11 Best Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones Under $1000


Large-condenser microphones are staples of the professional and project studio but are among the more cost-prohibitive mics on the markets. Fortunately, there are many great LDCs to choose from that won’t put such a large dent in your budget.

My New Microphone’s top 12 best large-diaphragm condenser microphones under $1000 are:

We’ll go through each of the above-listed microphones in detail, discussing why they are top performers in their price range. Before diving in, we’ll also go over the definition of a large-diaphragm condenser microphone and the criteria that make up the best LDCs under $1000.

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What Is A Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone?

A large-diaphragm condenser microphone is fairly self-explanatory: it’s a condenser microphone with a large diaphragm. What does this really mean? Let’s break down the definition.

What Is A Considered A Large Microphone Diaphragm?

We can expect and assume a large-diaphragm condenser microphone will have a diaphragm diameter of an inch (25.4 mm) or more. Of course, microphones may behave like an LDC with a diaphragm diameter slightly less than one inch and this size is simply a generalization.

What Is A Condenser Microphone?

The definition of a condenser microphone is a bit more long-winded. The key component of a condenser mic is the transducer element (otherwise known as the capsule) which converts diaphragm movement due to sound pressure variation (mechanical wave energy) into audio signal (electrical energy) via electrostatic principles.

A condenser capsule is essentially designed as a parallel-plate capacitor. The movable diaphragm is the front plate and the backplate is stationary. A fixed electrical charge must be applied across these plates and is supplied either permanently via electret material or externally via a DC biasing voltage. In order to hold a steady charge, the capsule must be designed with incredibly high electrical impedance.

As the diaphragm moves according to sound pressure variation, the distance between the plates and the capacitance of the capsule changes. If the capsule is charged, this will cause a proportionate AC voltage (mic signal) to be produced across the plates.

In order to properly use this inherently high-impedance signal, an impedance converter (whether tube-based or solid-state) must be incorporated into the mic design immediately after the capsule. These impedance converters require power to function, making all condenser microphones active.

For a detailed description of the differences between solid-state and tube condenser mics, check out My New Microphone’s article What Are The Differences Between Tube & FET Microphones?

Large-diaphragm condenser mics are often distinguished as a separate mic type from small-diaphragm condenser microphones. The following table displays the notable differences between LDCs and SDCs:

 Small-Diaphragm Condenser MicrophonesLarge-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
Diaphragm Size1/2" (12.7 mm) or less1" (25.4 mm) or more
Transient ResponseMore accurateLess accurate
Frequency ResponseFlatter and more extendedMore coloured especially in the high-end
Address TypeTop or sideTypically side
Polar PatternsAny polar pattern. Very consistentAny polar pattern. Less consistent
SensitivityHighHigh
Self-NoiseMoreLess
PriceCheap to very expensiveInexpensive to very expensive

What Factors Make A Great Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone?

As a disclaimer, I’ll state that each model of microphone will have its own inherent qualities and character. This is part of the beauty of microphones. An LDC that may be the holy grail on one particular sound source in one particular environment may not perform as well as another LDC in another situation.

Of course, there are a few notable factors that suggest an LDC is of high quality:

  • Wide frequency response.
  • Accurate transient response.
  • Low self-noise.
  • High sensitivity.
  • Versatility.
  • Price.

Wide Frequency Response

Humans naturally hear a range of frequencies between 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz (cycles/second). Wide microphone frequency responses pick up much of, if not all of, this range. Some condenser mics, particularly those tasked with sound measurement, have frequency responses that extend beyond the 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz audible range in infrasound and ultrasound.

Additionally, microphone frequency responses that are “flat” (equally sensitive across all frequencies within the range) are often preferred because they yield more natural results that represent a truer sound.

Note that a perfectly flat curve isn’t always ideal. In fact, some variation in frequency-specific sensitivity is part of what gives a microphone its character and makes it better suited to certain sound sources.

To learn more about microphone frequency, check out my articles Complete Guide To Microphone Frequency Response (With Mic Examples) and What Are Coloured And Flat Microphone Frequency Responses?

Accurate Transient Response

Transients are incredibly important in the timbre and character of a given sound. They are the initial peaks in sound intensity at the beginning attack of a sound source.

