13+ Best Budget Stereo Pair Microphones!

Last Updated on August 5, 2022.

Matched/stereo pair condenser microphones are used for a variety of applications, such as recording classical and acoustic guitar, choirs, and piano.

They are also very well known for being the go-to microphones to be used as drum overheads.

There’s a huge variety of matched pair microphones that you can purchase, some are pretty inexpensive while others can cost up to $1000, and that is for a single one and not the pair.

Rode M5

Excellent set of Matched-Pair microphones and best for the price!

Neewer NW-410

Neewer NW-410

Excellent set of Matched-Pair Mics with different polar patterns!

Behringer C-2

Behringer C-2

Most affordable matched-pair microphones currently available!

But, do you really need to break the bank to be able to get high-quality recordings?

The word “Budget” might mean different things to some people, so I’m going to keep these under $300 a pair.

The benefits of matched microphones are that a pair would perform exactly alike, making a stereo pair behave in a way that makes a very accurate stereo recording.

If the microphones acted differently your left and right channels would not sound the same, which could result in timbre anomalies between them, affecting the stereo image.

Note: Nowadays calling a pair of microphones “matched” is mostly a marketing tool, the need for having matched pairs appeared back in the old days when microphones were handmade and two of the same mics would sound very different.

But today, if you get two of the same microphone, you will notice that there are hardly any differences in the way they sound. Most manufacturers don’t even sell matched pairs anymore for this reason.

In this post, I will list some of the best budget “matched pair or stereo pair” small-diaphragm condenser microphones out there which will allow you to record music at a top-notch level without spending too much.

I will also list some which aren’t labeled as matched but that should work perfectly if you purchase two.

What are Matched or Stereo Pair Microphones?

Back in the old days when microphones were handmade, finding two microphones that were completely identical and that also sounded the same was quite hard. Manufacturers would match up microphones that sounded “identical” which assured the user that recording the same source with both microphones would sound the same.

However, now microphones are no longer made by hand and the differences between the same model are practically none, which means that you no longer have to search for “matched pairs” since you can get two of the same microphone and they will perform pretty much the same.

List of the best Stereo Pair Microphones

I’m going to start off this list with the pair that I consider to be the best ones and then move on from there.

Rode M5

Best-sounding Matched Pair!

Rode M5
Rode M5

The Rode M5 only sells as a matched pair.

It has a black-matte ceramic coating, which is both durable and really good-looking. The microphone comes with a WS5 pop filter and an RM5 stand mount.

It has a slight presence boost at the 7kHz mark and a bit of a roll-off at the really low and high end.

I think this microphone is good in terms of what you get for the money. They sound great and don’t color the sound at all.

However, in this list, you will find some which are more affordable and come with different capsules, which makes them a lot more versatile. It all comes down to your needs.

The Rode M5 doesn’t come with a PAD or a High-Pass filter, which shouldn’t really be an issue though.

Pros

  • The build quality is better than the one of other budget microphones.
  • Great sound quality.

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a storage pouch.
  • Fixed, non-removable capsules.
  • Doesn’t have a PAD or High-Pass filter.
  • Self-noise might be a bit too high for some people (19dB).

What comes in the Box?

  • You get the two Rode M5’s
  • Windscreens
  • Mic stand mounts

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 140dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -34dB
  • Self-Noise: 19dB

Find out more about the Rode M5 here:

The Rode M5 is the industry standard in terms of affordable matched pairs, they are of extreme quality, sound very nice, and should last you forever.

Neewer NW-410

Features multiple capsules with different polar patterns!

Neewer NW-410
Neewer NW-410

The Neewer NW-410 pair come with Cardioid, Omni and Super cardioid capsules included.

The carrying box is of great quality, everything fits in it perfectly and it will protect the mics.

They have relatively low self-noise and handling noise.

The recording quality is excellent for what you are paying, I literally couldn’t find any reviews that complained about it.

The built quality is excellent, they are made of metal and the inside is brass, giving them a very sturdy and durable feel.

