Best Condenser Mic Under 100
Update July 2014: MXL has considerably increased their pricing for these mics. They are all still great options regardless.
Since our last post on the Best Home Recording Mic Under $100 I have been presented with a few more thoughts. In light of this, I have decided to follow up with some brief information about the best condenser mic under 100 dollars. If you haven't yet had the chance to read the previous post, now may be a great time to do so.
I have already highlighted what I believe to be the 3 best home recording mics for under $100. Those are the Shure SM58, SM57, and the MXL 990 by MXL. I've gotten some feedback specifically about MXL-990 and it's value of being the best condenser mic under 100 dollars.
What I'd like to point out in this post is that the 990 actually comes in several variations, all priced under $100. I've listed 3 of the condenser versions below and have included the manufacturers descriptions as well.
Mxl Mxl 990 Condenser Microphone With Shockmount $59.99
The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shock Mount has a silky, sweet high end while retaining tight, solid low and midrange reproduction. The 3/4" gold-sputtered diaphragm creates a professional sound suited for digital and analog recording.
Attractive vintage body style with champagne finish. 30Hz-20kHz frequency response. 130dB maximum SPL. Includes custom shock mount, mic stand adapter, and case. Requires phantom power.3/4" gold-sputtered diaphragm.
Attractive vintage body style with champagne finish 30Hz-20kHz frequency response 130dB maximum SPL Sensitivity: 15MV/pa Equivalent noise: 20dB (A-weighted) Wired with Mogami cable.
Mxl 990S Condenser Microphone $79.99
The MXL 990s Condenser Microphone is based on the hugely popular MXL990, this model adds a -10dB pad and 150Hz low-cut switch.
The 990s is a true, phantom-powered, condenser microphone with a 6-micron, 20mm gold-sputtered diaphragm with high quality FET preamp and balanced output.20mm gold-sputtered, 6-micron diaphragm.
FET preamp with balanced output-10dB Pad switch150Hz low-cut switch @ 6dB per octaveCardioid pattern30Hz - 20kHz frequency range130dB maximum SPL. Supplied with shockmount and mic stand adapter Comes in rugged carrying caseWired with Mogami cable.
Mxl 990 Usb Powered Condenser Microphone $99.99
MXL 990 USB powered microphone opens up a new era of high quality recording direct to your portable or desktop computer. No mixers, preamps, or special studio gear required. Just plug the MXL 990 mic into your computer, set your preferences, and enjoy instant professional quality recordings.
The MXL 990 USB has changed the way project studio recordings are being created. The 990 USB is a condenser microphone utilizing a 6 micron, 20mm gold-sputtered diaphragm, and has a high quality FET preamp. The MXL 990 USB mic uses the latest enhanced digital conversion techniques and is Mac and PC compatible.
Includes USB cable, tripod stand, case, and stand adapter. Note: Downloadable drivers for Windows XP and Mac OSX are available from MXL at www.mxlmics.com USB powered - connects directly to a computerWindows and Macintosh compatible20mm Gold-sputtered, 6-micron diaphragm.
FET preamp with balanced output16-bit, 44.1kHz or 48kHzLegendary MXL sonic characteristicsIncludes USB cable and mic stand adapter, tripod stand, and caseMade with Mogami cable
My hope for Home Music Studio 1 is to provide you with valuable home recording tips that help you work within a budget.
For this reason, I have always been impressed the MXL 990 line of studio condenser mics. In my honest opinion the 990 is the best condenser mic under 100 dollars.
I'd love to hear your questions or comments. Please add them to the section below.
I haven’t tried the 990s, but I recall one of the regulars on AudioNowCast raving about them, specifically for field sound fx recordings, as they give fairly accurate response, and are cheap enough to buy a case of them (his words, not mine). I think he was referring to a recording session of high powered rifles and military toys, where one would occasionally get popped, either by plosives, or explosives…
That’s pretty cool Dave ;), thanks for the comment.
SM57 is a great choice! Good all around first microphone that you can’t go wrong with. Vocals, drums, guitar cab; it does it all.
One of my old favorites is my EV257 that I bought back in the 80’s. It’s a little hotter than the SM58, and I prefer it for my voice over the 58.
I have an MXL 990, and found it OK until I got a better mic. What makes the MXL990 a much better microphone (that is comparable to mics that cost several hundred dollars) is changing out some capacitors, and replacing the capsule. If you know how to use a soldering iron, check out the upgrade kit from Microphone Parts. There is also free advice online at DIYGroup on how to upgrade your microphone. Night and Day difference with mine!
Great articles David with sound advice! (yes, pun intended)
Thanks for the input David, good thoughts for sure!
What about the AT20/20. After doing research it was shown to be best. Have you tried one out? I am curious of your opinion.
On the At20/20, I’ve not personally used one but have heard great things about them and would consider them a good buy based upon the input I’ve received.
That said, of course using the phrase “best condenser mic under 100” is a bit of a play on words ;). We both know at the end of the day it has much to do with opinion. Still that’s why I wrote the post, to give my opinion, right ;). Ha ha, so I’ll answer your question.
Compared to the 20/20 there are 3 reasons I would stick with my guns on the MXL. My favorite model is the 990s. So side by side with the At20/20 their sound is going to be comparable and much of the difference will lie with personal tastes (again, my opinion).
Yet the 990s cost less at $79.99, it has a built in low cut, and a built in -10 db pad. Those are the features that keep it no 1 on my list for the under $100 options.
However, I’m not saying that other mics are junk either, just that the MXL990s is the best bang for the money.
UPDATE: The MXL 990s also comes with a great shock mount as well, and a hard case with an addition hard mount. Forgot about those goodies too. ;)
Hello! I own the A/T 2020 and a pair of it’s big brothers, the A/T 3035’s. While I am pleased with the Audio Technica mic’s, I find the 2020 to be a lacking a bit in the midrange between 600 to 900Hz and they (even the 3035’s) seem to have an exaggerated hi end. This doesn’t bode well for most vocals, but they are phenomenal on hi-hats, cymbals and harps. I do find myself utilising the MXL 990’s (again, I own a pair) for stringed instruments and the MXL3000 for guitar cabinets. I am also fortunate enough to own an MXL 992, which has become my “go-to” snare mic. Just my humble opinion. Dave.
Thanks for your input Dave.