The most obvious example of a transient is a percussive instrument. The initial hit of a drum, for example, is a blatant instance of a transient. Nearly every natural sound source produces transients that are critical to the comprehension of the sound.

A microphone capsule is liable for accurately capturing these transients and representing the sound source as accurately as possible.

A large-diaphragm condenser microphone’s internal amplifier and output circuits also play a significant part in transient response. Tube electronics and transformer-coupled outputs tend to shape and smooth the transient information (which often yields a pleasant compressed sound) while FET electronics and transformerless outputs are typically more transparent and precise when it comes to transient response.

A deeper explanation of microphone transient response is available in my article What Is Microphone Transient Response & Why Is It Important?

Low Self-Noise

Self-noise is an inherent quality of active microphones that have internal amplifying circuitry.

High-quality LDCs tend to have low self-noise ratings than SDCs. Typically we don’t have to worry too much about the self-noise of an LDC but it’s worth knowing that it is a factor in choosing an ideal active microphone.

Any self-noise rating under 10 dBA is practically unnoticeable in most situations. A self-noise below 15 dBA is considered good in most active microphones.

For more information on microphone self-noise, check out my article What Is Microphone Self-Noise? (Equivalent Noise Level).

High Sensitivity

High sensitivity is one of the many reasons we’d reach for a condenser microphone over a dynamic microphone (not to say that condensers are intrinsically better than dynamics).

Condenser microphones are cherished for their high sensitivity. Sensitivity can be thought of in two ways.

First, high sensitivity could mean that a mic is capable of picking up the tiny subtleties in a sound source and acoustic environment. In treated studio rooms, this is often a great trait to have.

Second, microphone sensitivity refers to the amount of output a microphone will produce when subjected to a given sound pressure level. A high sensitivity rating, in this regard, makes the condenser mic less reliant on preamplifier gain and thus more consistent in its character and performance.

To learn more about the microphone sensitivity rating, check out my articles What Is Microphone Sensitivity? An In-Depth Description and What Is A Good Microphone Sensitivity Rating?

Versatility

Versatility is not critical to performance but it makes a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that much more usable inside and out of the studio.

Versatility in a solid-state condenser could mean any of the following:

  • Multiple switchable polar patterns.
  • High-pass filters.
  • Passive attenuation devices.
  • Alternate circuit paths.

To learn more about the aforementioned versatility factors, check out the following My New Microphone articles:

• The Complete Guide To Microphone Polar Patterns
• What Is A Microphone High-Pass Filter And Why Use One?
• What Is A Microphone Attenuation Pad And What Does It Do?

Price

As the title suggests, the price of a large-diaphragm condenser microphone on this list must be under $1000. The currency referenced in the prices is the United States Dollar (USD).


A Few Extra Notes

A few last words before we get started.

The microphones on this list have been selected based on the following:

  • Personal experience.
  • Outreach to mentors and their opinions.
  • Forum research.
  • Price point.
  • Product descriptions, sales pages and datasheets.

Remember that this list is simply my opinion and is certainly not an end-all-be-all. I would fully expect the next person to have a different list than me and, in that spirit, I anticipate you may disagree with some of the items on this list.

That being said, I believe the following microphones are excellent examples of midrange large-diaphragm condensers that perform above their price points. With that said, I hope you enjoy reading through my take on the top 11 best large-diaphragm condenser microphones under $1000.


Top 11 Best Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones Under $1000

Once again, the top 11 best large-diaphragm condenser microphones under $1000 according to My New Microphone are:


Warm Audio WA-47

The Warm Audio WA-47 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a tribute to the legendary vintage Neumann U 47 tube condenser microphone.

Warm Audio’s WA-47 is a multi-pattern large-diaphragm tube condenser microphone.

Warm Audio WA-47
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: 9 selectable patterns including cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (switchable via PSU)
  • Self-noise: 11 dBA
  • Sensitivity: No spec given
  • High-pass filters: N/A
  • Pads: N/A

The character of WA-47 approximates the classic U 47 sound and is sure to bring a sound source to life without the slightest bit of EQ or compression.

At the core of the Warm Audio WA-47 design is the WA-47-B-80v capsule. This custom reproduction of the vintage K47 capsule used in post-1958 Neumann U 47s features the same hole pattern; frequency response, and a modernized character that is reminiscent of the legendary K47.

