Microphones come in a wide variety of prices. Although different prices are common in almost every appliance, microphones come in a price range wider than most other appliances. With these nifty devices, the sky seems to be the limit to the price they come at.
Unfortunately, most of us cannot afford the pricey options. If you are looking to spend thousands of dollars on your next microphone, then this article isn’t for you. This article is for those looking for microphones that are cheap. And when we say cheap, we do not mean $100 cheap. We mean lower than that. In this article, we will highlight the best cheap microphones under $50. Since there are so many of these microphones, we have selected those that offer the best value for your money.
We will also consider the best factors to consider before choosing the best cheap microphones on the market.
Read on to find out more!
- Features to Consider in Good Microphones
- Best Cheap Microphones 2020 (Under $50 / $20)
- Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Microphones
- Final Words
Features to Consider in Good Microphones
Microphones come in different forms, types, and prices. The cheap microphones usually have a lower quality than the more expensive ones. With this in mind, choosing the best cheap microphones is important so that you do not buy a cheap microphone and fail to enjoy it.
There are different types of microphones on the market. Let us briefly see the types there are.
As a general rule of thumb, microphones come in 3 different types. They are:
- Dynamic Microphones
- Condenser Microphones
- Ribbon Microphones
In this section, we will quickly take a look at these types of microphones. Later, in our main buying guide, we will discuss these types in more detail.
These microphones are the most popular types of microphones. In simple terms, to make a dynamic microphone, a membrane is attached to a coil. The coil and the membrane are then surrounded by a magnet.
These microphones are very durable; hence, they are popular among musicians, public speakers, and other folks that use microphones for live sound. However, sound reproduction is not as clear or crisp on these microphones when compared with the other types of microphones.
These microphones are not usually applied in public spaces. They feature a microphone capsule that houses a capacitor and an electrically charged plate. This is the way they create sound. When sound is encountered, the distance between the diaphragm and the electrically charged plate causes an electrical signal that creates a copy of the original sound.
These microphones are used in recording studios due to the width of the frequency range and the high level of sensitivity.
As highlighted earlier, they are not as durable as dynamic microphones. They also require a power source to work well by improving the signal strength.
These microphones are very delicate, require more power, and are overall more sophisticated than the Dynamic and Condenser types of microphones.
However, these seeming negative traits are offset by their performance. Of all the types of microphones, these produce the most accurate, rich, and clear sounds. They also typically have a wider range of frequency response the other types of microphones.
Best Cheap Microphones 2020 (Under $50 / $20)
The microphone is available in t different color: white or black. It is quite portable at 4.2″ diameter, and it is shaped like an orb.
It has a plastic housing, and an LED is located at the top. This lights up whenever the microphone is connected to a recording source.
It comes with its own tripod stand, although this can be replaced for something more functional. The overall design is quite pleasing, and it looks premium. The 44.1Khz/16 bit specs is quite disappointing, however considering that only more expensive microphones can boast of better specs, we have to put up with this.
It is a USB microphone mainly used with a computer and fits perfectly on your table. If you want to travel, this microphone easily fits in your bag and can be taken along.
The microphone boasts of impressive sound quality. We observed that it picked up sounds quite clearly. The audio is crisp and clear.
It does catch a rather large amount of room sound, and it is best used in an acoustically treated room. Nevertheless, the condenser transducer comes with a cardioid polar pattern to reduce the background noise to an acceptable level.
It can be used in different environments and can be used to record instruments. Overall, most folks who used this microphone have been positive about its performance.
This is the tiniest microphone on this list. Because of the portable dimensions, it can be thrown in a bag and carried to anywhere you are going.
It features a solid build that makes it quite durable. It comes with very functional accessories. The microphone clip stand can be set on a desk, it can be flipped to place it on the edge of your laptop screen, and it has an adapter you can use to mount it somewhere else.
The build quality underlies the care taken to produce this microphone. The base of the microphone is zinc-molded, and there is a shock-resistant pad to reduce the effect of vibration.
The 44.1 kHz/16-bit recording quality is decent and not exceptional. This is expected considering how much it costs.
The microphone is very sensitive and catches background noise whenever it is recording. The performance is exactly what is expected from a budget microphone. To maximize the potential of the microphone, we ensured we got a good signal from the subject and adjusted the settings of our recording software.
We set it up fairly easily, and we are sure you will find it easy to set up too.
If you want a microphone to use for podcasting and related activities without spending a lot of money, this microphone is an interesting option.
The microphone has an attractive design. Although it is made of plastic, the chrome finish makes it look stunning. It features an inner lining of grilles that serve to protect the microphone.
It feels like a ball with its spherical shape. Furthermore, it comes with a stand that is flexible and can be moved about its axis.
