Trying to choose a good large diaphragm condenser mic? Welcome to our ultimate guide! Bang up-to-date for 2020.
In this series of three articles, we compare 26 of the most popular and best condenser mics by price and spec and help you choose the right mic for you. Whatever your budget or home recording studio situation, if you are trying to find the best large diaphragm condenser microphone you can, then you should find what you are looking for here.
Part 1 below: Best Entry Level Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics in 2020.
Part 2: Raising the bar: The Most Popular Mid-Range Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
Part 3: The Sky’s The Limit: Compare The Best High-End Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
Note that these are all studio condenser microphones NOT USB mics (which are reviewed in detail elsewhere), and so to use them to record directly on your computer (whether you have mac, pc or tablet) then you will require an audio interface of some kind and you will need to make sure it supplies phantom power. If you are not sure about this, then refer to our article on how to connect a microphone correctly.
Table of contents
- Types of Mics
- Why Choose A Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic For Your Home Recording Studio?
- Part 1: Entry-Level Budget Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone
- Behringer C-1 Studio Condenser Microphone
- Samson C01 Studio Condenser Microphone
- Behringer C3 Large Dual-Diaphragm Condenser
- MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone
- MXL 990 Condenser Microphone
- Behringer B-1 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Mic
- Further Reading
Types of Mics
We have already written extensively about the different types of microphones available, where you can read in detail what exactly all the technical terms mean, and how to compare the specs you will see described. These can be confusing to a beginner, so if you don’t know what is a polar pattern or an SPL, or what is meant by the S/N ratio or phantom power, then check our our detailed post on recording microphones to understand the ins and outs. It will help you to compare these microphones, especially when the manufacturer blurb starts to get technical!
Why Choose A Large Diaphragm Condenser Mic For Your Home Recording Studio?
In a nutshell, a large diaphragm microphone is probably the most versatile and useful if you are purchasing your first microphone. A large diaphragm mic is particularly suited to recording studio vocals, and most acoustic instruments. So if you want to record your voice, acoustic guitar etc or make pristine voiceover tracks for your videos then the large condenser microphone is going to be your best choice. Do note that condenser microphones are sensitive, which is why they are good for all round studio use, but you will almost certainly have to think about some basic acoustic treatment in your home recording studio to get best results.
(And do note also that if you are going to record mainly live vocals, then you might be better buying a dynamic microphone, or a condenser mic designed for live use. The same is true if you are thinking of using a mic to record the output of a guitar amp. Although if you look particularly at the more expensive large diaphragm condensers you will find some that are designed to cope well with high SPL’s and have the ability to work well in live situations too.)
So in this article we are going to assume that you are mainly looking for the best condenser mic for home studio use, in a quiet studio recording situation.
It is impossible to just say “go and buy this mic and you’re sorted” because the perfect mic for one person may not be so good for another. It will depend very much on your studio, your voice or instrument, and most importantly your budget. We have tried to give you pointers to the consistent top sellers, and best reviewed microphones to help you with your research and hopefully narrow the choice down to the perfect condenser microphone for you.
There are some very famous (and extremely expensive!) large diaphragm condenser mics which you will no doubt have read about elsewhere: microphones like the Neumann U87 and the Telefunken U47. While these are state of the art condenser microphones, and amongst the best in the world, they are well outside the budget for someone simply trying to find the best condenser mic for home recording.
To help you choose from the overwhelming array of large diaphragm condenser microphones available on the market, we have divided the most popular available into price bands and listed the key benefits of each one. This should help you choose the best condenser microphone for you at a price you can afford to pay. You can click on any of the product links to find more detailed descriptions, reviews and current prices.
Hopefully these articles will serve as a good pointer to the very best condenser mics out there in terms of popularity, and general consensus on the various recording sites.
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Part 1: Entry-Level Budget Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
If you want a cheap large diaphragm condenser microphone, and your budget is below $100 then do not despair, there is plenty of choice at the inexpensive end, and how you use the mic will be more important than how much you spend if you are just starting out:
Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone
Behringer C-1 Studio Condenser Microphone
Samson C01 Studio Condenser Microphone
Behringer C3 Large Dual-Diaphragm Condenser
MXL V67G Large Capsule Condenser Microphone
MXL 990 Condenser Microphone
Behringer B-1 Large-Diaphragm Condenser Mic
Hopefully if you are setting up a home recording studio on a supertight budget you will by now have seen that there are some very well reviewed large diaphragm studio condenser microphones to be found for less than $100. But if you have more to spend then you should read on to parts 2 and 3 of this ultimate guide: