Suggestions For A Vocal Microphone Purchase

If anyone has experience with condenser mics it’d be great to hear what the options are out there. I’m looking for something maybe below $200, I could probably stretch this if needed. My experience with actually buying these things are none.


Question #1: Do you have a pre-amp or mixing board with XLR input?
Question #2: If not, do you need a mic you can use outside your computer?

Most mic manufacturers these days have audio demos of their mics on their websites. What you should be looking for is a nice full frequency response, low distortion, and a low noise floor. I’m currently planning on buying the Samson C03U, a studio quality USB mic which I’ll be able to use on any computer, laptop included, but not on any other device. It has no XLR jack on it. Turns out the C03 (no U), the non-usb model, is cheaper… and if I had a mixing board I’d get it instead.

But check out the audio demos… it’ll give you an idea of what a nice, cheap studio mic should sound like with no effects:

If you have a mixer with XLR, you might want to go a step up and get something like the CL8, it’s multi-pattern with a capacitor condenser mic element, which is supposed to mean it’s closer to the quality of $1000 vocal mics … though they don’t have audio demos of it up on their website: … these ones run for $150 on google product, almost twice the price of the C03. Is it worth the difference? Couldn’t tell you. I’ll look for some audio demos if I can today.

Hijack! This is relevant to my interest! I want to buy a new mic (currently have Superlux-something, it’s XLR and pretty basic) which I have to plug in my old Tascan US-122 to be able to record (new soundcard has pre-amp). So if anybody knows of a decent pre-amp mic…?

I decided to get half serious about recording vocals a few months ago and got this:

I’ve never used any MEGA expensive mics (maybe up to £500/£600 ones as well as the usual SM58 dynamics, etc), but this one sounds very nice to my ears. I did a lot of research at the time and for the money this appeared to be the best. I plug it through an Edirol UA25 EX.


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  • Output Impedance: 100 ohms
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  • Equivalent Noise: 5 dBA SPL (per IEC651, IEC268-15)
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I do have a mixer with XLR input yes, just need to dig it up… I’m not sure if I’d need to use the mic outside of my comp but I’m thinking I’d rather future proof my purchase here, especially since I got a mixer anyway.

I’ll be recording in my flat without proper walling, I hear too sensitive (ie expensive) mics might serve you worse in such cases. Is that anything anyone has noticed?

Thanks for the advice everyone, really appreciated.

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Not really. 5$ computer mics distort easily and may bring up background noise, but generally the tendency to bring up background noise is a question of mic design.
If I were you, I would not get a condenser mic at all but a dynamic one. SM57 and SM58 are famous for working pretty much anywhere on any source and are routinely
used for vocals in studios and on stages. Some instruments don’t like them so much though, like acoustic guitars.

If you still have to get a condenser, StudioProjects B1 and AT2020 are great for the money. Cardioid pattern is usually the best.

Just hang some duvets/blankets/carpet up about the walls to kill any reflection/reverb, which can sound a bit crappy. Condenser mics do pick up any slight knocks to the stand or cable, so you will absolutely need the shockmount and pop filter if you go for a condensor mic.