Ten of the best microphones under $300 for recording vocals

We asked the Gearslutz hive-mind for their favourite microphones under $300, specifically for recording vocals and here’s what they recommended - in alphabetical order:


3U Audio Warbler

3U Audio Warbler

This mic has taken Gearslutz by storm since this particular thread popped up last year - they’ve been quickly gaining in popularity. The Warbler is 3U Audio’s most "numerous" line of microphones with ten (!) variations available but here we have the more affordable “vanilla” version. This is a large-diaphragm condenser (LDC) with fixed cardioid pattern and an “airy sound style”, according to 3U. The microphone is equipped with a vintage-style transformer, three selectable voicings that slightly boost the top end, LF roll-off (flat/150Hz) and gain (0/-10 dB) switches. The Warbler’s frequency is generally flat but it shows some dips around 7kHz and variable boosts on the 12kHz area (depending on the selected voicing). With so much praise across our discussion forums the Warbler is definitely one of the most tempting microphones in recent years.



ADK Microphones A6

ADK Microphones A6

From Vienna, Austria comes the ADK A6, a cardioid side-address LDC that is considered to be a very neutral sounding microphone that can be deployed in a variety of situations. ADK equipped the A6 with an updated version of the FET circuit found on their A-51 microphone in order to give it a cleaner sound and minimise the noise floor. The A6 is a very simple and straightforward to use microphone, it doesn’t have any switches or further 'complications' in the signal path which ensures foolproof operation and maximum reliability. If you’re after a very natural sounding microphone that will deliver great takes without burning a hole in your pocket make sure you consider the A6.



Advanced Audio Microphones CM47fet

Advanced Audio Microphones CM47fet

Based on one of the most iconic microphones of all time, the CM47FET is Advance Audio’s way of making a classic design available to all at a relatively affordable price. This microphone features a clean and well defined sound, using Class-A electronics and a 'de-emphasis' circuit which helps to reduce sibilance while still keeping the top end very much 'alive', with a prominent boost past 10kHz. The CM47FET is equipped with a -10dB gain pad and features two polar patterns (cardioid/omni), making it very versatile. Advanced Audio also offers a tube version of the CM47, but it’s basically twice the price of the FET version, which demonstrates that AA has managed to reconcile quality with cost in a very sensible way. Read our user reviews.



Aston Microphones Origin

Aston Microphones Origin

A unique microphone with some very distinctive looks that will also impress when recording. The British-made Origin is Aston’s most affordable LDC microphone and features a fixed cardioid pattern, a stainless steel body, 'waveform' mesh head design with built-in pop filter, a custom molded base with integrated XLR connector and a stand adapter at the bottom, which is very convenient for easy mounting. It also comes with switches for the -10dB attenuation pad and low cut filter (80Hz). The Origin’s frequency response is mostly flat, but it shows a subtle shelf-style boost past 2kHz which drops a bit after 10kHz, which in theory should add some clarity for vocals. Overall the Origin is a very interesting choice if you’re looking for a microphone that is distinctive in all aspects and doesn't even come close to breaking the bank.



Audio-Technica AT4040

Audio-Technica AT4040

A widely recommended microphone on Gearslutz, the AT4040 has built quite a following amongst our membership. This side-address LDC features a transformerless circuit and it’s designed to handle high sound pressure levels while still keeping the sound free of distortion. The frequency response of this microphone shows some interesting bumps around the 6-7kHz and 10-12kHz areas with a small dip in between at 8-9kHz, which might help to explain why it’s often recommended for recording vocals. The 4040 also features a low cut filter (80Hz) and attenuation pad (-10 dB) switches and it comes with Audio-Technicas’s trademark shockmount. Easily a “hall of famer” in the budget-friendly microphone category, you’re very likely to have a AT4040 in your mic locker at some point! Read our users reviews.



Beyerdynamic M 69 TG

Beyerdynamic M 69 TG

The handheld M69TG is an elegant yet simple dynamic mic with a hypercardioid pattern for ultimate 'focus'. Despite being widely used for live sound applications due to its high feedback rejection, this microphone has found its way into collections around the world as it turns out it can actually provide great studio recordings too. The M69TG shows a frequency response from 50Hz to 18kHz, with a lift in the 2-10kHz area that will definitely benefit vocals and it also displays a boost in the lows past 200Hz when used in close proximity to the source. A high sensitivity means that won’t require much from a mic preamp, so it’s basically good to go regardless of the situation, and you don't need a tonne of gain to get great results. A very appealing choice and a great all-around mic that will deliver very good results anywhere.



Blue Microphones Bluebird

Blue Microphones Bluebird

The Bluebird is Blue’s best-selling mic, a very popular choice and it arrives on our list with many favourable recommendations from our members. The Bluebird is a distinctive looking LDC with a cardioid polar pattern, a hand-crafted proprietary capsule and a clean, transformerless circuit without any switches or further controls interrupting the signal path. The frequency response stretches from 20Hz to 20kHz, showing interesting yet subtle curves in the mid-range and a prominent top end peak around 15kHz that will grant some extra 'air'. The Bluebird can take a hefty amount of sound pressure and will graciously handle pretty much any source, making it a very safe pick for a “workhorse” vocal microphone for any style. The Bluebird ships with shock mount, a custom pop-filter and it's also available in stereo matched pairs. Read our user reviews.



Electro-Voice RE320

Electro-Voice RE320

The RE320 continues the legacy of the RE20, one of the top recommendations when it comes to capturing the human voice and an industry standard for broadcast, voiceover, stage performance and studio recording. The RE320 is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, featuring a very recognizable steel body and two operating modes accessed by the switch located near the XLR connector. The first mode is designed for kick drums with a frequency response from 30Hz to 18kHz, featuring a some dips in the low mids and a boosts at the mid-high range. The second mode is meant for vocals and instruments, and ranges from 45Hz to 18kHz (in a more linear fashion) up until 5kHz where it peaks by a few dB, enhancing clarity and detail. The RE320 is also known for its proximity effect, which is basically the same on both modes - it considerably boosts the low end under 200Hz, adding heft and girth. The RE320 is basically a "consensus tool" among our members and is a safe choice when a reliable and efficient dynamic mic is required. Read our users reviews.



Rode NT1-A

Rode NT1-A

When 'affordable mics' are the topic, this must be one of the most commented and discussed microphones of recent times. The NT1-A is a large diaphragm condenser with a cardioid polar pattern, very low noise and a wide frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz, with some peaks over the mid-highs and a subtle high-frequency lift. This is a rather simple to use mic with no switches or extra features, it deals well with high sound pressure levels and will take almost any vocal style. If you've got some extra budget available you might also want to try the more refined (and more expensive) NT1000. They’re all well regarded LDCs for vocals and definitely worth considering. Read our user reviews of the NT1-A and NT1000.



Shure SM57-LC

Shure SM57-LC

Our list wouldn't be complete without one of the most famous dynamic mics ever made and it’s rightfully recommended by many members for recording vocals. Famous for its tight unidirectional cardioid pattern and very prominent proximity effect, the SM57 is a "no-brainer" that will likely be available in most any studio, so you have no excuse for not trying them at least once! The same things can be said about its sister, the SM58 - they’re essentially the same microphone with a different grill design. The SM58 will have a bit less proximity effect since the grill puts more distance from the capsule than on the SM57. Never rule them out! Read our users reviews of the SM57 and SM58.


It’s interesting to note that both condenser and dynamic microphones were mentioned on this list, indicating that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” and it shows that a vocal recording can be done with a wide variety of available tools. There are surely many other great mics out there, so please share with us what you’ve been using and enjoying lately - and for what styles!