7 Best Budget Microphones for YouTube Content Creators [2023]

Whether you’re slaying foes in gaming, shooting cinematic vlogs, captivating minds with your podcasting prowess, or hitting those high notes in your melodic masterpiece on your YouTube channel, a trusty microphone is your secret weapon.

Finding the best cheap and quality microphones for YouTube can be challenging, given the sheer amount of options available. 

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best budget microphones for YouTube content creators after extensive research, lab testing, and analysis in this guide. 

We’ll also cover the benefits of external mics, popular mics favored by YouTubers, and some important considerations for making a well-informed mic purchase.

Ready for some eargasm-inducing reviews? 

Top Budget Microphones for YouTube in 2023 – At a Glance!

  • Audio-Technica AT2020: Our top pick for budget microphones for YouTube. Features a cardioid polar pattern, wide frequency range, and remarkable audio clarity. Operates at 48V phantom power
  • HyperX DuoCast: An affordable microphone perfect for YouTube gaming. Comes with an adjustable RGB strip, shock mount, and dual polar patterns. Offers an impressive SNR of 100 dB, providing an immersive gaming streams to viewers   
  • Rode SmartLav+: A portable microphone for YouTube vloggers featuring a sensitive condenser capsule and foam windscreen. Particularly suited for iPhone and Android vlogging
  • Boya BY-BM6060A shotgun-style mic with a wide frequency range of 60 Hz to 20 kHz. Its sensitive condenser design, aluminum body, and super-cardioid polar pattern make it excellent for podcasting
  • Shure SM58: A budget-friendly microphone ideal for vocal recordings on YouTube, especially for aspiring singers. Comes with a durable all-metal construction, a cardioid polar pattern, and an XLR output for easy connectivity with audio interfaces
  • Blue Yeti Nano: A highly recommended microphone for Mac users seeking a straightforward YouTube recording experience. Features dual polar patterns, USB-C connectivity, and remarkable sensitivity
  • Blue Snowball iCE: An affordable, inexpensive mic for YouTube. Despite its cute appearance, it offers impressive performance with a wide frequency range and solid build quality. Has a simple USB connection, a wide dynamic range, and good sensitivity. 

Best Cheap Microphones for YouTube: Research and Testing Methodology

We started our research by scouring multiple microphones for YouTube Reddit threads to gather opinions from experienced audiophiles and YouTubers. Our exploration took us through some popular communities such as r/Audiophile, r/BudgetAudiophile, r/AudioPost, and r/AudioEngineering.

After reading hundreds of comments, we picked sixteen under $100 microphones for lab testing. The tests were mostly conducted in a soundproof chamber with a KeySight U8903B Performance Audio Spectrum Analyzer. For the audio interface, we used an Apollo Twin X Quad.

Various performance parameters were measured with the help of the audio spectrum analyzer. These included frequency response, sensitivity, noise floor, distortion levels, dynamic range, proximity effects, and real-time polar pattern monitoring. 

Based on the final results, we shortlisted the top 7 budget microphones for YouTube beginners and pros. 

So what is the best budget microphone for YouTube?

1. Audio-Technica AT2020 – Best Budget Microphone for YouTube Overall

Audio-Technica AT2020 XLR is our top pick for budget microphones for YouTube. It’s a capable, versatile professional microphone for YouTube that can be used in a wide range of settings thanks to its remarkable audio quality and clarity. The microphone is available in two variants: XLR and USB. 

AT2020 features a cardioid polar pattern, perfect for most YouTube streams. A cardioid polar pattern captures audio directly from the front, canceling any residual background noise in the process. You get a recording sampling rate of 16-bit @ 96 kHz. The frequency range is quite wide at 20 Hz to 20 kHz with 14.1 mV/Pa sensitivity at -37 dB. 

The Audio Technica offers a dynamic range of 124 dB with a Signal to Noise ratio of 74 dB and an input SPL of 144 dB. Meanwhile, the condenser capsule requires 2mA of current at 48V, making it compatible with almost all audio interfaces. 

Build quality is a hallmark of the AT2020 mic. Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the AT2020 has a solid, all-metal construction. It also feels positively weighty at 345 grams. Suffice to say, it’s designed to last a long time. 

In our test, the Audio-Technica AT2020 was easily the best and our favorite. It proved itself to be the perfect all-rounder. The sound was nice, crisp, and clear, with no clipping, even while applying a relatively high gain through the interface.

The only nitpick we have is the lack of a windscreen. While durable, the metallic grill of the AT2020 is a bit wide to effectively muffle plosives. We’d recommend using a pop filter or an aftermarket windscreen to prevent any plosives. These accessories will also keep your mic dust and moisture free.

