In this article, I'm going to give you my top 5 large diaphragm condenser microphones you can buy new, today for less than £250. All prices listed are currently available to UK buyers in July 2018 from the same online retailer. Some of the mics listed are considerably cheaper than £250 and some were very close to £250. Over the years we at Production Expert have either reviewed or used all of these mics in some way, shape or form which has helped inform our choice for this list.
Sontronics STC-20 Pack - £173.38
The Sontronics STC-20 is an amazing mic for well under £200 and comes with the shock mount, pop filter and 5m XLR cable and padded zip back to keep your mic safe when not in use. The mic has a smooth top end with an open air to it making it perfect for vocals and acoustic instruments and features a 1" diaphragm inside an all-metal construction. There are no pads or filters to mess around with just plug it in and start recording.
SE Electronics SE 2200a II - £253.40 or less.
SE microphones have always offered good value although the SE 2200A II is the most expensive on this list, however, this is a multi-pattern condenser offering Cardioid, Omnidirectional and Figure Eight selection from the switch on the right and -10dB and -20dB pad from the switch on the left of the body.
The mic ships with a shock mount and pop grill to make this a complete package. Some might say that the SE2200A II has a harsh top end but one person's harsh is another's bright so make up your own mind. In September 2017 I reviewed the SE 2200a II along with the SE Voodoo VR2 so hear is a chance to hear them for yourselves.
Audio Technica AT-2035 - £136.93
The Audio Technica AT2035 is one of those little-known gems of the microphone world. This is by far the most cost-effective mic in the list but to my ears, it is punching well above its weight when it comes to sonic quality. It's another simple mic, plug it in and hit record.
In December 2017 I reviewed the Audio Technica AT2035 Studio Bundle which features the AT2035 fixed pattern condenser microphone.
Aston Microphones Origin - £216.95
The Origin was Aston Microphones' first mic to the market released in time for the Winter NAMM show in 2016. The team at Aston decided to throw away the rule book when it came to styling. Some might call it a "Marmite" microphone, meaning you other love it or hate it when it comes to looks, but when it comes to sound, top industry pros from around the world agree that the Origin and its bigger sister the Spirit are stunning mics.
It has to be said that for the price of £216.95 you get the mic in a cardboard box and that is it. The shock mount is extra. Aston claims that you won't need a pop shield due to their amazing waveguide design but, I would throw an extra £20 or so to your local music store and buy one, just to be on the safe side.
Lauten Audio LA-220 - £231.18
The Series Black range by Lauten Audio are the company's more competitively priced mics but the LA220 is a stunning mic and very versatile. It sounds great on an electric guitar cabinet or as a snare drum top mic, oh and it's a great vocal mic. The one letdown for this mic is the packaging. Where the mic is truly a quality product, the box and pre-formed plastic mic container are not, but really, who, other than reviewers worries about that stuff. The box is going to hit the trash within a minute of you opening the box and starting to record.
I recently reviewed the Lauten Audio Series Black range (of which the LA 220 is one). Check out the video below.
I really hope you found this list useful and if you are in the market for your first, or even another microphone for your collection I hope you check out some of those on our list. If you have any others to add please that you think the community might find interesting do let us know about them in the comments section below.