Affordable condenser mic


As of late, I have been looking for a large diaphragm condenser mic for recording my talking voice, vocals, guitar amps, and acoustic guitars.
I'd like to buy one used, and I'd like to keep it under 3 figures. ($100)
I know it's hard to get a good microphone in that range, but I'd like to get my ability to record and mix things up first, then invest some more to get a better gear.
Here are my findings.
1. AKG perception 200 (or other series.. higher the number, the better?)
2. Rode NT1A (not really under $100 but I've heard good things about it)
3. Groove tube GT 55 or Sterling ST55
4. Sterling ST51 (a bit cheaper than #3 and it's not cardioid)
5. MXL v67g (I know nothing about this... but I heard some recommendation in that price range)
6. Audio Technica AT2020
I will be waiting for some helpful responses!
Thank you


The Gauge Mics have a weird peak with sibilant frequencies that makes them really unusable. The Gauge mics are essentially the same as any other Chinese condenser, but apparently with higher quality control.

I would recommend the AT2035 for a true LDC under $100. The MXL V63M is also not bad at all for its price tag.

But, I will make the recommendation I make to everyone, try not to restrict yourself under $150 when it comes to mics. There is a huge jump in quality when you can invest $150-200 in a mic. You can usually find an AT4040 for around $160-$180 any day, and those are quite fantastic, well rounded LDC mics.


The at2020 is the best of the bunch but honestly in that price range any condenser I've tried has been quite thin, brittle, peaky. Also nasty when off axis.

If I had to buy a mic for less than a couple of hundred, I'd get an sm57 if I needed something or save up for a quality dynamic such as the sm7 or re20 if I could wait. Both those mics will do everything you want to record much better than a cheap condenser, and you won't be ultimately wasting your money on something you'll likely replace.


Gold Supporting Member
i say take your head out of the LDC box and use a Heil PR35 for all of the above. i love this thing.


Silver Supporting Member
I only have experience with the Perception 200 on that list and I will say it is a pretty good mic for voice, acoustic guitar and general room mic'ing. Very quiet and very 'true' sounding IMO. I don't like it on guitar cabs or drums.


I have the monoprice mic mentioned above. Surprisingly good mic and cheap enough that pretty much anyone can afford it. Buy one. If you don't like you can sell it for a small loss. If you like it you just saved yourself hundreds.


This one looks like it's way too good to be true... heck, I'd buy 2 and use one for a room mic to record me talking, and use the other one as a second mic to mic up the guitar cab along with a 57

I haven;t tried it myself, but it has amazing reviews, and is super cheap.

I had the AT2020, and its a nice mic for the price, but it has a smaller capsule, making it not a true LARGE diaphragm mic. I currently have an ADK Odin LDC (~$300 )and a pair of GOlden Age FC4 SDCs, and they work for pretty much everything I do.


Senior Member
I have an AT3035, and really cannot recommend AT mics. Awful top end.

My suggestion exceeds your budget, but I believe it's a better option, because you get real quality that lasts a lifetime, at a very good price:

Oktava MK-012 preamp
> this is just the body of the microphone, you can use it with several capsules, e.g. large diaphragm, small diaphragm, with all kinds of characteristics.
I use this one for large diaphragm, it's great.

The product page with reviews for the same mic with small diaphragm capsules is here.
Oktava are Russian microphones, a friend of mine who owns a studio recommended them, they are quite popular in studios here in Europe. Better, more consistent build quality than Chinese mics in the same price range.

Another option to consider would be a cheap ribbon mic. Even with your budget, you can probably get one that gives you better sounding results than a condenser in the same price range. I've used cheap ribbons on vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar, with excellent results.

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