7 Best XLR Condenser Microphones Under $100

What are the absolute best XLR condenser microphones below $100? I have been in the same shoes as many of you are in right now. Where your in need of a condenser microphone that can produce the highest quality recording possible on an extremely tight budget.

Whether your doing podcast, live streaming, voiceovers for YouTube, or building a home studio with a tiny budget like I was; we all take our art seriously and could not afford our passion being ruined due to a low-budget. To make a long story short, through personal experience and extensive research for some time now, and the help of my friends working in audio; we formulated a list of the top 7 best XLR condenser microphones below $100.

In Short, Here Are The 7 Best Condenser XLR Microphones Under $100

  • MXL 990 MIDNIGHT
  • MXL V67G
  • Audio-Technica AT2020
  • Samson C01
  • Nady PCM-100
  • MXL 770
  • Behringer B-1 

1. MXL 990 MIDNIGHT

$99

Running below $100, the MXL 990 MIDNIGHT is an incredible bang for the buck condenser cardioid microphone with a very crisp sound. The large capsule captures the sound of an acoustic exceptionally well. For the low price, you will be shocked by how fresh and clean the sound is achieved. A very unique benefit for recording instruments and singing that the 990 has to offer is its incredible background noise elimination. While most microphones still pick up sound from the off-axis of the cardioid pattern, this mic has little to no sound from the off-axis.

The frequency response is very good at 30Hz – 20kHz, with a minor boost in the high end. The small high-end increase helps punctuate and brighten up the acoustic guitar and voice tonality. At times, the top end may come across a bit harsh, be sure to adjust the mic placement or EQ if needed.

Not only is the MXL 990 great at recording acoustic and vocals, but it’s incredibly versatile as well. For the price, it has high reviews across the board for voice-overs, gaming, podcast, and singers of all genres. If your building a home studio or you do video voice-overs as well, the MXL 990’s versatility is a huge plus. In general, this microphone is one of the entry-level mics from MXL. However, it’s rich sound quality will definitely surprise you for its price. The mic is pretty sensitive, so you may need to adjust the gain accordingly.

Pros

  • Great at minimizing background noise
  • Incredibly versatile, best used for acoustic guitar, voice-overs, LiveStream

Features

  • Champagne finish microphone
  • 6-micron gold-sputtered diaphragm
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • 30Hz – 20kHz frequency response

Included Accessories

  • Shockmount
  • Hard Mount Mic Stand Adapter
  • Carrying Case

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Max SPL: 130 dB
Sensitivity: 15mV
Frequency Response: 30 Hz – 20 kHz
Output Impedance: 200 ohms
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Diaphragm Size: 2.36 in. x 5.11 in.
Signal to Noise Ratio: 80 dB
Power Source: Phantom Power 48V

2. MXL V67G

The MXL V67G is a sizeable 32mm pressure gradient condenser mic for a meager price. It is very highly rated across the board for multiple home studio purposes. Many Rappers, podcasters, singers, and voice-over speakers claim the MXL V67G is a near-flawless bang for the buck.

Rightfully so, it’s one of the most popular microphones at its abnormally low price of $58 due to its solid-state preamp balanced transformer output. The large-condenser mic produces a warm but smooth sound that undeniably exceeds its low price. The V67G has very little handling noise with a max SPL of 130dB.

Although the MXL V67G build quality looks more like ABS plastic from pictures, it is surprisingly made of solid metal. Metal microphones tend to last longer compared to those made of plastic, keeping your investment worthwhile. It uses an XLR output that requires phantom power.

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Self Noise: 74 dB
Max SPL: 130 dB
Sensitivity: 15 mV/Pa
Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20kHz
Output Impedance: 200 ohms
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Output: Transformer-Balanced
Diaphragm Size: 32mm/1.26in.
Power Source: Phantom Power 48V

3. Audio-Technica AT2020

$99

As a long-time owner of the Audio-Technica AT2020, I can confidently say without a doubt that this microphone is extremely good at recording acoustic guitar and vocals as well.

While the Shure SM57 is the “industry standard for dynamic microphones in the $100 range,” they say this mic is the “industry standard for condenser microphones in the $100 range.” The mic feels like it’s built to last with its solid all-metal body.

The AT2020 provides a full frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, picking up every frequency in the audible spectrum. It can be used for recording nearly every instrument. However, it worked best for me on vocals, acoustic, and harmonica.

