The world is a noisy place. No matter whether you are out in nature or locked into the urban grid, you are surrounded by a cacophony of sounds that can be either pleasing or painful. When it comes to capturing the right sound and having it retain the tone you want, you will need one of the best condenser mic options on the market.
Even though they are an older design than dynamic mics, condenser mics are still the preferred method of studio recording. We will explore the reasons that this model remains so popular, and we will even list the top ten best condenser mics that we could find on the internet. In the end, we awarded one model our “best condenser mic” award as we found it to be one the best product for its price point.
We will share our winner and our runners up with you, but first, let us answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the best condenser mics around.
1. What Is A Condenser Mic?
A condenser mic is a microphone that uses a thin membrane in close proximity to a solid metal plate to convert sound into electrical signals. They achieve this by recording the difference in capacitance that changes when the distance between these metal plates changes. Unlike some dynamic mics, even the best condenser mic requires a power source to work.
2. Are Condenser Mics The Same As Capacitor Mics?
Yes. Condenser microphones record the changes in distance between the diaphragm and the backing plate. It is for this reason that Americans call these mics “condensers” since it is the condensation of space between these plates that converts sound vibrations into electrical signals that can be recorded.
The British, on the other hand, call these microphones “capacitor microphones” for a similar reason. The change in capacitance between the diaphragm and backing plate is what is recorded as the electronic signal. Both names come from the recording process, just at different points in the chain of conversion between vibrations in the air and electrical signals in the wires.
3. Why Use One Of The Best Condenser Mics Over A Dynamic Mic?
Dynamic mics have many advantages. However, they tend to pick up a lot more noise than condenser mics. To cut down on unwanted noise from a studio, instruments are often recorded with a condenser mic. Condensers are also more sensitive to transients. Transients are quick bursts of energy, like the sound of striking a drum. Dynamic mics can sometimes lose the “attack” of the drum, and so condensers are preferred when high-energy songs are being recorded.
4. Are Condenser Mics Always Better Than Dynamic Mics?
In general, you will get cleaner and more directed recordings out of condenser mics. However, some of the cheaper condenser mics will not outperform a top-of-the-line dynamic mic. Only the best condenser mics will outperform the better dynamic mics.
5. Where Can You Buy The Best Condenser Mic?
You may be able to find one of the best condenser mics on this list at your local music or electronics store. However, we know many of our readers are citizens of the internet. To help them out, all the products we reviewed can be found on Amazon. We’ve even provided links for you.
We evaluated many products in our search for the best condenser mic on the market. First, we narrowed down the nearly infinite list of mics available on the internet. Only the cream of the crop was ultimately scored. Once we had separated the wheat from the chaff, we came up with a shortlist of the ten best condenser mics around. Each of these competitors was then scored according to how it fared with the following questions:
- How easy is this mic to use?
- How sensitive is this condenser mic?
- How easily does this mic connect to other gear?
- Does this product offer noise cancellation?
- How well does its noise cancellation work?
- What is the overall quality of sound recorded by this microphone?
The entries were then scored across our best condenser mic criteria so that a mathematical winner could be picked.
The best condenser mics really run the gamut when it comes to their price points. Some of the most viable options we found can be purchased for around a hundred dollars. More on this list tended to hover around the two hundred dollar mark, but some cost nearly a thousand dollars.
- Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- Rode NTK Condenser Microphone
- Rode NT1-A Condenser Microphone
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
- MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone
- M-Audio Nova Condenser Microphone
- MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Sterling Audio St55 Large Diaphragm Fet Condenser Microphone
- Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- Flat, wide-range frequency response for exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech
- Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic display of response setting
- Improved rejection of electromagnetic hum, optimized for shielding against broadband interference emitted by computer monitors
Few of the best condenser mics are as storied as the Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. This model was partially used to record Michael Jackon’s famous Thriller. This is a mid to high-end microphone in terms of price. The design is classic. While it can be used for any type of directional recording, it is widely considered to be one of the best condenser mic options for recording male vocals.
- Picks up a flat, wide-range of frequencies for a clean sound
- Comes with a pop-shield and a carrying case
- Isolated from shocks by air suspension
- Weighs only about two pounds
- Quite directional
- Low level output is subpar
We found this to be among the easiest microphones to set up and use. Nothing threw us for a loop using this model.
Although the pickup was quite directional, it nonetheless was very sensitive to tiny changes in sound.
The Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone is known for easily integrating into existing audio recording setups.
This model does not have a noise cancellation feature per se. However, it does use an internal “air suspension” to virtually eliminate all mechanical noise transmission.
This is potentially the best condenser mic for picking up male vocals.
Rode NTK Premium Tube Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- ENSURE YOU BUY GENUINE RØDE PRODUCTS! Products from sellers which say ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ under the price are NOT authorized resellers, and may not be selling genuine product.
- Buy only from Amazon.com (labelled ‘shipped and sold by Amazon.com’)
- A premium valve condenser microphone designed to provide incredible detail and warmth in the studio
The Rode NTK Condenser Microphone is a premium valve-type condenser microphone. It provides incredible detail and a great warmth of sound. Many users find it to be the best condenser mic for recording rich sound from vocals, acoustic instruments, drum overheads, guitar amps, and even pianos.
- Excellently records a wide range of instruments
- Great for studio use
- Comes with audiophile-grade components
- Not the cheapest mic on the market
This microphone comes with a lot of hand-selected features that are better for the professional than for the amateur.
The hand-selected twin-triode 6922 valve makes for nearly unparalleled sensitivity.
This mic easily hooks up to existing systems. However, its more advanced features may make this step slightly more complicated than it is for other mics.
This mic picks up very little unintended noise. It makes for a much more streamlined recording process.
The sound quality is so good, it will have you believing that a tiny Australian microphone company like Rode would quickly establish campuses in Los Angeles, New York, London, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Seoul.
Rode NT1-A Anniversary Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphone Package
- as the seller is the only authorized fulfilled by dealer, and purchases from unauthorized dealers carry no
- Delivers a warmth, extended dynamic range, and high SPL capability typical of more expensive offerings
- An Incredible self-noise level of only 5dBA makes this an extremely quiet studio microphone
This is another great product from Rode. It is one of the best condenser mics that you can buy for under two hundred and fifty dollars. This is the entire package. It comes with its own carrying bag and pop shield to further enhance the quality of its recordings.
- Comes with all you need
- Delivers a warm, dynamic range of sounds
- Greatly cuts down on noise compared to other mics
- Some users report a short life for this product
It works quite great at the beginning of its life. Some have issues getting that same quality as this product ages.
We were impressed with how sensitive this microphone was. Its sensitivity is more comparable to mics that are much more expensive.
We experienced no problems connecting this mic to our existing recording setup.
Some noise does get through, but for the most part, this mic recorded just what we hoped it would.
The quality that is captured by this mic is more reminiscent of higher-end mics than of lower-end ones.
Many users consider the Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone to be one of the best investments for sound recording. It does not jack up its price with bells and whistles, but it out-competes most mics that are in its price range. It’s great for recording sounds up close.
- Affordable and well made
- Produces excellent recordings of both instruments and vocals
- Comes with a soft case
- Can be purchased for under a hundred dollars
- Unfortunately, it picks up a fair amount of noise
- Not the highest quality microphone
This is one of the best condenser mics for beginners.
It captures sound well, but sometimes that sound comes with extra noise on the recording.
We were able to hook this up with very little additional fanfare.
This is probably the weakest component of this mic. However, few mics that are this cheap work this well.
The sound quality is as good as you can get for under a hundred dollars.
One great feature of condenser mics is that they often look better than other types. In fact, the MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone is one of the best condenser mics in terms of its aesthetics. It is handsomely green and gold-plated. It actually provides solid sound recording for seeming to put so much of its design effort into its looks. Some things can be both pretty and functional, like this mic.
- Beautiful green and gold design
- Weighs a measly ten ounces
- Provides an “old school” mellow sound
- Can be purchased for under a hundred One of the best condenser mics that can be bought for under sixty dollars
- Sound quality is tailored to a specific vibe
- Offers fewer features than its competition
We were never tripped up when using this microphone.
This is not the mic you want to isolate sounds from one another.
It easily integrates into any existing sound recording setup.
You will probably pick up some unintended noise with this mic.
The quality is quite impressive for the price point that MXL asks.
M-Audio M-Track 2X2 Vocal Studio Pro | Complete Vocal Production…
- Includes M-Track C-Series 2X2 USB/USB-C Audio Interface featuring 24-bit/192kHz resolution for professional recording / monitoring and all new Crystal Preamps that deliver pristine, transparent sound
- Dedicated XLR+¼” TRS combo input and ¼” instrument High-Z input accommodates all common input types; Stereo ¼” outs; ¼” headphone out with independent level control for versatile monitoring options
- Hi-Speed USB connection with USB/Direct balance knob for zero-latency monitoring; Includes both standard USB and USB-C connection cables
The M-Audio Nova uses a 1.1” diameter evaporated gold diaphragm to produce smooth and accurate sound. It picks up sound in a cardioid pattern so you can best isolate your recording from the noise in the room. Its look is solid if a bit uninspired.
- Sound is both smooth and accurate
- Can easily cut out noise from recordings
- Comes with a hard mount, a soft case, and an XLR cable
- Difficult to find in stock
- Not one of the cheapest mics
If you’ve used a condenser mic before, this model will not throw you for a loop.
