Best Studio Recording Microphone Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide
If you’re on the lookout for the best studio recording microphone for your latest projects or just to explore and record new sonic realms, this paragraph might be of assistance. The market offers many affordable studio recording microphones, which means that finding the best studio microphone for your needs might be time-consuming. To help you make a decision more easily, we have looked at the features offered by some of the most popular models in this line. We think the first option worthy of attention is the Audio-Technica AT2020 Studio XLR Microphone. This is a cardioid condenser microphone that features a low-mass diaphragm built in such a way to ensure a superior transient response, as well as extended frequency response. The unit sports a cardioid polar pattern to reduce side and rear sounds and isolate the desired sound sources more effectively. What’s more, the mic is versatile and can be used for a variety of home studio applications. Should you be unable to find this model, a reliable alternative is the SUDOTACK ST-800 Cardioid Condenser Mic Kit.
Our Top Choice
Whether you’re a musician, podcaster, or YouTube content creator, this XLR microphone is an option you might want to consider. The unit features a cardioid polar pattern to better isolate the sound of interest and reduce rear and side noise. It ensures a wide dynamic range and a good transient response.
This microphone model might not be suitable for streaming.
The product can be employed for a variety of audio applications, given that it can handle high SPLs, and it ensures a wide dynamic range. It features a durable construction and comes with various accessories.
Ensuring a sampling rate of up to 192khz/ 24bit and featuring a 16mm diaphragm, this mic can be used for different audio applications. Its cardioid polar pattern reduces background noises and isolates the sound source that is in front of the mic. The item is a USB model that can be connected to a computer.
Windows OS might not recognize the microphone.
Whether you want to record your latest compositions or podcast, this mic is worth a try. It sports features that will isolate the sound source in front of it and reduce background noise. Plus, it comes with accessories.
Also To Consider
This microphone was built for home studio applications, streaming, and podcasting, and it comes paired with various accessories so that you can use it immediately upon arrival. Due to the USB sound adapter included, you can connect the mic to your computer. The stand provided is adjustable.
Some of the items provided with the mic might not be that durable.
Due to the cardioid polar pattern that reduces background noise and better isolates the sounds in front of the mic, this unit can be used for different audio applications. The manual provided will help you install it easily and rapidly.
8 Best Studio Recording Microphones (Updated Reviews) in 2020
Using a good quality recording microphone is essential if you want your home studio projects to reach the superior results you have in mind. Finding the best microphone for recording might not be the easiest task, though, especially if this is your first mic. To make your decision-making process a bit easier, here is a list of studio recording microphone reviews. Check it out for more on popular models.
- 1. Audio-Technica AT2020 Studio XLR Microphone
- 2. SUDOTACK ST-800 Cardioid Condenser Mic Kit
- 3. TONOR XLR to 3.5mm Pro Condenser Microphone
- 4. ZealSound Condenser Broadcast Microphone w/Stand
- 5. MANLI PC Studio Condenser Microphone Kit
- 6. TONOR Professional Cardioid Studio Mic Bundle
- 7. RAGU 8-in-1 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Kit
- 8. MAONO AU-PM320S Cardioid Vocal Studio Recording Mic
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Audio-Technica AT2020 Studio XLR Microphone
Regarded as the new standard for affordable side-address studio condenser microphones, the AT2020 is carefully engineered to suit a variety of home studio applications. The unit was built to bring professional audio into your home studio while remaining within an affordable price range.
It is thus packed with notable features, such as a custom-built low-mass diaphragm that ensures a superior transient response. Since rear and side noises can become an issue when recording, the mic comes with a cardioid polar pattern to reduce the pickup of such sounds and isolate the sound of interest more efficiently.
Thanks to the way it handles high SPLs and the wide dynamic range ensured, the microphone is versatile and is thus suitable for musicians, podcasters, and other audio content creators. In order to keep up with many recording sessions, the unit also features a rugged and durable construction.
Designed with home studio projects in mind, this microphone ensures a wide dynamic range and handles high SPLs easily, which means you can employ it for various studio applications.
To isolate the sound source and reduce unwanted rear and side sounds, the AT2020 sports a cardioid polar pattern.
Due to the custom-built low-mass diaphragm, you should benefit from a superior transient response and an extended frequency response.
The microphone sports a rugged construction that should keep up with many recording sessions, and the finish features black speckles, which adds a nice visual touch.
The package includes the mic, a pivoted threaded stand mount for easy, precise, and secure mic placement, a threaded adapter, as well as a protective pouch.
