How Much Is A Studio Microphone? 🎙️

In today’s digital age, more and more people have learned the joy and excitement of audio recording. Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to upgrade your hardware or a hobbyist looking to make your first home studio, you will greatly benefit from a proper studio mic. 

An entry-level studio microphone costs around $100, mid-range ones cost $200–$500, and high-end mics cost between 1000$ and 5000$. Their cost is determined by their type, features, and brand. Studio mics are typically more expensive than other mics because of their higher sound quality.

The rest of this article will highlight a few topics related to this question in greater detail, inducing how much you should pay for a good studio mic and what other accessories/equipment you need to start recording.  

How Much Is A Studio Microphone

How Much Should You Pay for a Good Studio Microphone?

The enormous price range of microphones gives you various options, even when working with a strict budget. You can find microphones as cheap as $5, but studio microphones tend to be more expensive as they require higher sensitivity levels.

You can find entry-level studio mics for around $100Opens in a new tab. or even less if you’re starting out with recording and making content. While these mics will have minimal issues capturing sound, they tend to have fewer additional features and lower-quality components. 

At this price range, you can’t go wrong with the Shure SM57 for instruments and the Shure SM58 for vocals.

Shure SM57 Dynamic Instrument Mic - Professional Quality and Versatility for Live Performances and Recording - Contoured Frequency Response, Durable, Ideal for Drums, Percussion, Amplifiers (SM57-LC) Opens in a new tab.
  • VERSATILE INSTRUMENT RECORDING - The SM57 excels in capturing the true essence of instruments,...
  • EXCEPTIONAL DURABILITY - Built like a tank, the SM57 is known for its rugged construction, ensuring...
  • PRECISE INSTRUMENT REPRODUCTION - With its tailored frequency response, the SM57 captures the...

Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone with Pneumatic Shock Mount, Spherical Mesh Grille with Built-in Pop Filter, A25D Mic Clip, Storage Bag, 3-pin XLR Connector, No Cable Included (SM58-LC) Opens in a new tab.
Opens in a new tab.
13,946 Reviews
Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone with Pneumatic Shock Mount, Spherical Mesh Grille with Built-in Pop Filter, A25D Mic Clip, Storage Bag, 3-pin XLR Connector, No Cable Included (SM58-LC) Opens in a new tab.
  • EXEPTIONAL VOCAL PERFORMANCE - The SM58-LC delivers high-quality vocal reproduction, thanks to its...
  • INDUSTRY STANDARD - The first choice for performers around the globe, the SM58 Dynamic Vocal...
  • CLARITY & CARE - The uniform cardioid polar pattern reproduces every note as it was intended,...

Last update on 2023-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking to invest in your sound truly, you can find good quality mics between $200 and $500. This will ensure you get high-quality sound, components, and advanced features. This price point is the most popular and offers many options.

After you go above the most basic budget, it’s difficult to recommend a single best microphone. It depends on the type of voice or instrument you want to record. You may also simply like how some microphones sound compared to others.

The AKG Pro Audio C214 is a reliable choice for a mid-range microphone that offers clean and detailed sound. If you prefer a more vintage and warm sound, you can get the Warm Audio WA-87.

Sale
AKG Pro Audio C214 Professional Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone, Grey Opens in a new tab.
Opens in a new tab.
1,127 Reviews
AKG Pro Audio C214 Professional Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone, Grey Opens in a new tab.
  • Sonic Character Of The C414 Xlii For Beautifully Detailed Recording Of Lead Vocals And Solo...
  • Outstanding Dynamic Range And Ultralow Noise For Close-Up Recording Of High-Output Sources Of Up To...
  • Switchable 20Db Attenuator And Bass-Cut Filter For Close-Up Recording And Reduction Of Proximity...

Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Warm Audio WA-87 R2 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Nickel Opens in a new tab.
  • Recording Capabilities: Just like the vintage microphone, the WA-87 R2 excels at recording virtually...
  • Features: The WA-87 R2 uses a custom-wound Cinemag USA output transformer like the original WA-87...
  • Sound and Appearance: The WA-87 R2 is now encased in a heavier, stronger, and larger nickel-plated...

Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

High-end studio microphones can cost you between $1000 to $5000 or even more. Microphones at this price point are considered professional grade and are used by industry leaders. This grade of microphones includes well-known brands like Rode, Neumann, AKG, Shure, and Audio-Technica. These mics will have the most features and superior sound quality.

