To start your great vlogging adventure, you will need a good microphone. This is important because bad sound loses viewers, and it’s proven statistically! Luckily, today there are many great models that you can find on a budget. But first, here are some basics to understand more about choosing your microphone.
- Quick Overview: Top Pick
- Polar patterns
- Types of microphones
- Microphones Under $200 Reviewed
- Microphones under $100 Reviewed
- Microphones under $50 Reviewed
- Top Pick
Quick Overview: Top Pick
After reviewing different options, the best of the cheaper microphones is the Blue Microphones Yeti USB.
Polar patterns determine from which direction your microphone will pick up the sound. I’ll mention 3 of the most popular types.
Omnidirectional pattern picks up sound from all directions. They tend to pick up a lot of background noise and are best used for podcasts.
The bidirectional pattern gets sound from 2 directions, and most often that’s front and back.
The microphones with a unidirectional pattern let you choose between various polar patterns. There are various types, but the most popular is the cardioid. Cardioid microphones are usually cheap and will record the sound coming from one direction, which makes them generally the best microphone for vlogging purposes.
Types of microphones
Most of this list will be based on USB models. These are usually condenser microphones which have a wide frequency range. Some of their best qualities are that they are cheap, set up fast, and portable. On the other hand, their sound cannot be improved with a pre-amp. Also, these microphones have a digital interface, which can break and become completely useless. All in all, I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
Wireless microphones come with a transmitter and receiver. You put one in your back pocket, and other goes on your camera. This technology is most often used on stage and on TV. This type of microphone is usually not inexpensive, but I managed to find one cheap model.
This is a small type of microphone which you clip to your clothing. They usually have an omnidirectional pattern, but since the source is close this shouldn’t be a problem. I have included one such budget-friendly model on this list.
What about a camera with a built-in mic?
You might think that it’s best to kill 2 birds with one stone and buy yourself a camera with a microphone. I would personally not recommend this. They are often low in quality, and a good budget mic can give you a better performance. Built-in models usually don’t have a filter, which means that they will capture all of the annoying buzzing frequencies. It’s best to get another good cheap mic.
In this list, I will present you with the best budget options in the price range of 50, 100 and 200 dollars. Let’s jump right in!
Microphones Under $200 Reviewed
1. Blue Microphones Yeti USB (Top Pick)
We will start this list of cheap mics with a true classic in the world of vlogging – Blue Yeti
This plug and play mic has become pretty popular thanks to its slick design and other premium qualities. Studio-quality sound is captured with the help of 3 high-quality condenser capsules. Depending on your needs, you can choose between the following patterns of recording: cardioid, stereo, bidirectional, and omnidirectional.
One of the best strengths of Blue Yeti is that it’s very user-friendly. On the front side, there are 2 simple functions: mute and gain (volume) control. This makes it one of the best options for beginners.
The microphone has a wide frequency response (20 Hz – 20 kHz). Blue Yeti also has a zero-latency headphone output, which means you won’t experience any echo. It is much bigger than I expected, which can be a bad thing for some.
Bottom line, Blue Yeti is a USB microphone that can hold its ground even against some more expensive models. It is the best friend of many streamers and I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
2. Samson G-Track
Samson G-Track doesn’t joke around.
The multiple polar patterns (cardioid, bidirectional, and omnidirectional) make this microphone a great choice for various purposes like streaming, podcasting, and vlogging. But, just because Samson G is a jack-of-all-trades, it doesn’t mean that the quality will suffer. Au contraire, my friend. With a 96 kHz resolution (24 bit), this is, hands down, the best sounding microphone I could find under 200 bucks.
Samson G lets you choose between 2 recording modes: mono and 2-track. The microphone utilizes plug-and-play technology, which makes it beginner-friendly too. There is also an instrument input that will serve you well if you want to play a cover of Wonderwall on your vlog. Durability is achieved with zinc construction that mimics the successful design of Blue Yeti microphones. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this model, and I think that’s love.
3. Audio-Technica AT2020
Audio-Technica is well renowned in the world of microphones, and that ain’t for nothing.
