Cheap Microphones for Recording – Top 5 Picks, In-Depth Guide, FAQs & More

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Finding the right microphone to record audio narration for your online courses is actually a lot harder than it seems. 

If you don’t know much about microphones, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the varieties and types of mics available in the market. 

In this post, we will go over the best and cheapest microphones you can get your hands on to record crisp audio for your online course lectures. 


SAMSON Meteor Mic USB Studio Condenser Microphone

This professional USB microphone records clear and crisp audio that you can use for your online courses. The sound quality is immaculate and it’s designed to reduce noise and ambient sounds in the background. 


SAMSON Meteor Mic USB Studio Condenser Microphone

This microphone comes with four different polar patterns for you to choose from depending on the type of setting you’re in. It has buttons on it for changing different settings which is very convenient and saves time.


SAMSON Meteor Mic USB Studio Condenser Microphone

Rode is one of the leading manufacturers when it comes to audio recording and this microphone comes with USB as well as 3.5mm audio jack connectors. It’s a robust, high-quality mic that will last you years. 

Now that we’ve had a quick look at our top 3 picks, let’s delve deeper into what they have to offer as well as our other two picks for the best cheap microphones for audio narration. 

Best Cheap Microphones – Top 5 Reviews

#1: Best All-Around Cheap Microphone – SAMSON Meteor Mic USB Studio Condenser Microphone Review

The Samson Meteor Mic is arguably the best USB mic that you can get your hands on. 

It has fold-back legs that act as a mic stand adapter.

They allow you to position it perfectly on your table-top and make it very easy to transport as well. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy SAMSON Meteor Mic USB Studio Condenser Microphone

Price: The Samson Meteor Mic comes with a price tag of about $70 which is fairly reasonable considering the build and sound quality of the mic. 

Microphone Type: It’s a USB Condenser mic which means you can easily plug it into your computer via USB and condenser microphones are considered to be one of the best types for recording vocals and voice-overs.

Audio Quality: It features a cardioid polar pattern which means it picks up audio mainly from its front. This reduces ambient noise and background sounds, resulting in optimal sound quality.

Frequency Response: It has a smooth and flat frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz which means nothing you say will get left or not be picked up. 

What we liked

  • Affordable
  • Small and portable
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Great, crisp sound quality
  • Excellent build quality

What we didn’t like

  • Your audio may need some post-production before it sounds the way you want

Best All-Around Cheap Microphone

The best all-around cheap microphone is the SAMSON Meteor USB mic thanks to its superior build and ease of use. Just simply plug it in and start recording. 

#2: Best Multi-Pattern Affordable Microphone – Blue 1967 Yeti Pro USB Condenser Microphone Review

Blue microphones are considered to be some of the best in the industry and for good reason: 

Their mics are incredibly robust, easy to use and provide amazing sound quality right off the bat. 

It features a classic dome-like design that most Blue microphones have and it comes with four different polar pattern settings:

  • Cardioid pattern 
  • Stereo pattern 
  • Bidirectional pattern 
  • Omnidirectional pattern 

This enables you to experiment and find the best setting that suits your environment. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Blue 1967 Yeti Pro USB Condenser Microphone

Price: This microphone is available to you at a price of $129. While this is more expensive than most of the mics on this list, it makes sense since it provides four different polar pattern settings. 

Microphone Type: It’s a USB condenser mic which means it’s simple to set up and provides an optimal range for voice-overs. 

Audio Quality: As far as USB mics go, the audio quality of the Blue Yeti is incredible. It’s also great that you can experiment with its different settings to find the best one for yourself. 

Frequency Response: It has a frequency response of 15 Hz to 22 kHz which is actually much wider than most cheap microphones. 

What we liked

  • Direct controls and knobs for convenience
  • Two types of connectors: USB and XLR
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Four different polar patterns
  • Very sturdy

What we didn’t like

  • Relatively expensive

Best Multi-Pattern Affordable Microphone

The best multi-pattern affordable microphone is the Blue 1967 Yeti Pro USB Condenser mic thanks to the four different polar patterns that it offers. In addition to that, it’s very easy to use and the direct buttons on it are a great touch. 

#3: Best Budget-Friendly Microphone with 3.5mm Jack – Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review 

This is a great option if you’re looking for a microphone with multiple connection capabilities. 

It can connect to your workstation via either a USB or a 3.5 mm audio jack both of which you will already have. 

Sound-wise, this mic is probably the best sound USB condenser mic that we have tested for this review. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Rode NT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Microphone

Price: With a price tag of $169, it’s the most expensive mic we have on this list. However, if you have the budget, we’d say that it’s definitely worth the price. 

