When you decide to start doing podcasts or live streams, it's important to find a reliable dynamic mic because it gives you the rich sound of radio podcasts. Unfortunately, most of those microphones come at a very high price point. While you can start by recording on your smartphone, the quality will always be lower quality from one with a dedicated microphone which usually requires a significant investment. But in this review, we will review some budget-friendly dynamic microphones that cost under $100.
To keep the closest to our $100 budget, I'll review only dynamic microphones since condensers are more sensitive to background noise and may require much more equipment to get started, such as recording in a noise-treated room or a pop filter. While condenser microphones used to be of better sound quality, their dynamic counterparts have improved to be on par with most condenser microphones.
Best for Beginners: Samson Q2U
The Samson Q2U is a fantastic microphone for a beginner on a budget. Despite its low price, it feels heavy and solid and does not feel cheap at all. It is a dynamic microphone that is versatile, gives you a deep rich podcast voice, and can be used for many applications. In our sound tests, I found the recorded audio very similar to their $200 dynamic counterparts. It also has a cardioid pickup pattern, meaning it will focus on picking up sounds directly in front of it and reject background noise. This makes it ideal for recording in noisy environments or for recording multiple people in the same room.
One of the standouts features why I love the Q2U is its dual output, which allows you to connect it to both XLR and USB devices. This means you can easily upgrade your recording setup when you are ready, and it also allows you to back up your recordings in case one device fails. It also has a headphone jack with a volume controller, enabling you to monitor your audio in real-time. This is a great feature for ensuring that you are recording at the right volume and that your audio is coming through clearly.
Another great feature of the Q2U is its portability. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to take with you on the go. This makes it perfect for traveling and creating content on the go.
- Dual XLR and USB output
- Headphone Jack with volume control for zero-latency monitoring
- Plugs into any smartphone for on-the-go recording
- On-off switch to turn it off when not in use without needing to turn it off in your recording software.
- Since it is a dynamic microphone, you will need to sit close to the microphone with the supplied microphone stand. We recommend upgrading the stand to the Ultimate Support JS-BCM-50 for comfortable recording.
- In our testing, I found that it can pick up handling noise.
- Finally, you can not connect two Q2U microphones to a PC via USB, so this might not be the best option if you plan to do two-person podcasts.
Overall, the Samson Q2U is a great value for the price. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to take with you on the go. It comes with everything you need to start recording, including a tripod, cables, and even a windscreen. While it may eventually require a full stand setup, it is a great option for creating high-quality content on a budget.
Best Looking: Audio Technica AT2040
Another of our top-budget microphones is the Audio Technica AT2040, a dynamic microphone that costs under $100. So let's take a look at what makes it so remarkable.
In a nutshell, this is a single-purpose microphone that enhances vocal character. The microphone is also hyper-cardioid, which means that it's a very tight pickup pattern, which is important since many creators don't have sound-treated rooms or spaces; this will help minimize a lot of room noise. And that enables you to get a much more present audio quality.
Additionally, since many people don't use pop filters, this microphone has three layers of pop protection built into the microphone housing itself. There's a mesh screen, a woven disk, and then foam that gives you a lot of pop protection. When people use boom arms, they tend to bring mechanical noise through the microphone, so Audio Technica has integrated the microphone into an internal shock mount to mitigate that. There is quite a bit going on for a relatively low-profile microphone, and it is an XLR microphone with no phantom power required and can be plugged directly into an interface or mixer.
As far as looks are concerned, we are in love with it. We like the sleek and cool design, and as mentioned, dynamic microphones give you that rich radio podcast sound that many people seek. The microphone is compatible with any standard microphone boom you have already, and it has a 5/8"-27 thread that you can become nerdy about if you wish. It also comes with a 3/8”-16 adapter if you have a different type of mount, which makes this microphone compatible with almost everything you're using. It's an excellent price for a microphone that many people are searching for.
- 3-level mesh pop protection
- Great for noisy environments due to its excellent noise rejection.
- XLR only has no dual support.
- The included shock mount is not effective enough to avoid handling noises. We recommend using a shock mount with mic.
Best Portable: Samson Meteor
The Samson Meteor microphone is a great option for anyone looking for a portable and lightweight microphone. At just 0.57 grams, it is easy to take with you wherever you go. It also comes with a built-in tripod, which is a nice added bonus.
One of the standout features of the Meteor is its headphone port. This allows you to listen to your recordings in real-time, which is great for ensuring you get high-quality sound.
The Meteor is also very versatile. It can be used to record podcasts, stream on Twitch, or even record music. It's a great all-around microphone for anyone looking to improve the sound quality of their recordings.
- Headphone Jack with volume control for zero-latency monitoring.
- Plugs into any smartphone for on-the-go recording.
- The placement of the headphone port is a bit of a drawback; although it is easy to access, we found that it can cause some sounds to pop up when adjusting or become inaccessible if pointing the mic upward using the legs.
- The small size makes recording uncomfortable for long recording sessions. We recommend using a microphone stand.
Overall, the Samson Meteor microphone is a great choice for a lightweight, portable, and versatile microphone. Its built-in tripod and headphone port make it an even more attractive option, and its sleek design makes it a great portable budget-friendly option.
So there you have it – the top 3 podcast microphones under $100. I hope this review was helpful and gave you a better idea of which microphone might be the best fit for you. Remember to consider your specific needs and budget when making your decision, and happy recording!