This microphone might not work as expected when used for streaming, and the XLR cable needed for it to work is not included in the package, so you will have to buy one separately.Buy from Amazon.com for ($99)
2. SUDOTACK ST-800 Cardioid Condenser Mic Kit
Packed with a variety of features that render it suitable for different audio applications, this cardioid condenser mic is worth a try if you want a product that you can easily connect to your PC to record your latest compositions or podcast.
Thanks to the cardioid pickup pattern, the microphone will record the sound sources in front of it and reduce background noise. To further improve the audio quality delivered, the item ensures up to 192khz/ 24bit sampling rate, which should deliver a good sound quality. This renders the unit suitable even for various audio projects.
What’s also worth noting about this 16mm diaphragm mic is that it is a USB model that allows you to connect it directly to your computer, and it is compatible with many operating systems. The package includes various accessories that will help you reduce unwanted noise caused by vibrations and plosives.
If you’re on the lookout for a versatile condenser microphone that you can use for recording, podcasting, gaming, or simply chatting, this one might be cut out for you.
To provide you with superior audio quality, the unit sports a cardioid pickup pattern that reduces unwanted side and back noise and records the sound source that’s in front of it.
Since it can ensure a sampling rate of up to 192khz/ 24bit, this microphone should deliver satisfying results.
Besides the microphone, you will also get an adjustable microphone stand, a pop filter, a USB cable, a table clamp, an anti-wind foam cap, and a shock mount.
Thanks to the USB design and cable included, you can easily connect the unit to your PC; it is compatible with Windows and Mac OS.
The unit is advertised as being compatible with most mainstream operating systems, yet Windows might still not recognize it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($47.99)
3. TONOR XLR to 3.5mm Pro Condenser Microphone
If what you want from your next microphone is a unit that ensures nice sound quality, durability, and ease of use, this model from Tonor is worth a closer look before making your final decision. The product features a cardioid polar pattern, which is appreciated for reducing side noise and isolating the sound source of interest more efficiently.
Given the type of pickup pattern used, the microphone can be employed for various audio applications, such as home studio recordings, streaming, and podcasting. Thanks to the USB sound adapter included, you can connect the mic to your computer.
The device connection diagram will help you install it easily, which is of great help, especially if this is your first microphone. What’s nice about this bundle is that, besides the mic, you will also get an adjustable stand, a 48v phantom power supply, a shock mount, an XLR male to female XLR cable, AB XLR to 3.5mm cable, a windscreen, a pop filter, and a manual.
Whether you need a condenser microphone for podcasting, streaming, or home studio recording, this model is worth a closer look as it is designed to meet such needs.
The cardioid polar pattern improves the isolation of the sound source you’re interested in recording and reduces unwanted side noise.
The materials used for the microphone and the accessories included in the package should cover your needs for a long time.
The metal used for the shock mount can reduce vibration-caused trills, which further adds to the quality of the audio delivered.
The mic is packed with an adjustable stand, a 48v phantom power supply, a pop filter, a shock mount, a mounting clamp, and a manual, to name just a few of the accessories provided.
The kit falls on the cheap side, and the accessories included might thus not be as durable as desired.
If you need a condenser microphone for more demanding audio projects, you might want to check out some other models before deciding on a product.Click to see the price on Amazon!
4. ZealSound Condenser Broadcast Microphone w/Stand
Considering its features and the way it was built, this microphone is suitable for various audio applications, including vocal and instrument recording, streaming, gaming, and chatting. To make it so versatile and enable the unit to perform nicely in different settings, the manufacturer employed an omnidirectional pattern.
This type of pattern captures sounds from all directions, as the name suggests, which makes the mic versatile. What’s also worth mentioning about this product is that it does not rely on an external battery, and after you’ve charged it, you will just have to plug it and play. Plus, when fully charged, the unit ensures 4-6 hours of battery life.
The item also comes with a built-in sound card, volume echo slide buttons, and VC Noise Reduction Technology to render your audio recordings crisp and clear. To reduce noise and ensure zero-latency monitoring, the mic features a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack. The package includes various accessories so that you can use the unit right away.
The mic features an omnidirectional pattern, which renders it suitable for various applications, as well as VC Noise Reduction Technology so that you can benefit from clear and crisp sounds.
Thanks to its plug-and-play design and the fact that it does not require an external battery, the item is also portable and easy to use.
The product sports a built-in sound card and a real-time monitor function so that you can hear yourself when you employ it for singing recording.
Thanks to the 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack featured, noise should be reduced, and you should also benefit from zero-latency monitoring.
