20 Best Beginner Budget Microphones for Vocals 2023

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As technology continues to advance, the market of affordable microphones for beginners is booming. In 2023, budding musicians, podcasters, and streamers have a plethora of budget-friendly options to choose from that don’t compromise on quality. This article will guide you through the 10 best budget microphones perfectly designed for beginner singers to enhance their audio recording experience. The price range in these mics is roughly between $40-$300

The budget microphones listed in this article have been chosen based on their features, performance, and user reviews and are some of the best mics on the market. By understanding their specifications and capabilities, beginners can make an informed decision on which microphone best suits their requirements, without burning a hole in their pockets. In all reality, the best microphone for beginner vocals is very user dependent, and we tried to take a lot of the guesswork out of it so you can make an educated choice. So, let’s dive into the world of budget microphones and find the ideal match for your audio needs.

20 Best Budget Microphones for Recording Vocals 2023

XLR Condenser Vocal Mics:

  1. Audio-Technica AT2020: The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a medium-diaphragm condenser microphone that stands out for its impressive performance at a budget-friendly price. Its cardioid polar pattern effectively captures sound sources in front of it while minimizing background noise, making it ideal for vocal recording in a home studio setting. With a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, it accurately captures a full spectrum of vocal tones. The AT2020 boasts high sensitivity, so it will pick up subtle nuances in a performance, and its high SPL handling makes it capable of capturing louder sounds without distortion. Its build quality is robust with a metal exterior, promising durability over time. The AT2020 requires a decent quality preamp or audio interface for optimal results. It comes with a stand mount, but consider investing in a pop filter to further enhance your recordings.
  2. AKG P120: The AKG P120 is a budget-friendly, large-diaphragm condenser microphone offering clear and detailed audio reproduction. It utilizes a cardioid polar pattern, focusing on the sound source directly in front of the microphone and minimizing background noise — ideal for vocal recording in various environments. The P120 provides a broad frequency response from 20Hz-20kHz, allowing for a comprehensive range of vocal tones. It exhibits high sensitivity, is capable of capturing intricate vocal nuances, and has excellent SPL handling for louder sounds without distortion. This microphone is built for durability and consistent performance over time. To ensure the best sound quality, it requires a decent quality preamp or audio interface. As for accessories, the AKG P120 comes with a stand mount, but purchasing a pop filter and shock mount could greatly enhance the overall recording experience.
  3. MXL 990: The MXL 990 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone offering balanced sound and great value for its price. Its cardioid polar pattern helps it to focus on the source directly in front of the microphone, effectively reducing side and back noise. With a frequency response of 30Hz-20kHz, it covers a wide range necessary for a diverse range of vocals. The MXL 990 has decent sensitivity, allowing it to detect quiet sounds, and it can handle high SPLs, suitable for louder audio sources. Its build quality is durable, providing a reliable performance over time. For optimal results, this microphone requires a decent quality preamp or audio interface. The MXL 990 comes with a shock mount and a carrying case, making it a complete package for beginners.
  4. Rode NT1A: This large-diaphragm condenser microphone is celebrated for its warmth and clarity. It features a cardioid polar pattern, perfect for capturing vocals by reducing room noise from the sides and back. With a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, it can accurately reproduce a broad range of vocal frequencies. The microphone has high sensitivity, able to capture nuanced performances, and a high SPL, ensuring it can handle louder sounds without distortion. The build quality is excellent, with a robust and durable design. Although it requires a good quality preamp or audio interface, the NT1A package provides a wealth of useful accessories, including a shock mount, pop filter, dust cover, and XLR cable, further enhancing the recording quality and the user’s convenience.
  5. sE Electronics X1 S: The X1 S is a versatile large-diaphragm condenser microphone offering impressive sound quality. It sports a cardioid polar pattern, focusing on sound from the front while minimizing input from the sides and back, ideal for vocal recordings. Its frequency response ranges from 20Hz-20kHz, ensuring a broad capture of vocal tones. The microphone exhibits high sensitivity, picking up even subtle details, and can handle high SPLs for louder audio sources. With its solid and robust build, the X1 S is designed to last. While it requires a good quality preamp or audio interface for optimal sound capture, it comes with a microphone clip, though purchasing a shock mount and pop filter is recommended for best results.

