The 6 Best Budget Microphones Under $100

Want to record your audio course, but don't want to break the bank on a microphone? No worries! This article offers 6 high-quality microphones that will have your audience thinking you recorded your course in a professional studio.

If you’re going to spend money on anything for your audio course, buy a good microphone. For starters, it will save you the hassle of having to edit out the annoying hissing sound your fridge makes in the background every time. Also, higher quality audio also makes it easier for the audience to follow along with and maintain interest. If you're audience is trying to focus all of their attention on just hearing you, they will miss the words and concepts you're trying to portray.

At the end of the day, it saves you time. You will spend less time editing the nitpicky extras and instead will have more time available to create engaging courses that challenge your students’ way of thinking. 

Questions to ask yourself:

1. How will you be recording your course? Will you be stationary, aka in the same spot recording every time, or will you be interviewing people? Do you want a standalone mic or one you can attach to an arm? 

2. What are you willing to spend on a microphone? The good thing about the technology right now is that there are some great options in the market that are budget-friendly. Forget trying to record with your computer audio or with the ones built into your headphones on. It's worth the investment if you care about the course you want to create.

3. Do you want to be able to just plug your microphone into your mac or PC for it to work?

4. Will you be recording any musicians?

What to know before buying a microphone:

What’s the difference between cardioid and omnidirectional microphones?

Cardioid microphones are best used in situations in which one person is speaking directly into the microphone, with little movement. The pickup pattern is more up and down for these microphones, instead of spherical. Omnidirectional microphones on the other hand are better for groups or moving around since the microphones have a spherical pickup pattern. The downside to omnidirectional is that it will pickup up wanted background noise easier, due to the nature of the pickup pattern. 

Do you need a pop filter?

For starters, a pop filter is an attachment you can purchase on sites such as Sweetwater to place in front of your microphone. The filter reduces the amount of air entering the microphone from your mouth by dispersing it so the sound is not as harsh in the recording. Whether or not you need one is more of personal preference. If you would like one to save time on editing and have better quality audio, go for it. If you don’t want to spend the money, don’t worry about it. 

Pro-tip to reduce the “pop” noise without a pop filter: push the mic a little further away from you so the air when you speak has further to travel. This will naturally reduce the amount of force the air reaches the microphone with. 

What is a condenser microphone?

Otherwise known as “capacitor microphones” by the English, these microphones are made up of two metal-surfaced plates placed very close to each other. The name stems from a capacitor that is typically referred to in the physics as two metal plates that are in close proximity to one another; the higher capacitance the closer they are. The diaphragm (also referred to as the membrane) of the microphone is electrically conductive and moves back and forth when the sound waves hit it. External power is required from a computer or other power source because the condenser produces little to no current since there’s not much energy stored in the capacitor. 

Condenser microphones have a superior transient response and can follow sound waves more accurately because of the low-mass diaphragm. An example would be that they are more sensitive to both higher and lower noises. The sound from banging on drums and the picking of a guitar on a condenser mic would be better interpreted rather than on a coil microphone. Keep in mind though, price and quality do matter. When deciding on a microphone, make sure your condenser mic of choice reduces the background noise and hisses or it might be better to use a coil microphone. 

XLR vs USB

When you buy a microphone it is important to keep note of the type of connection it has. A USB microphone can be plugged directly into your computer's USB port. If needed you can buy a dual adapter to accommodate for the limited USB ports on your computer and the number of microphones you're using. XLR microphones are the standard for radio and music shows since the audio has more balanced noise levels. If choosing to go the route of using an XLR microphone you will need an audio interface or mixer for your computer to see the microphone. Mixers can go for as little as $40-50 for a decent one or up to over $200, depending on what you want to spend and the quality you want.

Audio-Technica AT2020 $99.99
  • Frequency: 20Hz - 20KHz 
  • Cardioid pattern only
  • USB output
sE Electronics X1 A Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone $99.99
  • Frequency: 20Hz - 20KHz 
  • Cardioid pattern only
  • Mac and PC compatible (USB)
Blue Yeti Nano $99.99
  • Frequency: high-quality 24-bit/48kHz recording
  • Cardioid and Omni pickup patterns
  • Mac and PC compatible (USB)
Blue Snowball $69.99
  • Frequency: 40 –18 kHz
  • Cardioid or omnidirectional pickup patterns
  • Mac and PC Compatible (USB)
Behringer C-1U $93
  • Frequency: 40 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Cardioid pattern only
  • XLR connector (not USB)
Tonor Q9 $69.99
  • Frequency: 20Hz - 20KHz 
  • Cardioid pattern only
  • Mac and PC compatible (USB)

Start building your Avocado Audio course

After ordering your microphone, you are ready to start planning what you're going to teach. Check out our article, How to Find a Wildly Profitable Online Course Topic article for ideas on where to start!

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