Pros

  • Cardioid, Omni and Super cardioid capsules included
  • Great build quality
  • Very good sound considering the price

Cons

  • A bit noisier than most other mics on this list
  • Sadly, no stereo bar for mounting both mics included

What comes in the Box?

  • 2 x Pencil Stick Microphone
  • 2 x Cardioid Capsules
  • 2 x Omni Capsules
  • 2 x Super Cardioid Capsules
  • 2 x Microphone Clip
  • 2 x Foam Windscreen
  • 1 x Aluminum Carrying Case

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Uni/super/Omni-directional
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-18 kHz
  • Sensitivity: -38±3dB
  • SPL Max: 135dB
  • Output Impedance: 100Ω
  • Self-Noise: 24dB A

If you don’t care too much about the self-noise level, which isn’t really that high and you will probably never even notice it, then the Neewer NW-410 would be my top recommendation of microphones, along with the LyxPro SDPC-2,  simply because you can’t beat the sound quality and extras you get for that price.

Find out more about the Neewer NW-410 here:

Behringer C-2

Most Cost-efficient option!

Behringer C-2
Behringer C-2

The Behringer C-2 are very similar to the C-4 both in price and quality, they have a few differences though;

The C-4 is 3 dB more sensitive than the C-2 but has a 4 dB lower maximum sound pressure level.

Also, the C-4 is quite a bit lighter than the C-2 even though it’s thicker on one end.

Depending on the intended application you would want one or the other, even though they are both completely capable of recording the same instruments properly.

For drum overheads or for any other loud sound sources, I’d take the C-2 since they have a higher SPL.

For acoustic instruments, choirs, etc. I’d recommend you stick to the C-4.

The extra weight of the C-2 gives it that sturdy and durable feeling, I really like heavy microphones, but having said that, they are both excellent.

Just like the C-4, it comes with a high-pass filter and a PAD switch and it also has a slight boost at the 1kHz to 8kHz range.

Pros

  • Very affordable, good value
  • Feels well-built/sturdy
  • High-Pass filter
  • PAD

Cons

  • The mics you get aren’t always identical, one might sound bright and the other may lack some definition, sometimes not really a stereo/matched pair.
  • Not flat sounding

What comes in the Box?

  • The Microphones
  • Carrying case
  • Custom stand adapters
  • Windscreens
  • Stereo bar for mounting both mics

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 140dB
  • Impedance: 75 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -41dB
  • Self-Noise: not specified

Just like the C-4, the Behringer C-2 is a great option for someone who is buying his first set of small-diaphragm condenser mics.

Find out more about the Behringer C-2 here:

Check out my list of best Mixers that can do multitrack recording through USB directly into your PC.

sE Electronics sE7

sE Electronics sE7
sE Electronics sE7

You can get a pack where you get the pair of the sE Electronics sE7 with microphone clips, windscreens, and foam pop filters for the same amount as purchasing only two microphones.

The chassis is all-metal, which gives it a very durable and robust build.

A switchable 20 dB attenuation pad in each mic allows you to use the pair with loud instruments, doing so with a favorable signal-to-noise ratio.

Added to this you also get an 80Hz Low-Cut filter which will help reduce rumble and muddiness.

One con to these microphones is that their capsules aren’t interchangeable, this makes them a lot less versatile since you can’t change their cardioid pattern to any other pattern you could need.

Also, if one capsule breaks, you need to change the whole microphone.

Pros

  • PAD or High-Pass filter
  • Really low self-noise
  • Gold-plated XLR connector for reliable, loss-free signal connection

Cons

  • No storage pouch included
  • Capsules aren’t interchangeable

What comes in the Box?

  • The Microphones
  • Foam pop-filters
  • Windscreens
  • Mic clip

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 136dB or 156dB if PAD is engaged
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -34.5dBV
  • Self-Noise: 16dB

Find out more about the sE Electronics sE7 here:

You might also be interested in reading about the Best USB Microphones available. Here’s the post I wrote on that topic.

Lewitt LCT 040

These small-diaphragm condenser mics I’ve only recently found out about, and they are pretty darn impressive, especially considering the price since you can find them for well under $200 in some cases.