It has incredibly high SPL handling at 144dB with an exceptional dynamic range. Those technical details are not only great for the mics at the low price, but for condenser microphones in general as well. The high SPLs make the microphone worthy of the loudest of singers or instruments. It’s one of the few reasons that give the AT2020 the ability to be extremely versatile as well. With the capability to handle loud sounds without distorting, many people use the Audio-Technica AT2020 for drum overheads, guitar cabs, and bass cabs as well.

The Audio-Technica AT2020 has a large-diaphragm that helps sustain a rich vocal tone. A large diaphragm microphone, in general, can capture more of the acoustic energy than a smaller diaphragm mic. One of the more significant technical advantages of a large diaphragm is that it’s very low in self-noise. Fortunately, the AT2020 has very low self-noise for the price at only 20dB.

The diagram is also custom low-mass engineered with an excellent transient response for recording a variety of instruments. A higher transient response microphone is great for recording fast auditory instruments or vocals such as percussion instruments, rap, etc.

In my opinion, the AT2020 is too suitable for its price range. It has an XLR output that requires 48 volts of phantom power. I used this microphone to record acoustic for my album “The Journey Of Men” by Carnelia. It worked very well for my acoustic guitar and back-up vocals. Keep in mind, this mic will only work with an audio interface and does not come with a pop filter.

The Audio-Technica AT2020, was able to perform exceptionally well with the two entirely different voice types on the album. Trent had a much deeper voice where mine was more soft and airy. Not to forget, my voice is also quite nasally in which the AT2020 was able to smoothen out quite well. However, we will get into the tech specs and the reasons why the microphone is quite versatile a bit later. Below are a few songs off that album of the Audio-Technica AT2020 being used with a cheap PreSonus AudioBox USB interface.

Pros

  • High SPL handling
  • All metal build
  • Very low self-noise for the price range
  • Wide dynamic range for incredible versatility
  • Full frequency response at 20Hz-20kHz
  • Excellent transient response with its custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm
  • Ideal for home studios on a budget with its superior versatility; Best used for vocals, acoustic guitar, voice-overs, podcast, and rap vocals.
Included Accessories
  • Stand Mount
  • Mic Pouch

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Self Noise: 20dB
Max SPL: 144dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Output Impedance: 100 ohms
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Diaphragm Size: 0.63″ (16mm)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 74dB
Power Source: Requires +48V phantom power

4. Samson C01

 

One of the highest-rated large condenser mic’s, the Samson C01 is a very affordable XLR microphone. Currently running below $100 on Amazon, It is a remarkable investment for your project. Something I really like is its extremely robust design. With its all-metal grille and body, it’s easy to tell the mic was built for longevity the moment you hold it.

The Samson C01 is excellent with background noise rejection due to its rare polar pattern being a Hypercardioid. In general, the vast majority of microphones have a cardioid polar pattern meaning it picks up sound in the general front area of the mic. A supercardioid has an even tighter range as it picks up sound directly in front of the mic. But best of all, a hypercardioid like the Samson C01U has the tightest range of all when it comes to picking up sound. This is why the hypercardioid Samson C01 microphone is incredible at rejecting background noise.

The C01U is a sensitive microphone that doesn’t need too much gain. Compared to most condenser microphones below $100, it allows you a bit more headroom to play with. I was pleasantly surprised that it produces a very natural and crisp sound for its meager price. Another benefit of this microphone’s great sound quality is its 19mm large-diaphragm mic. It helps capture more of the acoustic energy in the performance. Lastly, the exceptional frequency response at 20Hz-18KHz captures the vast majority of the entire audio spectrum.

The Samson C01U is an absolute flawless bang for the buck microphone for rejecting background noise while maintaining exceptional sound quality.

Features

  • USB mic connection
  • Hypercardioid polar pattern for phenomenal background noise rejection
  • Compatible with any computer-based Digital Audio Workstation
  • Large shock-mounted diaphragm
  • 16-bit/48kHz sampling rate
  • Full metal body and grill
  • No latency earphone monitoring 

Included Accessories

  • Swivel mount
  • Mini tripod stand

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Frequency Response: 20Hz-18KHz
Build: Metal
Sample rate: 48k
Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid
Power Requirement: USB

5. Nady PCM-100

Next in line, the Nady PCM-100 is a good condenser XLR microphone running below $100. This uniquely designed vintage-style microphone comes with a carrying case customized for its retro style. Surprisingly, the sound quality is much better than I expected.

It’s able to capture the voice well for singing, speech, or rapping. The audio is crisp full and well balanced throughout the frequencies. However, the most surprising frequencies were in the higher range due to its customized presence peak. Most microphones below $100 are unable to capture the high end in a crisp manner as the Nady PCM-100 does. This is yet another reason why many people use it not only at the studio but for a live performance as well. 

