Updated: Jul 26, 2018
Best Vocal Microphones Under $300
We've all heard about the $3000 and up Vocal Microphones, but here are some great affordable (cheap) microphones that really do a stand up quality job for home recording. If you're going to record at home and send in a vocal for us to mix and master in the studio, a good take with these microphones (Into a decent Preamp) can yield often favorable results after a studio mix.
1.) Rode NT1 (new black version) Price New: $269
The Rode NT1, Condenser mic (Needs 48v phantom power from preamp or interface) is the new version of one of the more popular microphones that I've written about one various music websites the NT1-A. Though there was a lot right about the Nt1-A, its sometimes harsh, overly hyped sibilant frequencies turned many, including myself, off of the earlier microphone . This new Rode NT1 shown above fixed that issue but still kept what many of us loved about the NT1-a which was it's body, clarity, and presence. Make no mistake this microphone isn't a Neumann (not in the same price or manufacturing range so stop comparing), but I don't think it's trying to be either. It's just a great sounding, open, airy, full toned, bright leaning microphone that's now great for Female Vocals, Male Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, and with a good overhead stereo pair you can even get a good piano recording out of it.
2.) Aston Origin Price New: $269
Sometimes we are so fixed on the past that we miss what's new in music. This is especially true in the audio engineering world. Engineers and Producers often get so in the world of, "if a microphone wasn't made at least a half a century ago by a manufacturer in Germany, it's junk" that we don't seek out competitive, less expensive new products. This limited approach is starting to change and Aston is one of the companies on the cutting edge. The Aston Origin was made by and Q.A.ed by real Engineers and Producers for recording, yielding a microphone that just sounds inexplicably fantastic on vocals especially. It doesn't have the harshness that most less expensive condensers suffer from or the thinness for that matter. As a bonus it's grill makes the microphone virtually indestructible (see some youtube on that). But what I really like is, considering everything about this microphone, it is clear they weren't trying to be anything like a Neumann from sound to design, they were being cutting edge and as an audio engineer I think that's great. Certainly worth your considerations.
"if a microphone wasn't made at least a half a century ago by a manufacturer in Germany, it's junk" that we don't seek out competitive, less expensive new products. This limited approach is starting to change and Aston is one of the companies on the cutting edge.
3.) SE2200 Price New: $299
This microphones early version was deemed the U87 killer because of its capsule being modeled after vintage European models. That said, realistically listening and then looking at the frequency response of this mic, it's quite clear that wasn't the case. I think maybe it was some excited listeners maybe saying is...."I like the way this microphone sounds on vocals as much as I like the stuff I hear recorded on famous records." Or, "This microphone can hold its own next to expensive microphones." Well in that case, I'd agree after the updates and I didn't with the SE2200a. This mic is an clear improvement on the older model much as Rode's NT1 was. With a high SPL and upfront sound with a tamed, yet still bright and open high end frequency response, it's great mic for anything you throw at it, especially vocals.
This mic is an clear improvement on the older model much as Rode's NT1 was.