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5 Cheap-Ass Microphones Under $100 for the Frugal Engineer


Expensive microphones are overrated. Cheap microphones can go a long way to getting the sound you want, and all without shelling out a fortune.

Now you may not want to buy a $1000 condenser microphone to start out, because you can get a great recording microphone for under $100.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t upgrade when the time is right and you’ve outgrown your microphone, but don’t think that you can’t get a good sound with a low budget microphone.

Try out some of these options when you’re looking to start recording.

I’ve used my gear-purchasing methodology I outline in this article to get a clear idea of what’s popular and respected while staying within budget.

Here are five condenser microphones that I’ve found that are under $100, but there are certainly more to choose from on Amazon.

AKG Perception 120

I’ve used the Perception 220 microphone a lot and if this mic is anything like it’s older brother then I can definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a cheap, but dependable condenser microphone. It has a bass roll-off which is good to have in your home studio.

Samson CO2 Pencil Condensers

If you’re looking for something different than a large diaphragm condenser, then this pair of pencil condensers might be a great bet for you. Should work great for acoustic instruments and overheads.

Audio Technica AT2020

This microphone blows everything else in this price range out of the water. It’s amazing how cheap it is but still sounds this good.

Simple and easy to use and sounds amazing. The only drawback I see is that it doesn’t have a pad switch nor a bass roll-off which could pose a problem in a home studio session.

MXL 770

This recording microphone is a frequently mentioned microphone for cheap microphones. They’re supposed to sound great out of the box, and they’re a favorite choice on Amazon, with hundreds of 5-star reviews.

Audio Technica ATR2100

If you’re just looking to do podcasting, video blogging or produce similar types of audio content that doesn’t require high-fidelity sound, then the Audio Technica ATR2100 is a great choice. This podcasting microphone is a dynamic microphone so it doesn’t pick up as much of the room sound as other podcasting condenser microphones.

It’s a great choice to do the occasional interview, podcast or video, and if it’s good enough for Tim Ferriss, it’s good enough for you.

To budget, or not to budget?

Noted, these are cheap microphones.

They might not hold their own against the  However, they certainly have their uses and for some applications and instruments might even win a microphone shoot-out with the big guns.

These are all viable and affordable options for the budget studio engineer starting out. You can also find other alternatives on Ebay where there is a constant stream of microphones going around for much less than the listed price.

Who knows, maybe you can cost.

What are your favorite cheap microphones?  Let me know in the comments.


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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