Not only is the Nady PCM-100 great for at-home studio use, but live performances as well. As a matter of fact, I first heard about this microphone a few months back while filling in as a bassist for a water park house band. It was an Elvis Presley tribute band where the singer used this very mic.

Not only was the sound quality great, the mic definitely added a nice visual element to the show. Afterward, he told me how he’s been using it without any issues for about 4 years. The build quality is sturdy and built for longevity.

In my opinion, the Nady PCM-100 is possibly the best microphone below $100 to record a female’s voice. The optimized presence boost in the highs helps bring out more clarity in a voice that’s higher in the audible spectrum. If I were to suggest this condenser for live performance, blues, souls, indie, and classic rock bands would benefit from the Nady PCM-100.

For at home or studio use, this mic will be great for Youtube channels and female singers. Overall, the Nady PCM-100 is an excellent value for the low price. We highly recommend it.

Features & Details

  • Vintage style
  • Electret condenser
  • Requires phantom power
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Switchable low-frequency roll-off

Included Accessories

  • Carry case

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Sensitivity: -36dB, +/-2dB
Frequency Response: 30Hz to 18kHz
Output Impedance: 100 Ohms
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Diaphragm Size: 2.63 x 6.75″
Signal to Noise Ratio: 72dB
Power Source: 48V phantom power

6. MXL 770

$72

The MXL 770 is a remarkably excellent budget microphone that, again, is too good for its price range. With an incredibly high percentage of flawless reviews, the MXL 770 will not disappoint you. The Large-diaphragm condenser is naturally good at capturing the acoustic energy and clarity.

What’s surprising to me is this microphone is cheaper than the MXL 990, but in my opinion, it sounds better.

The 770 produces a full but clear low end with a bright high-end sound. For the scenario that your recording sounds a bit boomy or muddy, the bass roll-off switch on the side of the mic should do the trick. If your recording very loud instruments, the -10dB switch will help with that as well.

Overall, this is an incredibly versatile microphone that is priced extremely low for how great it is.

Features

  • Included 1-year warranty
  • -10dB pad option
  • Bass roll-off switch option
  • All metal construction
  • Incredible off-axis sound rejection

Included Accessories

  • Shock mount
  • Carry case

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Sensitivity: 15mV/Pa
Max SPL: 137 dB
Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20kHz
Output Impedance: 150 ohms
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Diaphragm Size: 2.32 in. x 6.22 in.
Signal to Noise Ratio: 74 dB
Power Source: 48V phantom power

7. Behringer B-1 

Last but not least, the Behringer B-1 is a cardioid condenser microphone running below $100 on Amazon. First off, I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the carrying case was for a mic in this low of a price range. It has a large-diaphragm capsule that helps capture more acoustic energy of your performance.

With an all-metal grille and body, the Behringer B-1 is built to last. Directly in front of the microphones is a three-way switch that all have their own settings. (1) Switched to the left is the high pass filter. (2) Turned to the right is a -10dB pad for recording loud instruments or vocals. (3) Switched to the center is the default flat position.

In terms of sound quality, it has a boost in the highs for added clarity and presence. This boost works incredibly well for vocals since it helps accentuate the voice. It provides the complete frequency response within the audible spectrum to the human ear at 20Hz-20kHz.

If I had to compare the Behringer B-1 to the Audio-Technica AT2020, I would say the Audio-Technica AT2020 is better for versatility, but the Behringer B-1 is best for explicitly singing. The Audio-Technica AT2020 is better for recording an electric guitar, acoustic guitar, rapping, spoken word of any type, harmonica, and bass cabinets. However, the Behringer B-1 is better at recording singers.

Features

  • -10dB pads
  • 75Hz low cut filter
  • large-diaphragm capsule
  • Pressure-gradient transducer
  • Metal build

Included Accessories

  • Shock Mount
  • Aluminum carry case
  • Windscreen

Tech Specs

Microphone Type: Condenser
Max SPL: 138dB (148db with pad)
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Output Impedance: 50 ohms
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Self Noise: 13dB
Diaphragm Size: 1″
Signal to Noise Ratio: 81dB 
Power Source: +48V phantom power

Quick Recap

Here Are The Best Condenser XLR Microphones Under $100

  • MXL 990 MIDNIGHT
  • MXL V67G
  • Audio-Technica AT2020
  • Samson C01
  • Nady PCM-100
  • MXL 770
  • Behringer B-1 
If you want to see our top pick from this list, view our Best Condenser Microphone Under $100 complete review.

Need a microphone for female singers? See our top choices here

If you’re interested in a mic for Female voice-over, see our top choices here