If you need the best condenser mic under 500 dollars, you’ve come to the right place. We took a look at a lot of condenser microphones,as well as the pros and cons for each one of them. So take your time and read this text to learn more about the design, features, and performance of these microphones.
1. Avantone Pro C-12
- 9 different polar pickup patterns
- 2 twin Mylar capsules sputtered with gold
- Packed in a 6072A tube
- -10 dB pad and 80Hz rolloff
- You can purchase this microphone in red only
The Avantone Pro C-12 microphone is the best condenser microphone under 500 dollars on this list. There are multiple reasons why, but let’s fist tackle its design.
Sitting at the top of the microphone is the elegant silverish grill with two silver rings. The grill is attached to the microphone’s long shiny red tube with silver highlights that make the Avantone Pro C-12 look sleek and professional.
Besides from the beautiful design, the microphone also has some amazing features. For instance, there are two twin Mylar gold-sputtered condenser capsules inside the Avantone Pro C-12 that make sure you’ll get a premium sound quality. The sound quality is furthermore enhanced with the microphone’s 20Hz-20kHz wide frequency response. Also, there is the -10 db pad button for the louder sounds and the 80Hz rolloff button which are both necessary controls. Furthermore, the Avantone Pro C-12 also has a good sound pressure level (SPL) of 136 dB.
One amazing thing about the Avantone Pro C-12 is that it offers its users the option to choose between nine different polar pickup patterns. This is amazing since it means that the microphone can be used for many different purposes.
All this being said, the Avantone Pro C-12 doesn’t fail to deliver when it comes to its great sound quality. All the features that this condenser microphone has work perfectly together and make it stand out from its price range competitors.
To connect the microphone to your device, you’ll have to use the XLR connector that comes together with the microphone. There are multiple accessories included in the package, among which a shock mount, a power supply, a storage wooden box, and a carrying case.
2. Aston Spirit
- A chassis made of stainless steel
- A suspended gold-evaporated condenser capsule
- A built-in pop filter
- A wave-form spring head
- The mesh is a bit sensitive and you need to be careful not to damage it
Aston Spirit is one industrial-looking microphone. It really gives you the idea of edginess once you lay eyes upon it. The design features a mesh surrounded by a wave-form spring head instead of a grill, and has a slim cylindrical body coloured in metallic gray.
The design of the Aston Spirit doesn’t tell a lie. This microphone was made to filter out some harsh sounds and noises. The weaved mesh on top of its chassis is actually a built-in pop filter. The pop filter successfully filters out the unwanted plosives with the help of its randomly knotted mesh design. The random weave-mesh can also filter out unwanted electromagnetic radiation, making the microphone suitable to use in many situations.
Another interesting part of this microphone’s design is its wave-form spring head. Besides from being unique on the market, the head of this microphone acts as a shock mount. So, not only does the Aston Spirit have a built-in pop filter, but it also has a built-in shock mount. Therefore, worry less about any mechanical and handling noises when using this microphone because its manufactures have certainly found the right way to deal with those kinds of sound interferences.
Aston Spirit also has a great gold-evaporated condenser capsule that makes it sound warm, natural, and detailed, and offer a nice texture of the sound in the middle range. The microphone has a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz and a maximum SNL of 138 dB. It also has -10 dB and -20 dB pads and a rolloff switch in case you need to make any adjustments in the higher and lower frequencies.
As for the polar pickup patterns—the Aston Spirit offers you three of them. The microphone also comes in an eco-friendly packaging.
3. Rode NT1-A
- A true condenser that’s externally biased
- A capsule with a golden diaphragm
- Internal shock mount of the capsule
- The microphone makes very little noise itself
- Doesn’t have buttons for adjustment of sound, like pads and rolloff switches
Rode NT1-A doesn’t fail to amaze its users with great looks, sound, and built quality. This true condenser has many features that make it similar to a studio microphone.
First of all, there’s some great design going on with its minimalistic shiny chassis and grayish grill making it look elegant and professional. And it’s not only the microphone that looks elegant. The external shock mount and detachable pop filter that come together with the Rode NT1A also look very stylish.
Of course, besides from looking stylish, the shock mount and the pop filter also have the role of neutralizing the unwanted vibrations and plosives from altering the microphone’s sound. But their help in preventing the interference would be insufficient without the microphone’s large 1” capsule design.
The golden-diaphragm capsule has an internal shock mounting, meaning that it is protected from any handling and mechanical noises. Together with the 20Hz-20kHz wide frequency range and the great maximum SNL, the capsule provides for better sound-quality and interference reduction. Obviously, Rode NT1-A is a very sensitive condenser microphone.
Rode NT1-A also makes very little noise, so the sound will be free from any noise coming from the microphone itself. Furthermore, the microphone works with a cardioid polar pickup pattern which means that all those unwanted noises and sounds will not be picked up.
The microphone also has a 6-meter cable and a dustcover for preservation of its sound and overall quality.
4. CAD E-100S
- 1” nickel-plated capsule with a diaphragm
- The microphone uses Quadra-FET
- The microphone makes very little noise, the lowest self-noise in its class
- There is a high-pass and pad switch
- The microphone might not be the best when it comes to eliminating plosives
The side-address CAD E-100S looks like a studio microphone with its black, rectangular, metal body and its grille on the front side. Both the pad and the high-pass switch are easily accessible and located below the grill. There’s CAD’s logo on the front and the information that the microphone is made in the USA.
