Recomendation for a cheap mic setup

Im looking for recomendations on the best choice for a microphone setup for a total cost under $150.00 to do podcasting and create a how-to audio CD on my laptop. I’m running a newer sony viao laptop w/ windows xp

What kind of computer do you have? That changes things a lot.


newer sony viao w/ windows xp with a mic input

Look and see if your machine has a “Mic-In” connection. If it does, you might be able to use this microphone.

If you have a well-behaved laptop, this may be all you need. We use many of these microphones in the building for people doing training sessions and live classes. Since it mounts on your chest, it’s not affected by turning your head or moving your body. You can get clothing noise if you don’t attach it properly.

There are headset microphones that work well, too. I don’t have part numbers for those, but someone else will jump in.

OK, the Vaio model I saw has a microphone input. Macs tend to have Line-In connections and they don’t cross.


I’m doing some sound tests with my 3013 microphone and a simple USB sound adapter we found at work. I needed to get fresh batteries for the microphone (357 Silver-Oxide). If it succeeds, I can give you part numbers for a very good voice channel for about US$ 50.


For a second opinion (and a radically different approach than Koz’s), I wrote this quite a while ago:

It was aimed at someone with a bit more budget than you have, but the info on the different styles of mic will still be useful to you. It is certainly possible to find cheaper mic/pre-amp combos (like the Samson C01s + ART Tube pre-amp) that will keep you under $150. But be aware that a pre-amp will put out a Line level signal, so make sure your computer can accept a line level input or you’ll have to budget for an audio interface as well (like the Behringer UCA202 ~$35).

Another great place to look is this page:
Also, this poll should give you some good places to look, though it only has a few models and there are many more than should be been included:

It’s also a good idea to simply browse the selection of Large-diaphragm condensers at various music stores, for example:

Finally, you may also want to take the route of buying a USB mic. You’ll be able to skip the pre-amp and spend more on the mic itself. Also, it’s guaranteed to work with your PC. However, you’ll also be limited to recording with only one mic at a time (within Audacity, this might not apply to other pieces of software), and you won’t be able to plug the mic into any other audio equipment (at least, for the time being, I can see someone eventually making a USB → analog converter).

<<<If it succeeds, I can give you part numbers for a very good voice channel for about US$ 50.>>>

It didn’t succeed. The quality of the voice is nice, but the background noise "hiss’ level is too high. I have two USB adapters and I will try the other one. When you’re bottom feeding like this, sometimes the quality control isn’t too good.

Yes, the minute you break the US$ 150/200 barrier, the number of options goes way up.

I want to write with someone who’s using a Samson Condenser with Audacity on a Windows machine. People do have trouble with those.