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Best Condenser Microphones

Updated January 2024
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Best of the Best
Logitech for Creators Blue Yeti X
Logitech for Creators
Blue Yeti X
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Best for Experts
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Seasoned streamers, interviewers, and podcasters will appreciate the huge collection of features.


Features stereo, omni, bi-directional, and cardioid modes. Wide array of useful voice effects. High level of control audio control. Custom LED lighting. Plug and play USB connectivity.


A fairly large condenser microphone.

Best Bang for the Buck
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
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Trusted Brand
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This simple yet rock-solid condenser microphone is a dependable model for musicians, streamers, and podcasters.


Inexpensive. Durable. Cardioid listening pattern. XLR connectivity. Wide dynamic range. Adept at ignoring background sounds. Includes stand mount and protective bag.


Optimized for professional audio equipment.

JLab Audio Talk Go USB Microphone
JLab Audio
Talk Go USB Microphone
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Portable Convenience
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If you need a simple, yet effective condenser microphone to throw in your bag, this is the best portable model available.


Features omni and cardioid modes. Affordable. Lightweight. Integrated volume controls and mute button. Headphone jack. Simple setup. USB-C connectivity.


Its stand is not particularly rugged.

Logitech for Creators Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Logitech for Creators
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
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This condenser microphone is excellent for streamers and podcasters.


It comes with software that lets you add effects, among other features. There are four pickup patterns and onboard audio controls. It comes in several colors such as white, blue, and pink.


It starts to distort the audio at high volumes.

MXL V250 Condenser Microphone
V250 Condenser Microphone
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

This microphone has a large diaphragm, making it good for many tasks.


The diaphragm is 17 millimeters and made of 6-micron mylar, attached to a 20-millimeter OD backplate. It’s all kept together by a brass tension ring. Vocals sound loud and clear.


Some users found it started producing a hum after some time.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best condenser microphones

When you want to create high-quality recordings, a condenser microphone is an invaluable – and sometimes the only – tool you need other than your computer.

A condenser microphone has to meet your recording needs, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on an expensive model. Many affordable condenser mics provide great quality and are easy to use. On the other hand, just because a microphone is designed for professionals doesn’t mean it isn’t a good choice for you, too.

Different microphones record in different ways. Some are better for solo performances, while others do a great job of capturing several voices or sounds. Not all condenser mics come with the same equipment out of the box, which is another factor to consider.

At BestReviews, we strive to provide comprehensive information so you can make informed purchases. This shopping guide will help you find the best condenser microphone for your home or studio.

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When singing or speaking, adjust your distance from the microphone so that you’re closer when speaking or singing softly and farther away when speaking or singing loudly.

Why buy a condenser microphone?

Condenser microphones capture sound with a thin metal diaphragm parallel to a metal plate. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates, changing its distance to the metal plate. This alters the capacitance, which creates the electrical signal that a computer records.

For decades, condenser microphones have been the obvious choice in the recording studio, but what sets condenser microphones apart from dynamic microphones?

Condenser microphones

  • More sensitive due to a flatter frequency response (respond well to a wider range of frequencies

  • Record all sound (not so great in a cafe, but ideal in studio)

  • More natural sound in controlled settings (home or recording studio)

  • Require power source

  • More expensive

Dynamic microphones

  • Lower-quality audio

  • Better for picking up the sound you want in noisy places

  • Often don’t require a power source

  • Less expensive

Condenser microphone features to consider

Before you buy a condenser microphone, you should know what features you don’t need to pay extra for and what features you absolutely need. That depends on what you’re recording and how (and where) you plan on using your microphone.

Large or small diaphragm

As you may have guessed, large-diaphragm condenser microphones are identified by their large diameter diaphragms. This results in a very different sound from small diaphragm condenser microphones, though neither is better than the other.

  • Large diaphragm microphones tend to capture a richer, fuller sound, making them a common choice for vocalists or solo musicians.

  • Small diaphragm microphones capture an accurate, more detailed sound.


How does your microphone output audio?

  • XLR is the common professional choice, and XLR adapters can be purchased for a 3.5mm or USB connection.

  • USB condenser microphones are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of use. Since a USB connection powers the microphone, you don’t have to worry about a power source, and you can record straight to an audio program on your computer.

  • Mini (3.5mm) microphones tend to produce lower-quality audio and require a power source. Combined, these factors make them less popular than USB or XLR microphones.

Computer and drivers

If you plan on recording directly to your computer, you should make sure your computer is compatible with the microphone and that you have the proper drivers.

Noise figure

Because condenser microphones require a power source, there is an electrical current running through wires inside the microphone. The current generates a small amount of noise (“self-noise”) that can be picked up by the microphone. The self-noise is measured in A-weighted decibels (dB-A), and most microphones fall between 9 and 19 dB-A. In this case, a lower noise figure is better, but it often comes with a higher price tag.

