Mic needed. Any suggestions ?

I want to buy a mic in order to record some songs. I need one for voice mainly but if it could combine for acoustic guitar too all the better. I’ve only got about £60 to spare - Could anyone recommend one or two please?


What sort of computer?
Do you have a decent sound card or is just a standard PC laptop sound card?
Will you be wanting to do “overdubs” or just a single track recording?

I’ll be doing overdubs yes. Computer is a HP Nvida Geforce. Decent enough sound card.

There’s a difference between “decent sound card” and “decent microphone input”.

Most general purpose or gaming sound cards have poor quality microphone inputs. Microphone pre-amps cost money to design and manufacture, so sound cards usually cut corners on the mic input unless it is specifically a sound card designed for music/microphone recording. As a general rule of thumb, if the microphone input is a standard mini-jack then the mic input is probably not very good. As another rule of thumb, if the sound card has a good microphone input it will say so as this is a big advertising feature.

If the sound card does not have a good microphone input then there are two choices - either use a separate microphone pre-amp or use a USB microphone.

USB microphones have a big advantage in that they are not dependent on the sound card - in effect they have their own sound card built in.
The really important thing about USB sound cards is that if you want to do overdubs then you will need to hear the other tracks playing while you record the overdubs. If you want to be able to monitor the live microphone input at the same time as hearing the other tracks then the microphone must have a headphone socket built into the microphone. Without a headphone socket built into the microphone it is not possible to hear the live microphone signal at exactly the same time as other tracks playing back. If you don’t need to hear the live mic input then that does not matter (you will be able to hear yourself acoustically) but many people prefer to hear their voice through the headphones, which for a USB mic can only be done (without hearing and “echo” or delay) if the headphones are plugged directly into the microphone.

If using a pre-amp, you can either use a USB pre-amp (which is a sound card in itself) or a conventional (non-USB) pre-amp that goes between the microphone and the “Line” input of your existing sound card. The USB type can be a good choice if your sound card is bad. The second can be a good choice if your sound card is good.

Another consideration is the type of voice. If your voice is fairly quiet then you will need a fairly “sensitive” microphone. If you have a “megaphone” voice then you will need a mic that can handle high sound levels.

I presume that as you quoted “£60” that you are based in the UK?

Thanks for your comprehensive reply. I will ponder all that

I got a cheap mic from Target (a local store) a few years ago and can honestly say
it wasn’t worth it, except for the part where I ripped it apart to see how it was
constructed. It’s pretty stupid actually, just this copper metal ring connected to
this tiny “air bag” that goes up and down as the “shock waves” from your voice
hit it.

The copper ring moving changes the magnetic “symbiosis” of this thing attached
to the side, which in turn is used to generate your voice (eventually).

It’s pretty stupid really.

P.S. - Ripping a speaker apart produces the same results and conclusions…