Microphones come in all shapes, sizes, and sizes. The special 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 for 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.
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 good functions are there too.
- An exotic design which is unusual, attractive but also functional.
- Built-in pop filter which actually works and reduces pops.
- One of the best sonic profiles on the market bar none.
- An abundance of great features including pads and different patterns.
- The way this mic sounds may be an acquired taste.
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 there. Overall, this is one of the best microphones under 500 dollars.
- One of the most reliable and durable microphones on the market.
- Bulletproof chassis design with large side address surfaces.
- Rugged hardware designed offer high clarity and definition.
- Great set of features and plenty of accessories to boot.
- This microphone is optimized for vocals over instruments.
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.
- Straightforward design that leaves nothing to chance.
- Durable chassis capable of withstanding frequent use and wear.
- Impressive performance when it comes to recording voice.
- Plenty of good features which make it an impressive deal.
- It’s another voice optimized mic that isn’t great with instruments.
It looks like a vintage tool that you would find in an 80s studio, but it is actually one of the most interesting condenser microphones available at the moment. The name of this model is CAD E-100S and it has a lot to offer to those who are looking for something other than your regular silver pillbox. CAD E-100S has a real side frame chassis that is thin but large. If you look into the grille, you will see the huge 1-inch diaphragm capsule that is internally suspended and ready to be used. This microphone comes with your standard -10dB pad and a high-pass filter. In terms of performance, this is one of the best microphones under $500.
- A balanced but functional performance profile that offers a lot.
- Slim chassis does a good job at protecting the internals.
- Overall great build quality which inspires confidence
- Features a built-in rugged mounting system.
- It’s a jack of all trades which isn’t necessarily good.
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.
- One of the most popular mics in this market segment.
- A simple but reliable chassis and overall design that works.
- Great hardware including a rock-solid diaphragm design.
- Plenty of accessories to get you started right away.
- Lacks the finesse when you reach higher frequencies.
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 really 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.
- A robust chassis makes it a great for studio use.
- Great capsule design with a pretty delicate diaphragm.
- A very impressive package of features.
- Great performance under high SPL conditions.
- Not much durable
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 definitely 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.
- A simple yet reliable solution for more refined recording
- Great design that is both timeless and functional.
- Good overall performance thanks to proven hardware.
- Great set of accessories give it even more value.
- It’s treble heavy, which isn’t too big of a deal.
The higher range of microphones from Audio Technica is really 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. Actually, 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.
- Typical Audio Technica design that is functional but simple.
- Truly impressive hardware solutions and features.
- One of the best sounding mics on the market right now.
- Comes shipped with a good set of accessories.
- Requires a bit of work to dial in.
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 is able to handle fairly 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 solid internal spring system, this certainly contributes to the overall performance profile. If you need something that works well with vocals, but really captures the nuance of that vintage amp that you’re playing, then this Shure is a good choice and is one of the best microphones under $500.
- A pretty straightforward design that is made to work.
- Great set of hardware which gives it good potential.
- Impressive performance range that is leaning towards the recording of instruments.
- Very efficient internal suspension system.
- It has trouble dealing with certain vocal profiles.
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 a flashy design or gimmicky functions. Instead, it offers solid performance and consistency. That is pretty rare. In general, it can happen as just another silver pill. It absolutely 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.
- Simple and effective design that ensures reliability.
- Performance profile which is covers vocals and acoustic instruments.
- Decent aesthetics which will fit into any studio.
- Built and assembled in the USA.
- It is missing some fairly important features.
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 Microphones 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.