It is possible to find a quality mic for under $100. Of course, the industry leading mics used in professional settings at recording studios and huge arenas cost much more, but usually there's no need for that type of microphone with all the bells and whistles.
If you are using these mics in your home recording studio, at small gigs, or even smaller venues like podcast studios, church, or a public event, you can definitely get away with a budget microphone that'll capture your sound in a clear and crisp manner.
Don't worry many musicians, podcasters, creators, and public speakers generally use budget mic for everyday use. We'll round up quality options, such as the AT2020 from Audio-Technica and the SM58 from Shure, and let you know what kind of settings they'd be the most reliable in.
Quick Summary of the Best Mics for Under $100
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Medium-diaphragm Condenser (Best Overall Condenser Mic)
- Samson C01U Pro Studio Condenser USB Microphone (Best USB Mic for Travel)
- Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone (Best Mic for Rapping)
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone for PC, Mac, Gaming, Recording (Best USB Mic for Streaming)
- Rode PodMic Cardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone (Best Mic for Podcasting)
- Behringer C-1 Medium-diaphragm Condenser Microphone (Best Budget Microphone for Under $50)
Best Mics for Under $100
1. Best Overall Condenser Mic - Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Medium-diaphragm Condenser
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Microphone Pouch
Anytime someone recommends a quality budget mic, they'll likely bring up the AT2020. It's one of the best condenser mics for anyone new to music production, and with that being said, you don't have to splurge to start your journey. This Audio Technica mic comes in right under $100.
This Audio Technica mic is known for its high sound pressure level handling, so not only can it handle vocals but you can record drums or guitar amps as well. Since the condenser mic is so versatile, users say it's become a staple studio mic for them.
If you're in search of a budget condenser mic for vocals and instruments, you'll love this Audio Technica condenser mic. It's sturdy as it is made from a metal construction and is quite the workhouse considering the price.
2. Best USB Mic for Travel Under $100 - Samson C01U Pro Studio Condenser USB Microphone
Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid
Included Accessories: Tripod Stand, USB cable
If you need a USB mic for making music on the go, consider this pick from Samson. Easily plug it into your laptop's USB port. Sweetwater calls this the mobile musician's dream come true, and they're absolutely right.
It has a low-self noise level, ensuring you'll have clean recordings, and since it has an internal shockmounted diaphragm, you don't have to worry about excessive vibration. Use the headphone jack for real-time monitoring.
Overall, it's great for a warm and natural tone and some singer-songwriters even prefer this over the AT2020. If you want a versatile mic that's easy to set up with your DAW, this is it.
3. Best Mic for Rapping Under $100 - Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Included Accessories: Stand adapter that rotates 180°
Shure made one of the best affordable mics ever, and it's still shocking it's only $99. The vocal mic is owned by thousands and thousands of musicians, podcasters, public speakers, and more. The SM58 is the ideal mic for warm and clear vocals.
The dynamic microphone minimizes background noise and has an integrated pop filter, which makes all the difference in rap vocals! This handheld mic will be your new favorite.
Touring musicians love this dynamic mic, and you can trust that it's built to last. A Sweetwater engineer said his mic fell out a case and hit pavement going 65 MPH and it still works! Amazing. If you're a bit rough with your gear, you have to consider this quality microphone.
4. Best USB Mic for Streaming Under $100 - Blue Yeti USB Microphone for PC, Mac, Gaming, Recording
Polar Pattern: Multipattern
Included Accessories: Stand
Your favorite YouTuber probably uses a Blue Yeti mic and for good reason. This USB connectivity mic is so easy to set up -- it takes seconds to plug it into your computer and use it. Whether you're filming reactions, streaming on Twitch, or going live anywhere else this is the best budget mic for streaming and gaming.
The USB microphone lets you be flexible with pickup patterns, so whether you're filming alone or with a group of friends, everyone will sound loud and clear.
It comes with a stand, so go ahead and schedule some time to stream. Users are big fans that they can use this USB microphone with a PC or Mac, so if you use both for gaming, you'll be a fan as well.
