Thinking about starting a podcast, radio show, or voice-over gig that requires a better-than-average mic? Or maybe you’re creating music, and need your vocal tracks to really stand out…
If budget is a limiting factor, don’t worry – There are actually a lot of great microphones that don’t break the bank.
Level-up your audio quality fast by adding a top vocal microphone to your recording rig.
Second only to improving your talent, this is the first step to impress an audience and create more fans.
We’ve organized these microphones into categories, to help you find the perfect one to connect you with your desired goals. From budget mics, to higher-end ones, to everything in-between… USB’s and XLR’s… this is the post for you!
Let’s dive in!
The Rode Procaster is our top pick in this list… and for a microphones in the sub $300 range, it crushes it. It has a tight polar pattern, boasts an internal shock mount capsule, and even has a built-in pop-filter to reduce plosives.
If you’re looking for the best mic that $300 can buy, it is 100% the best option!
In This Article
- Top Pick: Rode Procaster
- Runner-Up: Aston Origin
- Best Budget Pick: Shure SM58
- Best USB Mic: HyperX QuadCast
- Best for Live Vocals: Shure Beta 58 A
- Best Studio Bundle: Focusrite Scarlett Solo Compact
The Top 11 Vocal Microphones Under $300
Top pick: Rode Procaster
The RØDE Procaster takes broadcasting seriously – and it shows. From the outside, you can see instantly that it’s not your average microphone. With an all-metal and robust construction and an internal anti-shock mounting, it’s obvious that the Procaster means business where durability is concerned.
Has sound distortion or low sound quality been an issue with mics in the past?
If so, then you can rest assured that those problems will disappear when you start using the Procaster. With an internal pop filter added in, plosive sounds are filtered out automatically.
It also features a tight polar pattern and a custom-fit frequency response, helping it to provide the highest quality audio output each time.
In a word… this microphone sounds sweet!
It’s perfect for voice-overs, podcast shows, studio recording, and any other vocal-related projects. If you want a mic that will take you to the next level of audio quality, rest assured that the RØDE Procaster is a hard working piece of machinery.
Best of all, coming in at just under $230, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to bring home either.
Rode Procaster Key Features:
- Wide range frequency response
- Cardioid pickup polar pattern
- Low-impedance balanced output
- All-metal construction
The biggest claim to fame for the Aston Origin lies within its cardioid condenser, which utilizes a 1 inch gold evaporated capsule.
This mic was specifically designed to capture live vocals, and it shows. Recordings captured with this piece of equipment are direct, smooth, and intimate.
One look at the ‘hardware’ on this mic will show you that simplicity is the name of the game where design is concerned. But don’t let that fool you, either! The audio you’ll get from this microphone is anything but ‘simple.’ It’s really great!
The built-in pop filter makes this mic ideal for use in settings where things cannot always be ‘planned out.’ Podcast interviews and radio show hosts will quickly learn how helpful this can be.
But it could also very well see use in a studio setting.
It also boasts a certain degree of off-axis rejection, helping to eliminate unwanted sounds in the background.
This mic certainly deserves our runner up spot. If you’re looking for the best condenser mics for vocals in this price range, then the Aston Origin will not disappoint you!
Aston Origin Key Features:
- Condenser cardioid microphone
- Warm, smooth sound output
- Controlled amplification
- Frequency response from 20 Hz to 20kHz
Let’s start with the frequency response. Specifically tailored for vocals in live or studio settings, the SM58 delivers a bright mid-range with bass roll-off. The spherical filter helps to minimize breathing and ‘pop’ noises, while the rugged construction, die-cast metal case, and ‘shock-mount’ system help to keep it together in the event it gets dropped.
As a dynamic mic with a cardioid pickup pattern, it does a great job of isolating one source of sound (directly in front) and then minimizing background noise.
Despite the fact that it costs less than a hot Benjamin to purchase, you will find one (or several of them) in almost any studio, venue sound toolbox, and touring crate in the world.
Why? Because the Shure SM58 absolutely bridges the quality/budget gap.
It provides studio-level quality at a price that even new musicians, producers, or podcasters can afford.
Shure SM58 Key Features:
- Bass roll-off and brightened midrange
- Reduced handling noise
- Superbly rugged and tough build
- Cardioid pickup pattern isolates the primary audio source
The HyperX QuadCast is just one of the studio USB condenser microphones on this list that gives you a range of awesome features.
(We featured this mic as the number-one pick in our Best USB Mics for Rap Vocals review, which you can find here.)
