level (144 dB).
Neuman TLM 102 is expensive, especially if you are still new in the recording field. However, this condenser looks fancy with its mid-matte-glossy metal color on the outside as its dress. It also delivers impressive sound and values standard quality.
- Eye-catchy design
- Produces expressive sound
- Has a large diaphragm
- Not ideal for beginners
3 Most Typical Types of Microphones
Microphones are categorized by their transducer principle and by their directional characteristics. Seldom, other components such as diaphragm size, intended use or the produced sound by the microphone model are used to describe the type of it.
If you are the real musician or working as a tech officer in a recording studio, you know that there are a variety of microphones. Recording studio microphones are divided into three categories: condenser microphones, dynamic microphones, and ribbon microphones.
The condenser microphone or simply condenser is the most elegant of them all. This type of mic produces a very rich and clear sound but is kind of complicated to set up and use.
In addition to that, it is more fragile and expensive compared to the other 2 types of microphones.
Dynamic mics, on the other hand, are not particularly sensitive, which makes them perfect for loud sources. This is why you often see them on snare drums, guitar amps, and other string instruments.
Related: Best Dynamic Microphones
Since it is the easiest microphone to use, it can be practically used on all kinds of sounds in the studio and even in recording.
The third one is the ribbon microphone, which said to be the eldest of the family. And since this is the kind of “antique” kind, it is also said to be very fragile and very expensive. This kind of mics are sensitive and bidirectional that is why it is advisable to use in rooms or covered areas.
Related: Best Ribbon Microphones
Different types of recording microphones are popular for different genres and vocal tones. The need for each kind really depends on the kind of voice you have and to more other factors. Condensers are better for more controlled genres, like alternative and pop, dynamic mics are better for more aggressive music like rock and metal, while ribbon mics are better for folk, jazz, or blues.
Getting to Know Condenser Microphones
Condenser microphones have always been the preferred type for studio recordings. The word condenser actually really means capacitor, an electronic component which stores energy in the form of an electrostatic field. And this kind of microphones mainly uses a capacitor in order to produce a very great sound.
In fact, the condenser microphone is also called as a capacitor microphone or electrostatic microphone way back before when it was invented at Western Electric in 1916 by E. C. Wente. And on the other hand, just for an additional fact, capacitors were historically called condensers.
In order to use a condenser microphone, you must have a capacitor to convert the compression and rarefaction of sound waves into electrical energy. Condensers require power in order to operate. However, if electricity is not present, you may use a battery.
There are two different types of condenser mics: small and large diaphragm. Small-diaphragm microphones (SDMs) are the best pick when you want a solid, wide-frequency result and the best transient response. On the other hand, large-diaphragm microphones (LDMs) are most often used for studio vocals and instrument recordings.
SDMs have the ability for your microphone to reproduce fast sounds, such as stringed instruments. While LDMs have a large diaphragm that warms up the sound of what it’s recording in order to produce low frequencies better than small diaphragm mics.
The Best Condenser Microphone
So, whether you are a vlogger and need to dub a video, or a game podcaster, musician/singer, all you want is to have a good and reliable condenser microphone. If you are tight in budget, better not to read about the most expensive of them all, which is the Neumann TLM 102.
Quality and result-wise, it is advisable to buy the AKG C214 Professional Condenser. Why? Although it is kind of expensive compared to other condenser microphones, this really produces a very good recording.
If you are new to this field, no need to worry because when you buy the C214 condenser, you will also own the accessories that you might need later. Condenser microphones are an excellent tool that delivers high sensitivity to capture subtle nuances and smooth frequency response, and that is what this model can bring you.