5 Best Beginner Microphones for Recording in 2024

Whether you’re an aspiring podcaster, a musician laying down some tracks, or just looking to improve your audio quality for video calls, finding the right microphone is crucial for crisp, clear recordings. But with the overwhelming array of options, where does a beginner even start? Fear not! We’ve crafted a list showcasing some of the best beginner microphones for recording, focusing on user-friendliness, quality, and value. These mics will give your audio that professional edge without requiring you to become a sound engineering expert. Let’s dive into the world of microphones and find the perfect audio companion for your recording journey.

When selecting the best beginner microphone for recording, it’s important to consider several key factors to ensure high-quality audio that meets your needs without overwhelming you with technical complexity. Here are the criteria to look for:

  1. Type of Microphone: There are generally two types of microphones suited for beginners – dynamic and condenser. Dynamic microphones are versatile, durable, and better for loud sources. Condenser mics are more sensitive and better for capturing vocal details and high frequencies.
  2. Directionality: This refers to the microphone’s pick-up pattern. Omnidirectional mics pick up sound from all directions, while cardioid mics focus on sound from the front, minimizing background noise—a feature that’s quite beneficial for beginners.
  3. Connectivity: Consider how the microphone connects to your recording device. USB microphones are the easiest to set up with computers, while XLR microphones may require additional audio interfaces but offer professional-grade sound quality.
  4. Ease of Use: For beginners, it is essential that the microphone is plug-and-play with minimal setup required. The less configuration needed, the better.
  5. Accessories: Look for microphones that come with or can be easily fitted with accessories like pop filters, shock mounts, and stands to enhance recording quality and convenience.
  6. Price: Since you’re starting out, finding a balance between quality and affordability is key. Look for the best quality you can get within a reasonable budget.

With these factors in mind, let’s explore some of the top contenders that strike the right balance for a beginner looking to delve into the world of recording.

SpecificationAudio-Technica AT2020Blue Yeti USB MicrophoneRode NT-USBSamson Go MicShure SM58
Price Range (Approximate)$99 – $119$129 – $149$169 – $199$39 – $49$99 – $119
TypeCondenserCondenserCondenserCondenserDynamic
Polar PatternCardioidMultiple (Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo)CardioidCardioid, OmnidirectionalCardioid
ConnectivityXLRUSBUSBUSBXLR
Frequency Response20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 18kHz50Hz – 15kHz

This table outlines some of the essential attributes and differences between the microphones listed. When choosing the “best” microphone, a beginner should also consider what they will be using the microphone for, such as recording voice, instruments, or both. Trying to keep the terminology simple, the additional explanations help to decode what these specs mean in practical terms for a beginner.

Audio-Technica AT2020

image 1190

Overview:

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is one of the most reputable entry-level microphones on the market, popular for its exceptional sound quality and versatility. From my experience, this microphone stands out in the crowd of beginner microphones because it offers a clarity and balance of sound that you typically find in more professional and expensive mics. The AT2020 is a great first step for anyone venturing into the world of podcasting, home recording, or voice-over work. Its simple design translates into user-friendliness, but don’t let that fool you; the AT2020’s performance can grow with you from novice to a more advanced user.

Specs:

Even though we’re focusing more on opinions, I’d like to highlight a couple of specifications that matter in the user experience. The AT2020 is a cardioid-pattern condenser microphone, meaning it’s designed to capture sound from the front while minimizing noise from the sides and back. This pattern is especially beneficial for beginners who might not have the most acoustically treated space. The microphone also has a fixed charge backplate, permanently polarized condenser, which essentially ensures good sound quality.

Pros:

  • Stellar sound quality that outperforms its price point
  • Sturdy construction provides durability
  • It’s excellent at capturing vocals with precision and warmth
  • Easy to set up – a real plug-and-play experience when combined with an XLR-to-USB interface

Cons:

  • It requires an additional purchase of an XLR cable and an audio interface, as it is not a USB mic
  • No onboard controls like gain adjustment or a mute button, which can be found in some other beginner mics
  • It does not come with a stand, so you’ll need to buy a separate boom arm or mic stand

Price:

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is usually found at a price point around $99, which I believe is a great value considering the quality you’re getting. Prices can fluctuate due to sales or bundles with additional equipment, so keep an eye out for deals.

In my opinion, if you are someone just dipping your toes into audio recording, willing to invest in a bit of extra gear to get top-notch sound, the AT2020 is a strong contender. It’s a mic that respects your novice status but doesn’t limit your potential as you grow and improve. The longevity and reliability of the AT2020 make it not just a purchase, but an investment in your future content creation.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

image 1189

Overview:

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone has become a hallmark of reliability and ease of use for beginner content creators. Whether you’re diving into podcasting, YouTube productions, or simply need a trustworthy mic for online meetings, the Yeti offers a robust solution with versatility at its core. Its no-fuss USB connectivity makes it a breeze to set up – it’s practically a plug-and-play device that requires minimal technical know-how.

From personal experience, the Yeti stands out for its distinctive design and sturdy build, which gives you a sense of durability and quality. The audio performance is what truly impresses, though. With its ability to capture sound with remarkable clarity and depth, it’s no wonder the Yeti is a favorite among newbies. This multi-pattern microphone offers flexibility unmatched in its price range, making it an excellent tool for exploring different recording scenarios.

Specs:

  • Tri-capsule array for multiple recording patterns (Cardioid, Bidirectional, Omnidirectional, Stereo)
  • On-mic controls for pattern selection, mute, headphone volume, and gain
  • Zero-latency headphone output
  • 16-bit/48kHz resolution for professional audio clarity
  • USB connectivity for ease of use
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac

Pros:

  • Exceptional sound quality for beginners
  • Multiple recording patterns allow for versatility in recording situations
  • The solid build quality ensures it can take a few knocks
  • Intuitive controls make real-time adjustments a breeze
  • The integrated stand is convenient, though I’d recommend a shock mount for serious work
  • No additional gear needed; works straight out of the box with your computer

Cons:

  • Its size can be a little imposing on smaller desks
  • Picks up background noise more than some would like; a pop filter is a must for plosive-heavy speech
  • Can be too sensitive at times, capturing keystrokes and mouse clicks if you’re not careful with placement

Price:

The Yeti’s price is well-positioned for a beginner. Priced at around $100-$130, it’s an investment that I find reasonable for the quality and features it offers. Given the fact that you won’t need additional equipment such as audio interfaces or XLR cables, the Yeti provides great value for anyone starting off in audio recording.

Rode NT-USB

image 1188

Brief Intro:
The Rode NT-USB is a highly versatile side-address microphone ideal for anyone stepping into the world of audio recording. Known for its remarkable sound quality and simple USB connectivity, this microphone is a favorite among podcasters, gamers, and musicians who are looking for an uncomplicated setup without compromising on audio clarity.

Overview:
The Rode NT-USB earns its reputation from its ease of use and professional-grade sound. When I took this microphone out of the box, its robust build and premium feel were immediately noticeable. Plugging it into my computer was a breeze—no drivers or software needed, a significant plus for beginners. The zero-latency stereo headphone monitoring jack is particularly helpful, allowing you to hear what you’re recording in real time, which is essential for adjusting levels and avoiding the dreaded lag that can throw off your rhythm.

Another aspect that left a positive impression is the included pop shield. This accessory is crucial for mitigating those pesky plosive sounds (“p” and “b” sounds) that can distort your audio. With some microphones, you have to purchase this separately, so it’s a thoughtful addition. During testing, the microphone captured sound with clear highs and full-bodied lows, showcasing its ability to handle the nuances of both vocals and acoustic instruments.

Specs:

  • Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient
  • Active Electronics: JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer, A/D converter 16bit 48kHz
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 110dB
  • Power: USB bus-powered
  • Output: USB output

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality that rivals more expensive mics
  • USB connectivity makes it perfect for plug-and-play recording
  • Built-in pop shield and tripod stand included, adding value
  • Direct mix control between mic input and source output provides instant feedback

Cons:

  • Limited to a cardioid pickup pattern, which might not suit all recording situations
  • Being USB-powered, it does tie you to your computer, lacking the flexibility of XLR microphones

Price:
Regarding price, the Rode NT-USB falls into the mid-range category. It’s not as cheap as some entry-level alternatives, but its quality justifies the cost. You can expect to spend around $170 to $200, which is a sound investment for the serious beginner who cares about audio quality and ease of use.

In my opinion, the Rode NT-USB strikes an excellent balance between quality, functionality, and price, making it a brilliant choice for beginners who are serious about their recording endeavors without wanting to dive into the complexities of professional-grade equipment.
Certainly! Let’s dive into an in-depth review of product number 4, the Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone, for budding recording enthusiasts.

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

image 1187

Overview

The Samson Go Mic is an excellent choice for beginners in the realm of recording due to its ease of use, portability, and versatility. It’s a plug-and-play device, which means you don’t need advanced technical know-how to get started; simply connect it to your computer’s USB port, and you’re ready to record. The design is clever, as the microphone can clip to your laptop or sit on your desk, accommodating a variety of recording situations. In my experience, the Go Mic offers impressive clarity for a starter microphone, and it’s solid both for recording your voice for podcasts, voice-overs, and even for decent quality musical vocal takes.

One of the standout features of the Go Mic is its switchable pickup pattern. You can choose between cardioid and omnidirectional patterns, making it adaptable whether you’re recording a solo podcast or a round-table discussion with multiple speakers. The cardioid pattern is particularly good at minimizing background noise, which is important if you’re recording in an untreated room. Overall, the Samson Go Mic provides the right balance of functionality and simplicity for beginners looking to step up their recording game without getting overwhelmed by technical complexities.

Specs

  • Pick-Up Patterns: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-18kHz
  • Resolution: 16-bit, 44.1kHz
  • Connection Type: USB
  • Built-in Headphone Jack for zero-latency monitoring
  • Compact, foldable design with a clip for laptop mounting

Pros:

  • Extremely portable and easy to carry around.
  • Switchable pickup patterns offer recording versatility.
  • Plug-and-play functionality makes it user-friendly for beginners.
  • Built-in headphone jack enables direct monitoring.
  • Respectable audio quality for its size and price range.

Cons:

  • It’s not as robust or feature-rich as some other beginner microphones.
  • Can pick up handling noise due to its small size and design.
  • Limited audio resolution might be a drawback for more advanced users.

Price

The Samson Go Mic typically retails around $40-$50. This price point makes it an accessible microphone option for those who are just starting in recording and do not want to commit a huge investment while exploring their interest in audio work.

In summary, the Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone is indeed a gem for beginners. It strikes a fine balance between quality, functionality, and affordability, making it an appealing choice for those taking their first step into the world of audio recording without wanting to dive into the deep technical details just yet.

Shure SM58

image 1186

Overview:

The Shure SM58 has been the quintessential go-to microphone for beginners and professionals alike for decades—its reputation solidified through consistent performance and durability. When you’re starting out in recording, whether for podcasts, vocals, or instrumentation, you want something that can deliver quality without requiring extensive audio know-how. The SM58 does just that; it’s a no-frills, dynamic microphone that is as straightforward as it is reliable. Its natural sound reproduction is commendable for a microphone at this price point, and it’s quite forgiving for those who may not have perfected their recording techniques just yet.

In my use, the SM58 has demonstrated remarkable robustness, handling accidental drops without so much as a hiccup in performance. Its focus on the midrange frequencies brings out the warmth in vocals which is particularly flattering for voice-overs or singers. The cardioid pickup pattern helps to isolate your sound source, considerably reducing the pickup of unwanted ambient noise—a blessing for those recording in less-than-ideal environments.

Specs:

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50 to 15,000 Hz
  • Output Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Sensitivity: -54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85 mV)
  • Connector: XLR
  • Weight: 298 grams

Pros:

  • Extremely durable build, able to withstand the rigors of heavy use and accidents.
  • Tailored vocal response for sound clarity, making it excellent for voice recordings.
  • Effective at minimizing background noise due to its cardioid pattern.
  • The universal nature of the XLR connection allows for various audio interfaces and PA systems.

Cons:

  • Lacks the convenience of USB plug-and-play; requires an audio interface or mixer with an XLR input.
  • It does not come with additional accessories such as a stand or XLR cable.
  • Its simplicity and lack of on-mic controls might not satisfy those looking for more features.

Price:

The Shure SM58 generally retails somewhere around $99.00 USD. Considering its legendary status and performance consistency, it’s an investment that brings professional quality into the hands of beginners without breaking the bank. What cements the SM58 as a wise purchase is not just its upfront cost, but the longevity of the microphone due to its solid construction and time-tested design.

In conclusion, the Shure SM58 embodies the principle of ‘simplicity meets efficiency’. For beginners who are after a straightforward, workhorse microphone capable of delivering clean, quality recordings time and time again, this microphone is an excellent starting point. It’s a purchase that, even as your skills and setup evolve, will likely remain a constant fixture in your audio toolkit.

Conclusion:

In summary, when venturing into the world of recording, the sea of options for microphones can be overwhelming. Yet, the right beginner microphone should combine ease of use, quality sound capture, and affordability. We’ve highlighted top picks that stand out for their performance, user-friendliness, and budget-friendliness. Remember, the “best” microphone will largely depend on your specific needs and the type of recording you plan to do. Start with one of these recommendations, and you’ll be well on your way to capturing clear, crisp audio that can take your projects to the next level.

FAQs:

Q: Do I need an additional interface to use these microphones with my computer?
A: Many beginner microphones are plug-and-play via USB, so you won’t need an additional audio interface. However, some options might require an interface or an adapter to connect to your computer if they use XLR cables.

Q: Can these microphones be used for recording instruments as well as vocals?
A: Yes, most of the microphones listed are versatile enough to handle both vocal and instrument recording. However, some may be better suited for one over the other, so consider what you’ll be recording most often when making your choice.

Q: Should I invest in additional recording equipment like pop filters or stands?
A: While not essential, pop filters can improve the clarity of your vocals by reducing plosives, and microphone stands provide flexibility and convenience for different recording setups. These can be valuable additions as you get more serious about recording quality.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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