We would like to start off with the question:
“What can you expect from the best cheap microphone?”
That’s not an easy question to answer.
When you’re talking about streaming and gaming with a cheap mic, there’s a lot of things that could go wrong. And it will make an impact on your image. As a matter of fact, your followers may not even stick to you anymore.
And if you want to talk about the best cheap microphone for singing, it’s a big no-no from our end. Singing is a sacred art. In fact, it needs the best possible details which only a robust microphone can provide.
But it is possible that you only 40, let’s say 50-dollars in your pocket. You just want to get started, slowly polishing your audio gear as you gain traction with your audience.
We totally understand.
In order to cement our understanding, we’ve come up with a few affordable microphone options for you.
These choices will help you get a solid start. Our recommendation comes directly to a team of rigorous testers, who have dedicated a good chunk of their time reviewing each feature.
Best Cheap Microphones: Comparing the Choices
|Model||Polar Pattern||Frequency Response|
|Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic for Recording and Streaming||Cardioid||40-Hz to 18-kHz|
|Behringer Ultra-voice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone||Cardioid||50-Hz to 15-kHz|
|Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone||Cardioid and Omnidirectional||80-Hz to 18-kHz|
|CAD Audio USB U1 Dynamic Recording Microphone||Cardioid||Up to 18-kHz (Approx.)|
|Audio-Technica ATR-1100 Dynamic Handheld Vocal/Instrument Microphone||Unidirectional||80Hz to 12-kHz|
|Shure SM48-LC Dynamic Vocal Microphone||Cardioid||55Hz to 14-kHz|
Now that you’ve had a quick look at our offerings, it’s time to jump into the review. We won’t make any promises just yet. But there is a possibility that you may find that best cheap microphone for podcasting within our choices.
Here are the Top 6 Cheap Microphones
Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic for Recording and Streaming
There shouldn’t be any debate about the ‘Blue’ Microphone brand. Whether you’re looking for a microphone for vocals, instruments or podcasts, they have the right option for you. They also offer some multipurpose options as well, which come with very aggressive price tags.
The Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic is no different. It’s got all the typical ‘Blue’ characteristics. Also, as with all ‘Blue’ microphones, the pricing is very aggressive.
Well, share our final thoughts later on. For now, let’s talk about the design and the specs.
Let’s start with the design first. If you look at it just once, you’ll see why it has the name ‘Snowball’ in it.
It comes in the size of a snowball. And the white outer shell gives it a sleek finish, which is very hard to miss. Overall, it’s got a minimalistic design that doesn’t flash out too much. It should blend in and offer some aesthetical complement to your setup.
As far as the performance goes, there’s really no question about its overall capabilities. You have a custom condenser design that offers solid audio. And the 44-kHz sampling rate helps out a lot, offering a seamless audio experience at a fair price.
So, should you consider it?
Well, if you’re looking for the best cheap microphone for streaming, then this microphone can be a really good startup point for you. You have all the necessary features to help you shine.
Other than the lack of controls and disturbing LED indication, you have all the right features to complement your stream. So, there’s no reason not to check it out.
- You’re just a simple plug-and-play away from proper usability.
- The design is robust enough to satisfy any level of user.
- The pricing is very competitive.
- The custom condenser capsule design offers rich audio output.
- It features solid backward compatibility with USB 3.0 (it’s a USB 2.0 device).
- You get a 44-kHz sample rate, which is more than enough for the price.
- There are no onboard controls, which is a bummer.
- The power cable and indicator LED do not make any sense aesthetically.
Behringer Ultra-voice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Our second choice for the best cheap microphone is the Behringer Ultra-voice XM8500, which has a couple of unique features up its sleeve. Although it’s not the best in every department, it does have a really good balance of features.
So, let’s see what the Behringer XM8500 has in store for us.
The design is sleek and simple. It’s a hand-held mic that’s made for live performances. It does feel good in the hand. And the outer shell feels very robust as well. Overall, it’s the microphone feels like an option that doesn’t compromise too much.
The balance of features does make sense once you factor in the pricing. You have a dual-stage shielding system, which is very capable of blocking out unnecessary noise. The level of accuracy is spot on.
The wide frequency range does help out as well. At this price, a maximum frequency range of 15-kHz is more than enough to offer decent performance. And during our testing, we did find the sound output to be very solid and unforgiving. All in all, there’s really no debate about the quality of sound.
So, should you even consider it?
The Behringer Ultra-voice XM8500 has a good balance of some of the features every user would appreciate. They have all the right features to complement the needs of your vocals.
So, other than some minor issues we believe it is worth a shot. Do check this microphone out if you’re interested.
- A sleek and simple dynamic microphone with decent feedback suppression.
- The 2-stage filter offers shielding from popping noises and breath.
- The shock-mount functionality is a nice touch.
- The overall construction deserves kudos.
- The -70dB sensitivity to shielding offers acceptable performance.
- The frequency response is wider than some of the other competition.
- The shock mount could be better.
- You don’t get any on/off switch.
Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
If portability is the key feature you’re looking for in a cheap mic, then the Samson Go Portable USB Condenser Mic can be a decent choice for you.
But you won’t just be getting portability as the only feature.
Before that, let’s talk about the main feature, which happens to be portability. The mic has a very small footprint. If you’re an on-the-go streamer who likes to share every event with your audience, then the Samson Go Portable Mic can be your best friend.
And the folding capabilities only add more to the overall functionality of this microphone.
What about the performance?
Well, when it comes to a portable microphone, there’s always a concern for the overall quality. Fortunately, Samson Go gave a good deal of thought to make all those concerns go away.
You get dual-pickup patterns to work in different conditions. Also, you have a headphone amplifier that can help you monitor your performance. Furthermore, the compatibility with both PC and MAC is right on point. So, you don’t have to worry about device compatibility at all.
All in all, despite some unintended drawbacks, the overall feature set of the Samson Go microphone seems to be solid enough. But you are the final decision maker. So, we’ll leave you to judge its overall capabilities.
- It’s an ultra-compact microphone that features decent build quality.
- The foldable design is a huge plus point.
- The dual-pickup patterns offer solid usability for both voice-over and acoustics.
- The headphone amplifier works as a monitoring system for the audio as well as a medium for external speaker connection.
- The analog input gain system is computerized and helps the user find a better signal.
- It features good compatibility with both MAC and PC.
- The internal ADC isolation needs work.
- The build quality could be better.
CAD Audio USB U1 Dynamic Recording Microphone
The CAD Audio USB U1 Dynamic Recording Microphone is pretty much a ‘Jack of All Trades’. Just like our previous option, it doesn’t have a lot going on. Still, for the price point, the feature set does appear to be intriguing.
So, let’s see what the U1 Dynamic has in store for us.
There’s nothing wrong with the design. It’s as simple as you can find. There’s really not much to talk about here, especially when you have a microphone that’s got a really aggressive price tag.
The performance is also on point. You don’t have to fiddle around too much with the artificial settings. The internal pop-filter does a good job of keeping the additional noises out. Also, having a 10-foot long cable is always a plus point.
In conclusion, if you want something that will do justice to your wallet, then the U1 Dynamic is the choice to beat. For someone who is looking to work with instrumental audio, this microphone should be a decent first choice (as in ‘The Very First’).
- The design is simple, nothing over the top.
- You are getting support for an extended frequency range.
- The on/off switch is a nice addition.
- The pop-filter does a decent job of reducing the popping noise.
- It does a very good job of capturing instrumental audio.
- It’s always nice to have a 10-foot USB cable.
- The build quality does feel cheap for the price.
- There is an occasional screeching due to the uncontrolled environment.
Audio-Technica ATR-1100 Dynamic Handheld Vocal/Instrument Microphone
Audio-Technica, as many of you are already aware of, has a tendency to disrupt the market with its creative and low-cost options. The ATR-1100 is the living proof of this claim.
Unlike some of the previous models, the Audio-Technica ATR-1100 Dynamic Handheld Microphone doesn’t make any compromises on quality despite its price tag. So, if longevity is a concern, then we will ask you not to be worried.
The performance is robust as well. Coming in at just under 200-grams, you’d expect it to compromise on some level at least. Thankfully, the audio output is more than decent for the price.
If you’re looking for a cheap microphone for live audio, then the ATR-1100 can be a solid choice for you. In spite of having some flaws, we believe it can be the best cheap microphone if you can use it right.
- It’s a dynamic mic that features a unidirectional polar pattern.
- The durability of the ATR-1100 is on point.
- There are no noticeable feedback thanks to the solid focus of pickup.
- You do get an on/off switch, which is nice.
- It’s only a 150-grams, not very weighty at all.
- A sweet option for vocals and instrumentals.
- The XLR functionality isn’t satisfactory.
- You shouldn’t hold it too close to the mouth as it will pick up the disturbances.
Shure SM48-LC Dynamic Vocal Microphone
The Shure SM48-LC Dynamic Vocal Microphone has made its way into our list of best affordable microphone for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it’s sleek and simple. Yet the grip feels elegant. Other than that, there’s not much going on with the design.
So, what about performance?
To be honest, it’s not the best cheap microphone. Still, it ticks a lot of the boxes in terms of performance. Live audio quality is decent, there’s not too much loss on the quality. And it does operate on a wide frequency range.
Furthermore, the shock mounts are very solid, offering a rugged overall feeling which is surprising for a microphone of this stature. Moreover, the pop-filter comes out with flying colors in our testing.
So, if you find yourself at a spot where you need to get some content out, the SM48-LC won’t disappoint. Sure, there are some drawbacks. But they are not substantial to cross it out of your cheap microphone checklist.
