We’ve reached the final article in this 3-part series on low-budget radio equipment! After sharing our selection of best budget headphones and mixers, this week we’re moving onto microphones.
USB microphones are a great choice if you have a limited budget, as you don’t need any additional equipment (such as a mixer or audio interface). With a simple plug-and-play set up, you can connect your mic directly into your computer via USB cable.
Samson C01U Pro: $78
The Samson C01U has an all metal body and grill, which means that the mic has some heft to it! It comes with a mount, as well as a microphone adapter that allows you to connect the mic to a stand or boom arm. Plus, a desktop microphone stand is included!
You’ll also find a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to have latency free monitoring of what you’re recording. There’s a small led light that turns green when its receiving power and blinks red when the signal is clipping. This simple yet useful feature can help you save time, and make sure everything is working like it should be.
This particular microphone has a cardioid polar pattern, meaning that the highest sensitivity to sound is directly in front of the microphone. When using this mic, you’ll need to keep it close to the sound source to obtain the best results. It does a good does a good job at cancelling surrounding noises, however you may want to purchase a pop-filter to help avoid plosive sounds.
Overall, it’s a simple yet sturdy “plug-and-play” mic. You’ll probably have a hard time finding a better USB microphone for this price!Purchase the Samson C01U Pro
Blue Yeti: $129
Juste like the Samson C01U, the Blue Yeti also has an all metal body and grill, as well as a 3.5mm headphone plug.
This microphone has various integrated features such as: a headphone volume knob, a mute button and a gain knob (microphone volume). There are also 4 different polar patterns to choose from.
Let’s take a closer look at the available polar patterns:
Stereo: uses both left and right channels to capture a wide and realistic sound image.
Cardioid: records sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone, ideal for radio and podcasting.
Omnidirectional: picks up audio all around the microphone, leaving no dead spots.
Bidirectional: records from both the front and rear of the microphone, perfect for 2-person interviews.
Overall this microphone sounds great! Plus, it has so many features that you can fine tune to do exactly what you need it to do.Purchase the Blue Yeti
Marantz Professional MPM-2000U: $158
This microphone feels very well put together, with an all-metal construction. It comes with a shock mount, as well as a carrying case that is ideal for travel.
Again, this microphone has a cardioid polar pattern so you’ll need to speak directly in front of it for the best results.
This large-diaphragm microphone has a surprising clean response. Its studio-quality frequency response makes it an ideal, inexpensive USB mic for recording vocals.
All in all, the MPM-2000U sounds amazing and even does a decent job at reducing any background noise.Purchase the MPM-2000U
As its name indicates, an XLR microphone is connected via an XLR cable. This means that, contrary to USB microphones, you will need a mixer or an audio interface in order to connect the equipment to your computer. XLR microphones are great if you’re planning on broadcasting live or recording with multiple people because, (depending on the number of inputs on your mixer), you will be able to pick up the audio from multiple mics at once.
Behringer B1 Bundle: $88
This bundle includes a carrying case, a shock mount, a stand adapter as well as a foam wind screen (and the mic of course!) for just $88. Again, this microphone has an all metal body and grill which gives a nice weight to it.
The cardioid polar pattern of this microphone is ideal for picking up your source signal while rejecting any background noise. You’ll find a certain amount of clarity when it comes to recording vocals with this model which is great. Don’t forget that, as this is a condenser mic, you will need to activate phantom power (48V) on your mixer or audio interface.
The B-1 also has a switchable -10 dB attenuator to capture high-volume signal sources without distorting, as well as a low-cut filter to tame ultra-low frequencies. Overall, it does a wonderful job at capturing details better than most condenser microphones.Purchase the Behringer B1
sE Electronics V7 Bundle: $111
When purchasing the V7, you’ll also get a microphone clamp, windscreen, carrying pouch and threaded adapter.
Once again, this microphone has an all metal body and grill which gives a decent amount of weight to it.
This model has a supercardioid polar pattern. This means that it has a tighter pickup angle than a classic cardioid, but it offers more side rejection as well as feedback rejection. It’s a dynamic microphone which means that phantom power (48V) will not be needed.
This mic uses a neodymium magnet inside which helps extend the higher frequencies out to 19kHz. It’s fair to say that it has a frequency response well above that of a lot of its competitors at this price point. Plus, this high frequency response is what gives this mic more detail.Purchase the sE Electronics V7
AKG P220: $159
The AKG P220 also comes in a bundle that includes; a carrying case, a shock mount and adapter to attach it to a stand. This is yet another microphone that has an all metal body and grill, giving it a sturdy and heavy feel.
At the front, you’ll find a switchable high pass filter, as well as a -20dB pad used for recording loud sound sources.
This microphone has a cardioid polar pattern which, as explained earlier, means that the sound source is captured directly in front of the mic.
As it’s a condenser microphone, you’ll need to activate phantom power on your mixer or audio interface to give the mic the power it needs to work properly. It has a pretty flat mid section, which gives for bright vocals when recording. Altogether, when it comes to spoken word, this mic offers a full, clean and crisp recording with just the right amount of warmth!Purchase the AKG P220
If you’re looking for more best-budget equipment for your radio station, be sure to take a look at our articles on headphones and audio mixers.