AT2020 is a USB microphone that will best serve musicians but it will also work pretty well for vlogging and podcasting. It lets you choose between 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate, which is today’s standard. The mix control that lets you blend your voice with pre-recorded audio is at your fingertips, along with volume control and 0 latency jack for headphones.
AT2020 comes with a pretty convenient stand mount. Wide frequency response (20 Hz- 20 kHz) is carved in a way to emphasize the frequencies that will make your voice sound a bit better. Considering the quality you get, this is a relatively inexpensive model.
4. Rode NT-USB
Here we have a pretty good and inexpensive condenser shotgun microphone.
It has a cardioid polar pattern, which is particularly great for gamers. If you are looking for a good microphone for that purpose specifically, you can read our other article on Twitch microphones. Rode NT has a wide frequency response and elevated midrange that gives it a warm touch. The microphone will record sound in high, 16-bit quality.
Aside from 2 standard knobs for monitoring and mix level, there is also a zero-latency jack for headphones. With it, you will also get a high-quality pop filter, which will protect your microphone and help you get a clearer sound. The great noise cancellation property will contribute to that as well. The microphone stand is also included, but it is not so sturdy, and I personally would get a different one. Aside from that, Rode NT is one of the best sounding USB microphones currently on the market. It’s great news that you can get it under 200 bucks.
5. Spark Digital Lightning
Spark Digital Lightning comes from the same company that makes planetary popular Blue Yeti microphone.
This microphone also offers studio-quality sound, so you won’t be disappointed here. There is also Focus Control feature with which you can switch between 2 sonic signatures: normal mode and focus mode. While normal mode has increased sensitivity to low frequencies, focus mode will provide you with more clarity. I should also say these modes are not simply low and high pass filters which can degrade the signal, but a more sophisticated system.
On the microphone, we have controls for gain, volume, and instant mute. A shock mount is here to protect the microphone from unwanted noise. Spark Digital Lightning comes with a solid mount, as well. Overall, this is a slightly weaker model compared to Blue Yeti, but it is still a good cost-effective choice.
Microphones under $100 Reviewed
1. Samson Meteor Mic
If you were watching a lot of science-fiction movies from the ’80s, this budget microphone will seem eerily familiar.
Samson Meteor is very small, and you can easily fit it in your pocket. It has a flat frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The sound quality is good, considering that it’s so cheap. Samson Meteor also features a knob for monitoring and a mute button that will surely be useful.
If you often find yourself in a traveling mode and want a reliable microphone that doesn’t cost, Samson’s Meteor may be a perfect choice for you.
2. Audio-Technica ATR2500
ATR2500 is another model from Audio-Technica.
This is a side-address condenser microphone great for vlogging and podcasting. Your voice will be recorded in a high-quality, 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling rate, through a cardioid polar pattern. The microphone allows for direct monitoring, thanks to the built-in headphone jack. It has a robust design and will last you for a long time.
ATR2500, unfortunately, has a pretty narrow frequency response (30 Hz to 15 kHz). It also doesn’t feature a shock mount, which is another minus. If these 2 things don’t bother you, this budget microphone will be one of your best friends.
3. Razer Seiren X
Razer’s Seiren X was tested by some of the world’s top Twitch and YouTube streamers.
It features a super-cardioid pattern, which will significantly reduce all annoying background noise. This microphone also has a built-in shock mount that will further dampen the vibrations. Seiren X pleads attention with its interesting compact design, which also makes it easily portable. Aside from being visually stunning, this microphone also offers great sound quality.
Developers, it’s best to take notice. This is how every budget mic should be done. Very cost-effective.
4. Shure MV5
This microphone truly looks like no other.
Shure’s MV5 is a plug-and-play cardioid microphone with 3 DSP presets vocals, instrument, and flat. To save you the trouble, the microphone will automatically apply EQ, compression, and gain. For real-time monitoring, there is a headphone jack. MV5 has the ability to record sound in 48 kHz quality.