The stand, though plastic, also boasts of a chromed finish. The combination of the microphone and the stand makes for a very attractive microphone. The stand does not come with a clip; rather, it is held in place with the aid of a magnet embedded in the stand.
The microphone comes with a USB cable for connectivity, and it is located at the rear of the stand. The USB cord measures 90cm which we observe is neither too short for convenience or long enough to allow for some mobility. That way, you can move the microphone around in the stand and not get it tangled with the cord. The microphone has an LED indicator that shows when the device is on and when it is in use.
It is very easy to set up the microphone. During testing, we observed that the microphone offered impressive results. It records loud audio very well, for example, rehearsals with drums and numerous musical instruments.
It features a 14mm diaphragm and frequency response of 20Hz – 20 kHz.
The audio quality is quite good, and podcasting is a breeze with this device. At this price range, it is up there with the best microphones under $50.
The design is the classical handheld microphone design. It feels great to hold. It has a plastic body which is quite durable. It has a pop filter to reduce popping sounds and a steel grill.
Overall, the microphone appears very sturdy and durable.
It comes with a universal sound adapter and pouch to keep out any dust while not in use. It comes with a capsule to help it reduce noise.
To mute noise, the Shure SM48 has a switch you can turn on.
This is the area where this microphone really shines and stands out. Shure is known for the quality build and even better build of their microphones. This microphone is no exception.
While it doesn’t provide the sheer impressive sound quality of more expensive microphones, for this price, the sound is quite impressive.
It is primarily for public speakers, but can also be used for other things.
It has a cardioid pattern that eliminates any off-axis sound and delivers gain before any feedback. The pop filter serves to eliminate plosives, breath sounds, and other noise. The frequency response isn’t as robust as more expensive microphones with the low end less satisfactory and narrower than these. However, it is a great option at this price point.
If you are serious about podcasting, live applications, and other professional application but do not want to spend a fortune on microphones, this microphone fits your needs perfectly.
The microphone features a plastic casing. This ABS casing is quite durable and comes with a rubberized coating.
Furthermore, it has a 10-ft USB cable attached to it.
Accessories include desk stand that is portable and offers versatility. The stand can be folded and is quite portable.
It comes with the On/Off switch by the side. This switch has a mute mode that allows you to prevent unwanted sounds from being in your audio recording.
The sound quality from the microphone is rather decent. It picks up audio well. We observed that the microphone easily picked sounds within 6” to around 4 Ft.
It delivers excellent quality for applications like voiceovers, Skype, etc.
CAD Audio is known for producing impressive studio recording equipment, and while this USB microphone is not a top of the line product, it still manages to impress in spite of the price.
It comes with a built-in control that elevates the quality of recorded sound.
The cardioid pick-up pattern gives it the ability to pick up sounds that are primarily directed at the microphone and eliminate any unwanted sounds. The pop filter also reduces the occurrence of popping sounds common in many cheap microphones.
Set up is very easy. All you need to do is plug it into your computer, and it is good to go.
The microphone looks durable despite the price. It has an all-metal construction which we doubt will fool anyone into believing it is a premium microphone. It does feel cheap and does not feel it will last for a long time despite the metal construction.
It has the USB cable permanently attached, which is a cause of concern (what if it breaks). You have to be careful with the cable because once it stops working, you will have to change the entire microphone.
On the metal body, there is a single volume dial. It is firm and has a durable feel to it.
The microphone performs as you would expect a less than $50 microphone to perform. The frequency response is between 20Hz-20 kHz.
During testing, we hooked the microphone to a Mac. Playing back the audio, it sounds thin and bland, like a phone call but with a little better quality.
Therefore, we do not recommend it for any professional applications.
It does have a uni-directional polar pattern which allows it to tune out background noise and focus on what is exactly in front of the microphone. Many reviewers enjoy the headroom and clarity, which we believe you will too.
The microphone has a comfortable weight and heft to it. It feels sturdy and durable. We enjoy the robust feeling we had holding them.
They are arguably the nicest microphones to hold on this list. It feels far more expensive than it really is. Holding the microphone did not cause any buzzing sounds that usually occur in budget microphones. During testing, we observed zero handling noise or feedback.
The microphone sounds great. Although it has a little more bottom end and lacks certain brightness, it sounds better than so many similar options at this price. The frequency response is a tad flat, but that is acceptable at this price.
During use, we noticed little to no feedback from these microphones.
No matter the instrument you use this microphone with, it still sounds great and offers some punch. If you are all out of options, the microphone can double as a vocal microphone, albeit with less effectiveness.
If you have a tight budget and want a multipurpose microphone for quick use, you will enjoy the decent performance that this microphone offers. If it is going to be for home use and not for any professional applications, then it is an ideal option.