"An audio interface is a tool that improves the quality of your microphone, provides power, connects to your computer, and sometimes connects more than one microphone."

Maximum SPL

Maximum sound pressure level (SPL) is the highest decibel level that a microphone can record without a drop in sound quality. Many condenser microphones record up to 120 dB or higher. Consider what type of recording you intend to do. If you just need a microphone for a spoken-word podcast, max SPL shouldn’t be too much of a consideration for you. However, if you plan to record drums, make sure that your microphone can handle higher-decibel sounds.

Frequency response range

While it’s important for a microphone to pick up a wide range of frequencies, what you should really look for is how “flat” a microphone’s frequency response curve is. A flat frequency response indicates that the microphone is equally sensitive to high- and low-frequency sounds. This is a good choice for capturing instruments to produce a natural sound. If you only plan to record vocals, you might want a microphone that’s more sensitive to different frequencies. Most microphone manufacturers indicate whether the frequency response range is appropriate for vocals.

Pop filter

Directional microphones, usually the choice for vocals, are susceptible to “pops,” a noise that results from sounds like “P” and “B,” which can hit the diaphragm with a lot of force. Some microphones include a pop filter, a ring with a thin layer of mesh, to prevent this effect. If a pop filter isn’t included, it doesn’t cost much to buy one, and it’s an accessory that can save you a lot of trouble.

"If you don’t have a pop filter, a windscreen is an affordable alternative. This foam covering slides over the microphone to protect it from spit, dust, and loud noises that could damage the diaphragm."

Directional or omnidirectional

As you can imagine, neither type is superior to the other – each serves its own purpose.

  • Directional (or cardioid) microphones have sensitivity patterns that pick up sound from one or sometimes two directions. These microphones excel at blocking out sound from other directions and so are ideal for vocal recording.

  • Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound equally from all directions. These microphones are great for recording several instruments at once.


Not all microphones include a stand, an accessory you’ll likely want because holding a microphone can produce unwanted noise. There are several different types of stands.

  • Shock mount: For reducing unwanted vibrations, a shock mount is a good choice if you’re recording vocals.

  • Tripod boom: If you need to adjust the height of your microphone, a mic boom is a great tool. This is standard for recording instruments.

  • Tripod stand: This is a good option for general use or if you plan on recording vocals standing up.

  • Desktop: These stands are the norm for recording podcasts, since they place the microphone at a comfortable height when the speaker is sitting at a desk.

  • Overhead: This is the most expensive stand type. It gives a range of positions and is most commonly used in recording studios.


Due to the delicate design and the thin diaphragm, condenser microphones tend to be fairly fragile. Humidity (often saliva) inside the microphone can do serious damage, as can a bad fall. However, if treated properly and stored safely, a condenser microphone has no real life expectancy and should last for years.


  • Choose your recording space well. A room with bare walls is likely to produce an unwanted echoing effect. Furniture and bookshelves can help produce a more natural sound.

  • Keep your pop filter a few inches from the mic. The effectiveness of a pop filter is increased when it’s three or four inches from the microphone.

  • Use headphones while you record. Sure, you can hear yourself or your instrument okay, but without headphones, you won’t hear what you’re recording until it’s too late. Headphones are a great way to fix problems as they occur.

  • Consider purchasing a preamplifier. A preamp is a tool that increases the power and volume of your microphone for better recording quality. Preamps range in price from $30 to $250.

Condenser microphone prices

Condenser microphones vary greatly in price, depending on the brand, size, and features. You can expect to spend anywhere from $9 to $1,200 or more.


For a simple condenser microphone that’s easy to use, you can pay as little as $9 or as much as $50. Even at this price, you can find a microphone with a decent number of features like a headphone jack or pop filter.


You’ll find many high-quality microphones in the $50 to $250 range.


For professional-quality microphones like those used in recording studios, you will pay from $250 to $1,200 or more.

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Without quality speakers, you won’t know if your recordings sound the way you want them to. A good pair of studio monitor speakers is a worthwhile investment.


Q. What type of microphone do I need for recording multiple voices?

A. Bidirectional microphones are designed to pick up sound from the front and back, making them a good choice for recording two voices. Otherwise, your best option is to have multiple microphones, one for each voice.

Q. How should I store my microphone when it’s not in use?

A. If your microphone is in a safe place away from young children or animals, it can be left out, but a dust cover will prevent particles from collecting inside the microphone. If you don’t plan on using your microphone for a long time, you should store it in a hard case if you have one.

Q. Can condenser microphones be used onstage or during a performance?

A. Not without picking up a lot of extra sound (like the crowd). If you’re on stage, a dynamic microphone is the best option because it blocks out extra noise. In addition, dynamic microphones are usually more durable than condenser microphones and are better built for life on the road.

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