The capsule captures sound very accurately and shows consistency across a wide frequency response in each of the 9 selectable polar patterns.

At the centre of any tube condenser’s amplifier circuit is the vacuum tube. In the case of the Warm Audio WA-47, this tube is a Slovak Republic JJ 5751. It supplies a lower gain with less noise. The low gain allows for more sonic saturation and character than higher-gain tubes would typically allow.

This tube yields a wonderfully warm sound with the slight saturation that brings listeners back to the days of classic vintage microphones.

The custom TAB-Funkenwerk transformer brings out a large detailed low end in the mic signal, a trait that made the U 47 and other high-end transformer-coupled tube microphones famous.

The WA-47 is a gorgeous-sounding microphone with a superb price-to-performance ratio. At the price point, I’d recommend this mic to anyone looking for a classic tube sound at an affordable cost.

This microphone shines on vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, acoustic/electric bass, drums, piano, strings, brass/woodwind instruments, and pretty much any other sound source you could put it in front of.

A brand-new purchase of Warm Audio’s WA-47 includes a wooden storage box; a shock mount; the dedicated power supply unit with IEC power cable, and a Gotch 7-pin GAC-7 signal cable.

Warm Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.

The original Neumann U 47 is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

• 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
• Top 12 Best Vintage Microphones (And Their Best Clones)

• Top 11 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals


Warm Audio WA-251

The Warm Audio WA-251 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is described as a “faithful recreation of a legend” and is a steal at under $1000 USD.

It is a multi-pattern large-diaphragm tube condenser microphone.

Warm Audio WA-251
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (switchable via PSU)
  • Self-noise: 12 dBA
  • Sensitivity: No spec given
  • High-pass filters: N/A
  • Pads: N/A

Though not all of the vintage components are manufactured or available today, Warm Audio has managed to design a microphone that sounds similar enough to warrant the name of the legendary Ela M 251 microphone.

The design of the WA-251 starts at the WA-12-B-60V capsule. This all-brass, edge-terminated capsule recaptures much of the smoothness and character of the original CK12 while eliminating many of the manufacturing limitations that came with this vintage capsule. Modernized components and production techniques make WA’s capsule much cheaper to build.

The WA-12-B-60V, like the CK12, features two diaphragms and boast a flat, extended frequency response. It is capable of multiple polar patterns and maintains a relatively consistent pick up across the frequency response in each of its 3 selectable patterns.

The WA-251 has the same 3 polar patterns as the original 251 (cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional), though the pattern switch for the WA-251 is located on the power supply unit rather than on the body of the mic as is the case with the original Telefunken Ela M 251.

The Slovak Republic JJ 12AY tube plays a major role in giving the WA-251 its smooth vintage sound the reminds us of 251 microphones.

The CineMag USA transformer balances the mic signal and gives the WA-51 its detailed top-end and massive low-end. A powerful low-end is what we expect from 251 microphones and Warm Audio delivers on this expectation with their WA-251.

Warm Audio’s 251, like the mic it’s based on, has a bright character but a remarkable midrange and body.

Whether we’re recording vocals, guitars, drums, piano, strings, brass, woodwinds, or any other instrument, the WA-251 is an incredible choice. It is an excellent 251 clone and will not break the bank like the microphones it’s modelled after.

Each new purchase of the Warm Audio WA-251 comes with a wooden storage box; power supply unit and power cable; shock mount, and Gotham signal cable.

The original Telefunken Ela M 251 is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

• 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
• Top 12 Best Vintage Microphones (And Their Best Clones)

• Top 11 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals


Neumann TLM 102

The Neumann TLM 102 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is the first solid-state (non-tube) microphone on this list.

It is a large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone with a fixed cardioid polar pattern and a transformerless output.

Neumann TLM 102
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Self-noise: 12 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 11 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters: N/A
  • Pads: N/A

The TLM 102 is akin to Neumann’s higher-end TLM 103 but with a lower price point and a dip in sound quality and performance. That being said, the 102 is still a superb microphone and for under $1000, its great value as well.

As mentioned, this mic has a fixed polar pattern. It also lacks built-in pre-attenuation pads and high-pass filters. This no-frills design has made it possible for Neumann to produce an affordable microphone with the same incredibly high standard of quality that has made the mic company a well-respected and household name.

