6 Best Mics for Under $100 of 2024

Are you looking to upgrade the mics in your studio or rehearsal room but don't want to dish out hundreds of dollars on a single piece of gear?

Then a budget microphone is exactly what you're looking for, as it will allow you to get that studio quality without breaking the bank.

In this article, I have picked out the best microphones for under 100 dollars for everyone — no matter if you're a singer, a producer, or simply an aspiring streamer. I also threw in a quick buyer's guide so you know exactly what to look for while shopping around.

My #1 pick is, of course, the Shure SM58, a true Swiss Army knife of a mic that's not only reliable but also surprisingly affordable. You'll find a couple of SM58s in pretty much every venue and studio out there — and there's a good reason for that!

The right budget microphone will help you take your music to a whole new level without having you spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Let's find the perfect pick for you!

Quick Summary of the Best Mics for Under $100 of 2024

  1. Shure SM58 (Best Overall)
  2. Behringer XM8500 (Best for Tight Budgets)
  3. Audio-Technica AT2020 (Best Condenser Mic)
  4. PreSonus Revelator (Best USB Microphone)
  5. Shure 545SD (Best for Recording Instruments)
  6. MXL R144 (Best Ribbon Microphone)

Best Mics for Under $100

Best Overall

The Shure SM58 is a golden standard in the current music industry, making it a fantastic choice for... well, pretty much everyone.
Why We Love It
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Versatile and reliable
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Can last for decades
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Custom-tuned frequency

SPECS:

  • Type of mic: Dynamic
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency range: 50Hz - 15kHz

The Shure SM58 is a golden standard when it comes to budget microphones. Any recording studio, rehearsal room, or live venue worth their money will own at least a couple of SM58s — and there's a good reason for that.

Versatile and reliable, the SM58 is the best Shure microphone to capture any instrument or vocalist at a shocking fidelity thanks to its custom-tuned frequency response. Known for its precise low-rumble cut and slightly resonant mids, the SM58 is sure to find the perfect balance between warmth and transparency in any case.

But what's even more mind-blowing about the SM58s is that they're pretty much indestructible — and I really mean that. Even after dropping them hundreds of times and withstanding the most demanding of live shows, most SM58s will still work like the first day!

All in all, the Shure SM58 is, by far, the best and most popular dynamic mic on the market right now. Reliability, sound quality, and versatility are the name of the game here, so there's no better place to go if you're after a jack-of-all-trades microphone.

What Could Be Improved

  • Not the best for recording vocals

Best for Tight Budgets

The Behringer XM8500 manages to offer pretty much the same experience as the Shure SM58 — but at half the price.

Why We Love It
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Extremely affordable
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Integrated wind filter
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Excellent for live shows

SPECS:

  • Type of mic: Dynamic
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency range: 50Hz - 15kHz

Behringer is famous, as we all know, for modeling several of its products after some of the most popular options on the market. And I have to say: its recreation of the above-mentioned Shure SM58 is frankly impressive, to say the least. And, to say the most, the XM8500 offers pretty much the same as a SM58 — but at half the price!

Featuring a cardioid polar pattern and an SM58-like frequency response, the Behringer XM8500 is as versatile as it is reliable. It can handle studio recording just fine — but live gigs are where this dynamic mic really shines. Thanks to its moisture-resistant grill and high-gain circuitry, the XM8500 will be your best friend when it comes to handling extensive touring and gigging.

But one of the things I like the most about the Behringer XM8500 is its integrated wind and pop filter, which are ideal for playing in open venues. And while it may not be as durable as the SM58 (which is understandable given the price difference), the XM8500 is sure to last you for years if you treat it carefully.

To boil it all down, the Behringer XM8500 is a must-have for any musician who can't afford to dish out almost 100 dollars on a dynamic mic. After all, it can't hurt to have a couple of these lying on the bottom of your equipment locker, right?

What Could Be Improved

  • Not as durable as other mics

Best Condenser Mic

The Audio Technica AT2020 is maybe the best condenser mic available at this price range, making it a solid choice for home recording setups.

Why We Love It
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Budget condenser mic
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Incredible sound quality
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Low noise floor

SPECS:

  • Type of mic: Condenser
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency range: 20Hz - 20kHz

Condenser mics are known for being some of the most delicate and sophisticated pieces of gear in the audio world — so you might think that they're also the most expensive, right? Well, you'd be (partially) wrong. Cue in the Audio-Technica AT2020: a top-notch condenser mic that is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Ideal for home studios, the AT2020 manages to blend in the performance and durability that Audio Technica is known for — but at a ridiculously low price. The cardioid polar pattern is as accurate as they get, and the relatively low noise floor makes it the perfect choice for poorly-treated rooms (acoustically speaking).

