The Best Cheap Microphones Under $50 - XLR & USB

The Highest Rated Microphones Under $50

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While most beginners may not notice, experienced musicians and those with sensitive ears know that there really is a big difference between premium and cheap mics. Still, there are a few gems in the entry-level price range that close the gap without drilling a hole in your pocket.

Here we present you with the highest rated microphones that you can buy for under $50, with our recommendations based on analysis of over 20,200 review and rating sources.

To cater to different needs, we divided the list into two sections - XLR & USB, with XLR being popular for live sound and USB being ideal for home recording.

The Best Cheap Microphones Under $50

XLR Microphones

The XLR cable is the standard connection used for connecting with audio interfaces, mixing consoles and PA systems.

Shure PGA48 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$34
Shure PGA48-XLR

There is no denying Shure's reputation when it comes to quality microphones, and they make their presence known in the entry level market with the PGA48.

First thing you'll notice about this mic is its premium look, with its black metallic finish and classic silver ball grille. It sports a dynamic transducer with cardioid polar pattern, a combination based on the iconic Shure SM58.

Other features of this mic include a frequency response of 70Hz-15kHz and an on/off switch.

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 70Hz-15KHz
  • Impedance: 600 ohms
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals or speech

Pros
Market response to the Shure PGA48 is overwhelmingly positive, with many commending it for its overall sound and build quality. Those who expect it to feel cheap are surprised by how solid the mic is. And the same can be said about its sound quality, impressing public speakers, event organizers, singers, musicians, sound technicians and even DJs.

Cons
Some report that it lacks bass response, especially when compared to its more expensive sibling, the venerable Shure SM58. Still most users allude that for the price, the PGA48 is quite good. There are some who report that the on/off switch feels flimsy, and caution that it should be used with care.

Overall
If you're looking for a budget mic with on/off switch and Shure's brand of reliability and quality, then check out the PGA48.

GLS Audio ES-58-S Dynamic Microphone

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
GLS Audio ES-58 Dynamic Microphone

Here is another handheld vocal mic based on the popular Shure SM58, only this one has an on/off switch and more importantly - is much more affordable. It follows after the iconic vocal mic with its dynamic cardioid design that works well for stage use.

With so many sales and good customer feedback, the distributor, GLS Audio, backs this mic with a refund guarantee for those who feel that they are not happy with what they've got.

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-15KHz
  • Impedance: 300 ohms at 1KHz
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals or speech

Pros
For an affordable mic, many are surprised by its solid build and good sound quality, but its best trait is its low street price. As a testament to its build quality, there are many positive report from long-term users who still find the mic satisfactory after years of rigorous use. Some still employ the mic with no issues, even after dropping it a number of times.

Cons
There aren't any notable or consistent concerns, but there are a few who are not too happy with its sound, describing the tone as leaning towards the higher frequencies.

Overall
For the price and quality, the GLS Audio ES-58-S is simply hard to beat, great for those working with budget limitations.

Peavey PVi 2 Dynamic Microphone

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$45
Peavey PVi 2 Dynamic Microphone

At time of publication, the Peavey PVi 2 was the highest rated handheld microphone under $50.

There's an obvious trend when it comes to affordable vocal microphones - they all are often based on the iconic Shure SM58.

The Peavey PVi 2 is no exception with its dynamic cardioid design, but it does have a distinct shape and appearance that makes it easy to distinguish.

This particular model has a die-cast steel case and an on-off switch.

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: Not Specified
  • Impedance: Not Specified
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals or speech.

Pros
With so much positive feedback on its durability, reliability is definitely the Peavey PVi 2's best trait. Sound quality comes in next, with many users who report being satisfied with its sound. Another common theme in reviews are plenty of comparisons to more expensive mics, most of which place the PVi 2 in around the same ball park in terms of overall quality.

Cons
There are a few out-of-the-box issues but thankfully, they are few and far between compared to those who are satisfied with the mic.

Overall
There's a reason why Peavey is known for reliability and durability, and this mic helps them uphold their good reputation.

GLS Audio ES-58 Dynamic Mic (No on/off switch)

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
GLS Audio ES-58 Dynamic Microphone

The GLS Audio ES-58 is the twin sibling of the ES-58-S, the main difference being this one has no On/Off switch.

Like its twin, it doesn't stray from the well beaten path, with its conventional dynamic cardioid capsule and familiar profile.

