Buyer's Guides

Best Condenser Microphones For Vocals On Any Budget

If you’re looking to record vocals that launch into the charts and smash the Spotify streams, getting yourself a fantastic condenser microphone will be a winning move for you. Because, for vocals in particular, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone is what will help deliver the goods. A good condenser mic will ensure superior sound quality and capture the sound with fantastic accuracy.

Yes, there are a bewildering number to choose from and you’re probably looking for one in your particular price range. This Headliner buying guide will walk you through the very best options, whether you want to spend big or bag yourself one of the best affordable mics on the market.

For this studio recording purpose, condenser microphones dominate over dynamic mics. The condenser style has a wider frequency response, and the best transient response also. Dynamic microphones are not exclusively looked over as suitable vocal recording mics, but traditionally they are better suited to the world of live music thanks to their lower sensitivity and ability to handle high sound pressure levels. 

Join us as we uncover the best condenser microphones for vocals, starting with the lowest price range up to the most spenny. 

MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser

  • Modest price, excellent results

  • A sound that competes with much pricier rivals

Entry numero uno on this best condenser microphones for vocals list comes from MXL Mics, also providing the most affordable bit of kit here. You should be able to pick up their 770 mic for under £100 or approximately $100. Does that mean it’s a cheap piece of tosh? Absolutely not. It deserves to be considered among the best recording mics for vocals on its merits that go way beyond its price.

The MXL 770 boasts a warm and deep tone that captures all the tones of the varying voices it records. The clarity at the top end is fantastic, without calling for extra EQ. It’s a versatile recording mic that you can also use for guitar, piano and more. The FET preamp is another excellent feature, considering the modest price. Whether you need a beginner microphone to get you started or simply don’t want to shatter your bank account, the 770 is well worth your consideration.


sE Electronics X1 Condenser

  • Highly professional sound quality

  • The build quality and features ensure great value

Chinese microphone manufacturer sE Electronics is our sophomore entry with the X1 Condenser. And it’s easy to see why it’s not just us who consider this one of the best condenser mics for vocals. Its almost completely flat frequency response will reproduce any vocal sound source with incredible accuracy. This is excellent work when you note that this mic comes in right around the £/$100 mark.

So the price is low, but the results will make you feel like you’ve paid top dollar to be in a professional recording booth. Its condenser capsule design ensures a well-balanced sound response. Meanwhile, the metal chassis rejects any unwanted noise and interference for your recordings. Also chucked in is an integrated windscreen to lessen plosive sounds. Victorious value!


Stellar X2 Diaphragm Condenser

  • Great design and build

  • A fantastic studio or at-home microphone

Want stellar results without spending much above £/$200? Then the Stellar X2 might be the best condenser mic for vocals for you. Whether you wish to ceremoniously plonk it at home or in your studio, its naturally warm tone and low noise make it fantastic for both scenarios.

Its low-noise floor is particularly noteworthy as it means you needn’t worry about applying filtering after recording, and your vocals will sit beautifully in the mix without extensive editing. And the build quality is also brilliant, made solidly from brass and mylar. Expect the X2’s diaphragm to perform admirably, capturing all the detail in your vocal recordings. Note: make sure your USB audio interface is able to provide at least 48V in power to this mic via an XLR cable. It is a beast after all!


Rode NT1-A Condenser Mic

  • A golden mic in more ways than one

  • Beginner-friendly but also fit for the long term

A wonderful thing about buying studio gear nowadays is that the biggest names in audio almost unanimously offer more affordable versions of their products for those looking to build a home studio setup without having to remortgage their home. And that is certainly the case with the Rode NT1-A, one of the best condenser mics for vocals which you can snag for less than £/$300. It’s a beginner-friendly product, but its quality makes it a great long-term investment.

Despite not costing thousands, it has a fantastic self-noise level (5dB) so you can record stunningly clean-sounding vocals. Like its elder sibling coming up later in this list, it has a very fetching design with its golden capsule. Also included are a cardioid polar pattern, a trademark Rode shock mount, and a pop filter. A marvellous microphone.


Sennheiser Pro Audio MK 4

  • Lovely metallic finish

  • Great price from one of the biggest brand names

Sennheiser is known for its German excellence when it comes to headphones and microphones. And their Pro Audio MK 4, the company’s first large-diaphragm condenser microphone is a very safe bet if you’re after a condenser mic for vocals, and one that excels. And as you can get yourself one for below £/$300, it also represents excellent value.

As one would expect from Sennheiser, the build is of the highest quality, with a full metallic finish. Noise is reduced to a minimum as it is shock-mounted. And how about the sound? Expect a transparent and warm, yet clean sound. It also does a diligent job of handling high sound pressure.


Rode NT1000 Studio Condenser

  • Impressive versatility

  • Eye-catching gold design

As we head further down the road of the best recording mics for vocals, Rode makes another entry with its NT1000. The Australian microphone manufacturer is something of a legendary name in the recording world, so no great surprise to see it appearing again amongst the best condenser microphones. The NT1000 is known in particular as a professional quality and versatile mic, for both vocals and acoustic instruments. Recording vocals and also piano, drum overheads, acoustic guitar and such things? This Rode mic will be very happy with each and will capture all the high-end detail.

The gold-plated diaphragm is sure to turn heads, and is solidly built on the whole. The self-noise is reassuringly low, and the sounding range is warm. Its pickup range is highly impressive and one of the features that make it such a versatile, workhorse microphone.


Warm Audio WA-87 Condenser

  • Based on one of pop music’s most famous microphones

  • One for the vintage enthusiasts out there

Some people just cannot resist a vintage-style microphone, and with the Warm Audio WA-87, you’ll be getting one of the best recording mics for vocals that also has that classic look. It’s also Warm Audio’s revamped version of their classic 87’ microphone, with a more modern and refined sound but tipping the hat to its same aesthetic.

The original 87’ was one of the most-used microphones in the history of pop music, which is a pretty solid argument for the WA-87 in itself. The sound is still absolutely top-notch. It’s also known for sounding brilliant when recording vocals and acoustic guitar simultaneously, as it will record all the finest details of the singing and strumming.


Slate ML-1 Condenser Mic

  • One of the best emulator mics out there

  • Part of Slate’s VMS system

We’re getting right into the high-end territory of recording mics for vocals now. So let’s wipe the slate clean with this entry from Slate Digital and its ML-1 Condenser Mic. It’s a fantastic product with its ability to deliver a truly classic sound, without the full expense of investing in an analogue microphone. Digital is mostly always a case of emulating the analogue sound that came before it, but the ML-1 does a tremendous job of emulating some of the best and most famous mics that came before it.

It has a golden capsule and a nicely sized diaphragm, and a tight cardioid pattern, so you can get all the finest details in the vocals you record. Slate describes it as being the centrepiece of its Virtual Microphone System, their state-of-the-art digital processing suite that recreates the tone of classic microphones and preamps. So if you buy the microphone bundled with this system for your DAW, you will have enormous power at your disposal.


Neumann TLM 103 Condenser

  • Incredible sensitivity to vocal detail

  • Quite simply, a legend in the world of microphones

  • Still easily one of the best condenser microphones for vocals delivering pro studio sound at home or in the studio

Having mentioned German excellence earlier, it would be remiss to not round this list off with a microphone very few would argue against being firmly among the best condenser mics for vocals, and that’s the Neumann TLM 103 Condenser. It’s been around for quite some time now, and its longevity practically writes this review itself.

Some go so far as to describe its sound recording quality as flawless. This isn’t too surprising as it records every detail in a vocal performance without fail. This might be the microphone saved for those with the highest budgets, but you will get outrageous bang for your buck from the TLM 103. In fact, it’s so sensitive to picking up all sound details that it may pick up unwanted noise, such as a car door outside, or birds singing, etc. So make sure you are buying this legendary mic for a sound-proofed room. If you can handle that, you can then handle one of the best microphones ever.


We hope you found our list of best condenser microphones for vocals helpful. Now that we’ve condensed all that into a handy list for you, hopefully, you’re a significant step closer to treating yourself to a stunning condenser microphone for recording some outrageously great-sounding vocals. We wish you happy trails as you set off on your recording microphone quest!

Further reading:

Best plugins for recording vocals

Best affordable microphones for recording vocals