This mic picks up what you want to record while easily cutting out that which you do not want to record.
We never ran into a problem connecting this mic.
This is one of the better mics when it comes to isolating your recording from the noise in the room.
The sounds recorded by this mic are extremely lifelike.
This is one of the best condenser mics for the budding recording artist. It is one of the best options for its price. It is easy to set up and easy to use. However, it still delivers top of the line sound.
- One of the most affordable options in this list
- Records vocals and instruments with equal ease
- Comes with its own hard case
- Picks up more background noise than higher-end options
This is a competitor for the easiest microphone to use.
This mic is not as sensitive as more expensive microphones.
Connection is a breeze. This factor aids its claim to be one of the easiest mics to set up.
This feature is quite subpar. However, it is also a cheap microphone by comparison.
The sound quality is quite impressive for how little money MXL aks for this mic.
This is a handsome mic. Looking beautiful in black and silver, it also does a great job recording just the right sounds of the studio. It comes with a rugged carrying case to keep this mic looking great for the long-haul.
- Possibly the best condenser mic in terms of sensitivity
- Sensitive to sound you want while still cutting out noise
- Design is handsome
- Comes with a hard carrying case
- Can be difficult to find in stock
Everything hooks up easily. The on-mic controls are easy to understand and to use.
This is potentially the most sensitive mic on our list.
We never lost connectivity when testing this as one of the best condenser mics on the market.
This microphone easily isolates sound from noise.
The sound quality is greatly aided by the disk resonator design that this model incorporates.
For a microphone that has a color in the title, the Blue Yeti USB Microphone actually comes in a wide variety of colors. You can choose between platinum, red, silver, Aztec copper, black, cool grey, lunar grey, midnight blue, prime red, satin red, slate, space grey, teal, and “whiteout” white. This may seem superficial, but today many people make money by recording video alongside their audio. If you are aiming to be a YouTube influencer, even your gear needs to look good.
- Can be switched between cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, and bidirectional recording
- Easily connects to either Macs or PCS
- Many color options
- Great for podcasting and streaming
- Better for home recording than studio recording
We highly recommend this mic for beginners.
This is great for recording voice over and podcasts.
USB connectivity means it works with any computer.
It is not the absolute best at cutting out unwanted sound. However, it is great for at-home projects.
The audio quality is great for a mic that costs less than two hundred dollars.
Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser…
- Ensure you buy geniune Rode products. Products from sellers which say ‘fulfilled by amazon’ under the price are not authorized resellers, and may not be selling genuine product.
- Buy only from Amazon.com (labelled ‘shipped and sold by Amazon.com’)
- High quality studio microphone with the convenience of USB connectivity
This is Rode’s answer to the USB mic. The Rode NT-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone provides studio-quality recording while being able to easily hook up to your Mac or PC through a USB cable. Rode goes the extra mile and provides you with a professional pop shield, a ring mount, a tripod desk stand, a storage pouch, and a USB cable.
- Comes with both USB and 3.5mm connectivity
- Package includes many extras like a storage pouch and a ring mount
- Sound is nearly unparalleled for a USB mic
- Only uses one polar pattern
- Sometimes picks up desk and keypad noises
USB connectivity makes it extremely easy to use.
This mic is perhaps a bit too sensitive. Some users have problems with their mic picking up their controller presses or keypad clicks.
Whether you use USB or 3.5mm, this is one of the best condenser mics in terms of connectivity.
It does not do a stellar job at keeping unwanted noise out of your recording.
The sound that it does pick up sounds quite good, if just a bit noisy.
The Verdict: The Best Condenser Mic
Ultimately, which microphone is the best condenser mic for you will depend on your needs and your budget. Some users are able to spend up to a thousand dollars on their microphones and this may be necessary if you are attempting to record album quality sound. However, many people today are using microphones for audiences that need to hear but are not necessarily audiophiles.
Many people looking for new microphones want to enhance their Twitch stream or their YouTube news channel. For ventures like these, consistency is more important than producing the highest quality of studio sound. Some of these users value noise cancellation over sound quality, since audiences would rather not have to listen to annoying button presses while they watch a live stream. Many people make money off of playing video games in the public eye, and for them, being cheap is a much better feature than that all noise is cut out of their recording.
With these considerations in mind, we had to pick the Blue Yeti USB Microphone to receive our Best Condenser Mic designation. Not only does the microphone easily connect to your computer, but it also looks great whenever it is caught on camera. The sound it picks up is great and many people consider this mic to represent the gold standard for budget recording options. Perhaps the most advanced feature on this mic is that it can be easily switched between cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, and bidirectional recording modes.
All these features are packed into an affordable bundle that makes the Blue Yeti USB Microphone our top pick for the best condenser mic on the market. We wish you the best in your recording adventures with one of the best condenser mics around.