Decent mic for 50 bucks?

Im looking to buy a decent mic with around 50 dollars. Im recording vocal tracks. Im sure 50 dollars isnt going to get me something amazing, im sure it wont ahaha. But im wondering if anyone might be able to let me know what would be a good option in that price range? Preferably Usb input, Ill ive been looking at some but im not sure if they are good options.

Thanks for any feedback!

I think you need push your budget a bit (or save-up for awhile longer), and maybe we can say, “Less than $100”. For around that price range (maybe a little more) you can get nearly professional-studio quality (assuming you have a nice quiet “studio” with good acoustics to record in, and something “professional” to record. :wink: )

Look for a “studio style” USB mic or a “Podcast mic”. [u]Musician’s Friend[/u] has a couple under $100. Don’t get a computer “gaming” or “communications” mic.

A USB mic is the most economical way to go… As yo umay know, a USB mic bypasses your soundcard, so your computer does not affect quality.

Any good performance or studio mic that’s not USB is going be low impedance balanced (with an XLR connector). That makes the (high impedance unbalanced) microphone input on a regular soundcard useless with any good mic. If you get a good analog mic, you’ll need an audio interface with an XLR connector and mic preamp. Or, sometimes the line-input on a desktop computer is good quality, so you can use a little mixer (with XLR inputs).

The downsides to a USB mic are that you can only use one at a time (no stereo or multi-tracking) and you can’t use it live with a PA system.

The most popular “live vocal” mic of all time is the Shure SM58 ($100). It’s not normally used in pro studios, but Bono is rumored to use one. The very-similar SM57 is used in pro studios on electric guitar amps and snare drums. The downside is for you is that it’s an analog mic, and you’d need to spend another $100 (or more) on a USB interface. And, the SM57/58 will last a lifetime. Buying one is never a bad decision, but it’s probably not the best choice for you right now.

The downsides to a USB mic are that you can only use one at a time (no stereo or multi-tracking) and you can’t use it live with a PA system.

You can’t ever get very far from the computer. One USB cable is about, what 6 feet? That’s it without playing games with hubs and extensions. We had a poster who was picking up fan noise from his deskside computer. Yes. That’s correct. There is no good way to make it stop.

Also they tend to record quiet. Low volume recordings can many times be corrected, but loud recordings can be permanently damaged, so most USB microphones have “restrained” performance. Remember there’s no mixer to adjust. It’s all internal.

Note this conflicts with microphone noise or “hiss.” That never goes away so you have to be very careful to record perfectly.


Thanks for the answer guys!!!

I managed to get hold of an Editors Keys SL150 USB studio mic very cheaply because of a bad experience buying a similar mic from Ebay that did not work very well. This mic is superb for voice recording and while I endorse the comments about picking up computer noise, especially fan noise, by using a desktop PC you can soundproof the PC and the monitor/keyboard makes no audible sound apart from the key presses which are not used during recording. I have also seen the PC put in another room connected via a hole in the wall but this is a little extreme. The beauty of a USB mic is that it is not reliant on the quality of the D/A convertors of your PC.

There are a lot of advantages to a USB microphone. It’s supremely convenient and there can be little or no computer noise if you have a laptop. The whole thing folds up into a little pouch in the back of the sock drawer. There is a USB microphone on the list of techniques to do a perfect overdub. Problems come when you want to grow and the microphone doesn’t.

There is a very awkward way to record two USB microphones at once, but it isn’t pretty, they drift out of sync and you have no control over them. As before, you’re stuck with 6 feet between the mic and the computer. It doesn’t matter where it’s best to put the microphone for good quality sound if it doesn’t fall within that 6 foot circle.

USB microphones are probably not the best for quiet, expressive performances. Many of them don’t adjust and they have a fixed, smaller-than-normal working range between loud overload and quiet noise. They’re great beginner microphones for small podcasts or performances.