Our Top 5 Picks (Comparison Table)
Rode NT1ACheck Prices
+ High sensitivity
– Susceptible to moisture
Sennheiser MK 8Check Prices
+ 3 position low cut filter
– No bundled cables
Neumann TLM 102Check Prices
+ Pristine audio capturing
– No low cut filter
AKG C214Check Prices
+ Inbuilt attenuator
Rode NT-USBCheck Prices
+ Direct line monitoring
– No OTG adaptor
Planning to start a podcast, share your voice with your viewers, or just record a tune that you created on the guitar? Well, a condenser microphone is what you should go for. Avoid dynamic microphones as they cannot provide the clearest vocals recording as done by a capable condenser microphone. Like most audio equipment, the best condenser microphone can cost a massive dent in your pocket. So, make sure that your interests align with the features of the microphone.
I have searched for the best condenser microphone that will spruce up your audio setup and provide studio-quality audio recording features. These options might appear a little pricey but are designed to outlast most of the audio equipment ever made. In this post about the best condenser microphone, I will elaborate on the following topics.
- Which are the best condenser microphone?
- Detailed Comparison and Review of the best condenser microphone.
- What are their pros & cons?
- Which are the best condenser microphone that you should buy?
Excited? So Let’s Get Started.
Pros of using a Condenser Microphone
High Sensitivity: Increased sensitivity means that even tiny sounds that aren’t as prominent as the vocals can also be captured easily. When recording along with a combination of musical instruments concurrently in use, the condenser microphone outshines every other audio equipment.
Small Size: Despite a high sensitivity and frequency range, the condenser microphones have a fairly small size. There are different sizes of condenser microphones available as well, but make your pick as per your requirements and not aesthetics.
Refined High Frequencies: Dynamic microphones sadly lack the components to capture high-frequency audio. A condenser microphone can pick up high frequencies with ease and you get rich details in every sound capturing session.
Cons of using a Condenser Microphone
Expensive: A condenser microphone costs way more than a dynamic microphone due to the intricate components present inside it.
Power Hogging: The condenser microphone is well known for the consumption of high power and needs to be connected to a preamplifier or an audio interface. They also support a phantom power supply that adds to the power draw.
Ambient Noise Pickup: Due to increased sensitivity, the condenser microphone picks a lot of ambient noise and thus requires a well-constructed and isolated recording environment to properly function.
Delicate: Condenser microphones have so many tiny, intricate, and moving parts that even a single drop can render them useless. They are super delicate and require very careful handling and have zero tolerance for abuse.
Best Condenser Microphone 2021
Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone manages to stay above many top microphone offerings due to its wide dynamic range and low self-noise. It is truly the numero-uno choice for the best condenser microphone that a voice artist needs.
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Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone is built to woo you. It is a silver-colored design rather than the plain black ones that look appalling. The condenser microphone weighs 326 grams and isn’t one of the most lightweight ones out there.
The microphone bundles a shock mounting and studio-grade pop shield, thereby saving your extra investment into these microphone accessories. It has a very low self-noise of 5 dB, so you won’t hear any jitter in the audio.
Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone has a wide dynamic range and uses the cardioid polar pattern that rejects the audio from the backside. You also get a 6-meter XLR cable that is sturdy and durable.
Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone is super sensitive and captures even the slightest chord of a guitar. It is undoubtedly the best condenser microphone worthy of including in every comparison list. That being said, it is delicate and is ineffective at combating moisture.
“Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone is the best condenser microphone by the Australian brand.”Advertisement
- Wide dynamic range
- High sensitivity
- Needs phantom power
- Susceptible to moisture
Sennheiser MK 8 Condenser Microphone is one of the most desired yet the most expensive among the best condenser microphone on the planet. No other product comes close to it in audio capturing quality or design.
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Sennheiser MK 8 Condenser Microphone has gold-plated one-inch diaphragms. How much difference does gold make in audio quality, I don’t know but it surely amps up the price by quite a bit. The microphone is one of the few to feature five switchable polar patterns, 3 low-cut filters, and 3 position pad switches.
Audio tweaking is facilitated by the Sennheiser MK 8 Condenser Microphone in every possible way and the metal chassis feels quite robust in the hands. It is designed in such a manner that the intricate components are shrouded at the base making it more durable while usage.
The German-made condenser microphone is certainly pricey but is among the widely used products in professional recording studios. It does include a shock mount in the package but lacks even a basic connectivity cable.
Sennheiser MK 8 Condenser Microphone weighs average, records pristine quality audio, and looks divine in any audio setup. It does have a 10 dB of self-noise that could be improved but you won’t get as many polar patterns as the brand offers in this one.
“Sennheiser MK 8 Condenser Microphone is an undisputed king in the category of condenser microphones.”Advertisement
- Five switchable polar patterns
- 3 position low cut filter
- Very expensive
- No bundled cables
Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone isn’t an easy pick as it’s priced higher than many of the best condenser microphones on our list. Nevertheless, you cannot match it in terms of sound pressure level.
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Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone is a lightweight offering that is accompanied by a robust shock mount. It supports cardioid polar patterns and is great at rejecting the backside noise. The microphone has a built-in pop shield and provides just the right amount of treble boost.
Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone suggested area of operation is of course music recording along with any audio equipment. It uses an XLR cable to connect and power up via a preamplifier.
Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone boasts of a quality chassis and high sensitivity that makes it one of the best condenser microphone. It does lack any physical tuning and supports only a single polar pattern that restricts it to specific use cases.
“Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone usurps every other alternative of the condenser microphone.”
- Easy handling
- Pristine audio capturing
- Very expensive
- No low cut filter
AKG C214 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is one of the best premium options for the best condenser microphone. It packs a durable metal body and a 20 dB attenuator to facilitate close-miking sessions.
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AKG C214 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is a slightly heavy offering from the Austrian audio brand that seeks to supply perfection in capturing vocals. No amount of detail is lost when you use this condenser microphone along with an included option of battling the wind noise as well.
AKG C214 Cardioid Condenser Microphone weighs less as compared to the Rode NT1A microphone mentioned above and at 280 grams, it would be a handy addition to your audio setup. The main highlight is the -20 dB attenuator that can provide clean noise filtering even if you hold the microphone very close to the audio source.
AKG C214 Cardioid Condenser Microphone comes with a shock mount and a windscreen only and doesn’t include the XLR cable or the filter, which makes you go the extra mile to purchase these items as well. The connection is via XLR mode so you will need a preamplifier.
AKG C214 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is a premium offering that is used by professionals. It demands a high price but fails to include connecting cable along with the package which makes it difficult for the end-user.
“AKG C214 Cardioid Condenser Microphone has a -20 dB attenuator.”
- Metallic design
- Inbuilt attenuator
- No cables included
Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone is another product by Rode that makes our list of the best condenser microphone. It supports a USB connection and includes a tripod stand along with the microphone.
Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone is a great microphone for podcasts and voiceovers. It Is slightly heavy than the Rode NT1A and weighs 520 grams due to the stand inclusion. The microphone supports a USB interface so you don’t need a dedicated preamplifier for using it.
Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone has a direct mix control module to tune the mic input and output. Moreover, you also get a 3.5 mm headphone jack to check the live audio output. The condenser microphone is bundled with a pop shield, tripod desk stand, pouch, ring mount, and a 6 meter USB cable.
Maybe, AKG should take note of this and start including cables with their microphones.
Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone is a great tabletop addition for users that work in podcasts and voiceovers. Its connectivity allows you to plug in any working USB port and power the microphone through it. The only flaw is that there is a learning curve to tune the microphone to your needs.
“Rode NT-USB Condenser Microphone is a great microphone for podcasts.”
- Bundled necessary components
- Direct line monitoring
- No bundled user manual
- No OTG adaptor
Audio-Technica AT2050 Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone is one of those pricey best condenser microphones that offer to switch between multiple audio capturing modes.
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Audio-Technica AT2050 Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone is a 420-gram microphone that comes with a shock mount, threaded adaptor, and a soft protective pouch for the microphone.
The Audio-Technica AT2050 Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone is best suited for podcasting and has a three-way pattern switching that includes omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure of eight. It has a 10 dB attenuation pad to manage high frequencies.
Audio-Technica AT2050 Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone has a large diaphragm that supports clear audio recording with maximum originality retention. The condenser microphone does have a high sled noise of 17 dB.
Audio-Technica AT2050 Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone is a stellar choice for podcasting due to its multiple polar patterns. It doesn’t distort or alter the audio but does induce a self-noise that has to be managed via a preamplifier. It isn’t USB powered and uses an XLR input.
“Audio-Technica AT2050 Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone has multiple polar pattern switching.”
- Multiple polar pattern switching
- Great build quality
- High self-noise
- Needs XLR cable
Shure MV88/A Condenser Microphone is the best condenser microphone that works with iOS devices only. That may deter you from buying it but I am glad that it is an option for iOS users that crave a bump in the audio quality.
Shure MV88/A Condenser Microphone is a lightweight microphone that weighs just 40 grams. It is designed to attach to your iOS device with a lighting port without any difficulty. The microphone doesn’t work with other devices except for Android and that is a bummer if you are an Android phone user.
Shure MV88/A Condenser Microphone can be adjusted as per your need and is a metallic design that won’t break easily. It has five preloaded DSP settings that can help you adjust the mode as per your requirement.
Shure MV88/A Condenser Microphone is compatible with the Shure Motiv app that works wonders for tweaking the microphone and making it capture every detail. It does need an AA battery to work which increases the weight slightly.
Shure MV88/A Condenser Microphone may not be the microphone of the dreams for many but still is the best condenser microphone for iOS devices. It has a unidirectional polar pattern and the sensitivity is a little off but for an extremely portable microphone, you cannot ask more.
“Shure MV88/A Condenser Microphone is best suited for iOS devices.”
- Shure Motiv app support
- Easy connectivity
- Small structure
- Only supports iOS devices
Rode and AKG are the two budget yet the best condenser microphone options available for audio artists. If you want brand reliability with premium design both Neumann and Sennheiser won’t disappoint you at all. Lastly, if you need a tiny condenser microphone for your iOS devices, Shure has just the right product for you.
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Are condenser mics better?
Condenser microphones are better for recording audio in complete isolation as they are highly sensitive.
Which diaphragm condenser microphone is best?
Neumann and Sennheiser have the largest diaphragm with the highest sensitivity and multiple polar patterns.
What is the best microphone for recording vocals?
Sennheiser MK 8 is one of the best condenser microphones for recording crisp vocals.
Can you use a condenser mic live?
It entirely depends on the polar pattern and the sensitivity of the condenser microphone. I don’t think that it would be feasible to use a condenser mic live as it would pick a lot of ambient noise.