Since it doesn't have an on/off switch, this model is actually more similar to the original SM58, which lessens the chances of accidentally turning off the mic while performing.

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-15KHz
  • Impedance: 300 ohms at 1KHz
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals or speech

Pros
GLS Audio has enough confidence in this mic to offer a refund guarantee for those who aren't happy with it. And it doesn't look like they're bluffing given its high rating. I've been scouring reviews to see an actual return but most of what I've seen are good reports from satisfied users. Most of the commendations point to its overall quality, which exceed what they expected given its price.

Cons
Some experienced users pointed out sound differences between this mic and an original Shure SM58. But the point of this mic is not to perfectly replicate the SM58, but to provide an affordable alternative.

Overall
The GLS Audio ES-58 is good news for those with budget constraints.

XLR Value Option

Here we feature a very affordable XLR mic that is also rating well, it's so cheap that you can get three of it for less than $50.

Behringer Ultravoice XM1800S Set of 3 Dynamic Microphones

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 1650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$39
Behringer Ultravoice XM1800S

The Behringer Ultravoice XM1800S gives you a super-affordable way of adding three mics to your setup.

But it's not just about saving on cost because this bundle features three XM1800S dynamic transducer microphones with super-cardioid polar pattern, a configuration that's popular for stage use because of its ability to reject background noise.

And for the price, the mics also have surprisingly decent features which include integrated pop filters, an on/off switch and a frequency response of 80Hz to 15kHz.

Finally, this bundle comes with mic stand adapters and a nifty impact-resistant carrying case for easy transport and storage.

Specifications:

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Super Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 80Hz-15KHz
  • Impedance: 600 ohms
  • Applications: Live vocals

Pros
The Behringer XM1800S leads this list in terms of bang per buck by a big margin, so it's not surprising to find that many are pleased with what they got for the money. Reviews are also replete with positive remarks on the mic's build and sound quality. Thanks to its wide market reach, this bundle has been successfully used at various venues and situations, including home karaoke, small stages, places of worship, coffee shops and more.

Cons
There are some who cautioned that the included carrying case is not as solid as they want it to be. Sound quality also came up short for those who compare them to more expensive mics, but this should be expected given the big price difference.

Overall
Add more mics without having to spend much money with the Behringer Ultravoice XM1800S.

USB Microphones

USB microphones allow for direct connection to your computer and other smart devices. They are convenient for quick capturing of musical ideas, and basic recording of vocals and instruments.

Fifine K669 Condenser USB Microphone

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 1400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$28
Fifine K669 Condenser USB Microphone

At time of publication, the Fifine K669 was the highest rated USB microphone under $50.

Normally, you have to pay top dollar for a condenser mic that plugs directly to USB, but not with the Fifine K669.

It is a true USB condenser mic that you can get cheap, with essential features that make it viable for those who are looking to start their journey towards home recording.

The mic's profile follows popular condenser mic shape, and has a metal exterior for improved structure strength.

Other features include cardioid polar pattern, and a built-in volume control knob that's conveniently located up front.

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • Power Requirements: 5V USB
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals, speech, podcasting, voiceovers

Pros
Many of the positive comments describe the Fifine K669 as a great mic for podcasting, voice-over work and voice chat. But musicians and singers are just as impressed with its headroom and clarity, and more of them are joining the many satisfied reviewers of this mic. Another well liked feature of the Fifine K669 is its solid build.

Cons
There are a few who are not happy with the included tripod base, which feel flimsy. Some also recommend trying out different positions to find its sweet spot (quietest).

Overall
The Fifine K669 will make a great first USB condenser mic for beginners who are on a budget.

Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

85
GEARANK

85 out of 100. Incorporating 2050+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone

The Samson Go Mic is designed to handle situations where portable and convenient recording are needed.

It is a condenser mic with a switchable polar pattern, packed into a compact form factor that can clip to a laptop and other surfaces, or sit on a desk.

It is meant for voice recording, podcasting, voice chat, and more importantly for recording vocals and instruments.

The ability to switch between cardioid (for close mic recording) and omni-directional (for recording multiple instruments or an entire room) makes it a very versatile tool for recording.

Finally, it has a relatively flat frequency response between 20Hz and 18kHz, and comes with a nifty 1/8" headphone output so you can monitor your input with no latency.

