Are you spending some time trying to figure out the price range of microphones that you will use for your home recording studio? The same thing likewise happened to me when I was building my home recording studio from scratch. Hence, I have put this article together to give you an overview of the price range of the different microphones in the market today.
Microphones vary in prices; the most expensive perch at around $20,000, and the cheapest would be about $15. Moreover, many factors dictate the microphone price. These factors include the components or parts of the microphone, the materials and made, craftsmanship, product testing, innovation, brands, advertising, company overhead, and many more.
Prices Range of Different Types of Microphones
The prices of microphones vary according to their intended use or purpose. Some mics are designed for general purpose usage like karaoke singing, while some are designed for voice recording, podcasting, live broadcasts, and other applications:
1) General Purpose Microphones
Most general-purpose microphones cost around 13$ to 50$. You can use these mics on your karaoke machine or even in your home studio. The Pyle-Pro, a dynamic microphone, includes a 15ft XLR Cable and is only $14.
Of course, dynamic mics rule the known live world, while condenser mics lord it over in the studio. Nevertheless, you can use dynamic mics for some studio, and they are great for recording guitars and drum snares.
2) Handheld Microphones
Handheld microphones are perfect for live performances like speeches, interviews, singing, and many more. Most handheld mics are dynamic microphones because they need to be durable and offer a directional pickup system (front sound pickup). The price range of these mics is from 30$ to $300 or even more. A perfect example of a handheld mic is the Shure PGA48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone, which costs around $49.99.
3) Desktop Computer Microphones
If you are engaged in podcasting, you might have been using a desktop computer microphone. This type of microphone is best for podcasting and voice recording. The price range of this type of microphone is from $5 to $75. This mic may come with a USB connection along with a 3.5mm mic-in jack. An example of the desktop computer microphones is the USB Microphone MAONO AU-902 Cardioid Condenser Mic, for example, is around $62.99 and is perfect for podcasting.
4) Hands-free Microphones for Use Onstage
You will also find hands-free microphones that are perfect for use on stage. This microphone type comes in the forms of headsets, lavalier, and ear-sets microphones, and the price range of these mics is from $70 to $500 or even more. An example of a lavalier mic is the PowerDeWise Grade Lavalier Lapel which is around $39.99. Another excellent example of a lavalier mic is Sony ECM44B, which costs $220. On the other hand, a perfect example of a headset microphone is the AKG C520, which costs around $160.
5) Studio Microphones
Studio microphones are usually condenser microphones that offer better frequency response and more detailed sound. The price range of studio mics is from $100 to $10,000. You may even get to pay more for innovative and high-quality studio mics. Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, for example, is priced at around $180.50. The Rode NT2-A, on the other hand, may perch at about $400. The Sony C-800G PAC Microphone System, however, is priced at $9,990.00.
6) Wireless Microphones
The wireless microphones are perfect for use if you want from a mic greater mobility and convenience. These mics may come in the form of headsets, handheld, or lavalier designs. These mics usually come with a receiver and a transmitter. The price range of these mics is from $120 to $1,000.
Two perfect examples of wireless mics are the Sennheiser Pro Audio Ew 100 mic and Audio-Technica System 10 Pro lavalier mic systems. The Sennheiser Pro Audio Ew 100 mic costs around $599, while the Audio-Technica System 10 Pro lavalier mic system is about $999.00.
Factors Dictating the Price of Microphones
The prices of microphones vary because several factors dictate their prices. Branding, for example, may dictate the mic’s prices as well as their craftsmanship and components. If you want to know these factors, you can check out the following factors that dictate the pricing of mics:
Craftsmanship and Labor
The microphone is a piece of delicate equipment that needs to be meticulously constructed. Some brands, for example, thrive in developing innovative and high-quality mics with sterling components. These manufacturers roll out their mics in small batches because of the extreme craftsmanship they put into the manufacturing of their products. The mics they produce are, therefore, expensive and highly sought after.
Another aspect of labor, for example, is product testing. Manufacturers do many tests before they mass produce their microphones. They test mics to ensure that they are of a high standard. These tests may be a series of tests and may take time and effort and may cost a sizeable monetary investment amount. So, the costs of these series of tests done on a product also pad up the mics’ price.
Brand Name and Recognition
In the audio manufacturing world, brand names do matter. Sometimes, you can gauge whether the mic is expensive or cheap by the mere mention of a brand name.
The Shure microphones, for example, were used to record momentous speeches and performances in the past like those of Elvis Presley or martin Luther King Jr. So, when you hear the Shure brand, you know that a long history of innovation backs its products.
When you hear “Neumann,” on the other hand, you know that the mics they produce are of great quality for this brand have been likewise making mics for several decades. For decades, Neumann has been the world’s leading producer of studio microphones.
Components and Parts
The more sophisticated the parts and components of a microphone, the more expensive it will be. So, components and parts do matter and dictate the price of a mic. You will find more complex and highly sensitive mics that are very expensive. They may not be the sturdiest of mics, but they offer excellent frequency response and sensitivity, making them more expensive than other mics.
Moreover, the costs of materials may also factor well in the price of a mic. For example, many mics use lesser quality materials, while some mics come with high-quality mater.
Researches and Innovations
Another factor that may pad up the price of a particular mic is innovation. Microphone manufacturers do not just sit on the sidelines once they have rolled out a remarkable microphone model. They continue to invest in innovations and researches to improve their products further.
Of course, it is their responsibility to do that, for if they become complacent, other manufacturers may steal away their market share. However, the amount of research and innovations they infuse into their products also hike up their products’ prices.
Customer Support and Advertisement
Another factor that may pad up the microphone price is the customer support that backs up the product. Businesses, of course, need to back up their products with reliable 24/7 customer support. Plus, their products would usually come with repair services and warranties. Of course, some manufacturers try to recoup the expenses for a customer support service by raising their products’ prices.
There are also marketing expenses that a manufacturing company needs to shoulder to make its products known to its target buyers. So, adding these marketing expenditures, the price of a microphone increases further.
Should You Go for Expensive Microphones?
As someone who engages in regular recording and one with a home recording studio, I would maintain that I am not so much into highly expensive microphones. Not because I cannot afford them, but because I am more accustomed to using microphones below $1,000.
Of course, it is logical to say that expensive microphones are better than less costly mics; after all, they are expensive because of their manufacturing quality. However, my point is that I don’t want to spend ten times for a microphone that does not work ten times better than a $100 microphone.
The sound of a mic, of course, is more often subjective. For example, if I compare recordings from a high-end studio and recordings at my DIY home studio, I am often surprised that the quality levels between the two recordings are not so much apart in quality. Maybe it is due to the benefit of having the luxury of time at my home recording studio, or perhaps the price of the mic doesn’t matter much after all.
Of course, if you have the money to shell out for expensive mics, no one is preventing you from using expensive mics. For example, Eminem recorded most of his albums using a Sony C-800G, a very expensive mic. Well. that’s his trip.
Yet, mic choice usually depends on what you are recording. If you are recording a snare drum, then a Shure mic may do the trick for you. So, itis basically a matter of how you handle and use the mic according to a specific application.
Of course, learning that a vocal track has been recorded using a very expensive mic may make your mouth watery, and envy those who could afford to do so.
Yet, in my opinion, the prices of those mics appear to me as inflated. Besides, they don’t necessarily give you the value for your money. It will help to note that you can make a less-expensive mic to sound better with the right help of procession to make your recording sound like using a very expensive microphone.
Microphones are always baffling, and as I mentioned above, their sounds may be subjective. Of course, if money isn’t an issue for you, you can always engage in a buying spree and purchase the most expensive mics in the market that you can get hold of. Yet, you may even not end up with a satisfactory recording using those mics.
So, if you are going to ask me whether expensive mics would assure a perfect recording, I would say, “It will not!” I’ve tried it before when I recorded a vocal track at a high-end studio using expensive mics. The recording results in that studio, to my dismay, are not great compared to the vocal tracks I’ve recorded at my DIY home recording studio.