The build of this microphone is similar to that of microphones that are more expensive. It feels good to hold and durable.
However, since it comes for $14, it is safe to say it is not as strong as those other microphones. Therefore, you should handle it with care and less roughly as you would a more expensive microphone.
Nevertheless, it looks and feels good. Considering the price, it remains one of the most durable microphones under $20. It might not live long on the road or if used very frequently, but if it is simply meant for recreational purposes within the confines of the home, it should last far longer.
The microphone performs admirably. The audio quality is surprisingly clear and crisp. The frequency response is what you would expect for a microphone of this price, but it still serves well.
During testing, the frequency response was narrow, but that is not unexpected. It has a narrow polar pattern that helps it surprising isolate sound efficiently. It picks up the sounds right in front of the microphone.
It does very well eliminating any background noise. To achieve this, however, you have to stand pretty close to the microphone.
The pop filter is non-existent. Popping sounds are poorly eliminated on this microphone. To fix this, you are strongly advised to get yourself a pop filter.
Overall, we enjoyed the performance of this microphone considering how much we got it for.
It comes in an all-metal body that makes it seem quite durable. The design is quite rugged, and the manufacturer claims it offers maximum reliability. It has a zinc die-cast and steel mesh design. It feels good to hold, although there are others on this list that offer more comfortable handling. The grip is also surprisingly comfortable.
It has a rubber shock mount that is meant to absorb vibrations and reduce the noise.
It comes with a long cable that allows you to move around for a bit. You can either opt to use this cable or go purchase another one. The ON/OFF switch on the microphone is very useful and makes us wonder why some manufacturers don’t have such a useful feature on their more expensive microphones.
This microphone is easy to use. Performance, especially the audio output, is very clean and crisp. Even negative reviews point out the fact that, considering the price, it is a nice sounding microphone.
It is not a loud microphone. Therefore, to use it effectively, you might have to use an amplifier to tweak the sound and overall performance.
As you often get what you pay for with microphones, it is a pleasant surprise to find a microphone that offers more value than its price, no matter how little the difference is.
10. Pyle-Pro PDMIC58
It has a metal construction, which is kind of surprising considering that most microphones at this price range come with plastic bodies. The metal exterior is tough and will serve you for a long time.
The zinc alloy metal construction and the steel mesh grill make it look as durable as more expensive microphones. Since it is a zinc alloy construction, there is no chance it conducts any electricity.
The body is smooth and offers decent grip.
There is no ON/OFF switch on this microphone. It comes with a 15 ft. cable that allows for mobility. It also does not come with a microphone stand.
To be fair, it produces decent sound, but nothing that will blow you away.
The sound is warm and clear. It does not have any static. The frequency response is rather low, which is expected considering the low price.
We observed that it found it difficult to catch voices except when these were very close to it. To get better performance, you need to hook it to an amplifier. If not, it will prove frustrating to use.
Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Microphones
The microphones discussed above are the 10 best cheap microphones under $50 and $20 that you can buy. Considering these options can help you to narrow down your choices. Before deciding on which of the microphones to buy, however, there are important factors you need to consider. Let us look at some of them.
Microphones are notorious for the wide range of prices they come at. Some might cost as little as $10 to up to $10,000. Since you are here to find out the best cheap microphones, we have provided a guide that contains important factors to consider. By considering these factors and applying the knowledge in this section, you can choose a microphone that, although cheap, will deliver good performance and last you for a long time.
Before choosing a microphone, you need to ask yourself what you will be using it for. Your plans determine the type of microphone you will buy. Are you using it for a live performance? Is the microphone going to be used for a studio recording? Is it mainly for vocals? Or are you looking for a jack of all trades, something that can do all of these?
There are different types of microphones that satisfy a particular need. You do not want to spend a lot of money buying a microphone meant for home-recording when the main function you want to use it for is onstage vocals.
Therefore, matching the use of the microphone to the specific characteristic of the microphone will assist you in choosing the best cheap microphone for you.
The 3 main types of microphones have been highlighted earlier in the article. Here are some more types of microphones:
- Crystal microphones
These microphones are microphones that have a high output voltage into high impedance. Due to this and other limitations like the narrow frequency response, they are cheap and not common. They do not offer good sound quality and are especially susceptible to noise and interference.
- Condenser microphones
Also referred to as capacitor microphones, these microphones are some of the best microphones on the market. They usually give a great audio performance for both vocal and instrumentals applications. They come at different prices, from the low hundreds to up to thousands of dollars.
To fully enjoy these microphones, it is wise to purchase one with a pop filter. If this doesn’t come with the microphone, you should buy one. The filter will reduce problems with plosives.