XLR Dynamic Vocal Mics:

  1. Shure SM58: The Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone legend, celebrated for its durability, consistency, and solid vocal performance. It has a cardioid polar pattern, reducing background noise and focusing on the main sound source. The frequency response of 50Hz-15kHz is tailored for vocals, emphasizing clarity and warmth. With robust construction and a built-in pop filter, the Shure SM 58 is perfect for both live performances and studio use.
  2. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB:This dynamic microphone provides versatility with both XLR and USB outputs. Its cardioid polar pattern is ideal for vocal use, capturing sound from the front and reducing unwanted background noise. It covers a frequency range of 50Hz-15kHz, focusing on the vocal range. The build quality ensures durability and long-term use, and the USB connectivity provides plug-and-play convenience.
  3. Sennheiser E835: Known for its rich, detailed sound, the E835 is a dynamic microphone that shines in live settings and studios. It features a cardioid pickup pattern, concentrating on sound directly in front of it and minimizing off-axis noise. Its frequency response of 40Hz-16kHz is tailored for clarity in vocals. Durable and reliable, this microphone is built to withstand the rigors of live performance.
  4. Heil PR-20: The PR-20 is a dynamic microphone offering excellent articulation, perfect for vocals and various instruments. It features a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 50Hz-18kHz, focusing on clear and natural sound reproduction. The microphone is built for durability, with an internal shock mount to reduce handling noise.
  5. Electro-Voice RE320: The RE320 is a dynamic microphone known for its variable-D pattern control, minimizing positional and off-axis tonal shifts. Its wide frequency response (45Hz-18kHz) makes it suitable for diverse sound sources, from vocals to instruments. The microphone is robustly built, offering consistent performance over time

USB Condenser Vocal Mics:

  1. Audio-Technica ATR2500x: This microphone provides studio-quality sound, perfect for vocal recording, podcasting, and voiceovers. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which is ideal for focusing on the sound source and reducing background noise. With a wide frequency response of 30Hz-15kHz, it captures the full spectrum of vocal tones. Its build quality promises durability and its USB connectivity offers convenience and easy setup.
  2. Blue Yeti: The Blue Yeti is renowned for its versatility, offering multiple pickup patterns and delivering excellent sound for vocals and podcasting. It covers a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, capturing a broad range of vocal nuances. The build quality is robust, promising longevity, and the plug-and-play USB connectivity makes it user-friendly.
  3. Rode NT-USB Mini: This compact microphone offers studio-quality sound, making it perfect for traveling musicians or podcasters. It features a cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, focusing on clear, detailed vocal capture. Despite its small size, it is solidly built for durability.
  4. Samson Meteor Mic: The Meteor Mic is a great budget choice, offering full sound thanks to its large diaphragm. With a cardioid pickup pattern and a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, it is well-suited to a wide variety of vocal applications. The build quality is reliable, and its USB connectivity allows easy setup and use.
  5. AKG Lyra Ultra-HD: The AKG Lyra delivers pristine audio quality and offers versatility with four selectable capture modes. Its frequency response ranges from 20Hz-20kHz, capturing a comprehensive range of vocal tones. This microphone is robustly built, promising consistent performance over time.

