5 Under £500: Best Studio Mics For Your Budget

By 91Vocals Kate

5 Under £500: Best Studio Mics For Your Budget

Choosing the best studio microphone can be tricky when you don’t know where to start. As a vocalist and producer myself, I've put together a list of 5 of my personal favourites under £500. I've chosen these microphones based on my experience with them, as well as vocalist and producer peer reviews. Now, i’m not going to dive into too much technical jargon. I use my ears to tell me what sounds good, and I encourage you to do the same before committing to buying a microphone as every voice will respond differently to them. But for those asking: 'Which are the most versatile, all-round, best value for money microphones?', These are my top picks. 

1. Blue Snowball Studio £99 
If you’re looking for a small, portable, low-price microphone with crystal clear sound, Blue’s Snowball Studio microphone is ideal. Perfect for recording demos at a higher quality than your phone or laptop’s inbuilt microphone. The Snowball doesn’t sit in a cradle on a music stand like most microphones, but comes instead as a standalone table mount - the perfect space saver for the smaller studio. Be aware that microphones placed on or near your computer’s fan (or even on a table with lots of electric cables) can be more sensitive to picking up a low hum. Be mindful of where you place this one.

2. Rode NT1A £142 
The Rode NT1A is a studio staple in many home set ups. It’s not only a great entry level vocal microphone, but also great for recording guitars. You may have seen the NT1A featured in vloggers' YouTube videos and in a lot of college music tech departments. Often sold as a handy bundle with its own cradle and pop shield, its great value for money.

3. sE2200a £179 
For me, the sE2200a is one of the best affordable condenser microphones. This large diaphragm condenser works wonders for recording vocals, guitars and many others. Most notably, its boasts omni-directional polar patterns - which not many microphones offer at this price range - making it a great deal more versatile. This is a very natural sounding mic with a small amount of low-end warmth. It's sleek black design gives the sE2200a a professional finish, perfect for this fantastic value microphone.

4. Shure SM7B £334
Unlike the others on this list, the Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone. Typically, dynamic microphones are used in live environments because they have a low sensitivity. This means they're less likely to pick up noises such as the amps and drums behind a singer on a stage. This microphone is often used for radio broadcasting and is extremely useful for live lounge or outdoor vocal recording settings as it doesn't pick up the wind and outdoor ambience anything like a condenser would. It’s great for richer, boom-ier and more aggressive voices - male voices especially. However, the SM7B will need a lot more gain cranking than a condenser to ensure it picks up to subtleties.
5. Neumann TLM 102 £499
Neumann have been a leading manufacturer of studio microphones since the late 1920s producing mics that price up into the thousands. The TLM 102 microphone is on the lower end of the price scale due to it's no-frills selling point. Unlike the sE2200a, the TLM 102 doesn't offer multiple polar pattern or db pad options. But as we've come to expect from Neumann microphones, it's still testament to the brand and a noticeable step up from the others on this list, providing a warm and clean sound that boosts the rich tones of characterful voices.

(*91Vocals does not represent any of the brands mentioned in this article and the aforementioned prices are true at time of writing.)

We used the Rode NT1A on some of our vocalists for Smoothies - Fresh Vocal Chops. Check it out!