You want one very versatile mic that can do it all in, record a podcast, a voiceover, an instrument, or vocals for a song. It shouldn’t be too expensive, and it should sound good.
So what are the best all-around microphones for home studio?
There are many options from a wide range of price points, but these are our favorites, considering sound quality, versatility, and price:
Chances are you’ve heard of Rode, and for a good reason. They make some of the best quality condenser microphones around, and the NT1 is no exception.
It’s a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that comes with a pop filter and shock mount, and it sounds great on just about anything. It’s probably the best all-around studio mic you can get for under $200.
It has a very pronounced high end, making it especially great for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. It sounds decent as drum overheads or a room mic and is also popular among podcasters.
If I have to mention any cons, it would be that it might be a bit too bright for some people’s taste and a little too harsh at around 3k frequency.
Overall, I think the NT1 is the best studio microphone around and a great option for most applications.
Note that the NT1 requires 48V of phantom power, which means you’ll need an audio interface with that feature or a separate phantom power supply.
If you don’t have an audio interface yet, consider its cousin, the Rode NT-USB. It’s a USB mic that you can just plug into your computer and start recording.
The Shure SM7B
This is the only dynamic mic on this list, and it’s based on the original SM7 vocal mic, which was released in the 1970s and was used by Michael Jackson on his Thriller album.
The SM7 has been used on countless hit records since then, and the SM7B is an updated version of that iconic mic.
The SM7B is a cardioid polar pattern studio mic offering wide-range frequency response, making it great for recording vocals. It is also widely used as a close-up mic for guitar amps and drums.
The SM7B sound is very natural and warm. It has a mid-boost switch that gives you a little more control over the tone, and also the bass roll-off for getting rid of the muddy low-end.
It is a very versatile workhorse widely used by podcasters, voiceover artists, metal and rock singers, and definitely, one of the best dynamic vocal mics money can buy.
I couldn’t think of any cons, really. Maybe the price? But once you hear the SM7B in action, you’ll want one for yourself.
Let’s move on to something more affordable. The Audio-Technica AT2020 studio microphone is a great option for someone on a budget.
Great for podcasting or general voicework, the mic delivers a clear and detailed sound. Build quality is very good for the price, and it comes with a mount and pouch.
Now the cons, there are some.
No switches or any way to control the frequency response. It can be a bit noisier compared to the other mics on this list and it can also sound a bit too thin for female vocals and acoustic guitar.
If you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money, the AT2020 is a great option and you probably won’t find a better mic in the $100 price range.
From vocals to instruments to podcasts, the AT2020 could be one of the best cheap microphones for recording all kinds of sources.
Aston Microphones Origin
This British brand might not be as well-known as the others on this list, but they make award-winning condenser mics. They won the ‘Best Microphone’ award at the 2020 NAMM show for their Stealth microphone.
The Origin is an all-purpose mic that sounds great on anything. It has a very balanced frequency response with a smooth high end and minimal noise.
10/0 dB pad switch and a low-cut filter make it great for recording a wide range of sources, from vocals to drums and everything in between.
If you record drums at home, buy a pair of these and use them as overheads. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’re looking for a versatile workhorse that sounds British, the Origin is your mic.
This is a low-cost alternative to the AKG C414, one of the most popular studio mics around.
The C214 is a large-diaphragm condenser mic that sounds very similar to the C414 but at a fraction of the price.
It’s great on lead vocals, acoustic guitars, and even as a close-up mic for recording loud instruments.
20db attenuation switch allows you to record loud guitar amplifiers and drums without the risk of blowing up the capsule. A low-cut filter switch helps to get rid of unwanted low-end.
The main reason why it’s over two times cheaper than the C414 is that it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the C414 has.
Switchable polar patterns, status LEDs, 3 attenuation pads, Improved detail above 4kHz, and some other things that you might or might not need.
Soundwise, the C214 is quite similar to the C414 and it’s a great alternative if you’re on a budget.
The missing polarity switch might be a deal-breaker for some, but if you don’t need it, the C214 is a versatile mic and definitely one of the best values on this list.
There you have it, my 5 picks for the best home studio recording microphones. Any of these mics will serve you well in a wide variety of applications. If you think I missed one, let me know in the comments below.