USB Dynamic Vocal Mics:

USB dynamic mics are less common as dynamic mics are often used in live settings where USB connectivity isn’t needed. However, there are still some options available:

  1. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB:  This dynamic microphone stands out for its versatility, offering both XLR and USB outputs. Designed with a cardioid polar pattern, it excels in capturing sound directly from the front while reducing unwanted ambient sound, ideal for vocals, podcasting, or voiceover work. Its frequency response ranges from 50Hz to 15kHz, enhancing clarity and focus on vocal frequencies. Despite its affordability, the ATR2100x-USB doesn’t compromise on build quality — its sturdy construction ensures it can withstand regular use. One of its key features is its USB output, which provides an easy, plug-and-play experience, especially beneficial for beginners or those in need of a portable solution. When paired with a decent quality preamp (for XLR use) and pop filter, this microphone delivers excellent performance for its price.
  2. Samson Q2U: This dynamic microphone offers the best of both worlds with XLR and USB outputs, making it ideal for home recording and live performances. With a frequency response of 50Hz-15kHz and a cardioid polar pattern, it captures clear and detailed vocal sound. Its durable construction promises long-term reliability.
  3. Shure MV7: The Shure MV7 is Inspired by the legendary SM7B, the MV7 is a dynamic microphone perfect for podcasting. With USB and XLR outputs, it offers flexibility in use. It captures a frequency range of 50Hz-16kHz and exhibits a unidirectional polar pattern for focused audio capture. The build quality ensures durability and longevity.
  4. Audio Technica AT2005USB: Another hybrid microphone with XLR and USB outputs, the AT2005USB offers clear sound for vocals and instruments. With a frequency response of 50Hz-15kHz and a cardioid polar pattern, it is designed to focus on the main sound source. Its sturdy construction ensures long-term use.
  5. Heil Sound PR 40-USB: Slightly above the $300 price range depending on the retailer, the PR 40-USB is a dynamic microphone that offers a smooth, natural sound. With a wide frequency response (28Hz-18kHz) and a cardioid polar pattern, it is well-suited for various applications. The build quality is reliable, promising consistent performance over time.

Types of Budget Vocal Microphones

XLR vs USB Microphones

When choosing a budget microphone for beginners, it’s essential to understand the difference between XLR and USB microphones. The choice between XLR and USB mics is one of the most critical decisions to make. Both types have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, which vary depending on your recording needs and technical proficiency.

XLR Microphones:

XLR microphones use a balanced, analog audio cable with three prongs – two for the signal and one for grounding. The balanced cable design reduces noise interference, maintaining the integrity of the signal over long cable runs, which can be an important consideration in larger recording environments.

Sound quality from XLR microphones tends to be superior due to their use of higher-quality internal components. These microphones also offer better dynamic range, meaning they can capture quieter and louder sounds more effectively without distortion. However, they require a power source, like phantom power supplied by an audio interface or mixer, to operate. This might mean an additional cost for beginners who don’t already have these devices.

Moreover, XLR microphones provide greater versatility. They can be used with a wide range of audio equipment, like preamps, mixers, and professional PA systems, which gives users more control over the sound.

USB Microphones:

USB microphones are digital microphones that convert analog audio signals into digital within the microphone itself. They connect directly to a computer using a USB cable, eliminating the need for a separate audio interface or power source. This simplicity makes them perfect for those who want an easy, plug-and-play recording solution, like podcasters, streamers, or beginners who aren’t ready to invest in a full suite of audio equipment.

While their sound quality might not match that of an XLR microphone, USB microphones have improved significantly over the years and can still offer clear, high-quality sound suitable for many applications. They’re also generally more affordable and portable, which makes them an attractive option for those on a budget or who record on the go.

Factors to Consider:

Choosing between a USB and an XLR microphone ultimately comes down to your needs and circumstances:

  • Ease of Use: If you’re a beginner with limited audio engineering knowledge or you need a portable solution, USB microphones offer an easy plug-and-play experience.
  • Quality and Control: If you aim to produce professional-grade recordings and desire more control over your audio, an XLR microphone would be a better choice, especially when coupled with a quality audio interface or preamp.
  • Future Expansion: If you plan to upgrade your setup in the future, investing in an XLR microphone could offer more long-term value, as it will be compatible with professional-grade audio equipment.
  • Budget: USB microphones are generally more affordable when you consider that they don’t require additional equipment like an audio interface or preamp.