The AT2020 is also capable of handling sounds across the whole hearing range, bar none. But even if you aren't a musician yourself, the AT2020 will also prove to be a fantastic addition to your PC setup, as it's capable of capturing every nuance of your voice with minimal effort on your end!

What Could Be Improved

  • Can be a bit too fragile

Best USB Microphone

The PreSonus Revelator is a top pick for anyone looking for a plug-and-play experience, as it's one of the few USB microphones in this price range.  

Why We Love It
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Straightforward workflow
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Excellent sound quality
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Switchable polar patterns

SPECS:

  • Type of mic: Condenser
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-8 (selectable)
  • Frequency range: 20Hz - 20kHz

Now, microphones are way more complicated than they may seem at first glance — especially if you aren't a musician yourself. But that's exactly where USB mics shine, as they allow you to simplify the whole ordeal down to one cable. And, when I say USB mics, I actually mean the PreSonus Revelator.

This condenser microphone features everything you could ask for in a mic and more. Much like the AT2020, it handles every frequency in the human hearing range while also maintaining a rather low noise floor and a fantastic level of detail. But, unlike most other mics, the PreSonus Revelator can switch between three polar patterns, making it extremely versatile.

But by far the best part of the Revelator is that it acts as an audio interface all by itself! As such, you can use it as a central hub for all your audio needs and take full advantage of its built-in vocal presets and headphone monitoring output. Oh, and did I mention the stereo loopback capabilities?

What Could Be Improved

  • Not so great for recording instruments

Best for Instruments

The Shure 545SD is very similar to the Shure SM58, but better suited for recording instruments rather than playing live or tracking vocals.

Why We Love It
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Selectable impedance
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Sensitivity switch
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Perfect for instruments

SPECS:

  • Type of mic: Dynamic
  • Polar pattern: Cardiod
  • Frequency range: 50Hz - 15kHz

The Shure 545SD is like the SM58's older, more experienced brother. While certainly not as versatile, it's undoubtedly the better choice for anyone looking to record instruments in high-quality sound without breaking the bank. After all, the 545SD is modeled after the late 1960s' Unidyne III — a timeless instrument mic that used to be the standard in every recording studio.

No matter if you're recording a piano, a guitar, or a theremin, the Shure 545SD will not disappoint. The raw specs are somewhat similar to those of the Shure SM58: 50Hz - 15kHz frequency range, cardioid polar pattern, and fine-tuned coloring for lows and mids.

But the 545SD also features a selectable dual-impedance, making it the perfect choice for carrying it around and plugging into unknown mixers and interfaces. Similarly, it can handle either low- and high-gain signals thanks to its sensitivity switch.

What Could Be Improved

  • Not so good for vocals

Best Ribbon Microphone

The MXL R144 is maybe the only budget ribbon mic on the market, making it a top contender for experienced producers looking for that vintage tone.
Why We Love It
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Budget ribbon mic
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Warm and gritty sound
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Includes case

Specs:

  • Type of mic: Ribbon
  • Polar pattern: Figure-8
  • Frequency range: 20Hz - 17kHz

For some people, just getting a traditional microphone isn't going to cut it. And that's exactly why ribbon mics such as the MXL R144 exist, as they offer a more... vintage approach to recording vocals and instruments.

Unlike condenser and dynamic microphones, ribbon mics are much more expressive as they have a warmer sound — which some people even claim is more "natural." Unless you're worried about transparency and high fidelity, the MXL R144 is a one-way ticket to a vintage, warm, and gritty tone that will be the envy of any producer out there.

Of course, ribbon microphones are some of the most sensitive and fragile pieces of gear out there — even more so than condenser mics. Luckily, the team at MXL has already thought of this, and they included a hard-shell case and a ready-to-go shock mount to make sure your R144 is here to stay.

What Could Be Improved

  • Very fragile

Best Mics for Under $100 Buyer's Guide

Microphones can be complex — and there's no denying that. Finding the right one for you can be a daunting challenge, and even more so if you're just starting out in the music world. But fret not!

I've compiled a short buyer's guide to get you started, including four key aspects you should keep in mind while shopping for a new microphone. Here's what you need to know:

Condenser vs Dynamic vs Ribbon

The first, and maybe most important, thing to consider when buying a new mic is what type of mic you're looking at. Fundamentally, there are three types of microphones on the market: condensers, dynamics, and ribbons. Each of these serves a different purpose, so it's important to at least know the basics before buying anything.

A dynamic microphone is the most "basic" type of mic, as they are affordable, reliable, and extremely durable. Dynamic mics are mostly used in live settings, as they aren't too sensitive and can handle low- and high-gain instruments alike. However, they can also be used to record instruments — they're particularly good for drums, for example.

Condenser mics, on the other hand, are much more sensitive, but they also capture sound at a much greater fidelity. These are fantastic for recording vocals and instruments such as acoustic guitars and pianos. However, most condenser mics also require you to use an audio interface to power them, and will be too feedback-prone to use them in live gigs.

