If you’re creating content for the internet, a cheap-sounding microphone just isn’t going to cut it. A microphone that hisses and pops makes your podcast sound annoying and unprofessional. If you’re playing music or singing, bad audio quality makes your performance unlistenable.
With so many microphones to choose from, where should you start? Especially if you’ve never bought a microphone before, it’s easy to get lost in the huge variety of specifications and features available. Our buyers guide below will help you figure out exactly which inexpensive mic to add to your setup.
Guide to Finding a Cheap Microphone
The microphones discussed above are the ten 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 in. Some might cost as little as $10 to up to $10,000. Since you are here to find 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?
Different types of microphones satisfy a particular need. You do not want to spend a lot of money buying a microphone meant for home-recording when the primary function you want to use it for is onstage vocals.
Therefore, matching the microphone’s use to the specific characteristic of the microphone will assist you in choosing the best cheap microphone for you.
The three main types of microphones have been highlighted earlier in the article. Here are some more types of 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 typical. They do not offer good sound quality and are especially susceptible to noise and interference.
Also referred to as capacitor microphones, these microphones are some of the best microphones on the market. They usually give an excellent 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.
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 costly.
These are the most common types of microphones. They are sturdy and durable. They are mostly used for public speaking and 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 remain undistorted.
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.
The wireless microphones have an embedded wireless module. If you want a hands free experience or 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 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 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, you must 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 microphone’s polar pattern refers to the direction from which sound enters the microphone.
If a microphone is listed as omnidirectional, sounds enter from all sides of the microphone (hence the “Omni”).
If the microphone is described as bi-directional, 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 broader 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 for serving as a vocal microphone.
These are some of the most important specifications that you will see on a microphone. Shopping while knowing these specifications will make it easier for you to choose the right microphone.
Brand and 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 low price.
To choose the right one, we have compiled ten of the best cheap microphones under $50 and $20. This will help you to narrow your choice. You can also use 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 to give you great performance and meet your needs!