Condenser vs Dynamic Microphones

Condenser Microphones

Condenser mics are a popular choice due to their sensitivity. They can capture a wide range of frequencies and provide high-quality sound. These mics are ideal for studio recording, podcasting, or live streaming. Some notable budget condenser microphones include the Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Dynamic Mic and the AKG Pro Audio Lyra Ultra-HD USB Mic.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic mics use a moving coil to generate the audio signal and are generally more durable, making them an excellent option for live performances. They are less sensitive than condenser microphones and, as a result, can handle higher sound pressure levels without distortion. This makes them suitable for louder instruments and vocals. Some popular budget dynamic microphones include the Shure SM58 and the Samson Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Mic.

Other Key Features to Consider

When searching for the best budget microphones for beginners in 2023, several key features should be considered to make the right choice. In this section, we will discuss what makes a great microphone; the audio quality, build quality, controls and versatility, form factor and portability, and phantom power requirements.

Audio Quality and Frequency Response 

Several factors contribute to the audio quality of a beginner level vocal microphone:

  1. Type of Microphone: Condenser microphones are typically a good choice for vocals in the recording studio due to their sensitivity, ability to capture subtle nuances, and broad frequency response. However, dynamic microphones can also be used and often provide more robustness.
  2. Polar Pattern: This is how the microphone picks up sound waves from different directions. Cardioid mics, which capture sound in front of the microphone and reject sound from the back and sides, are generally preferred for vocals to reduce room noise.
  3. Frequency Response: A microphone’s frequency response refers to the range of frequencies it can accurately capture. For vocals, a wide frequency response is preferred, typically between 80 Hz to 15 kHz.
  4. Diaphragm Size: Large diaphragm microphones are often preferred for vocals because they capture a greater range of frequencies and tend to give a more accurate, full-bodied capture of the voice.
  5. Sensitivity and Sound Pressure Level (SPL): Sensitivity is how quiet a sound the microphone can detect, while SPL is the loudest sound it can handle without distorting. For vocals, you want a microphone that can handle a wide dynamic range.
  6. Build Quality: As I mentioned in the previous response, a microphone’s build quality significantly impacts its performance and durability. High-quality materials and craftsmanship will ensure that the microphone delivers consistent performance over time.
  7. Preamps: While not a part of the microphone itself, the preamp (whether standalone or built into an audio interface) is crucial to the quality of the signal. A good preamp will amplify the microphone signal cleanly, without adding noise or coloration.
  8. Accessories: Finally, things like pop filters (to prevent plosives), shock mounts (to isolate the mic from vibrations), and a quality XLR cable can all significantly improve the recording quality.

Remember, what matters most is how the microphone sounds with your unique voice. So, if possible, test out a few options before deciding.

Controls and Versatility

Ease of use is important for beginners, and having accessible controls on the microphone helps achieve that. Features like a mute button and volume control are valuable for quickly making adjustments during recordings or live performances. Additionally, consider a microphone that can handle different recording situations, such as vocals, instruments, or podcasting.

Form Factor and Portability

The microphone’s form factor plays a crucial role in user experience. A compact and lightweight microphone is easier to carry and set up, which is particularly important for those who plan to move their recording equipment frequently or require a portable solution for on-the-go use. USB microphones tend to be more portable because you wont need to lug around a recording interface. 

Phantom Power Requirements

Finally, it’s essential to consider the microphone’s power requirements. Condenser microphones need phantom power, which is an external power source provided by a mixer or audio interface. For beginners, it’s often more convenient to choose a microphone that doesn’t require phantom power or has a built-in power source, making setup and use simpler. USB and Dynamic microphones are 2 great examples of this type of microphone.

Microphone Pickup Patterns


Cardioid microphones are designed to capture sound primarily from the front, offering a heart-shaped pickup pattern. This makes them ideal for situations where background noise and feedback need to be minimized, such as live performances and podcast recordings. The Shure PGA58 is an example of a budget cardioid dynamic vocal microphone that performs well in such environments.