Overall, the Audio-Technica is a great sub $100 option. Despite its budget-friendly price, it’s performant enough to keep up with some of the more premium mics available. It is, without a doubt, the best-quality microphone for YouTube on a budget.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility

2. HyperX DuoCast – Cheap Microphone for Gaming YouTubers on a Budget

The HyperX DuoCast is an affordable microphone for YouTube gaming. It comes with packed gamer-centric features, including a user-adjustable RGB strip, an included shock mount, and USB connectivity for ease of use. 

You get dual polar patterns, cardioid and omnidirectional; hence, the ‘Duo’ in ‘DuoCast.’ The mic supports 24-bit audio depth with a 96 kHz sampling rate and can record audio in the range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. 

The DuoCast has a relatively wide dynamic range with a Signal-to-Noise (SNR) ratio of 100 dB. That’s great for streaming games online. Additionally, it features a 120 dB SPL input. While the mic is a condenser-type microphone, it’s powered by a USB port, requiring just 5V to operate. 

When it comes to build quality, the DuoCast is a well-put-together microphone. It features a black metal design with a tasteful RGB strip, perfect for gamers. Being a HyperX branded product, the DuoCast is fully compatible with HyperX Ngenuity software. You can easily customize the RGB strip to match the theme of your gaming setup. 

In testing, the DuoCast took us by surprise. While HyperX, as a company, isn’t known for its mics, the DuoCast proved itself to be a formidable product. It’s a quality mic with great high-frequency response, all thanks to the sensitive condenser capsule. 

The cardioid polar pattern also helps ensure that the microphone doesn’t pick up your keyboard strokes and mouse clicks. This is especially useful if you have a clicky mechanical keyboard with loud switches, as your teammates may find their noise distracting. 

To  summarize, the DuoCast is a capable product from HyperX. It’s a durable, affordable, and reliable microphone for streaming games on YouTube. 

HyperX DuoCast – RGB USB Condenser Microphone
  • Customizable RGB light ring: The tasteful RGB light ring gives the DuoCast a touch of vibrant RGB style with 2 customizable zones. Built for gaming, but professional enough to handle business.
  • Hi-Res 24-bit/96kHz recording: Capture accurate, low-noise recordings with the DuoCast’s high bit depth and sampling rate.
  • Low-profile shock mount: Form and function: The sleek, minimalist design also contains a shock mount to reduce the pickup of unwanted rumble and vibrations.

3. Rode SmartLav+ – Best Budget Microphone for YouTube Vlogging

Rode SmartLav+ is a portable microphone for YouTube. It features a 3.5mm TRRS stereo audio jack, making it an excellent choice for shooting vlogs with your iPhone or Android device. 

As a lavalier microphone, the Rode SmartLav+ provides a consistent audio pickup, which is essential for any good quality YouTube vlogging microphone. However, there is one slight issue we must point out. The mic has an omnidirectional polar pattern, allowing it to capture audio from all directions. This can be a negative in some specific vlogging settings. It’s a compromise you must make if you prefer the discreteness and pickup quality of lavalier-type microphones. The mic is powered by a precharged electret condenser capsule with a 16-bit depth @ 48 kHz. 

On the audio range front, the Rode SmartLav+ boasts a dynamic range of 83 dB, a signal-to-noise ratio of 67 dB, and an SPL input of 110 dB. Despite being a compact microphone, SmartLav+ can capture the entire human hearing spectrum from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, with a sensitivity of -35 dB at 17.8 mV/Pa.

As expected from a small microphone, the Rode SmartLav+ has an impedance rating of just 3 Ohms. This makes it compatible with anything and everything that has a 3.5mm audio jack on it. 

In testing, the Rode SmartLav+ performed remarkably well. Despite its small size, it had no trouble capturing speech and vocals thanks to the sensitive condenser capsule with a wide frequency range. 

Designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, the Rode SmartLav+ is also dust and water-resistant, offering protection against the elements during outdoor shoots. The foam windscreen further shields it from dust, moisture, and other environmental factors.

All in all, the Rode SmartLav+ is a capable clip microphone for YouTube, perfectly suited for vlogging outdoors or just around the house. It’s a compact, sensitive, and highly capable mic that requires no audio equipment and can be tucked nicely in the pocket. 

Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier Microphone
  • Compatibility with smartphones: The Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier Microphone features a TRRS jack, making it compatible with most smartphones, providing convenience for mobile recording.
  • Omnidirectional condenser capsule: The microphone has a discrete 4.5mm omnidirectional condenser capsule, ensuring high-quality audio recording from all directions.
  • Wind noise reduction: The package includes a foam windshield and a durable mounting clip, helping to reduce wind noise and improve audio quality in various recording environments.