This is an unusually small microphone that can easily be clipped on a tripod head, which can be a plus or a minus. To conclude MV5’s biggest strength is its size, so if you need a cheap microphone that you can carry everywhere you go, this is a good choice.
5. CAD Audio U37
U37 is a large condenser microphone made by CAD Audio.
It also has a cardioid pattern which will minimize all the noise and bring you a pretty clear sound, considering its cheap price. It also features an extended and smooth frequency response, which is great for vlogging and streaming. The U37 has a 10dB overload-protection, which will subdue distortion, and protect your followers’ ears.
There is also a bass-reduction switch that will further remove all the hums and natural room noise. With it, you will also get a convenient tripod stand.
U37 might not be the best model ever, but it will serve you pretty well while not straining your budget.
Microphones under $50 Reviewed
These guys are as cheap as they can get, but they also have some strong qualities.
1. Samson Go Mic
Next, we have a quality condenser microphone.
Samson Go lets you choose between 2 patterns: cardioid and omnidirectional. Cardioid pattern offers slightly lacking frequency response 80Hz to 18 kHz. It also features an on-board headphone amplifier, which will let you listen to your recording straight from microphone.
A 16-bit resolution will provide you with pretty good sound quality. One of Samson Go’s greatest strengths is that it is easily portable. Thanks to the unique design, you can clip it to your laptop or let it stand on its own on the desk. All in all, this is one of the best budget microphones under 50 dollars.
2. Blue Snowball iCE
If you are looking for something cheaper than Blue’s Yeti, you can choose their budget microphone – Snowball.
This model also contains a condenser capsule, which allows it to deliver a pretty good sound. The microphone lets you choose between 2 modes: cardioid and omnidirectional. Frequency response suffers a bit (40 Hz to 18 kHz) compared to the mics on the top of the list.
Snowball is user-friendly and sets up in a matter of minutes, so you can start recording your videos as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature a headphone jack, volume control, and mute switch, all of which would be of help. That doesn’t change the fact that, if I was to buy a cheap microphone, I would seriously consider going with this one.
3. Alvoxcon A 700
A 700 comes at a ridiculously cheap price.
It has a wide dynamic range going from 30 Hz to 20 kHz. The sound quality is not the best, but very good considering the price. A 700 has a cardioid polar pattern, which is the one you will want in your videos. The microphone is easily portable and comes with a rotatable desk stand.
Overall, if you want to keep it really easy on your wallet, this budget model is a good choice.
4. Ankuka Wireless Dynamic Microphone
Here we have the only wireless model on the list.
Ankuka has a ¼” jack with which you connect it to mixers, speakers, etc. This is a plug-and-play cardioid microphone with decent audio quality. It works on higher frequencies, which effectively eliminate most of the background noise. It is cheap and works pretty well.
5. Lavalier Lapel
Lastly, here we have the cheapest microphone on the list.
PowerDeWise’s Lavalier is an omnidirectional mic aimed at people who want to make YouTube videos and podcasts. It has a decent noise-canceling capability and a 3.5 mm jack which makes it compatible with Android and iPhone.
The frequency range (50 Hz to 16 kHz) of this model is really not the best. This microphone is pretty small and plug-and-play ready, which makes it convenient. I would recommend it if you are under serious money restriction, otherwise, just go with either Samson Go or Blue Snowball.
So many choices that offer so many alternatives for you to use in this list, but it’s quite obvious the clear winner in this selection is the Blue Microphones Yeti USB.
What do I like about this particular mic?
- It’s an excellent choice for beginners as it’s easy to use. Simply plug. Then play. It’s that easy to set up.
- Its USB connection makes it practically universal to use. You can connect it to any device that has a USB port.
- It comes in a selection of colors so that you can indulge in your personal preference.
- It’s highly versatile as you can select multiple patterns to use for recording: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. All those options allow this microphone to adapt to any recording environment you may need it for, the perfect all-rounder.
Although it may be too large for some people’s liking and others may think its build is mediocre, this microphone’s varied capabilities still outweigh the negatives and presents itself as an excellent value for money.