The features that CAD E-100S has guarantee the microphone’s great sound quality.
First of all, CAD E-100S is a condenser that is equipped with a large, 1” diaphragm capsule that’s nickel-plated and enhances the sensitivity of the microphone. Second, the microphone uses a supercardioid polar pickup pattern which, in comparison to the cardioid one, can pick up more rear sounds and help your recorded material sound more natural that way. Third, CAD E-100S offers you the lowest self-noise made by a microphone in its class—3.7 dBA, so you are guaranteed to record with a very quiet microphone. Fourth, the microphone comes with its 80Hz high-pass and -10dB pad switches which will help you adjust the microphone the way it best suits you. Fifth, CAD E-100S has a frequency response range from 40Hz to 18kHz with a maximum SPL of 150dB which makes the microphone very convenient for recording both vocals and many different instruments.
With this microphone, you will be able enjoy versatility, warmness of tone, and clarity of sound. The microphone also has both a built-in and an outside shock mount for the prevention of any interference to the sound.
5. AKG Pro Audio C214
- Extra large, RF-resistant grill
- Equipped with a 1” large diaphragm capsule for great sound sensitivity
- High-pass and low-cut switches included
- Great frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz
- The microphone has only one polar pickup pattern (cardioid)
With a rectangular base and an all-metal body, the AKG Pro Audio C214 looks like a throwback to the past. The microphone looks interesting and you can see through its very large double-mesh grill on its side. There is something cool about being able to do that while using the microphone.
The aspirations for greater sound quality of the AKG Pro Audio C214 start right from its grill. As I already mentioned, the grill is very large and allows for its better RF resistance. This is a nice feature to have since it adds to the microphone’s ability to perform great in various situations.
However, this microphone offers you more than just its RF-resistant grill. The AKG Pro Audio C214 also has a 1” large diaphragm capsule and a built-in shock mount for its better overall performance. This microphone has a wide frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz, and it, therefore, covers all the frequencies that the human ear can hear. With a maximum SPL of 156dB, a high-pass, and a low-cut filter AKG Pro Audio C214 offers you great flexibility and adjustability. To furthermore increase the quality of performance of the microphone, its manufacturers send it to you with an H85 shock mount for its mechanical noise protection and stability.
The nice features that the AKG Pro Audio C214 has to offer make for the microphone’s nice, warm, and smooth sound. This device will work well with both vocals and instruments.
6. Shure KSM141/SL
- Offers two polar pickup patterns (cardioid and omnidirectional)
- Is designed with golden components for better sound sensitivity and signal conduvtivity
- Comes with a subsonic filter for filtering out the 17Hz frequencies
- Comes with a great preamplifier for nice sound enhancement
- While it is great when capturing the sounds of instruments, its abilities to capture vocals falls a bit behind
I’ve decided to wrap up this list of with the great Shure KSM141/SL. With the nice features that it has to offer and the great build quality, this microphone has a well-deserved spot among the best condenser microphones under 500 dollars.
Shure KSM141/SL looks like a very slim, gray tube with a mesh on its top and on a few places on the side. It is very compact and easy to manipulate with, but this doesn’t affect its great sound performance.
The microphone offers it users the choice between two polar pickup patterns—cardioid and omnidirectional. This is great if you want to adjust your microphone when in different recording environments, or when you have different recording purposes.
What’s interesting about this microphone is its manufacturers’ usage of gold in its overall design. The diaphragm inside the KSM141/SL is gold-plated with a 24 karat gold, and it’s very slim and low in mass. This microphones’ ports are gold-plated as well, enabling for its better signal conductivity and accuracy.
The sound of Shure KSM141/SL won’t fail you because of the microphone’s great properties. There’s the subsonic filter that takes care of the ultra low 17Hz frequencies, a pad switch with three options available, and a low-cut filter. Furthermore, Shure KSM141/SL comes with a great-quality preamp that enhances the sound while keeping it clear and natural. With all of this included, the microphone will make sure to pass your sound quality test.
What to expect from a microphone under $500
In general, you should expect that microphones at this price range will have better features than cheaper microphones. They will have better condensers, will be more resistant to noise and vibration, will be more flexible, and perform better.
However, before making up your mind, you should know that some microphones work better with vocals, while others when used with instruments.
Those better used with vocals will have a great frequency response range and more polar patterns. They’ll come with great pop filters and nice noise-reduction designs for sound quality enhancement. Microphones designed to be used with instruments should, on the other hand, have a greater maximum SNL, and some good high-pass and low-cut filters.
All microphones for under $500 should offer you a nice overall experience. If you notice that a microphone lacks in these features, you might consider looking for a better one.
Best condenser mic under 500 dollars – Conclusion
Better condenser microphones are a must if you want to take the sound of your material to the next level. Microphones under $500 are a good option when you know what you’re looking for and are willing to pay a bit more to get it. So do some more research, think about what you’d like from your microphone, and make a good decision on which one to buy. If non of these fit your budget, take a look at the best condenser mic under $200.