4. Boya BY-BM6060 – Budget Mic for YouTube Podcasting

Boya BY-BM6060 is a near-ideal shotgun microphone for podcasters on a tight budget. This XLR condenser mic can operate on either 24 or 48V of phantom power, making it increasingly convenient for the owners. It offers a bit depth of 16-bit and a sampling rate of 48 kHz, ensuring high-audio quality. You further get a wide frequency range of 60 Hz to 20 kHz.

As a condenser microphone with a large diaphragm, the Boya BY-BM6060 demonstrates remarkable sensitivity with a -36 dB and 15.85 mV/Pa rating. It features an SNR of 80 dB and an SPL rating of 130 dB. An XLR jack at the back provides easy connectivity for the mic.

The Boya BY-BM6060 body is entirely made of aluminum chassis, giving it a sturdy and rigid feel. And while it requires phantom power from a source to operate, you can also run it on 2 x AA batteries.

During testing, the Boya BY-BM6060 worked great in podcasting settings, thanks to its super-cardioid polar pattern that focuses solely on the speaker’s voice. The large diaphragm ensures top-notch audio quality with excellent high-frequency response.

The only drawback of the Boya BY-BM6060 is its large size. As a shotgun microphone, it’s significantly taller than most other mics in this test, making it a bit intrusive and challenging to position effectively in a studio setting.

In conclusion, the Boya BY-BM6060 is a decent XLR condenser microphone for YouTube podcasting. It is accurate, precise, and can easily pick up voice from even a few feet of distance.

BOYA XLR Microphone, Shotgun Microphone
  • 【Super-Cardioid Shotgun Microphone】Featuring a super-cardioid capsule and extended length, it captures accurate directional sound from a narrower pick-up areas, which can highlight the forward target sound source and reduces the side and rear sounds effectively.
  • 【Low-Cut Filter Function】BY-BM6060 has switchable high-pass filter control, so if there is low frequency noise from air conditioning or traffic while recording, users can switch to low-cut mode to eliminate these noises.
  • 【Two Types of Power Supply】BY-BM6060 adopts 3-pin XLR audio output interface and supports 24-48V phantom power supply, when the device cannot provide phantom power, it also supports one AA five batteries power supply.

5. Shure SM58 – Best Cheap Microphone for YouTube Singing

The Shure SM58 is a low-budget microphone for YouTube that excels at vocal recording, making it an ideal choice for aspiring singers.

Designed with a dynamic profile, the mic comes with a cardioid polar pattern, providing focused sound capture. It features an XLR output, allowing seamless connectivity with audio interfaces and karaoke systems. Additionally, you get a bit depth of 16 bits and a 44.1 kHz sampling rate. 

The Shure SM58 has an SNR of 104 dB and a peak input SPL of 160 dB. The mic is also quite sensitive to sound pressure, with a -54.5 dB sensitivity rating at 1.85 mV/Pa. 

As expected from any Shure microphone, the SM58 is built like a tank. It has got an all-metal construction and a removable grill at the top, offering the flexibility to add aftermarket custom grilles and a variety of wind protectors.

During testing, the Shure SM58 performed admirably with low handling noise, a wide dynamic range, and excellent overall sound quality. It stood out unequivocally as the best microphone for live performances and studio vocals. 

However, it’s worth noting the SM58 lacks sensitivity at the top end due to its limited 15 kHz peak frequency. As a result, it may not work best for instrument recordings, which typically require a peak frequency of at least 20 kHz. 

Overall, the Shure SM58 is an exceptional budget microphone for vocals, making it an ideal choice for budding singers running their singing channel on YouTube. Its dynamic capsule and cardioid polar pattern ensure excellent sound quality with minimal background noise, while the XLR output allows for easy connectivity with various audio devices.

Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone
  • EXEPTIONAL VOCAL PERFORMANCE - The SM58-LC delivers high-quality vocal reproduction, thanks to its tailored frequency response and brightened midrange for clear and present vocals.
  • INDUSTRY STANDARD - The first choice for performers around the globe, the SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone is ready to bring any performance to life. From the club to the stadium, Shure has your back.
  • CLARITY & CARE - The uniform cardioid polar pattern reproduces every note as it was intended, delivering warm, crisp sound time after time.

6. Blue Yeti Nano – Budget YouTube Mic for Mac

The Blue Yeti Nano from Logitech is a great option if you’re looking for a no-frills YouTube mic for your Mac computer with plug-and-play compatibility. 

