When it comes to recording audio an excellent condenser microphone is a must. Whether you're recording vocals for a song or a podcast, these great microphones will help you get the most of your records and keep you sounding professional.

Fantastic starter kit: Rode NT1A

Rode has been making quality microphones for man years, and the NT1A is often touted as a stand out due to its high sound pressure level and the warm recordings it produces. It is an XLR microphone, but this starter kit has everything you need to record awesome vocal right in the box. Whether you're going to be singing or podcasting, the NT1A will produce a quality recording every time.

$230 at Amazon

Amazing value: Blue Yeti

When it comes to value, the Yeti by Blue Microphones is second to none. Its USB connection makes it easy to use with just about any setup, and it doesn't need any drivers to function, so you just plug it in, and you're off to the races. Its versatility is what shines through, as it has four different recording modes, including an omnidirectional mode that's great for capturing multiple voices or sounds from around the room.

$99 at Amazon

Best for instruments: AKG C414

When it comes to recording single instruments with an XLR mic, the AKG C414 is one of the most sought-after mics by sound engineers and artists alike. With three different attenuation levels (-6/-12/-18dB) is great for getting nice and close to the sound source and recording all the sound that its producing.

$750 at Amazon

Budget option: MXL 770

With great bass and a clear high-end, the MXL 770 diaphragm capsule is great for multiple purposes. It's good at capturing vocals and string instruments — including piano. This XLR microphone can fit a wide variety of standard accessories and produces warm recordings every time.

$67 at Amazon

Great focused recording: Blue Spark

A more traditional XLR microphone from Blue Microphones, the Spark is a favorite among streamers and podcasters alike for its large-diaphragm capsule, making it excellent at capturing focus sound form a single source. It is an XLR microphone, and it even gives you the ability to change the capsule on the fly (if you buy the extra capsule) which give the Spark the ability to be multi-purpose if you want.

$200 at Amazon

Focused USB mictophone: Audio-Technica AT2020USB

Functioning much like a traditional XLR microphone, the Audio-Technica AT2020USB is ideal for the singer/songwriter in you who loves to record digitally. Being a cardioid microphone, the AT2020USB performs best when recording sound from a single source located in front of the microphone. What makes the AT2020USB so great for musicians is its ability to easily fit into shock mounts and mic booms, allowing you to position the microphone perfectly in your space.

$130 at Amazon

As mentioned above, the Blue Yeti is one of the most versatile and accessible microphones out there, and for its price, it provides a ton of value. Whether you're recording for a podcast or working on a song, any of the microphones listed above is going to go a long way.

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