Without a good variety of microphones to choose from…
Recording at home kinda sucks…doesn’t it?
But for a poor musician, in a small home studio…
Finding good recording mics, at a GREAT price can seem next to impossible.
But its really NOT. And to prove it’s not…
In today’s post, I have assembled a list of the best cheap mics under $200…
In each of the following 6 categories:
- Condenser Mics for Vocals
- Dynamic Mics for Vocals
- Small Diaphragm Condenser Matched Pairs
- Dynamic Mics for All-Purpose Recording
- Dynamic Mics for Bass
- Multi-Pattern Mics
These are the TOP DOGS in each category:
#1: Condenser Mic for Vocals
Every studio needs one…right?
But the common complaint is…large diaphragm condenser mics are so damn expensive.
And while that’s MOSTLY true, there are rare exceptions…
Among the many terrible options…
There’s a handful of mics whose quality FAR exceeds the modest price tag.
And of that small group, there’s none more affordable, and more respected than the Audio-Technica AT2020.
The endless number of positive reviews don’t lie. This mic is awesome.
Now as a back up to this primary vocal mic, every studio needs at least one of these as well…
#2: A Dynamic Mic for Vocals
Now some folks might call it a cliche…
And others might be disappointed that I went with the most obvious choice.
But when you want:
- a GREAT dynamic vocal mic
- for the LOWEST possible price
It makes little sense to look any further than the industry standard Shure SM58.
Are there better dynamic mic options? Possibly. Yet there are loads of rich rock stars who might disagree.
Are there cheaper options? Absolutely. But every one of them is just a poor imitation.
In this category of mics, the choice is obvious. Go with the SM58.
Next you’ll need something for acoustic guitar.
#3: A Small Diaphragm Condenser Matched Pair
Other than vocals…
Acoustic guitar is perhaps the most commonly recorded instrument in most home studios…agreed?
But to record it properly, a single mic is rarely up to the challenge.
For this task, a matched pair of small diaphragm condensers are the standard tools of choice.
But as with ALL condenser mics…good ones are usually expensive, and most of the cheap ones are usually awful.
However…the Samson C02 is one of the rare exceptions.
You wouldn’t think mics at this price could have almost universally positive reviews…
And you wouldn’t think that Samson, of all companies, would be the makers of such an impressive mic.
Yet somehow, few folks will argue that for the cost, there’s no pair of mics that come close to the Samson C02.
Up next, we’ll need a good utility mic…
#4: All-Purpose Dynamic Mic
When engineers reach for a mic…
Their favorite all-purpose dynamic mic is the one they undoubtedly grab most often.
And the most popular mic most popular mic of choice in this category…in both pro studios, AND home studios…
Is the Shure SM57.
It works well on SO MANY things…
And both for electric guitar cabinets, and for drums/percussion, they’re industry standards.
Pro studios typically have a half dozen or more of them on hand. That’s how useful they are.
And a home studio mic collection just can’t be complete without at least one SM57.
Now so far, we’ve seen some good mic options for all the standard instruments, except one….BASS.
So up next we have…
#5: A Bass Mic
Even among the most versatile mics on the planet…
Few if any of them are adequately equipped to record bass instruments.
For this task, a special type of dynamic bass mic is needed…
One that is specifically tailored to accommodate the lowest of low frequencies.
Now for some strange reason, the price virtually every bass mic hovers right around $200.
And among the classics, the only one significantly cheaper is the Sennheiser e602 II. The good news is, despite the lower cost…
Some still argue that its the best bass mic on the planet at any price.
Now that we’ve covered mics for all the standard instruments…
Let’s wrap things up with something a little different…
#6: A Multi-Pattern Mic
As a newbie, stereo recording is rarely high on your list of priorities, is it?
But never takes long for anyone to realize…
It’s one of the most important recording skills you can develop.
Among the key tools you’ll need, a multi-pattern condenser mic sits near the top of the list.
Normally among the most expensive types of microphones you can buy, multi-pattern mics can often cost several thousand dollars each…if not more.
One of the only respectable mics within our price range is the Studio Projects B3.
With quality rivaling that of other mics costing several times as much…it’s the perfect option for anyone looking for their first introduction to the wonderful world of stereo recording.