What are the best cheap microphones for recording voiceover or podcast below $200? I have been in the same shoes as many of you are in right now. Where you’re 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, or voiceovers for YouTube 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, and the help of my friends working in audio, we formulated a list of the 9 best microphones for voiceover or podcasts below $200.
Before We Get Started, A Few Things To Keep In Mind
- USB Mics are cheaper and simpler to use because you don’t need to purchase an additional interface.
- Microphones that need Phantom Power require an additional interface.
- There are 2 types of studio microphones; Dynamic and Condenser. The majority of microphones on this list are condenser mics. Generally, condenser microphones are more detailed and articulate.
1. Audio-Technica AT2035
Any fans of Jocko Willink? Well, Jocko Willink uses the Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone for his podcast. I can confidently say without a doubt that this microphone is extremely good for podcasts or voice-overs at the price. You can get this mic as a podcast packet or the standalone mic at a lower price. The AT2035 provides a full frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, picking up every frequency in the audible spectrum.
It has an incredibly high SPL handling at 148dB with an exceptional dynamic range. Those technical details are not only great for microphones at this low price, but great for condenser microphones in general. The high SPLs make the microphone worthy of loud audio sources. It’s one of the few reasons that give the AT2035 the ability for extreme versatility.
The Audio-Technica AT2035 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 AT2035 has very low self-noise for the price at only 12dB.
The diagram is also custom low-mass engineered with a great transient response. A higher transient response microphone is beneficial for picking up quick audio such as rapping, speaking quickly, or burst instruments like a snare. In my opinion, the AT2035 is too suitable for its price range. Keep in mind, this mic will only work with an audio interface and does not come with a pop filter. It has an XLR output that requires 48 volts of phantom power.
Here is a video of Jocko Willink’s podcast using the Audio-Technica AT2035PK. (With different headphones)
- 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.
- Mic clip for boom stand
- Mic Pouch
- ATH-M20x headphones
- Boom arm
|Output Impedance:||120 ohms|
|Diaphragm Size:||0.63″ (16mm)|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||74dB|
|Power Source:||Requires +48V phantom power|
2. Samson C01U
Recommended for podcast from Dan Benjamin, who is the creator of Podcast Method, this microphone is an incredible bang for the buck. The Samson C01U is a very affordable USB microphone that does not need an additional interface to use. It’s 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. Supercardioid polar pattern has an even tighter range picking up sound in front of the mic. 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 supercardioid and Hypercardioid microphones are generally better at rejecting background noise.
The C01U is a sensitive microphone that doesn’t need too much gain allowing you some headroom to play with. For the affordable price, It’s fantastic for voice-over, Youtube videos, and podcasting. I was pleasantly surprised that it produces a very natural and crisp sound. Another benefit of this microphone sound quality is its large-diaphragm mic and exceptional frequency response at 20Hz-18KHz.
The Samson C01U is an absolute flawless bang for the buck microphone for podcast and voice-over. It’s excellent at rejecting background noise while maintaining exceptional sound quality. We highly recommend it.
- 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
- Swivel mount
- Mini tripod stand
3. TZ Stellar X2
Considering it’s one of the highest-rated condenser microphones on the market, the TZ Stellar X2 is an extremely reliable microphone that produces great audio for podcasts.
This mic is an excellent choice for an affordable price. We like to think of this mic as your business launching pad. It’s the tool to take your podcast or voiceovers to expand your business until your able to upgrade.
Rightfully so, it’s one of the most popular microphones at its price range due to its solid-state preamp balanced transformer output. The mic produces a warm but smooth sound. It has very little handling noise with a max SPL of 130dB. While rapping or singing through this mic, you will hear no audio coloration.
Although the 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.
4. MXL 990 MIDNIGHT
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 spoken word exceptionally well. For the low price, you will be shocked by how crisp and clean the sound quality is.
A unique benefit for recording voice-over and podcasts that the 990 Midnight 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 wide at 30Hz – 20kHz, with a minor boost in the high end. The small high-end increase helps punctuate and brighten up the voice tonality. At times, the top end may come across as 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. 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, its rich sound quality will surprise you for its price. The mic is pretty sensitive, so you may need to adjust the gain accordingly. Overall, we highly recommend the affordable MXL 990 MIDNIGHT condenser microphone for podcasts and voice-over.
- Great at minimizing background noise
- Incredibly versatile. Best used for voice-overs or LiveStream
- Champagne finish microphone
- 6-micron gold-sputtered diaphragm
- Cardioid polar pattern
- 30Hz – 20kHz frequency response
- Hard Mount Mic Stand Adapter
- Carrying Case
|Max SPL:||130 dB|
|Frequency Response:||30 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Output Impedance:||200 ohms|
|Diaphragm Size:||2.36 in. x 5.11 in.|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||80 dB|
|Power Source:||Phantom Power 48V|
5. TONOR USB Microphone Kit
This may seem too good to be true. The TONOR USB Microphone Kit is essentially a kit coming with everything you need to start your podcast. But that’s not the best news. The entire podcast kit is currently running below $50. Personally, I’m highly confused as to how the company Tonor makes a dime in profit off this.
Better yet, it is actually the highest rated podcast mic on Amazon. You get a shock mount, pop filter, scissor arm stand, windscreen, and a USB port. Compatible with OS laptops and PC. To connect it to a smartphone, you must use an OTG adapter.
The cardioid electret condenser microphone produces a much better quality of sound than expected. It is very clear for speaking on podcasts or voiceovers. Many gamers and live streamers love using this mic, as well. The USB A to B cable plugs directly from the mic to the PC. on the cord, you will see a magnet ring that eradicates interference. The cardioid pickup pattern is pretty good at rejecting background noise coming from the off-axis.
