Studio condenser microphones are a crucial element of modern recording chains, and to help pare down a seemingly infinite number of available options we have deep-dived the GS chatter and gathered ten of the best large-diaphragm condensers (or LDCs for short) that are available right now so you can skip straight to pressing that REC button and grabbing some superb takes. Mics presented in alphabetical order:

 REDD Microphone

Chandler Limited REDD Microphone

Chandler Limited kicks off our list with the REDD microphone, an exquisite tube condenser with switchable cardioid/omni patterns that not only comes with the aura of an EMI/Abbey Road pedigree but combines circuitry from the REDD.47 preamplifier with a carefully-crafted handmade custom capsule to offer a groundbreaking piece of engineering. This means that the REDD microphone can be used with or without an external “regular” mic preamp, and with its amazing design and rich sound it is entirely possible that your favourite mic pre will just have to sit out for recordings made with this one!



 M 149 Tube

Neumann M 149 Tube

One of the classic names in microphone design & manufacture - Neumann - unsurprisingly appears several times on this list! Their first entry is the M149, a tube condenser microphone that is the modern incarnation of the venerable M49. As with its predecessor, the M149 has a wide & dedicated audience thanks to its superbly transparent sound quality, which for many is simply unparalleled, and also due to its ultra-flexibility with an impressive nine polar patterns, offering cardioid variations, omni and figure-8 for versatility. When Neumann themselves label a mic as “high-end” we are bound to take it seriously - if your bank account allows it there isn't much to argue against here.



 U 67 Collector's Edition

Neumann U 67 Collector's Edition

Neumann revives one of its most successful mics ever with the U67 Collectors Edition, bringing back the highly desired tube LDC present on so many of our favourite records. Despite a sea of available clones and "inspired-bys", according to Neumann this is the de facto reissue, built exactly as it was back in the 1960s following the original specifications & schematics, so look no further if you are after the rich sound of this glorious mic. It goes without saying that this level of quality does not come cheap so have your gold card at the ready, but it is certainly an easier path to sonic nirvana than chasing down vintage units and having to deal with all their associated maintenance burdens.



 U 87 Ai

Neumann U 87 Ai

For many engineers in our community the U47-U67-U87 is the holy trinity when it comes to Neumann microphones, and the U87 might just be the most ubiquitous of the three. This is the U87 Ai - largely based on the insanely popular U67 and U87, this is essentially a contemporary version of those classic mics and realised with the same design principles to truly honour its heritage, with three polar patterns (omni, cardioid, bi-directional/figure-8) and a signature sound quality present on countless hit records from past to present. It’s also the most affordable of our Neumann trio, which doesn’t mean it can be called an affordable mic but it is certainly worth every penny, and is happily found as a workhorse in music and voiceover studios the world over.



 P-12

Peluso Microphones P-12

The Peluso P12 is based on one of the most coveted tube microphones of all times - the AKG C12 - which (according to many in our community) is the Holy Grail when it comes to large diaphragm condensers. The P12 not only replicates the looks of the revered Austrian classic but more importantly it closely follows the sound characteristics with a careful selection of components that revives the character of that vintage mic in all its glory. Best of all, it does so without the often insanely high and mostly prohibitive price tags usually associated with mics of this calibre.



 KSM32

Shure KSM32

A Top-10 microphones list without a Shure mic would be the audio equivalent of committing heresy, and as far as large-diaphragm condensers go the KSM32 is certainly a safe bet. This detailed-sounding cardioid mic is a community favourite for many reasons, shining on many applications and importantly, doing so without shredding one's hard-earned finances, making it a great choice for the budget-conscious engineer looking for a workhorse type of microphone that provides a lot of bang for the bucks.





 C-800G

Sony C-800G

As of late, Sony, the Japanese electronics behemoth known for its immense range of consumer AV products, hasn’t been associated much with pro audio or with studio recording microphones in general, yet their C-800G is arguably one of the most successful condenser mics of all time. Known for its clean and up-front sound, this is a go-to microphone for vocals with many award-winning records from hundreds of chart-topping artists under its belt. This mic is one of the most beloved studio products of all time across all our forums so it easily earns a spot on our list.



 U195

Soundelux U195

Designed by microphone guru David Bock, the Soundelux USA U195 is a hand-made large diaphragm FET condenser microphone that delivers top-notch sonics with huge versatility at a price point that won’t scare the budget-conscious Gearslut away. Aimed at those looking for a one-stop solution for all condenser needs, the U195 is capable of seamlessly tackling any recording job with ease, without sacrificing quality and definitely worthy of Bock's reputation.



 WA-47

Warm Audio WA-47

Budget favourite Warm Audio wraps up our list with the WA-47, the brand’s take on the - you guessed it - the legendary U47. The WA-47 is inspired by two “benchmark” U47 examples with subtle sound differences, and Warm Audio’s approach was to capture the common essence that made the 47 one of the most iconic tube condenser mics ever produced - and they put it all together with 21st-century components and manufacturing technology. As one might expect, the WA-47 comes with the highly inviting Warm Audio price tag, so there is no reason not to try it.


That's the list, and since there's no shortage of awesome LDCs out there we unfortunately had no choice but to leave some excellent mics out, so we would like to give a shout to Mojave Audio, 3U Audio, Stam Audio and AKG, all of which have microphones that are widely praised on our forums - and we are sure that there's more, so please tell us which LDCs you'd recommend below...

For more on microphones, visit our So Much Gear, So Little Time forum, and if your pockets are deep enough make sure to have a look at our High End section for discussion on the top-ticket stuff!