Once you have a budget in mind, you still have to determine what type of microphone is best for you and which features you need. This will allow you to best the best value for your investment.

What Determines the Cost of a Studio Microphone?

Let’s take a look at the factors that affect a microphone’s price so you can buy one that exactly matches your needs.

Type of Microphone 

All microphones are designed to convert sound waves into electrical signals. However, due to differences in their inner components, their level of performance and the overall cost can vary drastically from type to typeOpens in a new tab..

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are one of the market’s most sensitive and sophisticated mics. 

Condenser mics are popular because they reproduce audio clearly and precisely. Due to this high sound quality, they are a staple of any proper recording studio.

Condenser mics use a two-plate system—where one moves while the other is fixed—to produce an electrical charge. When acoustic energy enters the device, it causes movement between these plates, creating electrostatic energy in a process called capacitance. 

Their unique capacitor system greatly enhances these microphones’ sensitivity. With such a superior frequency and transient response, they are unmatched at capturing the intricacies of vocal recordings and soft instruments. 

Although condenser microphones have particular components, they come in various designs and polar patterns. It is important to note that because of their higher sound quality, these mics tend to be more expensive than other types.

Large-diaphragm condenser microphones have a bigger diaphragm than average (1 inch/25.4 mm or greater). Their sizes give them unique advantages like low self-noise and a more colorful sound. 

Self-noise refers to how much sound a microphone makes while in use. Due to their high signal voltage, Large-diaphragm condensersOpens in a new tab. tend to be quieter than most mics. While this is an excellent quality, their biggest draw is the effect these mics have on audio recordings.

These microphones are designed to enhance incoming sounds, making them bigger, brighter, and more engaging. Their frequency response tends to be skewed and lacks consistent polar patterns. However, they use these traits to produce much warmer, fuller audio, making them a common option for recording studios.

Small diaphragm condenser microphones are another type of condenser mic with a smaller average diaphragm size (½ inch/12.7 mm or less). While not as quiet or colorful as larger condensers, their small size helps them pick more sounds clearly and consistently. 

These microphones are the most sensitive condenser mic available. Their wide range frequency response allows them to pick up high and low-end sounds with incredible detail. This heightened sensitivity also boosts their transient response, making them perfect for recording instruments high in transientsOpens in a new tab. like keyboard, hand percussion, and string instruments. 

Small diaphragm condenser microphones also have consistent polar patterns across various frequencies. This allows them to reproduce audio that is clear, natural, and precise. These mics are typically used when you want as accurate audio as possible. However, they are the most expensive type of condenser mic.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones are the other primary microphone type. They’re popular for their internal and external reliability and durability.

Their resistance to high sound pressure levels and affordable price make them a popular option for recording live performances. They are also perfect for recording louder instruments like drums or when using amps. 

The dynamic mic has a mylar diaphragm connected to a conductive coil that uses soundwaves 

to move the coil and produce a charge. Their components are much less sensitive than other microphones, allowing them to record much louder noises in a broader range of environments. 

Features 

Some studio microphones have additional features like multiple polar patterns, switchable pads, or USB connectivity, which boost their functionality and sound quality. However, these features typically increase prices as well. 

Some microphones offer multiple polar patterns, allowing you to find a device that accurately matches your recording style and needs. In simple terms, the polar patternOpens in a new tab. refers to the direction in which a microphone best captures sounds.

Polar Patterns

Polar patterns are typically found in 3 primary styles: cardioid, omnidirectional, and bi-directional, but there are more subcategories with specific specializations. Some mics (typically large-diaphragm condensers) even have patterns that you can change manually or in the presence of particular frequencies.

If you would like a more detailed look at polar patterns, this video does a great job of breaking down the differences. 

PADs

PADs or Passive Attenuation DevicesOpens in a new tab. work as a limiter, regulating the signal levels that can reach your microphone.

When a microphone is exposed to sound at the maximum loudness it can handle, it can cause distortion and unwanted feedback in your recordings. This is mainly a problem with sensitive devices like condenser microphones, especially smaller ones.

Switching your pads on will raise the maximum sound pressure level your microphone can handle, while turning them off increases your mic sensitivity and influences its signal-to-noise ratio. These devices don’t require any additional power, so you can use them as you see fit.

