The main thing you want to look for in a microphone at any price is clear, reliable audio. Beyond that, the different features you need will depend on how you plan to use the microphone. Most cheap models will be fairly small and designed to clip onto a shirt or jacket. This is convenient if you’re only recording yourself, but can be less functional for a conversation or group discussion. Whatever your needs, one of the microphones on the list below is sure to fit the bill—and without emptying out your wallet.
Here are our recommendations for the 4 best cheap omnidirectional microphones on the market:
Lavalier Lapel Microphone, Komking Omnidirectional Mic
If you only need a basic mic for public speaking, recording presentations, or making YouTube videos and other promotional materials, this little microphone from Komking can capture crisp audio. The clip-on design and easy operation make it super-convenient, too.
This mic is designed to work with any kind of device, including smartphones, tablets, and computers with either Mac or Windows operating systems. It’s easy to set-up and is powered by the device you plug it into, so you don’t have to worry about batteries. It also comes with a 20-foot cord, which is plenty of reach for most applications.
In terms of sound quality, you’ll get crisp and clear audio that is easy to understand. The noise cancellation technology included in the mic keeps your recording from getting muddled, even if there’s a lot going on in the background. This combination of functionality and low price make it the best value on the list, and a great option if you’re looking for a basic, affordable option.
Movo M1USB Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Omnidirectional Condenser Mic
Another option in the clip-on omnidirectional department is the M1USB mic from Movo. Compared to the Lavalier above, it gives you a longer, 20-foot cord, making it a much more versatile option.
The Movo M1USB can be used with pretty much any device that has a USB port. It’s compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems and the set-up is minimal. Combined with the compact size and the long cord, it’s absolutely hassle-free.
You’ll get good audio quality out of this mic, too. It uses a foam windscreen to filter out extraneous noise, key for recording outdoors or in busy environments. The audio is clear enough for professional uses, and it’s perfect for field recording, interviews, and public speaking engagements of all stripes. This versatility makes it easily one of the best cheap omnidirectional mics.
Sony ECM-CS10 Business Omnidirectional Microphone
If you want something that’s a step up in terms of audio quality but still in a reasonable price range, the Sony Business Microphone linked to here is a very appealing option. Compared to similar clip-on style mics, it capable of a more robust, natural-sounding recording than any other microphone without shelling mega bucks.
If you’re looking for convenience, the Sony Business Microphone delivers on that front, as well. It’s small enough to be inconspicuous but with a solid enough build it won’t die if it takes a tumble. It also includes a stand so you can put it on a table at a meeting or interview. A lot of clip-on microphones struggle if you try to use them to record a larger space, but this microphone can do both effectively. If you need that versatility, it’s definitely worth the extra investment.
Shure VP64A Omnidirectional Handheld Microphone
If you need the freedom to move around while you’re talking, a wireless microphone is a must. A handheld omnidirectional microphone, like this one from Shure, will serve your needs far better. While you will have to pay a bit more for this style of microphone than the simple clip-on models above, it’s still an excellent value for a piece of audio equipment.
The neodymium magnet that’s used in this microphone gives it more output and a better signal-to-noise ratio. In other words, what you want to hear will be clearer, with less interference and white noise. A water-resistant grille both serves as a windguard and protects the microphone from the elements when used outdoors.
The Shure VP64A (see full specs) is tailored to capture mostly mid-range and high frequencies, which does make it best-suited to recording spoken voice. It is more versatile in that regard than many budget mics, however, and can handle vocals as well as speech. The high durability of the metal casing means it will likely last longer too, thereby making it one of the best cheap omnidirectional microphones around.
What to Expect
When it comes to audio equipment, the axiom that you get what you pay for is often true. More expensive microphones will give you a better audio quality, and any microphone in a relatively low price range is going to have some limitations in that regard. They may sound a bit flat or thin. The emphasis on high and mid-range frequencies enhances the clarity, since this is where most human speech falls, but it can give the recordings an overly-bright quality, lacking the warmth of recordings made with better equipment.
In all honesty, though, most people don’t need the level of audio quality you’d get from a professional microphone. This is especially true if you’re mostly recording or amplifying a single voice at a time. The main thing pricier microphones do well is realism and complexity. They’re better able to record multiple voices at once, and can give them the full, natural sound of someone being in the room with you. Paying the extra money to get this level of quality is honestly a bit of a waste if the content of the speech is your aim more than how beautiful it sounds.
When it comes right down to it, the Movo M1USB (see full specs) is likely the best cheap omnidirectional microphone in our opinion. It’s affordable without sacrificing quality, and has all the features you’ll need for most applications. If you need other features, though, like wireless capability, you won’t have to pay that much more to get it. Good luck!