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The Top 7 Best Condenser Mic review of 2018

Everyone knows the quality and excellence that comes with using a condenser microphone. These microphones excel in their ability to follow varying frequencies of sound waves and so their sound could be very natural, transparent as well as coming with great clarity and audibility. Let’s check our top 7 best condenser mic.

Top 7 Best Condenser Mic comparison

PictureNameFrequency PriceRating
MXL 770 30Hz to 20kHzCheck Price 4.5
Blue Microphones Yeti 20Hz - 20kHz Check Price 4.4
Audio Technica AT2020 20Hz – 20kHzCheck Price 4.6
AKG Pro C214 Microphones Check Price 4.5
Rode NTK Tube 20Hz – 20kHzCheck Price 4.2
Neumann TLM 102 MT 20Hz to 20kHzCheck Price 5
AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Check Price 4.5

Because you’ll have multiple microphones at your disposal, getting your pick of the best condenser mic could pose a challenge. We have nevertheless taken this burden off your shoulder and in this review, we present to you the best condenser microphones. These microphones have very broad frequency responses, faster transient responses, and more excellent output when compared with most others.

 

How to choose the best condenser mic

Knowing you want a condenser mic is one thing, having an idea of the best condenser mic for your intended application is another thing. In this part of the review, we shall briefly discuss those tips and guides to help you with choosing the best condenser mic for your studio and other recording tasks. We shall break this down to four headings in the following lines in small and concise paragraphs.

 

Consider your price range

Although there is a mic in every price range your budget might support, it’s good to be sure of what you want. Although the most expensive microphones offer the best performance and features, there are still various picks in different price ranges that can easily fit in as your best condenser mic. A careful examination of the best condenser mic review above will give you a clear view of different microphones in different price ranges.

 

Connectivity

Would you prefer a USB connection to XLR? Both come with several advantages and considerations. USB connections are easy to setup but XLR connections offer more in terms of output. Although they’ll also require other external equipment for optimal functioning, condenser mics with XLR connectivity are often used for professional studio recordings. Some microphones nevertheless offer both connectivity choices depending on what you want.

 

Application

Will you be recording strictly acoustics? Or vocals? Amplified guitar? Or a mix of several applications? While the best condenser mics will actually record anything, it’s important to know what the maximum SPL for your mic is if you’ll be recording at very loud volumes on most occasions. This and other things such as the polar pattern may help with making your decision.

 

Accessories

While some mics come packaged with a few accessories, some may not. It is important to consider this when shopping for your best condenser mic so it will be easy to make your decision on which mic you finally go for.

 

Things to consider when shopping for the best condenser mic

While you may have made up your mind to finally buy a condenser mic, there are still some things you’ll need to consider to ensure you finally get the best condenser mic. These are outlined below to help you while making your decision.

 

Polar Patterns

Although you’d mostly use the cardioid pickup pattern for vocals on most occasions, some microphones offer much more patterns that include bidirectional, omnidirectional and more. Selectable multiple patterns may offer flexibility for different recording situations

 

Proximity Effect

This ensures there are no disturbances when vocalists tend to drift away far or near to the microphone. The AKG C414 is very efficient at this and this may be very useful especially for podcasters and vocalists.

 

Power Supply

Consider whether you’ll need a microphone with a power supply or phantom power. Microphones with the external power supply may be problematic especially if you’d want to be mobile.

 

Self-Noise

This is one tricky thing about most budget microphones. Most of the best condenser mics on our list are though exempted from this problem. The self-noise or noise floor is the noise a mic makes when its switched on but not being used.

 

The Dynamic Range 

The dynamic range is the difference between the lowest and highest levels at which you can record. The best condenser mics give you enough headroom and even dynamic range. While some mics will respond very well across their dynamic range, some others do not.

 

Pricing

While you’ll like to have the best of the pack, your budget must be given clear consideration. Although the most expensive mics would often sound and work better than the cheaper ones, a careful examination and check can still help you acquire affordable condenser mics that will not disrupt your budget.

Want to check out our best condenser mic review, why not let us start at the lower end? We’d like to start with the best condenser mic under $200 but we’ve got something great for even far less. The MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone retails even far less than $100 and with such great features and performance, it made an entry into our list. Check it out!

1. MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review

MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

It’s not an easy task to set up home studios. You’ll need to stock up on high-quality microphones for high-quality recordings and this becomes a problem due to the very many choices you have. When you have to select the best, pricing may also come in as a hindrance. The MXL 770 retails for less than $100 and its surprising to find a quality mic in a price range where most others fail. Though it may not be the best on our list, the MXL 770’s perfect blend of a great sound quality, a rugged and solid construction along with a budget-friendly price made it a choice we couldn’t afford to neglect.

 

Features and Specifications

Microphone Type: The MXL 770 is a condenser microphone that despite the pricing still does well with vocals, piano, percussion and other instruments.

Polar Pattern: Cardioid pickup pattern

Frequency Response: 30Hz to 20kHz

Sensitivity: 137dB Max SPL

Connectivity: XLR cable connection

Accessories: Comes with a shock mount as well as a carrying case.

 

Pros

  • Incredible quality for the price
  • Offers a wide range of frequencies
  • Versatile and great for rap vocals
  • Sturdy mic with a great build and construction
  • Sound quality is clear and crisp even at high levels

Cons

  • The shock mount is not very great
  • Some users may find the mic sounding quite raw
  • The mic may also feel a little too bright for some other users

 

2. Blue Microphones Yeti: Best affordable condenser mic

Blue Microphones Yeti

Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)

It kinda seems a bit convincing that there is hardly a list of review of any type of microphone that this beast of a mic won’t feature in. The Blue Yet is your go-to mic when you need the best condenser mic with USB connectivity. Although it seems a little more than the MXL 770 above in price, it equally offers more quality in performance and if you’ll be looking to set up a home studio on a budget, the Blue Yeti Microphone is the nearest you can get to professional-quality sound recording.

 

It comes with several selectable polar patterns for different recordings and a host of other great features. Along with being one of the best USB microphones, the Blue Yeti still find itself in our list of the best microphones for gaming. Let’s check out some of the great features and specs that have made the Blue Yeti such a versatile and sought-after microphone.

 

Features and Specifications

Microphone Type: The Blue Yeti is a condenser microphone with a tri-capsule array that is needed for excellent recordings and sound reproduction in different scenarios and instances.

Polar Pattern: The Blue Yeti USB Microphone comes with a multi-pattern polar pickup pattern making it versatile and perfect for a wide range of recording and use in different environments. You can select from different polar patterns that include cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo pickup patterns.

Controls: the I/O comprises of easily applicable controls for mute, gain control and zero-latency headphone output.

Design: a sturdy construction of metal, the Blue Yeti has a positionable design that makes it suitable as one of the best microphones for gaming.

 

Pros

  • This mic produces very rich, crisp and excellent sound
  • The multi-pattern polar patterns made it very versatile
  • Quite affordable despite the great qualities and performance
  • Comes with a headphone with which you can monitor and control sound output
  • Has a THX certification for quality performance

Cons

  • The mic has a non-standard standard size and so it is not easy to find a fitting shock mount
  • Controls on the I/O seems flimsy

 

3. Audio Technica AT2020: Best condenser mic under $200

Audio Technica AT2020

Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)

Here comes another USB microphone befitting your home studio. Condenser mics are great as we all know but finding affordable condenser mics with great performance and features is not easy. As one of the best condenser mics, the AT2020 is great for vocals, YouTube gigs and many more. Even though it seems an entry-level microphone, it is great and its ability to reject background noise makes the performance excellent even in acoustically untreated studios and environment.

 

Features and Specifications

Microphone Type: Condenser Microphone

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Connectivity: XLR and USB-compatible.

Sensitivity: 144dB Max SPL

Sound output monitoring and control with headphone

 

Pros

  • Affordable and excellent sound output
  • Durable
  • Versatile and great for use in different environments

Cons

  • Absence of XLR cables
  • Absence of shock mount

 

4. AKG Pro C214 Microphones: Best condenser mic under $500

AKG Pro C214 Microphones

Our Rating: (4.8 / 5)

If you know the AKG C414, you’ll probably have been convinced that it is one of the best microphones you can ever come across. For people on a tight budget, the C414 may seem a little out of reach. For this reason, the AKG Microphones C214 was made to provide this same quality performance for a reduced price but excluding the multi-pattern polar pick selection feature. The C214 nevertheless still provides top-notch performance and with some of the great features, it’s easy to see why a lot of studios are falling for it.

