Buyer's Guides

Best Affordable Microphones For Recording Vocals in 2024

You could forgive the average audio layperson for thinking that, because the top studios have the greatest vintage microphones on display, you have to drain your bank account to buy a microphone that can record a passably decent sounding-vocal. They’d be wrong though — in the year 2024, most microphone brands offer mics for different price points. And the good news? Choose your mic for vocals auspiciously and you truly can achieve professional-sounding results from home.

An excellent example of this, are the production levels and audio quality achieved in the childhood bedroom of Billie Eilish (some of the most famous vocals on the planet currently) and her brother Finneas. In fact, the pair recorded early hits like Ocean Eyes (fast-approaching one billion streams) using the Audio-Technica AT2020, which is one of the best affordable microphones for vocals at under £100. Finneas even said recently on the Tape Notes podcast that he often can’t tell the difference between mics like the AT2020 and those that cost thousands of dollars.

Being astute in your selection is key as some of the mics in the lower price range can get you brilliant results, while some will sound disastrous.

Even better, if you're looking to record vocals, podcasts, or use a microphone for gaming and/or streaming, many of these products are excellent for dual purposes. So let’s dive into the best affordable microphones for recording vocals. 

Best Vocal Microphones Under 100 Notes

AKG P120

  • Pros: Portable and compact | High-quality sound from a big-name brand

  • Cons: Arguably more of a jack of all trades than some of the other options

The AKG name carries a lot of respect in the world of music recording. If you specifically need a microphone that can cover almost all the bases on a budget, their P120 could be the product you are looking for. Expect a clear and balanced sound when you throw vocals at it. And because it is an AKG build, you can rest assured there will be no cheap assortment of parts. In the sub-100 notes category, the AKG P120 offers undeniable quality and value.

Price: $85 | £55


Audio Technica AT2020

  • Pros: Incredible quality for one of the lowest price points available | Great cardioid condenser

  • Cons: There are better mics available — but not at this price!

After giving the AT2020 the Billie Eilish and Finneas seal of approval earlier, it would be remiss to not include it on our list. And for this microphone’s incredibly low cost, its quality really does have to be heard to be believed. If you are on a smaller budget, rejoice that Finneas is on record saying he has been as happy using this product as when he’s worked with mics that cost thousands more. An excellent all-rounder for vocals.

Price: $79 | £89


Audix OM2

  • Pros: High quality considering its direct competition to the SM57 | Ease of use

  • Cons: Some may find the number of features lacking

By releasing a handheld dynamic mic for under £100, Audix have made the (very) brave decision to step into the ring with Shure’s SM57. But we must say, it’s a fight that Audix come away from relatively unscathed, as the OM2 is a lovely little microphone worthy of your consideration. Vocalists have espoused the convenience of how this mic reduces breath noises. The build quality is great, so no need to worry about the longevity of the OM2.

Price: $99 | £85


Best Vocal Microphones Under 200 Notes

Neat King Bee II

  • Pros: Looks stunning | Sound quality matches its aesthetic

  • Cons: It’s quite a weighty design that requires a good quality mic stand

Besides a wonderfully quirky model that matches its name, the King Bee II from Neat is another very worthy contender when it comes to the best affordable microphones specifically for vocal recording. You’ll need a good quality mic stand to support this sturdy, but heavy, design, but it’s an excellent choice for vocalists, producers and podcasters alike.

The Headliner reviews team recently tested the Neat microphone range and found them to be some of the best affordable microphones for recording vocals in the sub $200 price bracket. At the time of writing, you can bag a Neat King Bee II for less than $150.

Price: $140 | £160


Røde NT1

  • Pros: Can be bought in a convenient bundle with a pop filter and XLR | Combines vintage and contemporary characteristics

  • Cons: Keep an eye on proximity effect when close-micing

Easily one of the most popular condenser microphones for recording vocals on a budget. Røde has, quite rightly, sustained a reputation for consistently developing delightful sounding affordable microphones. By this point, the NT1 is a home-studio classic and ideal for recording vocals or acoustic guitars. And while its innards are as modern as can be, the NT1 is able to deliver incredible vintage vocal recording results. Another brilliant mic proving you can achieve that classic vocal sound at home.