These are considered by many to be the best drum overhead microphones under $200, but they also work amazingly well for recording acoustic guitar, piano, etc., by setting them up in an X/Y or A/B fashion which will allow you to achieve a nice stereo sound to add some depth and dimension to your mixes.

They are made out of aluminum which makes them quite light, even though I’ve always been the kind of guy who prefers heavier microphones… I don’t know, I generally feel as if heavier mics are sturdier! But these should last you forever if you take good care of them.

Listen to them for yourself here:

Pros

  • Amazing bang for your buck.
  • Best overhead mics for the price.

Cons

  • No PAD or High-Pass Filter
  • A bit noisy when compared to other microphones.

What comes in the Box?

  • The two microphones
  • Mic stand mounts
  • Two windshields
  • Storage Pouch

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 135dB
  • Impedance: 203 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -34.5dB
  • Self-Noise: 20dB

Find out more about the Lewitt LCT 040 here:

Samson C02

The difference between this mic and the rest is its pattern, it’s super-cardioid which means that it’s even more directional than a cardioid, even though some of the mics on this list have interchangeable capsules allowing you to use a hyper-cardioid one.

The issue is that it also picks up some sound from the back, which can make positioning somewhat tricky. But it will reject a lot more from everywhere else.

Now, this is what they state on their official website, but from testing it I find that it works as a regular cardioid.

The capsules are interchangeable but you can’t really get ones with a different polar pattern, but if the module needs to be replaced it’s really simple to do so.

It also comes in a very high-quality storage box.

Pros

  • Great starter option.

Cons

  • It’s not the quietest microphone out there.
  • No PAD or High-Pass Filter

What comes in the Box?

  • The two microphones
  • Mic stand mounts
  • Two windshields

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Super-Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 134dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -40dB
  • Self-Noise: 22dB

The Samson C02 is a great option if you don’t want to spend too much or if you don’t have any experience with pencil microphones and just want to try them out.

Find out more about the Samson C02 here:

Important Note: All these microphones also require Phantom Power, just like the Large Diaphragm Condensers, make sure your Audio interface can provide it.

If you still don’t have an Audio Interface, here’s a list of the best ones under $300.

Or if you are looking for some cheaper options then make sure to check out this article about the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 and the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD.

Monoprice 600700

Monoprice 600700
Monoprice 600700

After doing some research and reading lots of reviews online I have to say that these microphones may be one of the best for the price.

They sound very flat and detailed, with no harshness at all. When recording with them you will be able to capture the true essence of the instruments.

Even though they are great, they come with one big drawback which is their construction. They are very well built but the body is plastic, not metal like on most other microphones on this list.

One huge plus though is that the capsules are interchangeable, which will come in handy if one breaks or if you simply want the hyper-cardioid or omnidirectional polar patterns.

These capsules are sold separately and are not included, sadly.

Note: Monoprice offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can’t really go wrong here, just try them out and see what you think, if you don’t like them you can simply return them.

Pros

  • Interchangeable capsules
  • Great sound especially for the price

Cons

  • The build quality isn’t the best since the body is plastic

What comes in the Box?

  • The two microphones
  • Storage box
  • Mic clips
  • Pair of windscreens

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Different capsules available)
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 134dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 10mV/Pa
  • Self-Noise: 18dB

The Monoprice 600700 is a fantastic option, especially considering that you can return them if you didn’t like them, just try them out and see what you think, if you don’t feel that these are the ones, simply return them and purchase another set.

Find out more about the Monoprice 600700 here:

LyxPro SDPC-2 Stereo Pair

LyxPro SDPC-2 Stereo Pair
LyxPro SDPC-2 Stereo Pair

The first thing that caught my attention with these microphones was that the Omni, Cardioid, and Super Cardioid Capsules come included when you purchase them.

Careful when changing the capsules though, I read in a couple of reviews that these mics are very sensitive and need careful handling.

Other than this, they feel very solid and well built. They have an excellent performance and maintain a very low self-noise and low handling noise.

The case where they come in is not that great! If you really want to care for the mics and capsules properly you should get a sturdier pelican case.

