See here the list of Top 10 best vocal condenser mic under 200. Read the buying guide and other important factors before selecting a vocal condenser mic for you.
Information and tips: What you should pay attention to when buying a microphone?
It does not always have to be a large-diaphragm condenser microphone!
You are looking for a good studio vocal microphone? Surely you think how many first to the sometimes sensitive expensive microphone classics for vocal recording. These studio microphones are of course a good choice – if you do not have to pay attention to the price.
But do not worry, there are really good microphones that are suitable for vocal recording in-home recording studio and are not too expensive. First and foremost, the mics presented here are, of course, ideally suited for beginners as well as for advanced singers. We show what you should pay attention to before buying a micro.
Which microphones are used to record vocals in the studio?
Mainly a large-diaphragm condenser microphone is used. Is it possible to record with other microphones, for example, live vocal microphones?
But sure: Even small-diaphragm condenser microphones or the two types of dynamic microphones, Tauchspulenmikros and ribbon microphones are suitable. Even typical live vocal microphones, which are usually held on stage in the hand, are suitable in principle – we are in all dynamic microphones the heights, however, a bit weaker and often the resolution is not so high.
Do studio vocal microphones have to be expensive?
No, even for very little money you get decent microphones. All microphones for vocal recording presented here cost a maximum of 200 euros.
What do I need except the microphone to record?
In addition to various microphone accessories, an audio interface, speakers and / or studio monitors are necessary. Not necessarily a separate microphone preamplifier, because many audio interfaces have a built-in preamp. Instead of interface and microphone: Even a USB microphone can be considered.
Transducer principle: condenser microphone or dynamic?
There are two fundamentally different ways in which a micro can convert sound into tension. The condenser principle is that which is used in most cases. The advantage: It works with extremely thin membranes (membranes), which can move very quickly and undisturbed. As a result, these microphones are very detailed, take different frequencies fairly evenly and in principle have a good height reproduction. Therefore, they are often the first choice in studios when singing is to be included. We estimate the use of condenser microphones in vocal recording to a good 90%.
However, that does not mean the end for the dynamic converter principle. So-called voice coil microphones, among which the Shure SM58 is certainly the most well-known, are occasionally used in the studio for vocal recordings. They are more robust, often not very expensive, but lower in height and not so linear. The most famous classics – which can also cost up to 1000 euros, can be found here in the comparison test. The most widespread are the recordings of the vocal parts Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20.
Ribbon microphones, also called “ribbon” microphones, are considered a kind of secret weapon. These are also dynamic microphones and follow a very old principle. They are considered low-altitude, rushing and vulnerable, but have a very own, velvety character. Like diving coil microphones, however, they usually require a very good preamp in order to emphasize their properties. Condenser microphones are usually less picky.
Typical: large-diaphragm condenser microphone
To record vocals, most sound engineers and musicians use a condenser microphone, of which the overwhelming majority of the large-diaphragm condenser microphone, as it was once invented by Georg Neumann. But that does not necessarily have to be, because there are many examples of the use of small membranes. However, they usually lack something of the stronger character of the large diaphragm, and they are usually not very pleasant in the sound at close meeting and deliver less output. But they are very detailed.
To find out more about these things in more depth, this basics article by my colleague Guido Metzen is recommended.
What you should do without a cheap microphone?
There are a few things that I think are better off when limited to a budget of $ 200 because they can not be meaningfully implemented for that amount and suffer from many other features. At the top of this list is the fabled tube: Say goodbye to the idea of being able to get a good tube microphone for little money. If you consider that a power supply must be included, a special cable must be used, a reasonable tube circuit with well-selected components that are not possible to make at this price.
Switchable directional characteristic
As a rule, the so-called cardioid characteristic is recorded. This means that the microphone is the most sensitive on the front and the least sensitive on the back. Virtually all condenser microphones, where you can not adjust this directional characteristic, provide the said cardioid characteristic.
Some microphones allow a switch to work with ball or eight. With a limited budget, you should refrain from spending it on a second active membrane, the extra electronics and the switch. A good example is the otherwise identical Sennheiser MK4 (not switchable) and the more than twice as expensive MK8 (switchable and with pre-attenuation and high-pass filter). Which is not necessary.
A pad, that is a pre-attenuation, can be relevant if the microphone is distorted quickly. But you will hardly succeed with vocals. If you only record vocals, that is actually unnecessary. High-pass filters, ie low-pass filters that take the bass out of the signal, are a bit more practical if you record especially male voices in the near range. But many preamps offer that too, and of course, it does the software as well. The disadvantages are actually not relevant in this price segment.
So why spend money on something that does not have to be?
This also applies to elastic suspensions (“spiders”), which usually provide only a small bit of improvement in terms of quality. And wooden caskets, carry cases and the like: Always remember that you always pay for these things, of course. Some manufacturers prefer to stick the budget in the best possible microphone capsules, robust housings, good components – and send the Spartan micro in a simple cardboard box. Audio interfaces with 48V phantom power and special case USB microphone.
In order to get the microphone signal of a normal microphone into the computer, an audio interface must be produced. This requires at least one microphone input (“Mic Preamp”). If you use a condenser microphone, it should also offer 48-volt phantom power for the microphone to work. An overview of audio interfaces can be found here together with the purchase advisor.
You may be able to save the interface because there are USB microphones that have built-in the audio interface directly. If you want to record vocals: Do not buy a microphone that does not have a headphone output, which can regulate the ratio of microphone signal to playback and outputs the micro signal without delay in an analogous way. This is called “Direct Monitoring”. Everything else: Stay away! Of course, we also have a purchase advisor USB microphones.
So, and here you are in detail – Our three tips for vocal mics up to a maximum of 200 euros purchase price – currently for 2019:
Rightfully one of the most popular large-diaphragm condenser microphones is the Rode NT1-A. This is included in the accessory kit and is considered one of the best value for money microphones. It is neatly processed and delivers a professional signal that copes well with many voices.
Lewitt LCT 240 Pro
Schoeps have perhaps provided the best proof with the V4 U that even smaller membrane areas than vocal microphones are quite justified. This proof costs all the same ten times the microphones shown here. The company Lewitt, which comes from Austria like AKG, has launched the remarkably reasonably priced LCT 240 microphone for a shop price of well under 200 euros, a small-diaphragm condenser microphone with an acoustically relevant disc around the capsule. If you are looking for a very detailed microphone with clear heights and fine drawing, my tip is LCT 240! However, you should be aware that the Lewitt in the near range does not get the typical sonorous “broadcast” sound. And the Leuchtwerk when switching from pad and high pass filter you pay with. However, especially the filtering is very successful, the two options are chosen smart.
Perfect beginner ribbon: SE Electronics X1R
A well-suited ribbon microphone for beginners is the ribbon from the X1 series from the manufacturer SE Electronics. It is still quite high for a micro of this type and not as “hard to handle” as the classic designs of Coles or AEA. Thus, it transports the softness of the tapes very well but has not too intrusive character. Good: It comes also to less high-quality preamplifiers to advantage.