There is a lot that goes into building a home studio, and staying within a budget is often easier said than done. Microphones are a necessity for recording instruments and vocals in the studio that can potentially cost you thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there is good news for artists wanting to record professional sounding tracks affordably. There are a number of quality microphones out there that are within a reasonable price range to add to your home studio collection It is always a good idea to have a variety of microphones in order to provide you with some options for recording a variety of sounds. To get high fidelity tones without breaking the bank, this list will help ensure that you’re adding the right equipment to your studio for the right price.
Shure SM57- $100
This dynamic microphone is not only great for recording instruments and vocals in the studio, but is also perfect for live performances. Its multi-purpose profile combines a bright, clean sound with rugged durability. The SM57 has a cardioid pickup pattern which is great for recording drums and guitars while eliminating unwanted background noise. When recording metal, its great for louder vocals and screaming as well as heavily distorted guitars.
Shure SM58- $100
The SM58 is an industry standard for recording instruments and vocals in the studio as well as for live gigs. It comes equipped with a rounded filter that reduces breath and pop sounds as well as a cardioid pickup pattern which reduces background noise. If the singer insists on holding the mic as opposed to using a mic stand, this is the ideal mic to use. Its also great for louder, screaming vocals and possibly for miking instruments. The mesh grill provides outstanding durability which will ensure this mic will last a lifetime.
M-Audio Nova- $150
The Nova is a cost effective condenser mic with a large diaphragm that offers a big, warm sound at an affordable price point. It provides you with low noise, low distortion, and a clear reproduction of sound. Condenser mics tend to have a big price tag, so this is a great choice for smaller budgets.
Shure Beta 58A- $160
If you have a few extra bucks to spend then this is the optimal choice over the SM58. It still has the rugged durability of the SM58, but has better shaped frequency response. The Beta incorporates a super-cardioid pickup pattern which has a tighter sensitivity in the front of the mic which is perfect for up close vocals while eliminating background noise. It is the perfect option for a versatile mic with a great sound.
Rode NT3- $250
The Australian company, Rode, produces this great condenser microphone for studio, live, and broadcast use. It has a warm, clear sound perfect for recording vocals as well as other instruments such as acoustic guitars. When coupled with the SM57 in the sound hole, it’s hard to beat the tone.
Shure SM7B- $350
This mic is extremely popular mic among professional engineers, and was used by artists such as Michael Jackson on the Thriller album. Its frequency range is smooth, flat, and has a wide-range. It comes standard with an additional windscreen which when coupled with a pop filter is great for eliminating plosives and sibilances.
Electro-Voice RE20- $400
Electro-Voice, commonly referred to as EV, crafted a mic which has a rich heritage in broadcast. The RE20 is a dynamic cardioid mic that pics up close, fast, articulate vocals with a high dynamic range which makes it a great option for recording hip-hop vocals. It has a heavy-duty internal pop filter which reduces proximity effect, an internal shockmount to minimize vibration noise, and a bass roll off switch.
Rode NTK- $500
This mic offers a wider dynamic range, low noise, and excellent tube warmth. Its perfect for recording pianos, overhead drums, acoustic instruments, as well as vocals. If your looking for a rich sound with a vintage feel, this is the mic for you.
Neumann TLM102- $700
Neumann is one of the best names in studio microphones and is worth the time it takes to save up for one. It is great for loud instruments such as drums and amplified guitars but is commonly used for vocals. The TLM102 provides excellent presence in throughout the entire frequency spectrum. This model is a bit more compact than other Neumanns, but can still capture and recreate huge sounds.
This mic has distinctive tonal qualities that are perfect for recording solo instruments and vocals. It comes equipped with 5 polar pattern switch that allows for multiple recording uses. It is perfect for anything from choirs to double basses and resists interfering sounds from digital gear and monitors.
Getting the best quality for the best price is the goal of a lot of amateur and professional engineers alike. With the right gear, it is possible to record hi-fi tracks from your own home studio before sending your songs off for cd mastering, duplication, and distribution. Before purchasing a mic, it is always a good idea to shop around to find the best deal. Used mics can often save you some money without affecting the sound. This comprehensive list is a good starting point and provides you with a variety of quality products that will get your songs ready to sound their best.