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best cheap mics for home recording

The Best Cheap Microphones for Home Studio Recording

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Rode
NT1-A
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Bottom
Line
Known for the delivering mid-range & high-frequency clarity of costlier mics at an affordable price. Grows with you as you pair it with better preamps.
Pros
Sounds fantastic with an average preamp & interface. Can match the quality of the class above with some basic mixing. Shines on vocals and guitar.
Cons
Although being sensitive is a good thing, you need to make sure you control unwanted noises in your recording environment or this mic will pick them up.
Best Bang for the Buck
Shure
SM57
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Bottom
Line
Known as the 'industry workhorse' because this dynamic mic lasts forever, sounds good on every source, & gets better as it's paired with better preamps.
Pros
As you improve your signal chain in general, the performance of this mic grows to a seemingly unlimited potential. In this way it can rival far more expensive mics.
Cons
In the same vein, it will match the quality of the rest of your gear. You won't hear its full potential until you begin to upgrade everything else.
Best Budget Pick
Bottom
Line
This large diaphragm condenser comes with a shock mount, mic stand adaptor, & a carrying case. It has everything you need to get started.
Pros
It's your first true entry-level mic that can provide professional results if you're willing to learn to mix the results. Anything cheaper will disappoint you.
Cons
It will pacify you while you work towards upgrading other components in your studio, but you will eventually outgrow this microphone.

The best cheap microphone is often all we need. We don't want the bottom rung of mics but we also don't need to break the bank over recording in our home studio. There are too many other items we need our budget to cover. The reality is that "cheap" mics are only inexpensive in comparison to the high-end options. While you may frown at the idea of spending $100 or more at this lower level, I assure you that you they will enable you to achieve professional results.

TL;DR - Best Budget Pick: MXL 990 - Best Overall: Rode NT1-A