Having a home studio is awesome, but it’s also expensive. If you’ve got a limited budget, you need the best, most versatile microphones possible for the smallest amount of money possible. Here are four microphones under $200 that every home studio needs to have.
1. Oktava MC012 Cardioid Condenser Microphone – You can sometimes find a matched pair of these microphones for $100-150, and they’re well worth it–they provide fantastic reproduction on acoustic instruments. For stereo miking, you won’t find better microphones without spending another $200. Make sure that if you buy a pair of these that they’re factory matched.
2. Shure PG52 Kick Drum Microphone – For only about $120, and less if you find it used, you can handle bass drum and bass guitar cab miking applications with this mic, and then, hey, you don’t have to worry about them anymore, other than all the EQ and spatial location and all that other crap that you probably don’t want covered in an article about microphones. There are a lot of microphones that can handle kick and bass guitar well, but this Shure mic has the best performance for the least amount of money.
3. Behringer B-10 – This large diaphragm condenser microphone is only about $100, and it has some great applications. It’s best on acoustic guitar or vocals, and will do a fairly decent job on either. You can even use it as a bass drum or kick drum mic, although probably not if any other instruments are being miked in the same session–this microphone picks up a lot of sound. For home studios that want a solid, inexpensive first large diaphragm microphone, this is a pretty decent choice that won’t break the bank.
4. Shure SM57 – It’s commonly known as the “workhorse” of microphones, because the damned thing just has so many uses. And it’s as hardy as pretty much any microphone on the planet–unless you’re taping it to the front of cars in a demolition derby, you can pretty much bet that it’s not going to ever get dented or ruined by physical abuse.
SM57s are fantastic for guitar amps and snare drums, some vocals. All this for about $100. Any home recording enthusiast who doesn’t have one or two of these should headed to the music store right now.
If you found another great microphone for under $200, post it in the comments.