The large-diaphragm capsule of the TLM 102 is edge‑terminated and externally polarized. It is designed and manufactured with top-notch modernized techniques that allow for high-level performance at lower costs.

The capsule captures a wide range of frequencies and is tuned with a slight boost in the 8-12 kHz to improve clarity. Its cardioid pattern is surprisingly constant for a large-diaphragm mic.

The FET amp circuit and transformerless output further reduce the cost of the mic and provide a crystal clear amplifier circuit for the capsule’s signal.

If a clean and clear pick up is what you’re after, then the TLM 102 may very well by the microphone for you. Conceived primarily as a vocal microphone, the 102 has found success on plenty of other sound sources and instruments in the studio. Its 144 dB max SPL rating even allows it to excel on drums and guitar amplifiers turned up to 11!

Purchasing a Neumann TLM-102 brand-new gets you the mic; its stand mount; a Neumann EA 4 elastic suspension shock mount, and a limited 2-year warranty.

Neumann is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The Neumann TLM 102 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 12 Best Microphones Under $1,000 for Recording Vocals.


Lewitt LCT 640 TS

Lewitt isn’t a super popular microphone brand but its Lewitt LCT 640 TS (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is certainly deserving of a spot on this list.

It is a dual-diaphragm dual-output multi-pattern large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone. That’s a mouthful we’ll unravel in the description below.

Lewitt LCT 640
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Omnidirectional, wide cardioid, cardioid, supercardioid and bidirectional (via swtich on microphone)
  • Self-noise: 10 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 31.4 mV/Pa (cardioid)
  • High-pass filters:
    40 Hz -12 dB/octave (via switch on microphone)
    80 Hz -12 dB/octave (via switch on microphone)
    160 Hz -6 dB/octave (via switch on microphone)
  • Pads:
    -6 dB (via switch on microphone)
    -12 dB (via switch on microphone)
    -18 dB (via switch on microphone)

There’s a lot to explore with this microphone. Let’s start with the capsule.

The capsule is a K67-styled dual-diaphragm design with 25.4 mm 4-micron gold-sputtered Mylar diaphragms. This capsule delivers a full, crisp, and well-balanced sound along with continuously variable polar pattern selection.

The microphone itself has 5 selectable polar patterns via LED-lit push buttons. These patterns are omnidirectional, wide cardioid, cardioid, hypercardioid, and figure-8/bidirectional.

A standout feature of the LCT 640 TS is the capability of changing the polar pattern after recording. This is made possible by the dual-output of the 640 TS.

The main output is the typical 3-pin XLR that allows for the above-mentioned polar pattern and the typical mic signal. The second output is a mini-XLR connector on the side of the mic that taps into and outputs the signal from the rear diaphragm of the capsule.

To open up the possibility of continuous polar pattern selection and alteration post-recording, connect the main output to one channel of the preamp and recorder and the side input to another channel (via the included mini-XLR to XLR adapter cable). Ensure phantom power is engaged in both connections.

Then, during mixing (or during recording, if the processing power is there), we open up the included POLARIZER plugin.

Note that the dual-output of the 640 TS can also make it a stereo mic. I know it’s unfair to group stereo mics with mono mics, but I felt the need to shed some light on this incredible microphone. I would still consider this mic a mono microphone first with the added benefit of having stereo capabilities.

The versatility doesn’t stop there. Lewitt’s LCT 640 TS also features the following pads and high-pass filter via LED-lit push buttons on the mic body:

Pads:

  • -6 dB
  • -12 dB
  • -18 dB

High-pass filters:

  • 40 Hz -12 dB/octave
  • 80 Hz -12 dB/octave
  • 160 Hz -6 dB/octave

I would recommend trying the 640 TS on any instrument or sound source you can think of. Its large sound benefits practically all sources and its versatility allows it to be easily tuned to suit the application at hand.

Buying a Lewitt LCT 640 TS new get you the following additional accessories:

  • Shock mount
  • Magnetic pop filter
  • Windscreen
  • TS adapter cable
  • Transport bag
  • Protective case

Shure KSM44A

Although Shure is best-known for its legendary dynamic microphones, it also produces high-quality condenser mics. The Shure KSM44A (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is one example of a top-performing condenser from Shure.

It is a large-diaphragm multi-pattern true FET condenser microphone.

Shure KSM44A
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (via switch on microphone)
  • Self-noise: 13 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 20 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters:
    -6 dB/octave below 115 Hz (via switch on microphone)
    -18 dB/octave below 80 Hz (via switch on microphone)
  • Pads:
    -15 dB (via switch on microphone)

The KSM44A (released in 2010) is a revised version of Shure’s popular KSM44.

Like its predecessor, the KSM44A uses an edge-terminated dual-diaphragm capsule design with 1-inch 2.5-micron Mylar diaphragms.

A switch on the microphone body allows the user access to three different polar patterns. Each pattern is concise in its sound pick up and features a slight boost in the high end that helps to add clarity and definition to the intended sound source.

Extra versatility is incorporated into the design with two switchable high-pass filters and an optional pad. Engaging these switches helps get the mic closer to sound sources by mitigating overloading and proximity effect.

Though the character of this capsule is somewhat bright, the KSM44A actually packs a real punch in the midrange. This gives vocals and other instruments a noticeable weight that helps them to cut through a mix naturally.

The KSM44A is right at the top of the price range of this article but is worth it for a “budget” studio vocal microphone that also excels on practically all sound sources in a recording environment.

Each new Shure KSM44A includes the following additional supplies:

  • A44AM ShureLock Stand Mount
  • AK44C Zippered Carrying Case
  • A44ASM ShureLock Elastic Shock Mount
  • RK383 Suspension Shock Mount Elastic Cord
  • A44AVB Protective Velveteen Pouch

Shure is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The Shure KSM44A is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 12 Best Microphones Under $1,000 for Recording Vocals.


AKG C 314

The AKG C 314 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a stripped-down budget option based on the C 414 XLS model and is a step above the AKG C 214 in the product line.

It is a large-diaphragm multi-pattern FET condenser microphone.

AKG C 314
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, supercardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (via switch on microphone)
  • Self-noise: 8 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 20 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters:
    -12 dB/octave @ 100 Hz (via switch on microphone)
  • Pads:
    -20 dB (via switch on microphone)

The AKG C 314 utilizes the same CK12-style capsule as the C414 XLS. This large-diaphragm condenser capsule is edge-terminated and mounted on an internal suspension.

The sound of the C 314’s capsule is professional and neutral and is relatively consistent over each of the 4 polar patterns. A slight boost in the high-end brings out detail in the sound while the low-end is well-represented and clean.

4 optional polar patterns are selectable via push buttons on the back of the microphone. The patterns are omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid and bidirectional. Other selectable options include a -20 dB pad and a -12 dB/octave high-pass filter @ 100Hz, controllable on either side of the mic.

The transformerless FET amp design facilitates the transparency of this microphone’s sound.

AKD recommends its C 314 microphone on vocals, guitars, drum overheads, piano and much more. Its rugged design makes it suitable inside the studio and out on the road.

AKG sells its C 314 in a kit that includes an H85 universal shock mount, SA60 stand adaptor, W214 windscreen, and a metal carrying case.

AKG is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The AKG C 414, which is the mic the 314 is based on, is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

• 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
• Top 12 Best Vintage Microphones (And Their Best Clones)

• Top 11 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals


Austrian Audio OC818

The Austrian Audio OC818 (link to check the price at B&H Photo/Video) is another relatively unknown microphone that I’d like to bring to light in this article.

It is a multi-pattern large-diaphragm condenser microphone with remote control capabilities via a plugin, app, and even a dongle.

Austrian Audio OC818
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, supercardioid and custom programmable* (via switch on the microphone and digital plugin*)
  • Self-noise: 9 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 13 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters:
    40 Hz -12 dB/octave (via switch on microphone)
    80 Hz -12 dB/octave (via switch on microphone)
    160 Hz -6 dB/octave down to 80Hz and -12 dB/octave below (via switch on microphone)
  • Pads:
    -10 dB (via switch on microphone)
    -20 dB (via switch on microphone)

The design of the OC 818 is centred around its CKR12 (CK12-style) ceramic capsule. These capsules are handmade in-house at the Austrian Audio facility in Vienna.