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-18KHz
  • Resolution: 16-bit, 44.1kHz
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals, podcasting, voiceovers, field recording

Pros
Professionals that depend on creativity appreciate the Samson Go Mic's balance of portability and sound quality. The list of satisfied users include songwriters, musicians, public speakers, YouTube content creators and more. Portability continues to come up positively in reviews, along with its clarity and ability to capture minute details.

Cons
Ironically, some feel that the mic captures too much detail for their liking, specifically background noise. There were a few who cautioned that care is needed when handling the attachment clip.

Overall
If you want to have a compact and versatile USB mic with good sound quality then do check out the Samson Go Mic.

Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Cardioid Microphone

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 4200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$50
Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Cardioid Microphone

The Blue Snowball iCE is a desktop microphone with a distinct looking ball like profile.

It is meant to be as easy to use as a generic computer mic, but with improved frequency response (40Hz to 18kHz) which ups the quality by a good margin compared to built-in / generic computer mics.

It has a condenser transducer with cardioid polar pattern which quiets down some of the background noise, ideal for vocal recordings but can also be used with instruments when properly positioned.

Finally, it comes in a compact ball shape which is reasonably portable, allowing for mobile recording when needed.

Specifications:

  • Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz-18KHz
  • Resolution: 16 bit, 44.1 kHz
  • Applications: Live and recorded vocals, podcasting, voiceovers

Pros
Overall market sentiment towards the Blue Snowball iCE is very positive, with many praising it for straightforward functionality, portability and sound quality. A lot of users also love the ball like shape, and its durability. It is mostly used for voice chat, podcasting and the like, but more and more vocalists and musicians have taken a liking to it as well.

Cons
There are some users who find that the sound to be thin, but this maybe due to proximity/positioning issues. Speaking of positioning, some users recommend trying the mic in different positions on your table (closer to the sound source) to get better results.

Overall
Here is another reasonably portable and good quality USB condenser mic for those who prefer a different look.

Things to Consider When Buying Budget Microphones

Here are some tips that can help you in picking the mic that will work best for you. If you're looking for more information, you can checkout our article that explains The Different Types Of Mics And Their Uses.

  • Transducer Type

    In the sub $50 price range, the most popular mics are those with either a Dynamic or Condenser transducer. Dynamic mics are popularly used in live performance, because of their intrinsically higher SPL (Sound Pressure Level) handling, and reliability. They also tend to color the sound in ways that many vocalists prefer.

    On the other hand, Condenser mics are mostly used in recording, because of their increased sound sensitivity. The downside of this increased sensitivity is being prone to clipping (sound breaking up when top loud) and background noise.

  • Polar Pattern

    Most of the mics in this list come with cardioid or super cardioid polar patterns, which is not surprising, given that these mics are meant for front vocal use. There are some mics that offer switchable polar patterns, specifically the option to switch to omni-direction pattern, which allows for a wider reception area - ideal for capturing multiple singers, instruments and other sound sources.

  • XLR or USB

    We've divided our recommended list into XLR and USB mics to help you know which ones are the best in their category. XLR is the standard connection used for live performances, while USB mics allow for direct recording to your computer without the need for an audio interface or recording console.

  • Placement and Position

    When setting up your mic, it is best to try different positions to find the one with best results. This is a big topic on its own so we'll focus on a few tips that are essential for those who are just starting out. When using handheld mics, the most common position to mike vocals is around 3" from the mouth, but this will vary depending on the style of the singer. Condenser mics are a bit more sensitive so they don't require singers to preform as close. Room acoustics also play an important role if you want quiet and professional sounding recordings.

Cheap Mic Selection Methodology

First published on February 23, 2018 and the last major updated was published on October 17, 2019.

Since there are many different microphones in the sub $50 price range, we decided to stick to those that work well for music - be it for the human voice or for guitars and other instruments. We ended up with an initial list of 19 mics, with over 20,200 review and rating sources analyzed, including the most recent up to October of 2019. All these data were fed into the Gearank algorithm to produce our ratings out of 100 which we used to narrowed down the list to just the best XLR and USB microphones in the price range. We have also included a value option for those of you who want more mics (literally) for your money. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

"...this bundle has been

"...this bundle has been successfully use at..."

Who proofreads these articles? Buckwheat? cmon folks.

Thank you for pointing that

Thank you for pointing that out - it's fixed now thanks to you. I'm the Editor responsible for that typo being published - please let us know if you find any similar mistakes.

:)

:)

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