Just like with the Monoprice mics I think that these are just excellent, always taking the price into account.

Pros

  • 3 included interchangeable capsules
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • The carrying case isn’t the best

What comes in the Box?

  • Both microphones
  • 3 Included capsules (for each microphone)
  • 2 windscreens
  • Carrying case
  • 2 Microphone clips

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omni and Super-Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 18kHz
  • SPL: max 135dB
  • Impedance: 100 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -38db ± 3dB
  • Self-Noise: 24dB

Find out more about the LyxPro SDPC-2 here:

The LyxPro SDPC-2 pair and the next one on this list are the best ones under $100 in my opinion mainly because of the added capsules and overall quality.

MXL CR21

MXL CR21 Pair
MXL CR21 Pair

The MXL CR21 sounds clean, articulate, and full, picking up every detail of the performance.

It has a black chrome design, and each features a transformerless preamp, which makes for low noise and distortion.

Sadly, it doesn’t have interchangeable capsules but most of the time these kinds of microphones are used with their cardioid capsules anyways.

Even though the MXL CR21 pair are good quality microphones, I would however purchase either the Neewer NW-410 or the LyxPro SDPC-2 for that price, since they both provide extra capsules and a carrying case.

Pros

  • Good sound considering the price
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • No interchangeable capsules
  • No PAD or High-Pass Filter

What comes in the Box?

  • The two Microphones
  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • 2 x H-03 Hard-Mount Stand Adapters

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 134dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: – -40 dBV
  • Self Noise: 18dB

Find out more about the MXL CR21 here:

Next on the list, we have small diaphragm condenser microphones which aren’t really labeled as “matched- or stereo- pairs” that will work perfectly if two are used simultaneously.

MXL V67N

MXL V67N
MXL V67N

Don’t confuse MXL V67N with the MXL V67g which is a Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone.

This microphone has a really good-looking green finish with its brand and model number written in gold on the front. This microphone isn’t as well known as the others on this list, but it’s definitely a good choice to take into consideration.

The MXL V67N has interchangeable capsules which are Cardioid and Omnidirectional, but you don’t need to buy them extra since they come with the microphone.

Using two of these as a stereo pair works really well, and this is a definite step up from all the others on this list so far.

Pros

  • Interchangeable Capsules.
  • Has a very balanced sound.

Cons

  • One issue I found when reading across forums is that according to a lot of people this microphone tends to stop working.
  • Doesn’t have a PAD or High-Pass filter.

What comes in the Box?

  • The microphone
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Cardioid and Omnidirectional Capsules
  • Mic stand mount.

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 148dB
  • Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -49dB
  • Self-Noise: 16dB

The MXL V67N, although still being considered a budget microphone, is probably one of the best sounding ones out there, plus you get some extra capsules which are great.

Find out more about the MXL V67N here:

Avantone Pro CK-1

Avantone CK-1
Avantone CK-1

The Avantone CK-1 has a very good-looking red metal body which is not only great to look at, but the build quality is also excellent, it should last you forever.

Just like the MXL V67N, the Avantone Pro CK-1 is a definite step up when compared to the rest of the ones on this list.

This microphone comes inside an amazing wooden box and inside this box you get the microphone and not just the cardioid capsule but also the Hypercardioid and Omnidirectional ones included.

You will also get an Avantone SSM Shockmount which is by far a lot better than any other mic stand mounts provided by the other microphones on this list, since it’s an actual shock mount, this means that if you stomp on the ground the microphone won’t pick up as much of that noise compared to a regular mic clip.

The Avantone CK-1 comes equipped with a High-Pass filter at 80Hz and a -10dB attenuation switch.

According to most online reviews, this microphone is one of the best investments you could make, the sound quality is amazing no matter what you record.

Pros

  • High-Pass Switch 80Hz 6dB/octave
  • Attenuation Switch -10dB
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent shock mount included

Cons

  • According to one review, the casing would rattle.

What comes in the Box?