The condenser mic comes paired with a 3.5mm audio cable, an accompany cable, a USB charging cable, a Y splitter, a stand, a pop filter, and a user’s guide.
The charging port might not be as durable as expected; plus, make sure not to use the mic while charging because doing so may hurt the battery and cause static sound.Buy from Amazon.com for ($35.99)
5. MANLI PC Studio Condenser Microphone Kit
In case you need a condenser microphone for more than an audio application, this model from Manli is worth a closer look as it is packed with a professional sound chipset and ensures a sampling rate of 192kHz/24bit and a 30Hz-16kHz frequency response so that you can get good sound quality.
Thanks to the cardioid polar pattern, the mic isolates the sound source and reduces side noises. To further add to the quality of the audio delivered, the mic also comes with anti-noise technology. This makes it suitable for home studio applications, vocal and instrument recording, broadcasting, and gaming.
This is a plug-and-play model that works with many mainstream operating systems. Thanks to the included stand, you can easily place it on your desktop or a table as the stand is built in such a way to ensure stability. The package includes other accessories, such as a metal shock mount, a pop filter, and an anti-wind foam cap.
The microphone was built with versatility in mind, and it ensures a sampling rate of 192kHz/24bit and a frequency response from 30Hz to 16kHz.
To make sure that the sounds you get are clear, the item sports anti-noise technology, as well as a cardioid polar pattern that isolates the sound source and reduces noise.
The unit can be employed for different audio applications, including vocal and instrument recording, streaming, gaming, and podcasting.
The plug-and-play design and the unit’s compatibility with many operating systems ensure ease of use.
You will get a variety of accessories, such as an anti-wind foam cap, a metal shock mount, a pop filter, a Y-shaped cable, a stand, and a TRS A to B cable.
Even if the unit is advertised as a professional studio microphone, it might still be a better choice for casual recordings and audio applications.Buy from Amazon.com for ($65.93)
6. TONOR Professional Cardioid Studio Mic Bundle
If what you want from your new studio microphone includes warm, natural sounds, and superior clarity, this cardioid mic from Tonor might be right up your alley as it was designed and built to deliver such benefits. The unit ensures a wide dynamic range, can handle high SPLs and comes packed with a low-noise FET preamplifier.
Due to the cardioid polar pattern, the microphone should reduce the pickup of rear and side sounds as well as background noise, which renders the product suitable for both instrument and vocal recording. You can also use it for streaming, podcasting, YouTube video production, and other such applications.
The item makes a nice choice price-wise, as, besides the microphone, you will get a T20 suspension stand, a metal shock mount, a pop filter, a cable tie, a mic cover, an XLR cable, and a manual. Plus, you will also get instructions so that you can install it easily and correctly.
Whether you need a mic to record vocals or acoustic instruments, this model might be cut out for you as it is packed with features that should meet such needs nicely.
To reduce background noise and rear and side sounds, the manufacturer used a cardioid polar pattern, which adds to the quality of the sounds delivered.
The item sports a low-noise FET preamplifier, ensures a wide dynamic range, and can also handle high SPLs.
The T20 boom arm features a steel construction and is packed with a desk clamp that has a large contact area; this means that you should clip it easily to any desk up to 2.4” thick.
Thanks to the installation instructions and the accessories provided with the mic, you can start using it immediately upon arrival.
The boom arm might not be as durable as expected, given that it is advertised as featuring a steel construction, and might thus break after a few uses.Buy from Amazon.com for ($59.99)
7. RAGU 8-in-1 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Kit
Including all the tools and accessories you need to start using the mic right away, this bundle is an option you might want to consider before you make a decision as it is suitable for vocal and instrument recording, streaming, chatting, as well as broadcasting. Given the many items included in the kit, this model is also suitable for budget-conscious buyers.
The condenser microphone ensures a wide 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response and comes with a cardioid polar pattern so that you can benefit from high-resolution audio. It also ensures an ultra-low noise level of 16dBA and a signal-to-noise ratio of 78dB.
The microphone sports a premium diaphragm capsule and ensures a high sensitivity of -34dB ± 2dB. The pop filter provided should add to the clarity of the audio delivered as it is designed to prevent acoustic vibrations and eliminate plosives and pops.
Designed for a variety of audio applications, this mic kit comes with all the accessories you need for live streaming, podcasting, and other such activities.
To help you benefit from high-resolution audio and clear sounds, the condenser microphone ensures a wide 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response and features a cardioid polar pattern.
