Microphones come in all shapes, sizes, and sizes. The unique feature of this specific design is that there is always room for improvement. Today we are going to talk about the more sophisticated segment of the condenser market. As expected, the models on which you will learn in this guide are among the best microphones under $500. Once we have reviewed our selection of the best microphones under $500, we will discuss what this segment offers in terms of performance and features, as well as other things. Let’s start.
List of the best microphones under $500
Aston Microphones Spirit
Aston is not a brand you will hear much about unless you use more niche designs. Their policy is that good music production requires the right tools and that no compromises have to be made. Aston Microphones Spirit shows exactly what these values can yield. This microphone is so much more than just your old regular condenser microphone.
To begin with, it looks rather exotic with its brushed steel chassis, steel wire built-in pop filter, and steampunk aesthetics in general. With that said, this microphone was designed using input from a large number of professionals in the UK, making it one of the best microphones under $500. Moreover, all the good functions are there too.
Rarely, condenser microphones reach the level of legendary such as Electro-Voice RE-20. Admittedly, this microphone is not something you will often see in most enthusiastic studios. What you will encounter are professional radio cabs and voice recording studios. RE-20 is simply one of the very best models on the market for translating human voice into a digital format.
The microphone itself has very large side-address areas next to the upper address section. It comes with a built-in pop filter, an impressive set of hardware, and a chassis that is likely to withstand a thermonuclear war. Because of that, RE-20 has succeeded in establishing itself when it comes to choosing so many producers out the re. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under 500 dollars.
Rode’s high-end microphones are up there with The Best on the market. There is no doubt about that. A great example of Rode’s offer in this segment is the Rode Broadcaster. As you probably can see from the name, it was mainly intended for radio chambers and applications such as podcasting. That said, there is a lot of achievement. On the outside, it looks pretty professional.
There is nothing flashy about it, or they have not been particularly concerned about aesthetics. This is one of those silver pillboxes that you still hear about. In terms of functions and performance, Rode Broadcaster has a lot to offer. A built-in pop filter and a speech-optimized low-cut filter are just a few. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under 500 dollars.
Regardless of how many condenser designs we go through in this market segment, AKG C214 remains one of the most popular models. The large membrane condensers from AKG have quite a reputation. A good chunk of that representative is due to this microphone. Why is it so popular? It is simple, robust, and reliable.
The chassis C214 is in the style of those vintage models. It is only a layout for an address that is intended to expose the majority of the capsule to the user. The package we are looking at today contains a lot of accessories, making it all very attractive. If you want to start working immediately, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
When it comes to real high-end solutions for professional recording studios, chances are you will not find a more reliable brand than Shure. They are known for their SM58, but they are models like the Shure KSM141/SL that show what this brand is capable of. It is a rather unusual capacitor that is packed with functions.
As you can probably see from the design, this is a pencil capacitor. In other words, it feels at home around acoustic instruments, drum kits, and similar environments. This is a single address microphone that comes with powerful mute options, as well as numerous filters and adjustable polar patterns. In general, it is one of the best microphones under 500 dollars.
It is no secret that Rode NT2A is currently one of the most trusted microphones on the market. There are several reasons for this, but it all comes down to what Rode has meant for this specific model. They wanted to build an overall good performer, and that is about what this model represents. It just works. With its somewhat vintage design, Rode NT2A is one of those microphones that fit into every studio.
However, it is debatable that the great features and the gold-sputtered capsule have more to do with this. You look at three kinds of high-pass filters and different damping options. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
The higher range of microphones from Audio Technica is something. If you’re used to their entry-level models, these condensers will certainly put things into perspective. Audio Technica AT4033/CL is such a model, and it brings some great solutions to the table. With that said, you would probably not come to that conclusion by looking at it. What the AT4033/CL defines is the design of the capsule.
It should do more with the way the capsule is hung in the chassis. They have used a floating system that reduces noise to a large extent, as well as vibrations. On top of that, there is a very precise and delicate diaphragm that is inside, and that provides a high degree of accuracy. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
Good microphones are available in various formats. Shure’s KSM32/SL represents a type of microphone that is optimized for use with all kinds of instruments. It is a simple-looking model, but a model that hides a lot of potentials. To begin with, it can handle reasonably high levels of SPL as standard, but even more with attenuation. The microphone is equipped with a super low-mass membrane made of Mylar.
Combined with a robust internal spring system, this positively contributes to the overall performance profile. If you need something that works well with vocals, but captures the nuance of that vintage amp that you’re playing, then this Shure is a right choice and is one of the best microphones under $500.
Heil Sound PR 40
When it comes to finding one of the best microphones under $500, you come across different models. Heil Sound PR 40 is one of the better. His value stems from the fact that he does not try to attract users with flashy design or gimmicky functions. Instead, it offers reliable performance and consistency. That is pretty rare. In general, it can happen as just another silver pill. It has that aesthetics.
However, it only takes a few hours to discover that PR 40 is nothing other than your average condenser. The performance profile is mainly designed for vocals, but there is a lot of room to move for recording acoustic instruments. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under 500 dollars.
This microphone is just one of Avantone’s tributes to the legendary AKG C 12. The versatile Avantone CV-12 microphone excels on vocals, producing professional results with a warm, pleasant sonic character. The CK 12-style capsule, 6072A tube and transformer-coupled output circuit give the CV-12 a beautiful sound quality reminiscent of the great tube microphones of the 1950s and 1960s.
This microphone comes with a custom shock mount and an 80 Hz high-pass filter to help reduce unwanted low-end noise. The response of this microphone is pleasantly accurate while still allowing vocals to shine in the high-end and having considerable authority in the midrange and low-end. For the price, the Avantone CV-12 really can’t be a bad buy. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
Warm Audio WA-14
The Warm Audio WA-14 is another incredible vocal microphone based on a legendary AKG microphone. This microphone is a large-diaphragm solid-state condenser microphone with 3 selectable polar pattern options. At the heart of the WA-14 is a CK12-style capsule, modeled after AKG’s legendary CK 12. Its CineMag USA transformer and fully discrete circuitry provide pristine accuracy combined with vintage-like character.
Although the WA-14 is a FET condenser microphone, it has fantastic realism and a thickness reminiscent of AKG’s vintage microphone. Its character ensures that every vocal in a mix comes out without adding too much extra coloration. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
sE Electronics Voodoo VR1
The sE Electronics Voodoo VR1 is here partly because of its vocal recording and partly as a token ribbon microphone (I felt it necessary to add a ribbon to this list). The VR1, like most ribbon microphones, has a bidirectional pattern and a natural-sounding but dark character. The transient response is on-point, allowing the VR1 to accurately and clearly reproduce the nuances of a vocal performance.
The VR1 actually excels as a low-cost ribbon microphone, whether used on vocals or not. But on vocals (especially clear vocals), the VR1 is particularly impressive. The soft high-end roll-off reduces excessive sibilance and harshness, while the transient response captures all the vocalist’s little subtleties. Just be sure to position this ribbon microphone correctly when recording vocals.
Plosives can easily damage the fragile ribbon diaphragm, so tilting the microphone slightly off-axis; properly distancing the microphone, and using a pop filter are all important decisions to make! Overall, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
Investing in one of the best microphones under $500 is something that awaits every serious producer and sound technician. Once you have reached a certain level of experience, you will realize that there are much more expensive models and that spending this kind of money is the same as paying an entrance fee for a show. Yet these are some of the best condensers we have access to today. If we had to choose one, Aston Microphone Spirit would be it. This microphone has such a unique nature, and that is without touching the crazy aesthetics. It’s just a great microphone.