The first thing that you need to know about this mic is that it is, in fact, a USB mic. It’s easy to use, simple to plug in and get started with, and will let you bypass the whole ‘interface’ situation until you’re ready to step up to an XLR.
But the second thing to understand about the QuadCast is that it has four selectable polar patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional.
This means that you can actually use it for a wide variety of applications. This mic is super-popular as a Twitch streaming mic, but it is also very popular with podcasters, as the polar patterns can be switched to take into account interviews, round-table group discussions, etc.
It also has some built-in controls that make regulating your audio on-the-fly a breeze. You can adjust the sensitivity by turning the dial at the bottom, tap the top to mute it, etc.
The mic mount adapter, which is suspension-based, can also be mounted to standard sized mic boom stands… giving you all kinds of options for setting it up.
Along with a good shock mount, all of this makes it incredibly diverse.
The HyperX QuadCast is a great microphone when it comes to versatility, performance, and value for your money. The sound quality is great, movement sounds are kept to a minimum, and it performs consistently.
HyperX QuadCast Key Features:
- Four selectable polar pickup patterns
- Internal pop filter
- Anti-vibration, rugged shock mount
- Compatibility with the PC or Mac
The Shure BETA 58A is a supercardioid dynamic mic that really picks up where the original SM58 leaves off.
Features include a frequency response that has been ‘tailor-made’ to suit vocals specifically, a brightened mid-range, bass roll-off, and a uniform supercardioid pattern, ensuring that your vocals will get picked up and sent through the sound system with crystal-clarity.
Designed for live professional sound reinforcement, the BETA 58A is protected by a hardened steel mesh, an advanced pneumatic shock-mount system, and a silver-blue enamel-painted die cast metal casing.
Not only will this mic withstand the rigors of the road… but it will also continue to deliver awesome vocals, evening after evening, venue after venue.
The mic also comes with a slip-in microphone mounting adapter that you can screw onto a standard ⅝” mic stand… which is handy, because you won’t have to order it separate to be ready to go!
If you’re looking for a premium-grade live mic that’s tough and beautiful at the same time, and are ready to move-up from the more budget-friendly Shure SM58, then the Shure BETA 58A is what you want to be looking at.
Shure BETA 58A Key Features:
- Supercardioid polar pattern
- Bright midrange with bass roll-off
- Specially designed for vocals
- High-output dynamic microphone
- Comes with a mic-stand mount adapter
The Focusrite Scarlett Solo Compact kit ships with a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Compact USB interface, a pair of headphones, a recording microphone isolation shield, an XLR cable…
And last, but definitely not least… a Scarlett large-diaphragm condenser microphone.
But that’s not all. You also get all of the other cables you need, as well as an exclusive version of Pro Tools – First Focusrite Creative Pack, and a copy of Ableton Live Lite.
If you’re worried about compatibility, you can rest easy knowing that the Focusrite bundle is actually compatible with all major DAWS, for both Mac and PC.
If you need a recording starter pack all in one bundle, the Focusrite Scarlett Studio Package will take you from zero to business in one swift motion. All you really need is your existing computer… and this kit will take you the rest of the way.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo Compact Key Features:
- Limited free version of Pro Tools
- Headphones, cable, and USB audio interface bundle
- Condenser microphone
- PC- and Mac-compatible
If you plan to start a YouTube channel, a podcast, a Twitch stream, or any other project that involves recording audio, then you’re going to need a vocal microphone.
But why even buy a mic? In some cases, you can just use your cell phone or laptop mic to record audio, right?
Well, this is technically true… but did you know that, while smartphone cameras have continued to increase in quality, the microphones really haven’t?
This isn’t so surprising. You can only fit so much into a tiny little microphone.
It is also true that leveling up your audio will absolutely boost the quality and potential success of your production.
What good are amazing rap beats if you lay distracting, low-quality vocal recordings over them?
What good will it do you to spend time recording a podcast, only to have the vocals come out really poorly, with wind noise and interference?
These types of problems can really take away from your project.
But thankfully, for as little as $100, you can seriously upgrade the quality of your audio!
If you plan to do any recording that you want to share or show other people, then you really need to invest in an upgrade to your microphone.
There are a number of features that you need to be aware of as you shop for a mic. You don’t need to be an expert to choose the right mic for you, but there are a few features that you should familiarize yourself with.
- Polar Pattern
The pickup polar pattern determines how the microphone reacts to the noises coming from various angles.
A cardioid pattern, for example, is more suitable for vocal recording, as it only takes-in sounds from the primary source… and rejects the rest. This eliminates feedback, while ensuring the clarity and crispness of the audio.
- Diaphragm Size
This is the heart of your mic, and is the part of it that reacts to sound waves. Diaphragms vary in size, and you need to consider the intended purpose of the microphone when deciding on the right one.
It’s common knowledge among audio recording pros that large diaphragm mics offer a fuller sound. But the trade-off is in the accuracy of picking up sounds that are off-axis, which a smaller diaphragm is better at.
For best results, choose a diaphragm of about 1 inch for close-miked audios, such as studio vocals.
- Frequency Response
Microphones vary in terms of their frequency response.
For vocal mics, we recommend a frequency response range of 80 Hz to 15 kHz. But if you plan on miking other instruments, such as your drums, you will want a lower range to capture the lower sounds better.
What is the best microphone for live performances?
For live performances, you need a rugged mic with a robust and solid build that can take a beating… but still hold up well in a mobile environment.
Our ultimate choice for this type of application is the Shure BETA 58A, which has an all-metal construction that protects it from damage when you take it on the road for events, concerts, etc.
But it also delivers unbelievably good sound quality!
What mic is good for recording vocals?
Condenser microphones and dynamic microphones will capture spoken word and singing sounds.
What you really want to look at here is the quality of the sound, and the polar patterns.
If you’re recording vocals in a studio, you will want a cardioid polar pattern… whereas, you would want an omnidirectional polar pattern for a round-table podcast discussion, etc.
This is why we highly recommend the RØDE Procaster for most applications. It’s tight polar pattern makes it ideal for use with a single source of audio.
Which polar pattern is best for vocals?
There are different polar pickup patterns in microphones, such as cardioid, super cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
When you need a good mic for studio recording, podcasting, and gaming, it is best to stick to a cardioid pattern, which picks up audio from one direction to maintain clarity of the sound.
The RØDE Procaster is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid polar pattern that is highly sensitive in one direction, so you can focus the sound.
If you want a mic that is better suited to interviews or round-table discussions, consider the HyperX QuadCast… which actually has four different selectable polar patterns.
Other Vocal Microphones Under $300 We Reviewed: Mini Reviews
There are literally hundreds of vocal microphone options out there. But with a budget under $300, it can be tricky to find a solid choice that fits the bill without compromising performance.
If our top 5 didn’t give you the right option, here are 6 more microphones to choose from for your vocal recording… all of them barely hitting the $300 mark!
It features a high SPL rating, which allows it to handle a wide range of dynamics for optimum versatility.
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Low-mass custom-engineered diaphragm
- Pivoting mount stand included
- Excellent sound isolation
This bundle includes a condenser mic, a mount, a stand, a pop filter, a sound card, and a male to XLR female 3.5mm cable. Sound isolation is decent, and this mic is good for a variety of applications.
- Noise cancellation for reduced distortion
- Windows, Mac and Linux compatible
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Multiple applications
Alternate Budget Picks
We love the crystal-clear input, and its plug and play design. What’s not to like about picking up one of these budget-friendly condenser microphones?
- Multi-purpose condenser mic
- Plug and play design
- Compatible with PC or Mac
- Frequency response 40 to 18kHz
This mic offers a wide frequency response and a smooth output. It can capture the audio sound well without all those annoying background noises. It’s the kind of mic to use for your YouTube videos, podcasts, and more. It a great microphone to provide a means to get the job done quickly without much post production needed.
- Cardioid pickup polar pattern
- Durable and elegant design
- Plug and play
- Input monitoring in real-time
It is rugged and made of metal, complete with a tripod stand for your convenience. Since it is a USB mic, there’s no need for a power supply. It’s ready to use – just plug and play!
- Great sound isolation
- Perfect for gaming, streaming, and vocal recording
- Extra volume knob for enhanced output
- Plug and play USB condenser mic
Choosing a high-quality vocal microphone in the $300 price range can be a bit of a challenge.
You need to stick to your budget, but you are also at risk of dumping your hard-earned cash into something that isn’t going to perform well.
The truth is that there are some really, really good microphones in this price range.
You just need to know where to look.
The RØDE Procaster checks all the boxes for us.
If you’re looking for the best vocal mic under 300, that’s the one to go with.
If you need something more affordable, a Shure SM58 will certainly get the job done, and works as a definite upgrade for almost every beginner’s rig.
So grab a mic, level-up your audio, and get back to doing what you love…