5 Best Computer Microphones for Under $100 [2020 Update]
If you are looking for a computer microphone that easily connects to your computer (PC/Mac, gaming console, etc.) for such use cases as podcasting, gaming, vocal recording, for online meetings (i.e. Skype, Zoom, etc.) or for use in YouTube videos, then we hope this article and subsequent product reviews is of real value to you.
If you’re looking for more information regarding what to look for when buying a computer microphone (for podcasts, meetings, general use, etc), then you can continue scrolling down directly to learn more.
If you want to go right into checking out the list of our top affordable computer microphones, here’s our list (with more breakdown info directly below):
5 Best Computer Microphones Under $100 – 2020
The TONOR TC-777 is an easy-to-use plug-and-play mic that works great in terms of sound quality for the price value and includes a pop filter. You’ll have a hard time believing this mic currently costs under $50 (in a good way).
With the mic possessing a cardioid pick-up pattern, when speaking directly in front of the mic the sound quality is warm and intimate, as if you are in there in person speaking to another colleague across from a table. If you speak and project to the side of the mic the sound quality will be impacted slightly. For instance, if you are doing a podcast and are moving your head from side to side and speaking directly to the direct left or direct right of the mic.
Additionally, this microphone does a solid job of suppressing unwanted background noise, such as a fan or air-conditioning.
The install is very simple and doesn’t require much to set-up for use except plugging the mic into your computer’s USB port, which starts the automatic install of the necessary driver (that takes about 10 seconds).
The 3-prong metal stand has decent grip with it’s footing contact points having a rubber coating that grips well to surfaces such as glass, plastic polymer or certain wood and metal surfaces.
Depending on how you plan to use your mic – and if you, say, plan to stand up during a podcast or recording and need to adjust or pronate the mic, then you might want to consider pairing the mic with, say, a low-cost microphone stand, which is a cost-effective way to do exactly that.
Tonor TC-777 USB Microphone product page – for information on the TC-777 Microphone.
- Very easy to set-up
- Fantastic price for performance value
- Comes with a pop filter
- Some reports of having issues with Linux computers
This is a good-looking two-tone black microphone that is easy to install since all you have to do is plug in the mic via your computer’s USB and the driver’s will automatically install, allowing you to use the mic within less than a minute.
The 3.5 mm jack allows you to listen to you are recording. Utilizing cardioid pick-up, the sound is very good and provides a great, warm sound quality that, in many ways, goes in parallel with how great this mic looks.
Please keep in mind this mic is compatible only with PC (Windows) and Macs only.
- Good looks and good build quality
- Includes a 3.5 mm jack for headphones
- Lacks a pop filter
As of the writing of this review, this microphone is the lowest priced of the bunch, but it also delivers in spite of its price. This omni pick-up pattern mic will pick up clear sound from all directions and will provide you with what you need with a no frills package. The Fifine does tend to pick up noise from all over the room, but not annoyingly so by any means.
On the surface, this mic has a three prong stand that positions the mic a few inches from the desk surface. It does to a certain extent have that classic microphone look that is reminiscent of what you’ll find at school rallies, which many may find endearing.
- Great value for the money
- Stand quality
- Aesthetics can be improved, but some may prefer this look
This cardioid pick-up pattern microphone from MAONO has a beautiful design and great build quality with a zinc alloy body and iron netting.
This mic also features a high sampling rate of 192 kHz. Sampling rate or sampling frequency defines the number of samples per second (or per other unit) taken from a continuous signal to make a discrete or digital signal. While most people won’t need that level of sampling in most instances (most will be between 44.1 to 48 kHz), it’s definitely a nice feature.
MAONO is currently offering a 30-day hassle free return policy which gives prospective buyers some good peace of mind.
Furthermore, the noise canceling qualities of this mic are great. And, while this mic is higher in costs versus some of the other mics on this, it does perform as well as mics costing much more.
- Fantastic build quality and design
- Great sound quality and noise cancellations abilities
- Includes arm stand and pop filter
- Not compatible with gaming consoles
The SUDOTACK condenser mic kit is a great value for someone looking to have a great looking mic with stand that delivers overall quality sound, and has a pop filter.
If you use this mic as a gaming mic it’s advisable to be fairly close to the mic when speaking, as you would be for, say, a podcast or YouTube recorded video. This mic is PC and Mac compatible.