And finally, ribbon mics are by far the rarest type of the three. They are somewhat of a "vintage" technology — but you can think of them as being similar to condenser mics. The main difference is that most condenser mics won't color your sound at all, while ribbon mics have a distinctive warm sound that's great for emulating vintage tones.

Frequency Response

You might have noticed that pretty much all microphones carry a specs sheet that details their exact frequency response and range. While this may not be too important if you're using them for band rehearsals, it's a crucial aspect to keep in mind if you ever plan on recording with them.

To put it in simple terms, the frequency range is how high or low the microphone can capture. The human hearing range is 20Hz - 20kHz (or 20000Hz), so a mic that offers that frequency range will capture everything you hear.

So why do certain mics (such as the Shure SM58) feature a narrower range? Well, very few instruments require such a vast range. You can absolutely get away with, for example, using a 50Hz - 15kHz mic for recording an acoustic guitar. As with all things in music, it will all depend on what exactly you'll be using your mic for!

Frequency response, on the other hand, refers to how "transparent" the microphone is. This is usually represented on a frequency graph that's not too different from what you'd see on a graphic EQ. Along this graph you'll see a curve that demonstrates how well the mic can capture a certain frequency.

For example, a lot of dynamic microphones fall off a bit on the higher end of the spectrum. Advanced producers may look for plain response mics, but a less "perfect" mic can actually help you color your sound and filter noisy frequencies!

Polar Pattern

Polar patterns represent in which directions the microphone "works." Some mics can capture sound from all directions, while others can only do so from a specific angle. This can be extremely useful for filtering out noise from, for example, the audience that's in front of the singer while on a live gig.

The cardioid pattern is, by far, the most popular one. It allows you to capture only what's in front of the mic, and almost completely eliminates unwanted noise from the back and sides. Cardioid mics are the golden standard for recording and live playing!

Similarly, the figure-8 filters out the sides while capturing the front and back, making it fantastic for interviews and podcasts. An omnidirectional mic captures sound from all directions equally, but they don't remove any background noise based on directionality.

There are a few other polar patterns out there, but most musicians will find them a bit too... specific to be useful.

Phantom Power

Last but not least, you should always keep an eye out for phantom power, which is how some specific microphones receive enough power to work properly. This isn't an issue with most dynamic microphones, which don't require any extra power — but things get a bit more complicated when it comes to condenser mics.

Most condensers won't actually work if you don't feed them phantom power, so you should always make sure you have a way to provide it. Most audio interfaces will have a switch labeled "Phantom power" or "+48V" that activates that extra current on the mic inputs.

If you don't have any way to provide phantom power, I recommend you either look into an affordable audio interface or opt for non-powered mics instead.

Best Mic for Under $100 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are cheap microphones worth it?

Yes, an affordable microphone can be absolutely worth it if you know what you're looking for! Of course, an expensive, top-of-the-line microphone will usually be better in terms of raw sound quality. But I can assure you — getting a mic like the Shure SM58 will be a worthwhile investment for any musician.

The same can be said for pretty much any other mic on my list, but unfortunately, there are also a lot of affordable options out there that aren't so good. So taking some time to do proper research will definitely pay off sooner or later!

Should I get a condenser mic or a dynamic microphone?

The general rule of thumb when it comes to choosing a mic type is that condenser mics are better suited for recording and dynamic mics are better for live playing. However, there are exceptions to this, so make sure you take some time to research what's best for you!

For example, if you're recording drums, dynamic mics will usually be the better choice — even if you're inside a professional studio. This is because drums usually handle very high volumes, so a condenser mic will be too sensitive for recording snares, kicks, or cymbals.

Which is the most popular budget microphone?

The most popular budget mic out there is, by far, the Shure SM58. You can find this dynamic microphone in pretty much every live venue, rehearsal room, or recording studio, as it's an extremely reliable option that's built to last for decades.

You honestly can't go wrong with this one unless you're looking to record vocals in extremely high quality. In that case, something like the Audio Technica AT2020 may be better suited. The same can be said for streaming or podcast purposes, where USB microphones will give you more bang for your buck.

Verdict

Finding the best budget microphones can be a daunting task, and buying the wrong one can significantly alter how your vocals or instruments sound. But, as with all things related to music gear, there are a lot of affordable options out there that can blow your mind — as long as you're willing to research for a bit.

The first thing to consider when shopping for a new mic is, of course, whether you need it to be a condenser, a dynamic, or a ribbon mic. Then, you have to keep in mind stuff like frequency range and response, polar pattern, and phantom power.

Keeping track of all these things can be tough, to say the least — so I've done the work for you.

If you just want to get the best dynamic budget mic on the market, don't think twice about the Shure SM58. But if you're looking for budget condenser microphones, you can't go wrong with the Audio Technica AT2020.

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