In order for you to get clearer sounds, the microphone also ensures an ultra-low noise level of 16dBA, as well as a signal-to-noise ratio of 78dB.
The pop filter provided with the mic is built in such a way to eliminate pops and plosives and prevent acoustic vibrations.
Thanks to the various accessories included, you can start using it immediately upon arrival; plus, considering the many items you get, this option is also affordable.
The articulating arm included in the package might not be as durable as desired; plus, it might take a bit of time to set it up, especially if this is your first mic kit and you never used one before.Click to see the price on Amazon!
8. MAONO AU-PM320S Cardioid Vocal Studio Recording Mic
In case what you have in mind is a durable and versatile microphone, this model is an option you might want to take into account as it was built and engineered to deliver such advantages. The microphone can thus handle high SPLs, and it ensures a wide dynamic range; therefore, you can use it for recording, podcasting, gaming, and chatting.
To provide good audio quality, the unit also comes with a shock absorber that reduces vibration-caused noise, and a pop filter and a windscreen cap to add to the sound clarity ensured. The XLR microphone features quality materials that should keep up with extended use and contribute nicely to the sounds delivered.
The arm bracket sports a durable aluminum alloy construction and is adjustable for a more comfortable recording experience. The package includes the mic, a metal shock mount, a boom arm, a pop filter, a windscreen, an XLR to XLR cable, and a manual.
In case you want a mic that you can use for various audio applications and that would get you a decent sound, whether you employ it for streaming or vocal recording, this item is worth a try.
The product was engineered to handle high SPLs and ensure a wide frequency response, so it can be used for recording, podcasting, gaming, streaming, and chatting.
The XLR comes paired with various accessories, such as a pop filter and a windscreen to reduce wind, breathing, and popping noise and get you clearer sounds.
The materials used for the construction of this mic and the accessories provided should keep up with many recording sessions.
The arm bracket included is adjustable so that you can record comfortably, and the manual provided will help you install the unit easily and correctly.
The boom arm might not support the mic’s weight and thus might not work as expected; if that’s your case, you might have to buy a separate boom arm.Buy from Amazon.com for ($74.89)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
The quality of a studio recording depends significantly on the recording gear and audio equipment used. Thankfully, the market doesn’t run short when it comes to microphones for recording, but the great number of models available can prove to be intimidating. Plus, finding the best studio recording microphones might turn out to be a time-consuming task.
To get closer to identifying the best recording microphone for your needs, it is essential to understand the differences between the different mic types and their uses. Here is more on the characteristics that set microphones apart and the factors to consider when on the lookout for an affordable studio recording microphone.
Types of microphones
When prospecting the market for the best studio microphone, you will see that such items come in different types, namely, dynamic, condenser, ribbon, and USB microphones. Dynamic mics feature a diaphragm, a voice coil, and a magnet, and they are appreciated for handling high SPLs and being less sensitive. Such mics are also more reliable in the long run, and most of them don’t require an external power supply or batteries like condenser mics.
Dynamic mics are usually employed to record loud instruments, such as electric guitars and drums, and as vocal recording microphones. When it comes to vocals, they are typically used to record rock or pop vocals.
On the other hand, condenser microphones come with a different build that features, as the name suggests, a condenser, which is also known as a capacitor. This condenser converts acoustic energy into electrical energy and requires a dedicated power supply, battery, or phantom power.
If your audio applications call for high sound fidelity, a condenser mic is the one to go for. The mics in this category are appreciated for delivering natural, transparent, and accurate sounds. Plus, the current offer includes many cheap studio recording microphones that are condenser mics.
They make an inspired choice when you need to record an instrument from a greater distance. When you need to record an acoustic instrument, for example, capturing the studio’s/room’s ambiance might hold great importance for that instrument’s sound.
Large-diaphragm condenser mics are typically used to record vocals, orchestral instruments, and acoustic instruments, such as pianos. Small diaphragm condenser mics are usually used to record instruments with fast transients, such as acoustic guitars and drums.
When looking for an audio recording microphone, you will also see that the market offers modern ribbon mics. This type of mic was popular in the golden age of radio and was often employed for recordings during the 1930s – 1960s. What sets them apart is the natural and warm sounds they deliver, a sound that is often regarded as having something ‘retro’ thanks to its smoothness, silkiness, and details.
Such mics capture the subtle changes in harmonics and dynamics during a performance and are suitable for those applications that require you to capture the room’s ambiance. However, they’re more expensive and fragile, and they can’t handle high volumes.