- Good looks and solid build quality
- Some pick up issues when speaking to the side of the mic
Tips for Buying a Computer Microphone with a $100 Budget
Here are some tips for buying the best computer microphone under $100:
Directional Microphone Pattern of the Mic:
Firstly, you have to look at the directional microphone patterns of the computer mic you’re considering.
Here is a diagram (credit: UCSC.edu) that you can use for reference in learning about directional microphone patterns.
- Omni-directional: these mics are capable of picking up sounds, as you would probably guess, from any direction. This, of course, has benefits, such as when you’re broadcasting and move around a bit, which changes your positioning relative to the mic. You should also take into consideration of the mic picking up unwanted sounds, so noise cancellation capabilities may be something else you consider.
- Bi-directional: the bi-directional microphones can pick up sounds from opposing sides. Since these mics accept sound from both ends, it makes it difficult to use in many situations. Most often these are placed above an instrument.
- Cardioid: The concept is great, a mic that picks up sounds it is pointed at. Something to consider, though, is that sounds from the back are not completely rejected, but reduced. Cardioids have become very popular in the condenser USB PC mic genre.
- Hyper-cardioid: If you want to exaggerate the directional pick ups of cardioid type microphones, then this pattern might make sense. Some see it as a compromise between the cardioid and bidirectional patterns.
- Shotgun: produces the most accurate sound that it picks from the front and is extremely sensitive along the main axis and typically must be pointed directly at its target sound source for proper recording.
Operating principle of the mic:
The type of transducer that’s inside the microphone and how the mic picks up sound and converts it into an electrical signal, and the two most common types are Dynamic and Condenser.
- Dynamic microphones employ a diaphragm/ voice coil/magnet assembly which forms a miniature sound-driven electrical generator. The voice coil itself is surrounded by a magnetic field created by a small permanent magnet. It is the motion of the voice coil in this magnetic field which generates the electrical signal corresponding to the sound picked up by a dynamic microphone.
Dynamic microphones tend to be simple in construction can be economical and rugged. They can provide excellent sound quality and good specifications in all areas of microphone performance. In particular, they can handle extremely high sound levels.
- Condenser microphones are based on an electrically-charged diaphragm/back plate assembly which forms a sound-sensitive capacitor in which the sound waves vibrate a very thin metal or metalcoated- plastic diaphragm.
The diaphragm is mounted just in front of a rigid metal or metal-coated ceramic back plate. In electrical terms this assembly or element is known as the condenser or also known as the capacitor, which has the ability to store a charge or voltage.
Condensers contain additional active circuitry to allow the electrical output of the element to be used with typical microphone inputs. There are potential limitations of condenser microphones due to the additional circuitry. First, the electronics produce a small amount of noise; second, there is a limit to the maximum signal level that the electronics can handle. For this reason, condenser microphone specifications always include a noise figure and a maximum sound level. Good designs, however, have very low noise levels and are also capable of very wide dynamic range.
Frequency Response of the Microphones:
If a range is given, (e.g. 40Hz-16kHz), then this is the range of frequencies that the mic will pick up. A larger, wider range is better.
Audio signals are essentially AC voltages that have both negative and positive voltages (the positive and negative amplitude of the signal). Audio signals are, therefore, alternating currents (having both negative and positive currents). Microphone impedance controls the flow of alternating current in an audio circuit when an audio signal voltage is applied, and all microphones have an output impedance.
So, without getting to nuts over technical mumbo-jumbo of impedance, it’s essentially a measure of how much a device resists, or impedes, the flow of alternating electrical current (AC). Generally speaking, with microphones, a lower impedance is usually desirable. High-impedance microphones can cause a loss of high-frequency signal and are more prone to signal noise such as a humm or buzzing noises.
The sampling rate or sampling frequency defines the number of samples per second (or per other unit) taken from a continuous signal to make a discrete or digital signal. Per the Audio Engineering Society they recommend 48 kHz sampling rate for most applications but also give recognition to 44.1 kHz for Compact Disc (CD) and other consumer uses.
Quick Note to Consider (USB mics and Analog mics):
A bit of an assumption in this review article is that most people are likely looking for a USB plug and play mic, however, there are also analog microphones which plug into your computer’s 3.5mm audio-input jack. If you’re doing so just be aware that you’ll utilizing your computer’s motherboard and chipset to process the the microphone’s duties.
Related Guides: 3 Best Microphone Stands Under $50