Microphone Type: As far as USB condenser mics go, this is the best one that utilizes all of the strengths of condenser mics. It’s very easy to set up and provides great audio.

Audio Quality: The audio quality it provides is something you’d never expect from a budget USB condenser mic. It’s definitely the best-sounding mic on this list. 

Frequency Response: it has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz which is fairly standard for USB condenser mics. 

What we liked

  • Comes with a pop filter, mic stand, ring mount and storage pouch
  • Long USB cable for easy positioning
  • Compatible with iPads
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Incredible build quality

What we didn’t like

  • Relatively pricey

Best Budget-Friendly Microphone with 3.5mm Jack

The best budget-friendly microphone with a 3.5mm audio jack is the Rode NT-USB condenser mic. It’s a budget microphone that sounds as great as high-end dynamic mics meant for studios and concerts. 

#4: Best Uni-Directional Budget-Friendly Microphone – Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review

Audio-Technica is a household name when it comes to audio equipment and this mic really shows why. 

It comes with a USB output for easy connection with your workstation as well as a headphone jack for direct monitoring of your audio recording. 

Audio-Technica has also ensured that you can easily control your headphone’s volume with controls at the front of the mic. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB Cardioid Microphone

Price: At $64, this mic is pretty much a steal. The amount of value you get for these $64 is unparalleled. 

Microphone Type: As a USB condenser mic, it does pretty much everything you’d expect. It’s very easy to set up and it picks up delicate frequencies effortlessly. 

Audio Quality: The audio is crisp and clear. Its cardioid pickup pattern does a great job of isolating your voice and preventing any background noise or humming from being picked up. 

Frequency Response: It has a frequency response of 30Hz to 15kHz which is actually fairly low even for cheap microphones. We’re not sure why Audio-Technica chose to have such a low frequency response for this mic. 

What we liked

  • Great audio quality
  • Zero-latency audio monitoring via its headphone jack
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to transport
  • Fairly sturdy

What we didn’t like

  • Low frequency response 

Best Uni-Directional Budget-Friendly Microphone

The best uni-directional budget-friendly microphone is the Audio-Technica ATR2500-USB thanks to its large-diaphragm condenser mic design. As far as audio quality, Audio-Technica has ensured it sounds just as good as expensive mics in the market. 

#5: Best Affordable Microphone with Bass Reduction – CAD Audio U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone Review

Heavy bass is good when you’re listening to music but when recording voice-overs, it can actually be quite detrimental. 

This is because a lot of background sounds are picked up. This mic does an incredible job of isolating background noises and ensuring only your sound gets picked up. 

It’s a large-diaphragm condenser microphone which means it’s perfect for recording crisp and clear voice-overs for your online course lectures. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy CAD Audio U37 USB Studio Condenser Recording Microphone

Price: With a price tag of $46, it’s the cheapest microphone we have on this list. As far as condenser microphones go, it’s one of the cheapest but it definitely does not compromise on quality.

Microphone Type: As a USB microphone, it’s very easy to set up and use. Furthermore, when it comes to budget microphones, it provides a wide dynamic range to pick up the slightest of sounds from you.

Audio Quality: The audio quality is great when compared to other cheap microphones. Its bass reduction switch is something that ensures that minimal background noise is picked up during recording. 

Frequency Response: CAD Audio has not mentioned their mic’s frequency response anywhere which is fairly strange. 

What we liked

  • Cardioid pickup pattern ensures minimal background noise and balanced sound
  • Portable
  • Quick to set up and use
  • Great audio quality for a USB microphone
  • Little to no background noise

What we didn’t like

  • Flimsy, plasticky appearance

Best Affordable Microphone with Bass Reduction

The best affordable microphone with bass reduction is the CAD Audio U37 thanks to its bass reduction switch. This ensures that little to no background noise is picked up during recording with this large-diaphragm condenser mic. 

Best Cheap Microphones – Buyers’ Guide 

When browsing the best cheap microphones on the market, it can be difficult to choose one as an online course creator because of the sheer amount of variety. 

Luckily, there are a few aspects and factors you can look at to determine which microphone could be the best one for you. 

Some of these aspects are: 


Of course, you need to look at the price and keep it in mind when searching for a mic to do voice-overs for your online courses with. 

As an online course creator, you may already be paying a lot towards monthly subscriptions for tools as well as other equipment. 

Thus, you need to be conservative with the amount of money you spend on a mic while also buying one that provides you with everything you need. 

We recommend that you don’t go above $100 when buying a mic for voice-over work for your online lectures unless you have the budget for it. 

Microphone Type

There are mainly two types of microphones: condenser mics and dynamic mics

Condenser microphones are meant for recording voice-overs and they are able to work with delicate frequencies and low sounds well. 