Besides the abnormally low price for the product, what surprised me the most was the mic was made of metal. I was definitely not expecting a microphone. This cheap to have a tough build quality. Most people don’t need instructions; the setup is straightforward. In other words, you can begin using this mic within five minutes of its arrival.
Overall, I am profoundly surprised by how fantastic of a deal the Rofeer Podcast Kit is. We highly recommend it for anyone trying to start a podcast or live stream on a tight budget.
- Pop filter
- Scissor arm Stand
- USB port
Details & Tech Specs
- Electret condenser
- Sample rate: 192kHZ/24bit
- USB 2.0 port
- Compatible with OS laptops and PC
6. AKG P220
The AKG P220 is an incredible condenser microphone that delivers a very accurate representation of your voice. With a direct but warm tone, the microphone has many incredible reviews from podcasters, voice-overs, hip-hop, and rap artists. For a variety of reasons, many say they couldn’t believe this mic is under $200.
With a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, it captures all the broad frequencies of any vocal type. As a side note on the mics sound quality, many claim the AKG P220 works very well with baritone (low) voices. It has excellent longevity with robust build quality.
The large diaphragm for the AKG P220 microphone, or any mic with a large diaphragm, 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. Overall, the cheaply priced AKG P220 is an excellent value for podcasters or voice-overs.
- 300HZ Bass roll-off – Ideal for cutting out muddy lows on the audio depending on your room or vocal tone.
- -20dB – Helps cut out a noisy background, only picks up what is directly in front of the mic.
- Metal travel case
|Output Impedance:||200 ohms|
|Diaphragm Size:||1″ (25.4mm)|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||78dB|
|Max SPL:||135dB (155dB with Pad)|
7. Rode NT-USB
With the exception of headphones, the Rode NT-USB condenser microphone comes with all of the accessories you need to begin recording right away. Considering it’s a USB mic, you do not need an additional interface. It’s a very sensitive mic that picks up many things that you wouldn’t typically hear.
Many people like the mic’s sensitivity, while some do not. In my personal opinion, this mic is better for softer voices or spoken word rather than louder vocals. The vast majority of podcasters or voice-overs I’ve encountered tend to record their vocals on the softer side. Thus, the Rode NT-USB mic just might be an excellent choice.
It offers 16Bit 48 Kilohertz for great vocal clarity. Not to forget, it’s really good at eliminating background noise. There are two knobs on the back of the Rode NT-USB; The top one adjusts the sound you hear between what’s coming out of the computer compared to the mic. The bottom knob adjusts your headphone volume.
Overall, this mic is an excellent USB condenser microphone that comes with everything you need to get started. It’s a great bang for the buck, and we highly recommend it.
- Pop Shield
- Protective Zip Case
- Stand Mount
- 6m USB Cable
|Max SPL:||110 dB|
|Diaphragm Size:||0.5″ (12.7mm)|
|Power Requirement:||USB 5VDC|
8. MXL 770
The affordable MXL 770 is a remarkable condenser microphone. Again, it too is too suitable 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 of your voice and string instruments.
This mic produces a natural sound of your voice for what it really is. What’s surprising to me is this microphone is cheaper than the MXL 990, but in my opinion, it actually 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.
Overall, this is an incredibly versatile microphone that is priced extremely low for how great it is. We highly recommend it for podcasts and voice-overs.
- Included 1-year warranty
- -10dB pad option
- Bass roll-off switch option
- All metal construction
- Incredible off-axis sound rejection
- Shock mount
- Carry case
|Max SPL:||137 dB|
|Frequency Response:||30Hz – 20kHz|
|Output Impedance:||150 ohms|
|Diaphragm Size:||2.32 in. x 6.22 in.|
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||74 dB|
|Power Source:||48V phantom power|
9. Blue Yeti USB Microphone
The Blue Yeti USB condenser is the most popular low-budget mic on the market. Standing at roughly a foot tall, the mic is made of solid metal for boosted durability except for its flimsy buttons. The Blue Yeti is much larger and heavier than most microphones. Considering it is USB, it does not require phantom power that allows you to begin recording right away once received.
The Blue Yeti has a sampling rate of 16 bit at 48 kHz. Especially for its low cost, it produces excellent sound quality. It was the very first microphone to earn the THX certification for providing the full frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz and its clear sound.
- Comes in many colors. Some colors are cheaper than others on Amazon
- Foldable (making it easier for travel)
- Designed to remain on a desk.
- 4 picking patterns including stereo mode
Requirements To Use This Mic
- Mac – Intel Core Duo or higher, 8GB RAM or more, OS X 10.6.4 or later
- PC – Intel Core Duo or higher, 8GB RAM or more, Windows 7 SP1 or later
|Sampling Rate:||16 bit at 48 kHz|
|Max SPL:||120dB SPL|
|Polar Pattern:||Cardioid, Figure-8, Omni, Stereo|
|Diaphragm Size:||3 x 14mm|
|Power Source:||USB powered / 48V DC phantom power|
To Sum It Up
While it may be exciting to purchase a budget-friendly mic, You must use an audio interface with the XLR condenser microphones. Luckily, there is a reliable and decent quality audio interface below $50 on the market. See our full review here.
Here Are The Best Cheap Microphones For Voiceover Or Podcast Below $200
- Audio-Technica AT2035
- Samson C01U
- TZ Stellar X2
- MXL 990 MIDNIGHT
- Rofeer Podcast Kit
- AKG P220
- Rode NT-USB
- MXL 770
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone