How can you pick the best condenser mic for you when the market is swarmed with mics?
Well, it’s simple! You just have to keep reading!
Because here we will go through the 16 top condenser mics currently on the market, and present you with their pros and cons so that you will easily pick the best one for you!
Let’s take one moment though to check out why condenser mics are so popular.
First of all, even if you have just started to look for a condenser mic, you will notice that they are not the cheapest mics out there.
However, spending a little more money can actually save you a lot, because condenser mics have many different applications: you can use them to record vocals, acoustic instruments, percussion, and even sound effects!
They are really sensitive mics and deliver warm and rich sound. Their only requirement is soundproofing your room: they pick up every little noise that your neighbor might make, so you should use them in a proper studio environment.
Now let’s check them out!
The 16 Best Condenser Mics of 2020 include:
There is no better mic to begin a list of the best condenser mic than the Neumann U87 Ai.
Do you know why?
This mic has been an industry standard for many years now, as both sound engineers and musicians have praised its natural and rich sound performance.
Plus, it is a versatile mic: you can use it for vocals (both musical and spoken word) and different instruments, and it performs well with everything!
Note that this is a mic that has been around for a long time, but it is still popular for its unique sound.
The three switchable polar patterns is another advantage: you can choose between cardioid, bi-directional, and omnidirectional.
Sadly, this is an expensive mic that is mainly directed to professional studio owners.
If you are looking for something more budget-friendly, it’s better to check out some of the other mics on this list.
Now let’s move to a more budget-friendly but equally famous condenser mic.
The AKG C414 XLII is a large-diaphragm microphone that has been praised for its versatility.
It has been based on an older mic by AKG, the C12, that was a well-reputed mic for its audio quality.
The C414 also delivers crystal clear audio quality with exceptional detail in the high frequencies, but it might seem a little harsh if you are used to more.
Here comes a question for you: how many different polar patterns does a mic need to fulfill your needs?
Because this one comes with 9 switchable polar patterns! Those include cardioid, wide-cardioid, hypercardioid, omnidirectional, bi-directional, as well as four intermediate positions!
Moreover, it comes with a high-pass filter and an attenuation pad that both include different options to choose from. An additional lock mode allows you to easily lock the settings of the mic.
The package ships with an elastic mount, a pop filter, a windshield, and an aluminum case.
Here comes an iconic microphone: the Telefunken U47 is a high-end tube microphone that delivers crystal clear and warm sound performance.
It was first manufactured in 1947, but it has been updated many times since then, and it now comes with an improved capsule and a new transformer.
It offers both cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns for versatility. It is also a great mic for every occasion: from vocals to acoustic and electric instruments, it provides you with detailed sound.
Another advantage of the U47 is its beauty: it comes with a minimalistic retro design that is really sleek. The same applies to all the included accessories.
Warning: checking the price of this mic might give you a heart attack! This mic is very, very expensive.
The package includes a power supply, a 25’ Sommer tube microphone cable, shock mount, a locking flight case, and a wooden microphone box.
For those of you who are looking for a premium-quality flexible condenser mic, I would highly recommend the Blue Bottle by the company Blue Microphones.
This tube microphone comes with a Class A amplifier circuit with a hand-selected EF86 tube, providing crystal clear and warm sound performance.
What makes it unique is the fact that you can buy many different capsules in order to change polar patterns using the same microphone body.
It comes with the default B6 cardioid capsule, but you can choose to buy it with as many additional capsules as you wish.
Do you sometimes wish that mics looked as good as they sound?
Then you will love the Blue Bottle, as it features an elegant, retro-looking design that makes it really eye-catching.
The package includes a finely made flight case to carry it around easily and safely.
The only problem?
This mic is only for those who take recording very seriously, as it is quite expensive.
If you have started to feel dizzy with the prices of the previously reviewed condenser microphones, here comes the cure!
The MXL Mics 770 is a real bang for your buck: it is an all-around condenser microphone that comes at an affordable price!
It comes with a cardioid pickup pattern and it is very easy to use, making it suitable for beginners in audio recording.
Despite the low price, it delivers crystal clear sound quality that you can use for your instrument or vocals.
Moreover, it features a sturdy build quality that ensures durability, making it a good investment in the long run.
The MXL Mics 770 ships with a useful hard case that makes carrying it easy, as well as a shock mount. Note, however, that the shock mount has been criticized for its quality.
“OK, we just saw an affordable condenser mic, but what about more options for a cheap tube mic?”
Don’t worry, I have you covered!
The Rode NTK is a condenser tube microphone with a gold-plated large diaphragm that comes at a reasonable price for what it offers!
But what does it provide you with?
It delivers great sound quality that makes your vocals or instruments sound warm and rich. It has also been widely praised for its performance with acoustic guitars.
It is made to handle high SPLs, so you don’t need to worry about placing it close to loud sound sources.
Moreover, it is a rugged mic that will last for years to come.
Its design is also very elegant, with a satin nickel finish that adds to the overall beautiful design.
The mic ships with its power supply, a 30-foot cable, a stand adapter, and a carrying case.
On the downside, you might find using its external power supply a little inconvenient.
The Audio-Technica AT2035 is another budget-friendly choice for those looking for a condenser mic.
This mic is actually an upgrade and a newer version of the older and popular AT2020.
The AT2035 delivers crystal clear and warm sound performance, and its cardioid polar pattern makes it very suitable for vocal recordings.
But it doesn’t stop there!
In fact, this mic has been built to handle high SPLs, which means that it is perfect for loud brass and percussion.
Additionally, it has been built with materials that ensure robust build quality and durability.
It comes with a minimalist design and features a plain black color that allows it to be very discreet in your studio. It also has a compact and lightweight design that adds to portability.
A shock mount and a soft carrying pouch are included in the package.
On the downside, this mic doesn’t ship with a hard case that would make transport safer.
Do you have a soft spot for microphones that come with a sleek design?
I know how you feel… Microphones that look elegant make your mic collection more beautiful and even satisfy you more while you use them.
But do you have to spend a fortune to acquire such microphones?
The answer is “no”! And the proof for that is the MXL V67G!
This condenser mic comes with a green body and a gold-colored grille that create its eye-catching vintage-looking design!
Moreover, this mic has been built with good-quality materials, so that it will last for long.
In terms of sound performance, it delivers a surprisingly crisp and clear sound for its low price tag.
It is made with vocal performance in mind, but you can also use it for other instruments, although I wouldn't recommend recording loud instruments.
The MXL V67G ships with a mic stand adapter and a carrying case.
Sadly, this mic doesn’t feature any high-pass filter or attenuation pad.
For those looking for a durable condenser mic, I would highly recommend the Sterling Audio ST55.
This mic claims to be a cheaper version of the acclaimed Groove Tubes GT-55: note however that this is not a tube mic, as it comes with a FET amplifier design.
The sound performance of the ST55 is warm and detailed, with emphasis on the high frequencies. Some people love the way it sounds out-of-the-box, while others tend to use an EQ to tweak it to their taste.
You can use it both for vocals and acoustic instruments, as it comes with a fixed cardioid pickup pattern.
Its stainless steel head and grille assembly makes it pretty rugged and ensures that it will last for years to come.
Additionally, it features an attenuation pad as well as a high-pass filter that you can turn on and off using the dedicated switches.
The mic ships with a rugged vinyl zipper case in plain black color.
Do you often record vocal performances, ranging from singers to voice over artists?
Are you looking for a condenser mic that will accurately capture all these voices, but it won’t cost a fortune?
Then, you are probably looking for the Rode NT1-A!
This budget-friendly condenser microphone comes with a large, gold-plated diaphragm and a cardioid polar pattern. Its flat frequency response allows it to capture voices naturally in the studio, without coloring them.
Plus, it has very low self-noise, so it is great for capturing quiet voice-overs and dialogues.
Its design is sleek and elegant, and it reminds a lot of the Rode NTK that we reviewed earlier.
The Rode NT1-A ships with all the useful accessories: a shock mount, a pop filter, a 20' microphone cable, and a dust cover, that increase, even more, its value for money.
The only problem?
This mic is quite heavy, so you should take this into consideration before mounting it on a flimsy mic stand
Did you like the features of the AKG C414 that we reviewed earlier, but you wish it was cheaper?
If the answer is yes, take a look at the AKG C214!
This mic is the stripped-down version of the C414, that keeps the most essential features and comes at a lower price!
The C214 is actually a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern that is exceptionally versatile: you can use it for vocals and almost any instrument, and it performs well with every musical style.
Additionally, it features a pre-attenuation pad that lets you record at -20 dB, as well as a bass roll-off switch.
It keeps the elegant, retro-looking design that we also saw on the AKG C414.
Plus, it has robust build quality, ensuring that once you buy this mic, it won’t be damaged easily.
The package ships with elastic spider suspensions, a metal case, and a shaped windshield.
What about an all-around stylish mic that doesn’t break the bank?
The Blue Spark SL is exactly that: it is essentially a condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern that can be used for various instruments and styles.
It provides you with crystal clear and crisp sound quality, while its side-address design and the incorporated spider shock mount allow you to place it easily close to the sound source.
Moreover, it features an attenuation pad that lets you record at -20 dB, as well as a high-pass filter that cuts everything below 100 Hz.
But what about the looks?
As I mentioned earlier, this is actually one of the most stylish mics on this list! Plus, it ships with a beautiful wooden box that adds both protection and durability.
The price point of the Blue Spark SL is very friendly for those on a low budget.
The only issue with this mic is that we wished it had more polar patterns, but for the price cardioid works just fine.
Here comes a second option by Neumann, which this time is much more affordable compared to the previous one, but still retains everything Neumann has been well-known for.
As you can probably imagine, the Neumann TLM-102 is a large-diaphragm condenser mic with astonishingly clear and detailed sound performance.
Many people have been using it extensively for vocal recordings, as it comes with a cardioid polar pattern, and they have praised its audio quality.
The TLM-102 comes with very low levels of self-noise, which allows it to record quiet sound sources such as speech and small acoustic instruments.
Its design is sleek and elegant, with a nickel finish that reminds of a typical Neumann design.
Furthermore, the build quality of the TLM-102 is pretty solid, adding to durability.
So, are there any disadvantages?
Well, the price of this mic is partially justified by the amazing sound performance, but we would expect some more features at this price point.
Do you want to spend as little money as possible on a brand-new condenser mic?
If the answer is “yes”, you should definitely check out Studio Projects B1.
This is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that provides you with open and smooth sound performance.
The price is almost unbelievable for a condenser mic, making the B1 one of the most budget-friendly options on this list.
What’s more, it comes with features such as a high-pass filter with two different options, as well as an attenuation pad of -10 and -20 dBs. This is very surprising considering the money you spend on it.
The value is increased by its accessories: this mic ships with a foam covering, a shock mount as well as a zipper carrying case.
The only issue you might have with this mic is durability if you expose it a lot to dust and humidity.
The third and last microphone by Blue Microphones on this list is the highly acclaimed Bluebird.
First of all, the Bluebird provides you with a great first impression, thanks to its attractive, retro-looking design.
In terms of sound performance, this is a condenser mic with a cardioid (although it sounds like a hyper-cardioid) polar pattern, which makes it great for vocals. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for instruments as well, as it is pretty versatile.
It provides you with quite a smooth frequency response and exceptionally detailed sound that you will love.
The package includes a sleek wooden box to store and transport your mic safely, as well as a useful spider shock mount.
The only problem?
This mic is mid-priced, which is OK for its sound quality, but we would expect at least a high-pass filter or an attenuation pad. Instead, this mic doesn’t come with any of these features.
Last but not least, the Avantone Audio CV-12 is a highly recommended option for anyone who is looking for a really versatile condenser mic.
Can you guess why?
In fact, the CV-12 comes with nine selectable polar patterns, including cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8 pickup patterns! That allows you to use this mic in different recording situations with equal success!
But it doesn’t stop there!
It also comes with a high-pass filter and an attenuation pad that together give you further control over its sound performance.
Regarding that aspect, the CV-12 delivers warm and smooth audio with an emphasis on the high frequencies. That makes it's sound too bright for some people, so note that you might need some EQing in order to tune it to your taste.
The value of this mic increases even more if you consider its solid build quality, along with its elegant appearance, with a slim metal body and apple red finish.
Finally, the CV-12 ships with everything you need: a shock mount, a power adaptor, a 7-pin connector cable, a wooden box, and a transport case are included in the package!
Up to this point, we have reviewed more than 16 different condenser mics!
As you have probably understood, you don’t have an excuse anymore…
Take a look again at the pros and cons of each mic and decide!
Which one will you finally get?