Price: $199 | £165


SE Electronics sE X1R Ribbon

  • Pros: Plenty of great features | Another very versatile mic for this price

  • Cons: Some may find the sound a little too clean

Ribbon microphones are a popular choice for recording vocals as the "warm sound" of a ribbon capsual can help to tame aggressive sibilance. The trade off with many models is a (sometimes) duller sound compared to condenser microphones. 

In the sE X1R, SE Electronics have succeeded in developing a ribbon mic that possesses a warm "vintage" character capable of taming the highs without dulling them.  

It’s an excellent mic for clean results that excels in vocal pop productions and other genres that seek that kind of sheen. At a brilliantly budget price, this mic is excellent value and one of the best affordable microphones for vocals.

Price: $230 | £150


Best Vocal Microphones Under 300 Notes

Shure MV7

  • Pros: Superb onboard processing for ease of use | digital and analogue connectivity options
  • Cons: Some vocalists will prefer the crisp detail of a condenser microphone

Inspired by the classic SM7B, the MV7 packages up many of the qualities that make the SM7B such a popular mic for studio vocals in an affordable and user-friendly package. 

Shure's MV7 boasts XLR and USB connectivity, so you can get started right away with or without an audio interface. If you're connecting via USB, there's some impressive onboard processing to help make life easier. 

The addition of Shure's MOTIV app enables easy control of the microphone's tone using a number of presets. The seriously impressive Auto Level Mode, is perfect for Podcasting and home recording if you're yet to get stuck in to the basics of compression for vocals.

Price: $249 | £275


Aston Microphones Spirit

  • Pros: Gives crystal clear results | Born and built in the UK, if that interests you

  • Cons: The low-cut filter can sound a little fierce for some

Very few of the brands offering affordable microphones are based in ye olde England, but Aston Microphones are based in the lovely market town of Hitchin, Hertfordshire. And it was their Spirit microphone for vocals that made everyone take notice of what they are offering.

These builds are designed to last decades, and sound-wise, their fine stainless steel mesh is excellent at reducing popping. It gives a deeply natural tonality in recording and a distinct lack of harshness. This ‘made in Britain’ (an increasingly rare saying) product certainly gives its contenders a run for their money.

Price: $330 | £269


Best Affordable Microphones for Vocals - FAQ

Should I get a dynamic or condenser microphone?

Generally speaking, condenser microphones are the default when it comes to professional studio vocals. Their level of detail and subtlety are perfect for capturing the nuances of the human voice. Dynamic mics dominate in live stage settings due to their lower sensitivity, which helps with instrument separation. That said, many dynamic mics (even the humble and ubiquitous SM58) are a fantastic choice if you're on a budget. 

Dynamic mics also have the added advantage of capturing less room acoustics and background noise, which can be desirable if your room sounds less than ideal or you're plagued with noise interruptions, such as passing traffic. 

What else do I need to record?

Besides just the microphone, you will need:

  • An audio interface is a must if you're using an XLR microphone. (Check out our guide to the best affordable audio interfaces)

  • Developing a good understanding of vocal plugins for mixing and how to apply the basics of EQ, compression and reverb will quickly elevate your recordings.

  • Acoustically treating your recording room is not essential but recommended.

Budget Vocal Microphones - Summing Up

Choosing the best affordable vocal mic for you can feel like a daunting task. In reality, all of the mics on our list will produce a professional sounding recording when applied using best-practice microphone techniques and vocal recording practices. 

While it's true that microphones costing much more can enhance a recording under the right conditions, it's more important to capture the heart and soul of a performance. When you take extra time to get the basics right, you'd be surprised at the results you can achieve using very affordable gear. 

Note: All prices subject to vary and correct at the time of writing.