5. Best Mic for Podcasting Under $100 - Rode PodMic Cardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Included Accessories: N/A
Podcasters love Shure, but they're also big fans of this mic from Rode. The Rode PodMic is the perfect broadcast-grade mic for taking your podcast recording quality up several notches.
With an integrated pop shield, you don't have to worry about plosives and you can also use it for various types of audio. Whether you're a soft-spoken podcaster, the rowdy one, or even a news anchor or actor doing VO from home, you're going to be impressed with your vocals.
It'll focus on your audio and block out background noise. Podcasters are impressed with the build and know it'll last a long time. If you're new to the podcast game and want a budget mic you can use for years, this is it.
6. Best Budget Microphone for Under $50 - Behringer C-1 Medium-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Carry Case
Many of the mics on this list are right under $100, but if you need to cut that budget in half we recommend going with Behringer's C-1 condenser mic.
It minimizes background noise and will record vocals, drum overheads, and acoustic guitars well. It truly is versatile, and super durable.
The rugged construction makes it feel far from cheap! Users can't believe it's under $50, so if you need a budget mic with amazing reviews you feel comfortable ordering on a whim, you can't go wrong here.
We think everyone should be able to afford home studio recording, and Behringer is here to help if you're on a tight budget and need great sound quality.
Tips for Buying a Mic for Under $100
Sound quality is the biggest factor when picking out a good mic, but there are other qualities that make a mic sound good, such as sensitivity, directionality, accessories, and more. We'll cover some of the basics and more.
There are different types of mics, common ones you'll see are condenser, dynamic, and USB. Most condenser mics are great for vocals, an acoustic guitar, and other acoustic instruments, USB mics are directly plugged into USB ports on computers, so you'll see lots of gamers, VO actors, and podcasters use them, along with musicians for home recording.
Dynamic mics are great for performances, along with recording high-sound-pressure instruments such as drums and guitar amps.
Frequency response is all about the range of frequencies a mic can pick up. Flat is perfect since it can capture sounds clearly.
Microphone sensitivity is how well it can pick up a quiet sound, so having a vocal mic that's sensitive is great for top sound quality.
An omnidirectional mic is great for picking up sound from more than one person since they'll pick up sound from all directions, cardioid pattern mics are good for one person since they'll pick up noise right in front of the mic, super cardioid mics are able to pick up sound from a narrower angle than cardioid mics and hyper-cardioid mics are the most narrow. For vocals, you'll likely go with a cardioid or hyper cardioid mic.
Durable materials will make your mic last a long time, especially if you're a traveling musician. Some brands source materials with better quality.
They might be included, but often you'll be the following separately: pop filters, shock mounts, and stands. A shock mount isolates the mic from vibrations and movement. You'll often see them in podcast recording studios. they look like little baskets.
A pop filter will eliminate popping sounds from plosives such as "p." You'll notice when you say certain words the audio will have a burst of air. It doesn't sound pleasant! They're often used by VOs for newsrooms and also podcasters.
And lastly, a mic stand will come in handy for live performances or public speaking events.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use a USB Mic for Recording Music?
Yes, but you should consider a condenser mic! USB mics are best for streaming and podcasting.
Can I Use a Mic Without a Shock Mount?
Yes, but our advice would be to place the mic on a surface that won't vibrate. A shock mount is vital for high-quality sound.
Do I Need a Pop Filter for Recording Vocals?
If you notice popping in your vocals, yes. It'll improve the quality! However, it's not necessary.
Shopping for budget USB microphones, cheap condenser mics, and affordable dynamic microphones doesn't mean sacrificing the best sound quality. You can achieve your desired sound with an affordable microphone.
We want you to use your best judgment, some users compared their pricey mics to the Behringer mic we included here, and it's only $49!
If you want a mic that's versatile for vocals and instruments, the Audio Technica AT2020 and Shure SM58 mics are great. If you're looking to podcast or build a home studio for VO work, the Rode PodMic Cardioid Dynamic Broadcast Microphone is perfect.
Photo Courtesy Sweetwater & Amazon