Like the HyperX DuoCast, the Blue Yeti Nano features dual polar patterns, making it a highly versatile mic. It comes with a USB-C output and can be effortlessly connected to any PC without the need for an audio interface. 

With a bit depth of 24-bit, a sampling rate of 48 kHz, and a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, the Blue Yeti Nano delivers outstanding sensitivity. Its SNR ratio of 100 dB and input SPL rating of 120 dB further emphasize its impressive performance.

The microphone features an all-metallic construction that feels remarkably sturdy while exuding a premium look. You also get a built-in shock mount inside the packaging, free of charge. 

During our testing, we found the Blue Yeti Nano quite impressive. The cardioid polar pattern produced crisp, clear audio with an excellent low-end response. However, the omnidirectional mode fell short in comparison, resulting in a noticeable decline in sound quality with an excessive emphasis on mid-range frequencies, creating a somewhat flat audio experience.

On the connectivity front, Mac users will feel right at home with the Blue Yeti Nano. All you’ve to do is connect the Blue Yeti’s USB cable to your Mac computer, and you’re all set. Everything is simple plug-and-play. If you’ve a modern MacBook Pro, you can mute and change the gain of the Blue Yeti Nano using the “Logic Pro” Mac software. 

In conclusion, the Blue Yeti Nano from Logitech is our top recommendation for Mac users looking for a straightforward, hassle-free YouTube recording experience. Its plug-and-play compatibility with Apple computers ensures superb convenience and ease of use. 

Logitech for Creators Blue Yeti Nano Premium USB Microphone
  • Legendary Blue Broadcast Sound – Two Custom Mic Capsules Give Your Voice Exceptional Presence And Detail For Professional-Level Recording And Streaming
  • Blue Vo.Ce Software: Craft The Perfect Broadcast Vocal Sound And Entertain Your Audience With Enhanced Effects, Advanced Modulation And Hd Audio Samples. Advanced Blue Vo.Ce Is Compatible With Yeti, Yeti Nano And Yeti X. To Access Blue Vo.Ce, Please Download Logitech’S Free G Hub Software
  • Multiple Pickup Patterns – Cardioid And Omni Pickup Patterns Are Perfect For Pro Recording And Streaming

7. Blue Snowball iCE – Best Budget Microphone for YouTube Beginners

Looking for the cheapest YouTube microphone? Look no further than Blue Snowball iCE. While some may find its appearance odd for a heavy-duty mic, don’t get deceived. Underneath the cute and cheerful exterior lies a capable microphone that punches well above its weight.

The Blue Snowball iCE is an inexpensive microphone with a cardioid polar pattern and a condenser capsule. It offers a wide frequency range of 40 Hz to 18,000 kHz, which is quite impressive for a microphone at this price point. It supports 16-bit recording with a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. You can connect it to your PC through a built-in USB port. 

Despite its super budget-friendly nature, the Blue Snowball iCE features a wide 120 dB dynamic range with an SNR of 74 dB and an input SPL of 120 dB. It is also remarkably sensitive for its price, with a sensitivity rating of -44 dB at 4.5 mV/Pa. 

The build quality of the Blue Snowball iCE microphone is another surprising aspect. It boasts a solid, sturdy brushed aluminum metal exterior, along with a durable metal mic stand. 

In terms of performance, the Blue Snowball is fairly impressive, especially considering its rock-bottom price tag. During testing, it offered remarkable audio quality with a good low-frequency performance. However, as expected, its top end was slightly lacking due to its 18,000 kHz peak frequency range.

We also didn’t like the lack of inputs on the mic. It doesn’t feature any volume knob or mute buttons, forcing you to rely solely on software controls. Despite these limitations, the Blue Snowball iCE is a remarkable YouTube microphone. It’s easy to use, reliable, dependable, and, most importantly, highly affordable.

Logitech for Creators BlueSnowball iCE USB Microphone
  • Custom Condenser Capsule: Powered By Blue’S Custom Condenser Capsule, Snowball Ice Microphone Delivers Crystal-Clear Audio Quality That’S Light-Years Ahead Of Your Built-In Computer Microphone
  • Cardioid Pickup Pattern: Captures Your Voice With Clear, Focused Sound For Streaming, Podcasting, Broadcasting, Skype Calls And Zoom Meetings
  • Stylish Retro Design: Record Or Stream In Style With A Classic Recording Equipment Design That Looks Great On Your Desktop And On Camera

Comparing Top Affordable Microphones for YouTube

MicrophonePolar PatternCapsule TypeBest for
Audio Technica AT2020CardioidCondenserYouTube Content Overall
HyperX DuoCastCardioid + OmnidirectionalCondenserYouTube Gaming Streams
Rode SmartLav+OmnidirectionalCondenserYouTube Vlogs
Boya BY-BM6060Super cardioidCondenserYouTube Podcasting
Shure SM58CardioidDynamicYouTube Singing Videos
Blue Yeti NanoCardioid + OmnidirectionalCondenserYouTube Mac Users
Blue Snowball iCECardioidCondenserYouTubers on a Tight Budget

Should You Buy an External Microphone for YouTube?