 

Features and Specifications

Microphone Type: Condenser microphone with a 1’’ large diaphragm with Edge-terminated back-plate technology.

Sensitivity: up to 156dB for recording high-output sources.

An integrated Capsule Suspension helps to reduce mechanical noise to the barest minimum.

All-metal die-cast body to resist scratch and shock as well as better portability

Accessories:Comes with a shock mount, a windscreen and a metal carrying case

 

Pros

  • Quality performance at a great price
  • Affordable microphone for professional tasks
  • Excellent sound reproduction
  • Comes with some accessories to add even greater value

Cons

  • Unlike the C414, it has a single polar pattern.
  • Doesn’t come with a pop filter and XLR cable so you’ll need to purchase those separately.

 

 

5. The Rode NTK: Best condenser mic around $500

Rode NTK

Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)

Condenser microphones are generally less-strong and durable when compared with the other types such as dynamic. It is not every day you come across a condenser microphone with the strength and durability of the Rode NTK. This rugged microphone seems a wise investment for a little over $500 considering the expected durability as well as the sound quality which is nothing short of excellent and immaculate.

 

Features and Specifications

Microphone Type: Condenser Microphone

Polar Pattern: Cardioid polar pattern

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Sensitivity: 158dB Max SPL

 

Pros

  • Excellent and precise sound reproduction
  • Durability for greater value
  • Rugged and reliable

Cons

  • May have tinny problems with lows
  • Placement must also be right to ensure maximum output

 

 

6. Neumann TLM 102 Microphone: High-quality Neumann mic for less

Neumann TLM 102 Microphone

Our Rating: (5 / 5)

If you are familiar with the Neumann brand of microphones, you’ll definitely admire the performance and functionality of these microphones. The only problem seems to be the pricing. The Neumann brand had resisted the urge to manufacture cheaper mics with their only focus on great quality. The TLM line of Neumann microphones though seems affordable and with such great qualities, the Neumann TLM 102 made it easily as the best condenser mic.

 

Features and Specifications

Microphone Type: Condenser Microphone

Polar Pattern: Cardioid polar pattern

Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Sensitivity: 144dB Max SPL

 

Pros

  • Great sound and excellent output
  • Able to handle various recordings and conditions
  • For a Neumman, it is affordable.

Cons

  • Has no shock mount and storage case

 

 

7. AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Microphone: Best condenser mic under $1000

AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Microphone

Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)

If versatility and performance is your thing, then the AKG C414 is your thing. The mic comes with five different polar patterns for great versatility and can adjust to any situation to deliver excellent results with its great qualities and features. You get the attenuation pads for gain staging, the low cut-off filters, and roll-offs all of which along with other great features made the AKG C414 a qualified contender for the best condenser mic throne. Although it seems a little costly, the performance and quality of this condenser mic have made it a popular choice among experts and beginners alike.

 

Features and Specifications

For the best condenser mic, the AKG C414 XLII has several features that include:

An AKG Sonic Character that delivers excellent output for lead vocals and solo instruments

Multiple selectable polar patterns for perfect sound pickup and settings for different application

Switchable bass-cut filters able to eliminate stage vibration, wind noise, and proximity effect.

Attenuation levels switchable for both close-up recordings as well as high-output sources

 

Pros

  • The C414 is classic and reproduces sound with great vibrancy and efficiency
  • New switching systems comes with LED notifications
  • The C414 comes with several basic accessories

Cons

  • Stealth miking may seem difficult in television and film adaptations due to the LED notifications

 

 

Verdict

Up there are seven mics of which anyone can be called the best condenser mic in their own right. Whether you’d prefer the more affordable Blue Yeti or the highly effective AKG C414, any of these seven microphones will not disappoint as they’ll deliver excellent sounds, anytime, anywhere.

 

Conclusion

If you’ve been finding it hard to find the best condenser mic for your recording or performance purposes, a condenser mic is one reasonable way to go. If again you’ll need a condenser mic, the best condenser microphones above fits the bill. From being affordable to being awesome and excellent, you have seven of the best condenser mics that can be your go-to studio microphones for both professional and non-professional tasks.

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