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Published on August 28th, 2013 | by Martha Kent

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2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project

Most people who love to sing will eventually search for a way to expose their music to a broader audience. Ever since major artists understood the power of the Internet, the music industry moved to Youtube, the video platform that can propel talented artists into mainstream. Before uploading your songs to Youtube you need to record them and in order to do that you need a great microphone. The following list gathers some of the best microphones for a home studio project that you can actually afford.

Before revealing the mics, I want to state that this list does not feature the cheapest mics of 2017, but rather the ones that are affordable and have a real value in terms of quality and features. Although most users will make their own choice and get that cheap $100 mic, if you do want the best quality of a condenser microphone that will last you for years, you will probably have to choose one of the mics in this list.

AT2050 condenser microphone

2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project – AT2050

Audio Technica is building great entry-level microphones for quite some time now and its AT2020 is its most famous entry-level product. This multi-pattern condenser microphone is the upgraded version of AT2020 and it features 3 polar patterns that you can switch: omni, cardioid, figure-8. The mic has low noise and it captures smooth and natural sounds. Works great on vocals, strings, piano, drums and guitars.

AKG Perception 420

2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project – AKG PERCEPTION 420

Perception 420 features the legendary quality provided by ACK and it has a polar pattern switch for cardioid, omni and figure-8 pattern. The mic works great on vocals and guitars, but also for overheads on drums (thanks to its figure-8 pattern feature). Another impressive thing about it is that it can handle sound levels of 155db spl.

AKG C214 condenser microphpone

2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project – AKG C214

This microphone is the affordable version of the dual large diaphragm mic AKG C414 XLII, a microphone used in every major recording studio around the world and in many live performances. The C214 is basically half of C414, since it features only one large diaphragm. It has the same features as the C414: a switch for 20dB attenuator and bass-cut filter, integrated suspension to reduce vibration and mechanical noise, a great design. It can handle sound levels up to 156db spl.

NEUMANN TLM-102 condenser microphone

2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project – NEUMANN TLM-102

This is probably the most compact microphone I’ve seen in a while. The manufacturer, Neumann, is regarded as one of the leading producer of high-quality microphones that are usually used in large professional recording studios around the world. Although TLM-102 is small and lightweight (it can fit in your pocket), don’t let its size fool you. This large diaphragm mic features pressure gradient transducer and it’s just is perfect for vocals, drum overheads, guitar cabinets or acoustic guitars. You will get a slight boost of presence above 6kHz which makes it perfect for vocals. It can handle sound levels up to 144db spl.

Rode NT2a condenser microphone

2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project – RODE NT2-A

If you decide to buy this product you will get a great multi-pattern studio condenser microphone created by the company that gave the tone to so many recording hits of the last 10 years. The mic features a large 1 inch HF1 gold sputted cabsule and 3 switches for polar pattern, high pass filter and pad. I’ve tested this mic with multiple interfaces and it worked flawlessly. There is one think I’ve noticed about it: it’s really quite, so you can expect no background noise. If you do get this mic you will learn that it starts to shine once you’ll use it along with a great preamp.

SE ELECTRONICS 2200a II condenser microphone

2017 Best Microphones for a Home Studio Project – SE ELECTRONICS 2200a II

Although the manufacturer of this multi pattern condenser microphone is not that famous in US, it is very popular in Europe and has won many awards for performance to price point, including two trophies from Music Industry Association (MIA). 2200a mark II uses a hand-crafted, 1″ gold sputtered diaphragm based on the same technology used with the previous sE2200a. This high quality mid-range mic has enough features to be included on top of this list. On the body you will find 3 switches: the low cut switch, the adjustable pad and the multiple cardioid pattern (cardioid, figure 8 and omnidirectional). The mic produces vocal recordings with a warm tone and it has a solid body with a rubber paint finish. As an extra detail, you should know that it was used in few songs recorded for Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” album.

Conclusion
This list contains some of the best condenser microphones you can buy for your home studio project in 2017. Most mics are priced between $200-$600, some of them feature additional items in the box (hard case, pouch, shock mount, pop filter, XLR cables). I know that many upcoming musicians have a starting budget of couple of hundreds dollars, so they will try to buy the cheapest things they can in order to maintain the expenses as low as possible. I do not advise that, because they will only end up paying the same money twice (first for the cheap mic and later for one of these mics). Most of the mics presented here are created by the most prestigious manufacturers in the business and many established artists have recorded with one of these mics at least once in their lifetime.

Tags: audio, technology


About the Author

I am the senior editor for SciNotions web magazine. In the past, I have also worked in various projects involving science, music, technology and gadgets.



3 comments
Alexis777
Alexis777

Hi Martha, I wish I'd found this article a couple of month's ago!  With the advice of the guys at a local music shop I ended up purchasing the Apex 460 mic (10th Anniversary edition).  It sounds alright to me but I haven't compared it to anything else.  I'm wondering what your opinion is on this one?  By the way, thanks very much for your article comparing the Scarlett 2i2 vs the Steinberg UR22 (the two interfaces I was considering); it made the difference and I chose the 2i2.  Thanks!

scinotions
scinotions moderator

@Alexis777Hello Alexis, thanks for taking the time to write to me. I’m glad to read that you have chosen the 2i2 interface. That was probably the smartest decision. Regarding your mic, I did not had the pleasure of testing the Apex 460 in my setup, but after reading few reviews and impressions on it, I can say that it’s a fair microphone with enough accessories. Probably I would have chosen the Rode NT1a, but I’m sure that you will manage to be just fine with the A460 connected to Scarlett 2i2. Let me know when you have your first song released on Youtube, I want to check it out…

Trackbacks

  1. […] a great song. I’ve touched the recording studio topic a while back when I wrote about the best microphones for a home studio. Why pay for studio time when you can use the same money to build your own setup and maybe a […]

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