Compared to the original CK12, the ceramic CKR12’s performance is less temperature-dependent and the new capsule is shock-mounted within the mic.

Similar to the original CK12 is the versatility and character of the CKR12. The Austrian Audio OC 818 sounds wonderfully flat frequency response and transient response that suit anything the mic is put in front of.

In addition to the excellent high-pass filter (of which there are three) and pads (of which there are two), the OC 818 offers 4 polar patterns via mic switches and continuously variable patterns via an external plugin.

The patterns offered on the mic itself are bidirectional, supercardioid, cardioid, and omnidirectional. A fifth switch is included on the mic body for a programmable preset polar pattern.

Like the aforementioned Lewitt 640 TS, the OC 818’s polar pattern is continuously variable via remote controlling and the pattern can even be modified after recording in post-production.

The OC 818 utilizes two outputs to do this. The main output is a 3-pin XLR and is responsible for all the output in single-output mode. A second output has a mini-XLR connector and dual-output mode is engaged as soon as the included OCC8 mini XLR cable is plugged in.

With dual-output mode, the main output sends the signal from the front diaphragm while the second output contains the signal from the rear diaphragm.

With the two outputs effectively linked to their own channels, we can have ultimate control over the polar pattern by varying the polarization of the capsule. We even have control after the recording with Austrian Audio’s PolarDesigner plugin.

We can hook up the OC 818 to our phones or tablets via Bluetooth to control the polar pattern remotely with the PolarPilot App (available for iOS and Android).

Like the Lewitt LCT 640 TS, the OC 818 can also function as a stereo mic in dual-output mode if need be. Again, it is somewhat unfair to put these mics up against the mono mics in this list but if anything, it says a lot about the performance of the other, not-so-versatile, microphones in this list.

With a superb sound and an industry-leading versatility, the Austrian Audio OC 818 will perform on any sound source in any miking technique with ease and yield excellent results while doing so.

A new purchase of an Austrian Audio OC 818 includes an OCS spider shock mount; OCW8 foam windshield; OCH8 mic clip; OCC8 mini XLR cable and clip, and a protective carrying case.


Audio-Technica AT4050

The Audio-Technica AT4050 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is a fan-favourite of Audio-Technica’s wide selection of fairly-priced microphones.

It is a multi-pattern large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone with a transformerless output circuit.

Audio-Technica AT4050
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 18,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (via switch on microphone)
  • Self-noise: 17 dB
  • Sensitivity: 15.8 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters:
    -12 dB/octave @ 80 Hz (via switch on microphone)
  • Pads:
    -10 dB (via switch on microphone)

The high-quality design and electrical components of the AT4050 make it extremely accurate and on-point when it comes to recording vocals and other sound sources in the studio and on stage.

It all starts with the center-terminated, externally-biased capsule. The capsule features a 21.4 mm 2-micron diaphragm; a detailed frequency response, and precise transient response.

The clean nature of the capsule and the transformerless output design allows the AT4050 to accurately capture its intended sound source with exactness.

This microphone offers 3 selectable polar patterns (omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional). It also contains a pad and high-pass filter to further enhance the versatility of the design.

This microphone is ideal for studio use and live sound productions alike with a propensity for great results on vocals, piano, strings, drum overheads, and guitar amps.

Audio-Technica’s AT4050 comes with an AT8449a shock mount for 5/8″-27 threaded stands; a microphone dust cover, and a protective carrying case.

Audio-Technica is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

Audio-Technica’s AT4050 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

• 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
• Top 12 Best Microphones Under $1,000 for Recording Vocals


Rode K2

The Rode K2 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is an excellent high-end tube condenser microphone at a mid-range price point from the Australian microphone manufacturer Rode.

It is a multi-pattern tube condenser microphone.

Rode K2
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Polar pattern: Continuously variable including cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (switched via the power supply unit)
  • Self-noise: 10 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 16 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters: N/A
  • Pads: N/A

The HF1 capsule of the K2 is a dual-diaphragm, 25 mm edge-terminated capsule with 5-micron gold-sputtered diaphragms. The capsule has fantastic frequency and transient responses and accurately converts an intended sound source into a clean, crisp audio signal.

This capsule is designed to yield continuously variable polar patterns. These patterns are controlled at the K2’s power supply unit and range from omnidirectional, through cardioid, to bidirectional.

