The best condenser microphones will not only produce the sharpest sound quality, but will expand your capabilities and opportunities in the recording studio.
Their high sensitivity makes them incredibly useful for recording electric guitars, snare drums, vocals, acoustic guitar, grand piano and many other instruments.
In comparison to other types of microphones and speakers, the condenser microphone will be able to follow sound waves of all frequencies, and produce a clearer, more natural result.
Hence, why purchasing the best condenser microphone is a crucial investment for all those aiming to produce professional results in the recording studio.
Best Condenser Microphones
1. Rose NTUSB
This NT-USB condenser microphone from RODE is a highly sensitive studio-quality microphone ideal for unidirectional sound in a reasonably sound-controlled environment.
The mic can be set up to record musical, singing or spoken applications including podcasts and voice-overs.
It is compatible with all mainstream recording applications (Windows or Mac OS), as well as Apple iPad (using any recording application that accepts an external mic such as RODE Rec, GarageBand with a USB connection adaptor, like the Apple Camera Connection Kit).
The NT-USB body features a 3.5mm stereo jack for earphones (zero-latency), with dials to adjust the real-time monitoring levels and mix between the device audio and microphone input levels.
The base of the mic has a fitting to accept a premium quality pop-filter shield (supplied) to reduce the harshness of the ‘plotives’ and the hissing.
A 20’ (6m) USB cable is also included.
Included with purchase are a 3/8” thread stand mount, desktop tripod mount which suspends the mic, and soft pouch for carrying when not in use.
This microphone is highly sensitive to background noise so care when setting up is advised, particularly when setting the gain level. The mic is also compatible with the SMR shock mount and the WS2 foam windshield.
2. Blue Yeti Nano Premium
Featuring a 24-bit sound quality, the Yeti Nano is a premium quality USB microphone designed for studio broadcasting and recording.
The compact size and ‘plug’n’play operation are ideal for live streaming using a PC or Mac from home or in a studio environment. The attention to detail sleek look and colour is great if you’re on camera as well.
The mic has a no-latency headphone output with dial controls for headphone volume, mic instant mute and two pickup pattern mode choices.
Choose between Cardioid mode for single-host podcasts, Skype calls, and voiceovers or Unidirectional mode for multiple participants like conference calling or group performances.
The sound emanating from the Yeti Nano is as clear as a bell due to the two proprietary mic capsules devoted to tuning your input for amazing clarity and detail.
The mic is compact and built in to a metal stand for easy angle and height adjustment.
Setup couldn’t be easier – plug the mic into the USB port on your Mac or PC and you’re set to go. The Yeti Nano is compatible with Windows 7 and upwards, and MacOS 10.10 and higher, with USB 1.1/2.0/3.0 compatibility for each.
The Blue Sherpa companion app is the easiest way to get the most out of the Yeti Nano. Not only does it provide numerous options for controlling your mic settings but it automatically downloads firmware updates so it keeps the mic seamlessly updated with no effort on your part.
3. Samson Go Microphone
Able to be clipped onto your laptop or your belt, or even slipped into your pocket, the Samson Go USB microphone is a super portable microphone designed for those on the go.
Compatible with both Mac and PC and with no drivers required, the mic is ideal for field recording, podcasts and music. Its functionality extends to voice recognition software, iChat, webcasting and VoIP.
Switch easily between cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns. And enjoy a frequency response of 20Hz – 18kHz and a resolution of 16-bit,44kHz for the higher professional applications.
Download Samson Sound Deck software to truly enjoy quality professional recording options, with noise cancellation technology and noise reduction algorithms. Ideal for clear, professional audio reproduction for podcasts or group recordings.
The mic only measures 15 x 5 x 14cm and weighs 250gm. The sound is excellent quality for a mic of this size, and it is an ideal alternative for those who are recording interviews or otherwise on the move. A very natural sounding mic.
Included with purchase are the Samson Go USB microphone, USB cable, cable clip, mic stand adapter, carry pouch, Cakewalk Music Creator software and 2-year warranty.
4. Neewer NW-800
Beautiful to look at the Neewar NW-800 condenser microphone is a studio-quality mic which captures rich, full-bodied sound from sources close to it.
Its shock mount effectively isolates other sounds from being captured by the mic, including floor vibration, stand noises, and other intrusions. The bass reduction switch helps to reduce room noise and deals with non-linear audio input.
The mic has good cardioid pickup and high sensitivity, low noise and a wide dynamic range. It features an angle adjustment with a professional quality foam knob cap which further protects the mic from the slightest interferences such as breezes and voice sibilance.
Setup is easy, requiring a simple plugin of a 3.5mm male to XLR female audio cable in PC (see notes below). No extra drivers are required.
Note: The Neewar NW-800 condenser microphone is a studio-quality mic requiring 5V power for use. This means that it must be connected to a PC at the least, or a laptop which is connected to a power supply.
This microphone is not compatible with Mac computers.A sound card should also be used for the best effect. And the mic should not be placed near an amplifier when recording, to avoid feedback.
5. ZaxSound Professional Microphone
The Cardioid microphone from Zaxsound is a professional quality mic which picks up sound from the front and eliminates background and side noise for a clear crisp recording.
Compatible with all PC's, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even some cameras, the mic is a budget-priced item which is perfect for live webcasting, YouTube recording, podcasting, online teaching, skyping, video conferencing and amateur music recording.
With sensitivity to -34db, the ZaxSound can pick up sound from 12” away yet still ignore extraneous noise. The mic can be used with a 3.5mm audio jack or TRRS 3.5mm Audio Adapter (for smart phones) and USB Audio Adapters (PC’s and laptops).
There is no need for any additional drivers or software so this is the ultimate in plug’n’play. It’s compatible with both Windows, Mac OS, Android and iPhone.
The microphone measures 14 x 25 x 3cm and weighs just 360gms so it is very portable. Supplied with purchase are a mini tripod 180-degree flexible stand, 6’ cable, audio speaker, headphone splitter, USB Adapter and User Manual.
If you choose to you can add accessories like a pop filter and headphones to improve the quality and ease of use even further.
Choosing the best condenser microphone for your sound recording needs should be a process that takes time and research. Don't go diving in and buying the most talked about brand, as each model offers pros and cons that should be considered.
If you're on the go, I'm a firm believer that the Samson Go microphone is something you should consider purchasing. I bought my first one over 8 years ago and still use it today. It easily rivals any of the larger microphones out there.
For a well rounded, budget friendly option then you can do no wrong with the Rose NTUSB device which offers powerful features suitable for every budding sound enthusiast out there.