  • The Microphone
  • Shockmount
  • Different capsules

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid and Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 25Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 138dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -36
  • Self-Noise: 17dB

The Avantone Pro CK-1 is my favorite on this entire list, it sounds fantastic, the whole quality of this microphone is outstanding and if we compare it to the MXL V67N, even though they sell for exactly the same, the Avantone Pro CK-1 has an HPF and PAD and comes with the shock mount.

Find out more about the Avantone Pro CK-1 here:

AKG PERCEPTION p170

AKG p170
AKG p170

The build quality is really good, it has an all-metal body and a robust design which should make it last a lifetime.

It has a -20dB PAD which will allow you to use it in high SPL situations withstanding up to 155dB SPL.

Sadly, no High-pass filter on this one.

Also, it doesn’t have interchangeable capsules, so you’ll be stuck with the ones that come with it.

The P170 works great for everything from drum overheads to acoustic instruments and ensembles, and at this price, it’s easy to pick up a pair for stereo miking applications.

Pros

  • Well Built
  • Has a PAD

Cons

  • No High-Pass filter

What comes in the Box?

  • Microphone
  • Mic Stand Adapter

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 155dB with -20dB PAD
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -36
  • Self-Noise: 19dB

The AKG PERCEPTION p170 are known to sound great, especially when recording acoustic instruments.

Find out more about the AKG PERCEPTION p170 here:

MXL 606

MXL 606
MXL 606

If you want a small diaphragm condenser microphone that has a lot of added features such as a High-Pass Filter set at 150Hz and a -20dB PAD, while also coming in a decent aluminum storage box, then the MXL 606 might be the one for you.

The storage case isn’t the best you’ve ever seen, but it will do the job nicely and keep the microphone safe.

The mic sounds great, is solidly constructed, and looks fantastic.

The one thing that I would say you need to be careful with is the mic clip, it’s a simple plastic one and not really of the best quality.

The “switches” on the face of the mic aren’t really switches but rather indents that cannot be changed unless a sharp object is inserted into the holes where the “switches” should be.

Other than that, the MXL 606 is a bargain.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Well-built and durable
  • Has a PAD and High-Pass Filter Switch

Cons

  • The switches are of low quality
  • Low-quality mic clip/stand adapter

What comes in the Box?

  • Microphone
  • Mic stand adapter

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 137dB
  • Impedance: 150 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -36
  • Self-Noise: 17dB

The MXL 606 is an inexpensive microphone that can actually pull its weight, having a PAD and HPF makes it really versatile.

Find out more about the MXL 606 here:

Conclusion

With so many options to choose from, I know it’s going to be hard to decide on a single set of microphones.

If you’re on a very, and I mean VERY tight budget, then I’d recommend the Behringer C-4 or the Behringer C-2, mainly for their extremely low price.

If you have a bit more to spend, I’d absolutely recommend the Neewer NW-410  Stereo Pair.

With all their added features, they offer the best value overall.

Lastly, my top recommendation would be the Rode M5 which will cost a little more, but it’s a great set of matched-pair mics.

7 thoughts on “13+ Best Budget Stereo Pair Microphones!”

  1. Nice article. I am considering getting either the Samson C02 or Neewer NW-410 to record classical guitar. I am not a semi pro. Which one would you recommend?

  2. I am trying to record violin performance. Would like to hear your recommendation on the mics. I am considering sE8 matched pair, and the Lewitt LCT 040 matched pair (which is less than half of sE8), and definitely open to other recommendations. Thank you!

  3. thanks for the great article, I am hobby guitar player but intrested in recording my self , I wonder what do you think is better rode nt5 or avantone ck1 they are in the same price range, in my country.

  4. So if I’m intending to use ONLY two overheads and a kick mic on my drum kit, would you recommend the Rode M5 or the Neewer NW-410? Thanks!

    1. Hi Justin.
      You could certainly use any of them.
      The Rode M5 could be considered better, but try them both out if you can.
      If you can’t, go with the M5.

  5. Hello! Can you point me to some sound samples of instruments recorded of the neewer nw-410? On youtube there only seem to be voice recordings for this mic. And the monoprice and mxl cr21 — any sound samples for those? Thanks for a very informative and helpful article!

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