12 Best Condenser Mics in 2018

Each musician and each artist has different needs, and while there is much debate as to whether a condenser mic or a dynamic mic is better, we will be focusing on condenser microphones in our guide.

Here, you will help you understand polar pattern and why it matters when choosing a mic; we will briefly discuss frequency response and provide you with a few tips when it comes to price and when it is best to use this kind of microphone.

Still not sure which is the best condenser mic  for your needs? That’s not a problem – just check out our detailed reviews on the top four products at the end.

Condenser Mic Versus Dynamic Mic

When it comes to recording in studios, condenser mics are the most common choice.

They are much more sensitive to loud sounds and both the frequency response and transient response is much faster in a condenser microphone. This type of mic uses a capacitor to convert sound waves into electrical energy, which is quite different from a dynamic mic.

A dynamic mic has a diaphragm on the inside that is attached to a copper coil. When sound enters the mic, it vibrates the diaphragm and, in turn, the coil, thus producing electrical energy.

Dynamic mics are usually preferred for stage use since they are a bit more heavy-duty.

Top 12 Condenser Mic Comparison Chart

DesignNameModel #Best ForRating (1-5)
  1. AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone, Cardioid C214Recording Vocals & Instruments 4.8
  2. Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone  NT1-A Recording Vocals 4.6
  3. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, Black AT2020 Digital Recording 4.6
  4. MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone V67G Stage Vocals 4.6
 5. MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone 770 Multi-purpose 4.6
   6. Audio-Technica AT2035 Large Diaphragm Studio Condenser Microphone Bundle AT2035 Multi-purpose 4.6
   7. MXL 990 Condenser Microphone with Shockmount 990 Digital & Analog Recording 4.5
    8. Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, Cardioid – Black Snowball iCE Videos, Podcasts, Home Use 4.4
  9. Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone Go Mic Podcasts, Recording Music, Field Recording 4.4
   10. CAD GXL2200 Cardioid Condenser Microphone GXL2200 Recording and Broadcasting 4.3
  11. Excelvan BM-800 Condenser Studio Recording Microphone and Shock Mount Holder Blue
 BM-800 Videos, Podcasts, Home Use 3.9
  12. Neewer NW-700 Professional Studio Broadcasting Recording Condenser Microphone
 NW-700 Videos, Podcasts, Home Use 3.9

Price and Use

We realize that not all of you are going to be singing or performing with an instrument in front of the mic (those of you who do tutorials or podcasts can also benefit from a great condenser mic), which is why we’ve included such a mixture of options in our table.

For professional level quality recordings, you need a professional microphone, so don’t be surprised by the price difference you’ll see between the mics we’ve included.

Understand Polar Pattern

It’s important to understand the polar pattern of the microphone you’re interested in buying because different mics pick up sound in different ways.

The polar pattern refers to the space surrounding the microphone that is most sensitive to sound. Some mics are more sound sensitive from all directions while others pick up more sound from only certain areas surrounding them.

  • Cardioid  Those with a cardioid pattern will pick up the majority of the sound in front of them along with just a small amount of sound on the sides. They do not pick up sounds originating from behind them.

Cardioid condenser mics are great for vocals on stage since it won’t pick up as much ambient noise (think about how it ignores the sounds from the crowd in front of you).

There are even super cardioid and hyper cardioid mics, which are great for smaller, intimate performances where you really need to hone in on the sound of your own voice/instrument, avoiding as much background noise as possible.

  • Omnidirectional – These pick up sound equally from all directions surrounding the microphone.
  • Figure 8  This will pick up sounds directly in front of and directly behind the microphone, but not from the sides. This pattern ends up looking like an “8,” hence the name.

Understand Frequency Response

Microphones respond in different ways to the frequencies that are introduced to them.

This frequency response is described in two different ways: flat response and shaped response.

  • Flat Response  Recommended for acoustic performances or live vocal groups, a flat response microphone is equally sensitive to all frequencies.
  • Shaped Response  Those with a shaped response are more sensitive to some frequencies than they are to others.

You will find those that are more sensitive to the upper/mid ranges of vocals, drums or guitar amps and those with less sensitivity to low frequencies. The latter will help get rid of the background noise.

Top 4 Best Condenser Mic Reviews

1. AKG Pro Audio C214 Condenser Microphone

If you’re looking for a quality condenser mic that you can use for lead vocals or solo instruments – whether you’re performing in a studio or on the stage – then AKG’s C 214 Pro is exactly what you need.

This is the whole package: you get the mic, carrying case, a windscreen and shock mount, making it a travel friendly package when you’re on the road. Don’t think it can’t handle life in the fast lane, either. It has been designed to withstand the rough use that road mics are usually subject to, so don’t doubt its durability.

Taking a closer look at a few basic specs:

  • Polar Pattern – Cardioid
  • Diaphragm – Large (1”)
  • Frequency Range – 20 Hz – 20 kHz

This is definitely the best condenser mic on our list for close-up recording and the integrated suspension helps to reduce the mechanical noises and vibrations from the stage.

If you’re ready to make a more serious mic investment, this is the one to purchase.

2. Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone

Those of you looking for a quite studio microphone should check out the NT1-A from Rode.

The self noise level of this mic is a mere 5dBA, making it one of the quietest on the market today and as a set, it comes with plenty of extra accessories. You get pop shield, shock mount, a 20” microphone cable, a dust cover and a useful DVD that has plenty of awesome recording tips.

Here are a few of the basic specs for this mic:

  • Polar Pattern – Cardioid
  • Diaphragm – Large (1”)
  • Frequency Range – 20 Hz – 20 kHz

This would be ideal for recording percussion, guitars and vocals in-studio. It offers you professional level recordings at a more affordable price than the previous mic. A great alternative if you’re not ready to spring for a more expensive one!

3. Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser

This high quality USB condenser mic is perfect for digital recording.

It offers a wide dynamic range yet is still capable of handling the high SPLs; the perfect choice for home studios and broadcasting (podcasting never sounded so good) and the headphone jack allows you to listen to yourself in real time as you perform or talk.

  • Polar Pattern – Cardioid
  • Diaphragm – Low-Mass
  • Frequency Response – 20 Hz – 20 kHz

This is a great little mic for home use.

 4. MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone

The last mic we would like to recommend is the V67G from MXL.

This will warm up the vocals and offers you a rich midrange for an overall crystal clear sound quality that is hard to beat in this price range.

To give you an idea of a few general specs:

  • Polar Pattern – Cardioid
  • Diaphragm – 6 Micron Gold-Sputtered
  • Frequency Response – 30 Hz – 20 kHz

This would work great for studio recording for both vocals and instruments.

MXL even offers a few demos of both, just to give you an idea of the sound quality.

Guitar Demo

Female Vocal Demo