Some advantages of cardioid microphones include:

  • Great for isolating a single sound source
  • Reduced sensitivity to ambient noise and feedback
  • Ideal for close-up vocals and instruments


Omnidirectional microphones, as the name suggests, pick up sound evenly from all directions. They are well-suited for situations where capturing the ambiance and natural sound of a room is desired, such as in field recordings or conference calls. When working with a limited budget, the Rode NT1 5th Generation is an example of an affordable omnidirectional microphone.

Some benefits of omnidirectional microphones include:

  • Capturing a natural, open sound
  • No proximity effect, enabling consistent audio quality at varying distances
  • Ideal for recording group conversations and ambience


Bidirectional microphones capture sound from two opposite directions, typically the front and rear of the microphone. This pattern is useful for situations where two people are positioned across from each other, such as interviews or duets. However, bidirectional microphones are less common in budget-friendly options.

Key characteristics of bidirectional microphones:

  • Capturing audio from two opposite directions
  • Highly sensitive, capturing subtleties from both sides
  • Ideal for interviews, duets, and podcasts with multiple speakers


Stereo microphones are designed to capture audio with a sense of spatial depth. They consist of two capsules with different pickup patterns, generally cardioid or omnidirectional, which are placed in close proximity to each other. Stereo microphones are often used for recording music, as they provide an immersive and realistic listening experience. The NZXT Capsule Mini can be a good budget option for those seeking a stereo microphone.

Notable features of stereo microphones:

  • Capturing audio with a sense of depth and position
  • Providing a more immersive listening experience
  • Ideal for recording music, performances, and soundscapes

Additional Accessories and Tips

Boom Arm

A boom arm is a helpful accessory for those starting with a budget microphone. It not only improves the positioning of the microphone by allowing you to adjust it according to your needs, but also helps in reducing unwanted noise such as vibrations and desk rumbles. Some popular options include the Rode PSA1 and the Heil Sound PL-2T, but cheaper alternatives such as the Neewer Adjustable Studio Arm can also be considered.

Internal Pop Filter

An internal pop filter helps in reducing plosive sounds (“P” and “B” sounds) and improves overall sound quality. For beginners, choosing a budget microphone with a built-in pop filter is an advantage, although purchasing an external pop filter can be useful if your chosen mic doesn’t have one. The Shure SM58 is a great option with an effective internal pop filter.

Gain Control

It is essential for beginner microphone users to understand the concept of gain control. Gain refers to the sensitivity of the microphone: too much will result in distorted audio, while too little will produce weak and inaudible sound. Ensure your microphone provides the ability to adjust gain, or consider investing in an audio interface or mixer with gain control options. For USB microphones with built-in gain control, consider the Thronmax Mdrill Zone.

Adjustable Stand For Beginner Budget Mics

An adjustable stand is a must-have for great sound quality, offering flexibility in positioning, ensuring the microphone height is optimal for speaking or singing. A table-top stand or floor stand will depend on your specific needs and space requirements. A quality stand will remain stable and secure without causing any inconvenience.

In summary, boom arms, internal pop filters, gain control, and adjustable stands play significant roles in improving the quality of sound recording, regardless of the budget microphone chosen. Beginners should consider these accessories as they embark on their audio recording journey, ensuring they make the most of their chosen setup.

Links to these Microphones On Amazon (I make a small comission)

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

XLR Condenser Mics

Audio-Technica AT2020

AKG P120

MXL 990

Rode NT1A

sE Electronics X1 S

XLR Dynamic Mics

Shure SM58

Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB

Sennheiser E835

Heil PR-20

Electro-Voice RE320

USB Condenser Mics

Audio-Technica ATR2500x

Blue Yeti

Rode NT-USB Mini

Samson Meteor Mic

AKG Lyra Ultra-HD

USB Dynamic Mics

Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB

Samson Q2U

Shure MV7

Audio Technica AT2005USB

Heil Sound PR 40-USB

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