Of course, the option to switch PADs on and off comes at an extra price.

High Pass Filters

High-pass filters perform a similar role to pads but with a more specific purpose. While pads are typically used to limit higher frequencies, a highpass filter or low-cutOpens in a new tab. lets you set a cutoff point for low-end frequencies. If incoming audio falls under your set point, it won’t make it into the recording. 

This eliminates extra noise from ceiling fans, air conditioners, or even the microphone itself. The cutoff frequency (or set frequency limit) is often fixed on microphones, but levels can vary from device to device, averaging around 120Hz. 

Self-Noise

As mentioned previously, self-noise refers to the amount of internal sound produced by the mic itself. For quality sound recording, it is ideal to have little to no unwanted noise as possible. Lower self-noise is essential for capturing accurate and precise recordings. 

Large-diaphragm condenser mics typically have the lowest levels of self-noise, but these levels can fluctuate between microphone types and devices.

Connectivity

Microphones come with two types of connection: XLR or a USB

XLR mics are a staple of the recording world, seeing use from all types of creators, including musicians, radio hosts, podcasters, and actors. XLR uses a 3-prong connector to capture an analog signalOpens in a new tab.. These versatile mics allow you to quickly switch between devices as long as they all use the same connectivity. 

The biggest drawback of these kinds of mics is their reliance on an outside power source. Before they can be used, they need to be connected to a device like an audio interface, mixer, or field recorder, significantly adding to your overall operational costs. 

USB mics are a newer type of mic with a focus on convenience. They maintain the same inner components as an XLR microphone without needing any additional equipment to get started. These mics allow you to plug directly into your laptop or PC and immediately start recording. USB mics also tend to be more affordable than XLR ones, but typically at the cost of quality. 

Computers generally have issues recording multiple USB mics simultaneously, as they struggle to match audio to the appropriate microphone. However, USB microphones tend to be cheaper and don’t need any extra gear.

How to Choose a Microphone for Home Recording

Your ideal microphone may look different depending on the type of audio you plan to capture. Different kinds of recordingsOpens in a new tab. require varying sensitivity and sound quality levels.

Vocals 

When recording vocals, you typically want to value high sensitivity. This enables your microphone to pick all the qualities and nuisance in your audio. This is why condenser mics, particularly large-diaphragm condensers, are so common for recording music vocals. These mics reproduce audio clearly while making it more lush and full of color.

The enhanced clarity also helps when recording streams, podcasts, and even voice acting, allowing vocals to come through cleanly with little feedback or self-noise. However, a dynamic mic could be more beneficial if you’re planning to record vocals paired with louder instruments. 

Instruments

Recording instruments can be much more challenging as their recording needs vary significantly from instrument to instrument.

For example, acoustic guitars and other string instruments benefit from a sensitive mic like a small diaphragm condenser. In contrast, electric guitar requires a dynamic mic to handle their high SPL and amp usage. 

A piano is the most versatile in terms of usable mics since it can use dynamic or condenser types. The piano has a wide rangeOpens in a new tab. of sounds, from soft and melodic to harsh and percussive. You can choose a microphone depending on what sounds you want to enhance. 

Drums are the most complex and expensive to fully record as different parts will require different kinds of mics. Recording loud hash snares will require a durable dynamic mic to avoid distortion. At the same time, high transient sounds from the overhead and hi-hats need a small diaphragm condenser for accurate reproduction. 

Additional Accessories 

When considering a studio microphone, it is essential to factor in the cost of any additional equipment you will need to operate it. This includes things like microphone stands, pop filters, shock mounts, studio monitors, and headphones.

  • A microphone stand keeps your mic steady and adequately secured.
  • A shock mount will reduce any excess noise and vibrations.
  • Pop filters limit saliva and plosivesOpens in a new tab. from hitting your mic and are essential for close-up recording.
  • Studio monitors (or speakers) are required for quality audio mixing. However, you can use headphones for a similar level of mixing quality.
  • Deepening on your chosen mic, you might also need to purchase XLR cables and an audio interface or mixer

Conclusion 

The cost of a studio microphone varies greatly depending on microphone type, features, and brand. 

However, before you make your purchase, you should decide your preferred microphone type, the features you need, your budget, and what you want to record.

Don’t forget to take into account any additional hardware you will need to purchase. After considering all these elements, you can estimate your next studio mic’s cost.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

Recent Posts