A dynamic mic is meant for recording loud and heavy sounds such as instruments and/or loud vocals. 

You can probably tell that for your purposes, condenser mics are going to be the microphone type that you should be going for. 

In addition to this, you should also look for it to have a super-cardioid polar pattern. 

A cardioid polar (or cardioid pickup) pattern means that the mic will focus on the sound source that is directly in front of it and ignore sounds coming from everywhere else. 

This means that a cardioid pickup pattern ensures that a minimal amount of room noise and humming will be picked up during your recording. 

Connector Type

Microphones typically come in a bunch of different options when it comes to connectivity. 

The most popular ones are: 

  • XLR 
  • 3.5 mm 
  • USB 

For your purposes as an online course creator, we recommend that you look for the best cheap microphones that connect via either USB or a 3.5 mm audio jack

This is because while mics with XLR inputs provide better audio quality, you’ll have to buy additional equipment to connect an XLR mic to your computer. 

This additional equipment will cost a lot of money which you might not be able to afford. 

Hence, you should look for the best cheap microphones with either 3.5 mm or USB connectors for recording narration for your online courses. 

Audio Quality

This should go without saying but of course, the audio quality of the mic you’re getting should be the best that it can be. 

The best cheap microphones out there can still provide you with amazing audio quality that is more than adequate for you to record your online courses. 

Be sure to look at online reviews for the mic you’re thinking of getting in order to ensure its audio quality is adequate for voice-overs. 

Frequency Response

The frequency response (or frequency range) of a microphone is the range of frequencies that it is able to capture. 

Naturally, the wider its frequency response is, the more frequencies it will be able to capture and the richer and fuller your sound will be. 

We recommend opting for a microphone that has a frequency of at least between 20 Hz and 20 kHz (20,000 Hz). 

Build Quality

When you’re buying budget-friendly products, they can often come at the price of them being fairly flimsy and made with cheap-quality materials. 

However, the best cheap microphones don’t skimp out on build quality and we emphasize that this is not something you should compromise on. 

If you get a budget microphone that is cheaply built, it will break down within a few weeks and you’ll have to buy another one. 

This will ultimately end up costing you more in the long run. 

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Best Cheap Microphones – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How Much Do Decent Cheap Microphones Cost? 

Decent cheap microphones can range from anywhere between $50 to $250. 

While you can definitely opt for more expensive mics, we suggest that you stay below $100 if you’re an online course creator.

Is it worth it to go for an expensive mic? 

While it’s definitely worth it to go for an expensive mic because they do offer a lot of functionality as well as audio quality that is unparalleled, it’s not something you need as an online course creator. 

You’re not trying to record lush vocal performances, recording music or instruments, you’re just trying to record clear audio for your online course(s)

This is something that can easily be done with a budget mic. 

Do I Need All the Accessories that Come with Mics (Pop Filter, Shock Mount, etc.)?

While it’s not something you need, if these accessories do come with your microphone, it can be a good idea to use them. 

Because first of all, why not? And second of all, they can greatly improve your sound recordings and make them sound much more professional. 

A metal pop filter can help eliminate any “popping” sounds that may emanate from your mouth whereas a shock mount is able to eliminate any sound that may come from vibrations or unintentional holding of the mic. 

Again, while you don’t need a pop filter or a shock mount, they can still elevate your audio to a new level so, they can be worth investing in if you have the budget.

Note: A custom shock mount isn’t really needed if your mic comes with a mic stand adapter or foldable legs. 

Why does my mic sound muffled? 

Your mic may be sounding muffled because you’re either too close or too far from it. 

If you’re too close to it, it can overwhelm the capsule inside it and make it sound muffled. If you’re too far, it will barely pick up your sound. 

Hence, try to find the right distance to have between your mouth and your mic. 

What is the Difference between a Large-Diaphragm Condenser Mic and a Small-Diaphragm Condenser Mic?

Small-diaphragm condenser mics are much slimmer and tend to capture high frequencies better than large-diaphragm ones. 

On the other hand, large-diaphragm ones are bigger in size and tend to capture lower frequencies much better. 

Finding the perfect audio recording and editing software can get overwhelming especially when you are just a beginner. We have compiled a list of the best software like Audacity, Adobe Audition, and Reaper for you to go through and make an informed decision.

Best Cheap Microphones – Final Verdict

After testing out several microphones over the course of many months, we’ve come to the conclusion that the best cheap microphone is the SAMSON Meteor Mic

It sounds great, is very easy to set up, is quite sturdy, and also, very portable. It really is the mic purchase you need to make professional-sounding recordings for your online courses. 

What mic do you use to record audio for your online courses? Let us know in the comments.