The tube circuitry brings out a lovely character and depth of sound in the K2 microphone while the transformerless output keeps the signal relatively clean.

The Rode K2 is a world-class tube microphone at a mid-range price point. It has a character reminiscent of the classic tube mics with a modern twist. Its classic warm and punchy tone is met with the clarity of modern mic design. The result is a sound that requires little, if any, post-processing to perform superbly on any given sound source.

Another bonus of the K2 is that Rode offers an extended 10-year warranty on their microphones and the hand-selected 6922 twin-triode vacuum tubes used in the K2 is readily available. This means a relatively easy and inexpensive fix if anything were to go wrong with the K2 during your ownership!

Rode supplies new buyers of its K2 with an SM2 Shock Mount and RC2 Custom Carry Case.

Rode is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

The Rode K2 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top 12 Best Microphones Under $1,000 for Recording Vocals.


Mojave Audio MA-50

The Mojave Audio MA-50 (link to check the price on Amazon) marks the manufacturer’s first transformerless microphone and is marketed as Mojave Audio’s “entry-level” microphone.

It is a large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone with a fixed cardioid polar pattern.

Mojave Audio MA-50
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz +/-3 dB
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Self-noise: 16 dBA
  • Sensitivity: 10 mV/Pa
  • High-pass filters: N/A
  • Pads: N/A

The capsule of the MA-50 is has a K67-style dual-diaphragm design with a non-sputtered rear diaphragm that is not wired into the capsule’s output. This capsule is designed to yield a consistent fixed cardioid polar pattern.

The capsule is accurate at reproducing the important transient information of its intended sound sources. Its frequency response is bright and detailed in the top-end without sounding harsh and is well-rounded in the low-end as well.

The transformerless output and FET circuit are transparent-sounding and allow for the true character of the capsule to shine through.

Mojave suggests using its MA-50 on vocals, voice-over, foley, percussion, and acoustic instruments.

This microphone is simple. What it lacks in “versatility” and extra gadgets and options it makes up for in a clean detailed sound that is sure to yield professional results in the professional or project studio.

The Mojave Audio MA-50 comes with a custom shock mount and carrying case.

Mojave Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.


Warm Audio WA-87

We’ve started this list with Warm Audio, now let’s finish it with Warm Audio. The Warm Audio WA-87 (link to compare prices on Amazon and B&H Photo/Video) is the company’s tribute to the wildly popular Neumann U 87.

It is a multi-pattern large-diaphragm FET condenser microphone and is the first mic Warm Audio ever produced.

Warm Audio WA-87
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz +/-3 dB
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid, omnidirectional and bidirectional (via switch on microphone)
  • Self-noise: 15 dBA
  • Sensitivity: Spec not given
  • High-pass filters:
    -6 dB/octave @ 80 Hz (via switch on microphone)
  • Pads:
    -10 dB (via switch on microphone)

Though the WA-87 is based on the original Neumann U 87, its sonic character is closer to that of Neumann’s reproduction U 87 AI.

The WA-87-B-50V capsule is a clone of the classic dual-diaphragm dual-backplate K87 capsule used in the Neumann U 87. It offers stunning frequency response with the slightest presence boost; a crystal clear top-end, and a clean low-end. Its audio accurately represents the sound source the mic is placed in front of.

The FET amplifier circuit is made of top-notch modern components and the output transformer is a Cinemag CM-2480. This circuitry aims to reproduce the sound of one of the most celebrated mics of all time and gets very close at a fraction of the cost.

Like the U 87, the WA-87 excels primarily as a vocal and voiceover microphone. I’d recommend the WA-87 to anyone that records either. That being said, the WA-87 would sound awesome on just about anything.

Its 3 switchable polar patterns; 10 dB pad, and high-pass filter further improve the flexibility of this microphone that performs well above its price class.

Warm Audio includes a shock mount, hard mount, and wooden storage case with each new purchase of its WA-87.

The original Neumann U 87 and the U 87 AI are featured in the following My New Microphone articles:

• 50 Best Microphones Of All Time (With Alternate Versions & Clones)
• Top 12 Best Vintage Microphones (And Their Best Clones)

• Top 11 Best Microphones For Recording Vocals


This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.


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