You should consider buying an external microphone, especially if you don’t own one already and have been using built-in mics for recording your YouTube videos. Built-in mics tend to have really small diaphragms, typically around 0.5mm. In contrast, dedicated external mics can have diaphragms as large as 10mm. Larger diaphragms can capture more air, leading to superior audio quality. 

External mics also provide better noise isolation than built-in mics, thanks to their improved hardware. Additionally, they come with a wide range of polar patterns, allowing for superior audio capture in various settings. 

It’s always recommended to use an external microphone for YouTube videos.

How Much Should You Spend on a YouTube Mic?

For a microphone dedicated to YouTube content creation, you should allocate a starting budget of $75 to $100. Within this price range, you can find microphones that offer satisfactory performance in terms of bit depth, dynamic range, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and sensitivity. 

However, if budget constraints are not a concern, opting for higher-priced, premium-quality streaming microphones can provide an even more exceptional audio and recording experience. Check out our best microphones for streaming review guide.

What Type of Microphone is Best for YouTube Videos?

For YouTubers, a microphone with a cardioid polar pattern with a dynamic or a condenser transducer is the ideal choice. The frequency range should be at least 18 to 20 kHz with a sensitivity of at least 2 to 6 mV/Pa to effectively capture the entire human hearing spectrum. 

In terms of connectivity, XLR mics are preferable over USB mics. That’s because dedicated sound cards generally offer a superior signal-to-noise ratio (-12 dBFS or better) with a distortion level of -60 dB or lower. This ensures excellent audio fidelity. Additionally, XLR mics also offer superior sampling rates (up to 48 kHz) with a peak bit depth of 24 bits. 

Here is a list of popular YouTubers and their preferred microphones:

How to Choose the Right Type of Mic for Your YouTube Channel Setup

You must consider several factors before choosing a microphone for your YouTube channel. While all mics serve the same purpose, i.e., converting analog waves into digital signals, the way they accomplish it can be quite different. 

Polar Pattern

The polar pattern determines the direction from which the microphone captures sound. There are three main polar patterns: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Bidirectional. Cardioid captures sound from the front, omnidirectional captures sound from all directions, while bidirectional captures sound from both the front and back.


In a microphone, transducers are responsible for converting acoustic energy into electrical energy. There are three main types of transducers: Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon.

Dynamic transducers use a moving coil, while condenser transducers use a capacitor that requires 48V phantom power. Lastly, ribbon mics use a thin layer of electrically conductive ribbon-like diaphragm. 

Frequency Response

The frequency response of a microphone describes how it responds to different frequencies of sound. It refers to the range of audio frequencies the mic is capable of capturing. For YouTube, the best option is to get a mic with a frequency response range of at least 20 Hz to 20 kHz. This will ensure that the mic captures the entire human hearing spectrum.


A microphone’s sensitivity rating is the specification that indicates its level of gain. Each of the three microphone transducer types offers a different response.

Ribbon mics tend to be the least sensitive, with a 1 to 3 mV/Pa rating. Condenser mics tend to be the most sensitive, with a sensitivity range of 8 to 32 mV/Pa. Dynamic mics fall between the two, offering 1 to 6 mV/Pa sensitive rating.

YouTube Audio Awesomeness Doesn’t Have to be Expensive!

Achieving excellent audio quality for YouTube videos doesn’t have to be expensive. Our top pick is the Audio-Technica AT2020, a versatile, all-rounder mic capable of producing decent audio results across different YouTube streaming settings, whether gaming, vlogging, podcasting, or singing. It costs less than $100 and offers audio quality that matches some of the more premium mics available in the market. 

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility

However, if you’re looking for a more specialized mic for YouTube, you can also look at other options on our list that best fits your needs.

We wish you all the best for your YouTube adventures. Over and out–mic drop! 

Tracy has been working for RealGear since the first day it went online. She reads every e-sports related newspaper and website. She is a huge Twitch.tv fan and a gamer with a soft spot for Lineage 2, WoW, and Guild Wars 1 and 2. She says she does not suffer from PvP insanity, she enjoys every minute of it. Tracy defines herself as a person who’d spend two hours customizing a character rather than indulging in an activity that would not be as nearly rewarding as playing games and testing hardware.

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