Good quality audio is an important part of any online course. And to record good quality audio, a great microphone is essential. You might be intimidated as a beginner with so many different choices available. But choosing the best affordable microphone for a beginner has never been easier. You just have to know a few key points before making a purchase. Although there are dozens of high-end options you can splurge on, we’re sharing the details on six top picks for budget-friendly mics ahead.
What makes a good microphone for a beginner?
Before we discuss how you decide what comprises a good microphone for beginners, we have to talk about the types of microphones in general. There are two main types:
- Dynamic mics: They’re the mics you often see on stage that singers use, and they’re less sensitive and, more often, more durable.
- Condenser mics: They’re the mics most often used in studios, with a wider frequency range and truer-to-life sound.
Which microphone type should you choose as a beginner on a budget? The answer to that question depends on your recording environment.
If you have an environment that’s noisy and not soundproofed, then a condenser mic won’t be the best option. Because they have a wider frequency range, condenser mics tend to pick up all the noises from the background. They’re also more sensitive to echoes in the room. Rather, a better choice for you would be a dynamic microphone. Dynamic mics won’t be as sensitive to the noise around you and won’t pick up on the reverb if your recording room isn’t soundproof.
It’s also important to note that there are two types of connections for microphones:
- USB connection
- XLR connection
As a beginner, you might want to start with a microphone that has a USB connection. It’s going to be very easy and straightforward to use. XLR connection requires more technical knowledge, as well as additional plugs and tools to get the mic to start recording.
There is going to be a slight difference in power between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone. USB mics have an interface inside of them. This means there are limits to how powerful and great the sound can be. With an XLR output, you can connect your mic to external tools that allow you to increase the quality and power of your microphone. The good news is that some dynamic USB mics also have the XLR output. This is the best option for those who want the option to record both ways, depending on sound knowledge and comfort level with the mic.
Now, let’s jump to our picks for the best affordable microphone for beginners.
Fifine K669 USB Mic, $32.99
The Fifine K669 microphone is a great budget option for beginners as it offers great sound quality for a reasonable price. Originally designed specifically for streaming, this affordable microphone offers easy setup with a USB cord. What’s more, it’s very portable while still being durable.
The mic comes with a tripod that allows you to adjust the angle of your microphone when you’re recording. There’s also a built-in volume adjusting button, so you can easily adjust your volume levels. This is something that will come in handy as you become more skilled. It also comes in an array of colors, so you can easily match your mic with the rest of your computer hardware.
Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic, $49.99
One of the most popular microphones for beginners is the Blue Snowball iCE mic. It’s a condenser microphone that can be plugged with a USB to your laptop, iPad, or even your phone (if you have the USB adapter on hand). It’s also a great budget option for beginners looking to record good quality audio.
This microphone has a unique round shape with a removable mic stand attached. Because of the placement of the speakers, Blue Snowball iCE allows you to be further away from the mic when recording than with some of the other mics on the market. This makes it great for recording video calls, as you don’t need to be up close to the record.
Plus, you don’t need any knowledge to use this mic. Once you unbox it, plug in the USB cord that comes with the mic into the microphone and your laptop. You’ll see a red light lit up, which means that the mic is on, and you’re good to go.
Razer Seiren Mini, $49.99
This is one of the most portable and compact mics that offer amazing sound quality on the market. Originally designed for streaming recording, Razer Seiren Mini offers smooth and crisp audio quality and is a great option for course creators.
Razer Seiren is a condenser microphone. But, it’s designed in a way to reduce the pick-up of ambiance and background noise. This means it focuses more on your voice while recording. It offers warmer, well-balanced sound quality and comes in a few different colors—pink, white, and classic black. And at less than $50, this is one of the best affordable microphones out there.
Samson Q2U USB/XLR Dynamic Mic, $69.99
Samson Q2U dynamic microphone is one of the most popular budget microphones for beginners. Podcasters love this microphone because it’s sturdy and has an amazing sound quality. Because it’s a dynamic microphone, it’s perfect for recording at home. Even with a little bit of background noise, Samson Q2U is only going to pick up what’s in front of it.
It comes with a little tripod stand that allows you to place it on a desk. It also has a USB cord and an additional XLR output. This little feature makes this microphone special because you can later upgrade the quality of your audio by using the XLR output to plug the mic into a mixer. Samson Q2U also has a headphone port, so if you want to listen to yourself while recording, you can do that very easily.
Top-end of the budget picks
For those looking to extend their budget a little further, these mics still fall under that affordable tab—but take things up a notch.
Audio Technica is one of the most well-known audio brands out there. And, they have tons of affordable mics available. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB mic is a perfect choice for beginners. It’s a dynamic microphone that will allow you to record quality audio even in a more hectic and noisy environment. It’s only going to be picking up the sound in front of the microphone, so this is a solid pick for at-home recording.
It has a USB connection, allowing you to easily plug your mic straight into your laptop and start recording. But just like the Samson Q2U, it has the XLR output, which allows you to connect the microphone to a mixer to improve the sound quality even more. Also similarly, there’s also a headphone port. Audio-Technica ATR2100x comes with a tripod microphone stand, so you can easily keep it on your desk or workspace.
Blue Yeti USB Mic, $129.99
Blue Yeti is one of the most popular USB microphones in the world. It’s popular because it offers a good, crisp quality sound, as well as good looks. (It’s by far the best-looking microphone on our list.) Blue Yeti comes with a built-in, sturdy stand that allows you to rotate your mic back and forth. However, you can easily remove the microphone if you prefer to record with the floating microphone stand instead.
It’s a condenser microphone, so it’s going to pick up noise around it, not only your voice as you’re recording. Be sure to keep that in mind before making a purchase. Blue Yeti comes in a few different colors other than, well, blue. It has buttons on the microphone that allow you to mute yourself, adjust volume levels, and select which side of the microphone is recording. You can even plug your headphones straight into the microphone, right next to where you’ll plug in your USB cord to connect it to your laptop before recording.
Another good-looking microphone on our list is the AKG Lyra USB mic. It is a very sturdy, vintage-looking mic that’s perfect if you’re recording yourself on video at the same time. (It definitely has curb appeal.)
This microphone is also a condenser microphone, but it has a button on the mic itself that allows you to control where you want the sound to be picked up from. So, even if you record in a noisier environment, you don’t have to worry about the mic picking up extra sounds. The AKG Lyra has a headphone port at the bottom of the mic, allowing you to plug your headphones straight into it before recording. Bottom line: It’s a great microphone for beginners because it’s versatile and offers great sound quality.
No matter where your budget falls for audio gear and equipment, there are some top quality options out there. These are some of the simply some of the best affordable microphones creators like you should consider adding to your toolkit.