The market also offers USB mics that feature all the elements of traditional microphones, as well as an analog-to-digital converter and an onboard preamp. This means the mic does not require to be connected to an external mic preamp or a mixer and that it can be plugged directly into your computer and used with recording software.
The type of polar pattern used for a microphone is also an important factor to consider when looking for a good studio microphone. The cardioid polar pattern is one of the most common ones since mics featuring it better isolate the sound source and reject rear and side sounds. Microphones with a cardioid polar pattern are used in many audio applications; just keep in mind that such a pattern exhibits a proximity effect.
Supercardioid and hypercardioid patterns come with sensitive rear lobes, and positioning mics featuring such patterns might be a bit tricky. As the name suggests, omnidirectional patterns will pick up sounds from all directions and are thus suitable for those studio applications that require you to capture the room sound along with what instrument or vocals you’re recording.
You will also find figure-8 or bi-directional patterns that equally pick up front and back sounds and reject side sounds. Some of the latest mics come with switchable polar patterns and provide you with the possibility to choose between various types of patterns to meet your needs.
Diaphragm size, SPL, and other considerations
Dynamic and condenser mics can further be divided based on their capsule size. You will thus find large diaphragm and small diaphragm mics, as well as medium diaphragm mics that are relatively new and blend features of the other two types of diaphragms.
Mics featuring a large-diaphragm are considered to be the most versatile and can thus be employed for vocals, strings, and even percussion instruments. If you need to record instruments with extended overtones and sharp transients, though, a small diaphragm mic is a better choice.
The SPL a mic can handle is also a characteristic worth considering whether you’re looking for the best mic for recording vocals or instruments. Different mics can handle different sound pressure levels before they start to distort.
SPLs are measured in decibels (dB), and a product’s description should mention such specs. If not, make sure to check a studio recording microphone review to learn more about a certain model. Generally, dynamic mics are designed to handle high SPLs, while condenser mics are more delicate and typically come with a pad switch for a reduction in signal.
Keep in mind that passive dynamic mics don’t require an external power source, the reason why they’re also known as passive mics. Condenser mics are active and require phantom power, a battery, or a dedicated power supply, but that enables them to record softer sounds and achieve higher gain.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What microphones are used in recording studios?
As we’ve said above, microphones are different since a musician’s or music producer’s needs are different. The most common professional microphone types you will find in a studio include dynamic and condenser microphones. Their different characteristics will help you choose the right one for your needs.
Condenser microphones are considered the most versatile when it comes to studio recordings as they can record almost any instrument and do so nicely. However, the polar pattern and diaphragm size they feature will make them more suitable for certain settings and less appropriate for others.
Dynamic microphones can handle high SPLs and are usually employed to record loud instruments, such as drums and guitars, and rock or pop vocals. Condenser mics are more sonically sensitive and fragile and are thus used to record vocals, voice-overs, and light instruments. Ribbon mics are typically used for applications that require detailed sounds.
Q: What is the most common type of microphone?
The answer to this question depends on the audio applications in question. Many consider the electret condenser microphone to be the most common type, given its versatility. This mic type is used for a variety of applications, such as professional studio applications, movie audio, and even various medical settings.
Many studio, lavalier, medical, measurement, consumer, and professional microphones feature an electret condenser. However, suppose we’re considering live music settings that involve rock vocals or loud instruments, such as guitars and drums. In that case, dynamic microphones are the most common mic types, thanks to their characteristics and ability to handle high SPLs.
Many musicians, producers, and various audio content creators agree that condenser mics are the most versatile, and depending on their polar pattern and diaphragm size, they can be used in various audio settings. Speaking of polar patterns, when it comes to live sound and professional studio mics, the most common type is the polar pattern and thus so are the mics featuring it.
Q: Which one is better, dynamic or condenser microphone?
It depends on your needs and applications. While a condenser microphone featuring a cardioid polar pattern is suitable for recording vocals, broadcasting, and any sound reinforcement situation, a dynamic microphone is more appropriate for applications that involve high SPLs and loud instruments, as well as for live settings.
For example, if you’re more into recording vocals, voice-overs, and light instruments that require a full body sound, a condenser mic is the option you might want to go for. However, if you want to record rock music and louder instruments, a dynamic mic is recommended. To find the answer to this question, you need to consider the audio applications you need the mic for.
Do you want to stream, broadcast, and record vocals, or do you need a mic to record an acoustic instrument and capture the room’s ambiance as well? The mic type, polar pattern, frequency response, and SPL handling capacity are all factors to consider when looking for a mic, whether it’s an expensive or cheap studio recording microphone.