- Ribbon microphones
These are the top-tier microphones. They are very delicate and require more power to function. However, they produce the finest audio quality and have a wide frequency response.
As a result of their fragility and high performance, they are often very expensive.
- Dynamic microphones
These are the most common types of microphones. They are sturdy and durable. They are mostly used for public speaking and for stage vocals.
They do not require a lot of power to function, yet they produce quite impressive sounds. They can endure high sound levels and still remain undistorted.
- USB microphones
These microphones are similar to condenser microphones and use the same type of technology. A USB interface is the connector to a computer. It is through this that the sound is recorded (hence the name “USB microphone).
They are very common and exist in a range of prices from the cheap ones (<$100) to the expensive ones. They are used for voiceovers, podcasts, etc. Like the condenser microphones, it is wise to buy one that has a pop filter.
- Wireless microphones
The wireless microphones have an embedded wireless module. If you want a hands free experience, or you feel that wires will affect your work, these microphones are ideal.
It should be noted that they might become problematic and fail if the signal strength fluctuates or the signal level falls. They also need a receiver which can add to the overall cost of the microphone.
Before buying a microphone, you need to consider the type of microphone it is and plan your purchase accordingly.
Aside from the type, there are other factors you should consider. This leads us to the third factor.
The aim of buying a cheap microphone is to save money. If you do not buy a durable microphone and you need to change it virtually every week, then you can’t say you’re saving money now, can you?
Even if the microphone comes with a lifetime warranty (which it won’t) it is not worth stressing over whether your microphone will break down while using it for something important.
While it is true that expensive microphones are more durable than cheap ones, by virtue of the materials they are made of, you can still find some cheap microphones that can take a beating without affecting their quality. Some of the most durable cheap microphones have been reviewed earlier in this article.
We realize that microphones come with different jargon that you might find difficult to understand. However, it is important that you know what some of these terms mean. When you know what they are, it will be easier for you to choose the right one that meets your needs. Here are some of these terms:
- Polar Pattern
- Frequency Response
Let us now discuss these specifications in terms that will be easy for you to understand.
In simple terms, a polar pattern of a microphone refers to the direction from which sound enters the microphone.
If a microphone is listed as omnidirectional, this means that sounds enter from all sides of the microphone (hence the “Omni”).
If the microphone is described as bi-directional, this implies that the microphone only picks up sounds from the left and the right sides of the microphone. If sound enters from the top or bottom, these sounds are dismissed.
The unidirectional microphone hears sound from a single direction (uni). If sound comes in from any other side, it is summarily excluded.
It has been simple, so far, yes?
Now, since the unidirectional microphone is the most popular type of pattern found in microphones, we need to highlight the different categories it has: cardioid, super-cardioid, and hyper-cardioid.
Cardioid polar pattern accepts sounds that come straight into the microphone and excludes all other sounds.
Super cardioid microphones and hyper cardioid microphones accept sounds like the cardioid microphone but more rigidly exclude sounds that are not directly coming into the microphone.
As the name implies, these microphones can have different patterns. The patterns are interchangeable with the aid of a dedicated switch on the microphone.
If you are looking for a very versatile microphone, this will be an ideal option for you.
This specification deals with how efficiently a microphone can detect sound. Just like how the ears of a dog can pick up a wider range of sounds and from a farther distance than human ears, microphones with low sensitivity values can catch a wider range of sounds than those with higher sensitivity numbers.
Related to this specification is the Sound pressure handling capability of a microphone. This specification highlights the maximum volume of noise that a microphone can handle without distortion. The higher the value, the better the microphone handles loud sounds.
Throughout the review of the best cheap microphones above, this specification was mentioned a lot of times.
This shows how important it is.
The frequency response of a microphone refers to the range of frequencies the microphone is capable of capturing. A microphone with a high-frequency response will be ideal to serve as a vocal microphone.
These are some of the most important specifications that you will see on a microphone. Buying knowing these specifications, it is easier for you to choose the right microphone.
Brand & Consistency
When buying a cheap microphone, the more reputable the brand, the better.
Reputable brands often put more effort and care into producing their microphones.
Another factor that can help you is checking the consistency of the product. This can be done by reading the reviews and experiences of other consumers who have used the product.
Choosing the right microphone can be a challenge. Choosing the right cheap microphone is even more difficult. There are so many microphones on the market that claim to give you great performance at a very cheap price.
To choose the right one, we have compiled 10 of the best cheap microphones under $50 and $20. This will help you to narrow your choice. You can also make use of our buyers guide to determine the necessary factors you need to consider before buying a cheap microphone.
Read this review and guide to make an excellent choice that will give you great performance and meet your needs!