- The gain you get is very solid for the price.
- The pop-filter offers great isolation from unwanted disturbances.
- The shock mount offers good rigidity and handling capabilities.
- You get good proximity control at midrange.
- The build quality is satisfactory as a whole.
- It’s a solid choice for vocals.
- You will need an adapter for XLR inputs.
- There’s no on/off button.
Buying the Best Cheap Microphone: Loopholes to Avoid
So, you’re looking for an affordable microphone that will be a temporary sidekick in your ‘becoming-a-celebrity’ endeavor. Maybe you’ll go for a high-end option down the road.
Then our options for the best cheap microphone should be enough for you, right?
Well, it’s perfectly fine if the answer is negative. We understand that you are trying to take control of your own luck and find something different.
In that case, you’ll need to know about the following aspects of buying a microphone on a budget.
You just can’t go out there and buy one that works. This review is all about getting the best possible choice at the cheapest rate, and that’s what we will be trying to help you with.
What type of microphone do you want?
We’ve already established the boundaries of the pricing. So, we won’t be talking about that much.
But you should know the major microphone types before you make any decision. Despite the strict price tag, it is prudent that you know what you want.
We’ll go through this part very quickly.
The USB and Wireless Options
First of all, you have your wireless and USB option. A wireless microphone is slowly gaining traction in the marketplace due to the ‘hassle-free’ connectivity. You’ll need to deal with two problems.
One is the additional cost, which is simply because of the technology. The second is the signal drop out, which is simply because of the maturity of the technology.
In contrast to that, USB microphones are more worthy options, for now at least. They have a varying price point that can go as low as 30-dollars. Also, they offer much better pickup and are capable of working with additional capabilities.
But there is the added hassle with the wiring, which is a negative in favor of USB mics.
The Dynamic and Condenser Options
Dynamic microphones are still very popular because of their usability and ruggedness. They are the top choices for vocals, simply because of the low input impedance and high output impedances. It ensures that the quality of the audio remains intact, even at higher sound levels.
In contrast, condenser microphones don’t have that level of performance. They do need additional power to keep the quality in check. But they are available at different price points, which is the very reason why they are still sought after for high-level audio recording.
These are the four main types of microphones. Other than these, you have the ribbon microphone and electret microphone. There are crystal microphones as well, which tend to be a decent choice at lower price points.
The Directivity: What and Why?
The directivity is a major point of concern as well. If you are dealing with different types of microphone applications, then you may want to look for a microphone that’s got the ability to switch between different polar patterns.
But, in general, the cardioid polar pattern should be enough for you to get the job done.
Frequency Response: Will a Better Brand Save Me?
When it comes to the best cheap microphone for YouTube, you may want to keep your eyes wide open better brands. When you have a low budget to work with, it’s better to stick with a well-known brand.
Also, you should certainly look at the frequency numbers. The higher they are the better.
The Impedance: Should you worry?
The impedance levels may not be a major concern, but they are important. Because there are microphones that operate at a lower impedance range. You’d want to talk to the sales rep to get more reliable info.
Q: Why should I opt for a USB microphone?
Ans.: USB microphones have a lot of variety to them in terms of usability. Different options have different capabilities. Moreover, they come at various different price points, which makes it even more worthy.
So, whether you want the best cheap microphone for gaming or something else, in 2021, you should start with a USB microphone.
Q: Is a custom capsule microphone really worth it?
Ans.: There’s no clear answer to this question.
Custom microphones have a specified set of mixing capabilities that you will not find in other options. There are microphones out there that offer custom capsules (they may or may not have on-board controls). So, you may want to get a second opinion about going with a custom mic option.
Because you’ll either love it or hate it.
Q: Does PewDiePie have any favorite microphones?
Ans.: This is more of a general knowledge type query.
But PewDiePie does have a favorite microphone. He prefers the AKG Pro C414. He has done some customization to it, making it match his style. If you watch his videos, you will see they have pink accents to them.
(If you ever want to be like PewDiePie, then you may want to start right away. On a different, we’re just throwing this answer out there just so you know).
Q: Do microphones have the ability to capture audio unaltered?
Ans.: That’s a big resounding NO!
You see, the inner sensors of the microphone are the key to capturing audio. The more defined the design, the more accurate a sound you can expect from the microphone.
Q: What does ‘Eating the mic’ mean?
Ans.: Some singers put their mouths right on the microphone. This is often known as ‘Eating the mic’.
Buying a cheap microphone for streaming setup can be a hit or a miss. You’ll either end up with something that you love or something that will set a distance between you and your followers.
But there’s no going around when you have a strict budget to work with. You need to make something happen if you’re just starting out or if your system is somehow out of shape.
But if you have made it this far, then the chances of your landing on the best cheap microphone will increase by a great deal. That much we can promise you.
That’s pretty much it. We’ll see you soon.