Best Condenser Microphones iMore 2020

When it comes to recording audio, an excellent condenser microphone is an absolute must. Whether you're recording vocals for a song, or a podcast, condenser microphones will help you get the most of your recording session and keep you sounding professional with low noise and high sensitivity. Here are our favorite condenser microphones that you can buy today.

Amazing value: Blue Yeti

Staff Favorite

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.

Fantastic starter kit: Rode NT1KIT

Rode has been making quality microphones for many years, and the NT1KIT 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 NT1KIT will produce a quality recording every time.

$269 at Amazon

Best for instruments: AKG C414 XLS

For recording single instruments with an XLR mic, the AKG C414 XLS 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 it's producing.

Budget friendly: MXL 770

With great bass and a clear high-end, the MXL 770 diaphragm capsule is excellent 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. Despite being extremely affordable, it still manages to come with a handy travel case, keeping it protected while out on the go.

XLR recording: Blue Spark SL

A more traditional XLR microphone from Blue Microphones, the Spark SL 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 gives the Spark SL the ability to be multi-purpose if you want.

Focused USB microphone: Audio-Technica AT2020USBi

Functioning much like a traditional XLR microphone, the Audio-Technica AT2020USBi is ideal for the singer/songwriter in you who loves to record digitally. Being a cardioid condenser microphone, the AT2020USBi performs best when recording sound from a single source located in front of the microphone. What makes the AT2020USBi 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.

$199 at Amazon

Get recording

Whether you are just getting into podcasting or looking to record your next song, condenser microphones offer a great mix of high-quality audio, low noise, and in most cases, an affordable price tag. Even after all of these years, the Blue Yeti is still our goto pick as it is one of the most versatile and accessible microphones out there, and for its price, it provides a ton of value.

Looking for an XLR microphone that comes with everything you need right in the box? Then check out the incredibly affordable, Rode NT1KIT Starter Kit. This set includes a shock mount, pop filter, and XLR cable to go along with the popular ultra-low noise Rode NT1 microphone.

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