14 Best Budget Stereo Pair Microphones!

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

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

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 where 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.

Rode M5

Rode M5
Rode M5

This microphone 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 a 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.

M5 Matched Pair in X/Y Coincident Configuration: Recording A String Quartet

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

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

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 a 80Hz Low-Cut filter which will help with reducing 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.

The sE7 Small-Diaphragm Condenser

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

sE Electronics is known for making great products, and the sE Electronics sE7 is no exception, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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

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-cadrioid 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.

"Amazing Grace" – Guitarist Alex Price

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.

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.

Behringer C-4

Behringer C-4
Behringer C-4

The Behringer C-4 pairs have a non-reflective finish which is excellent for live performances since it eliminates unwanted glares and reflections.

The construction of these mics is quite good, especially considering the price, which is well under $100 for the pair.

Thanks to the Gold-plated 3-pin XLR connectors, these microphones maintain excellent signal integrity.

They have a slight boost between 1kHz and 8kHz, this gives you a slightly brighter sound which is especially useful for recording overheads.

These mics aren’t the best ones on this list for sure but considering that you get both of them plus the carrying case, mic-stand adapters, windscreens and more for such a low price, is fantastic.

The Beatles – Yesterday (Fingerstyle)

Pros

  • High-Pass filter
  • -10dB PAD
  • Gold-plated 3-pin XLR connector
  • Extremely good value

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
  • Transport case
  • Stereo bar for mounting both mics
  • Windscreens
  • Stand adapters

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • SPL: max 136dB
  • Impedance: 75 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -38dB
  • Self-Noise: not specified

The Behringer C-4, despite not being the greatest microphone out there, is a great, or even the best option for beginners who don’t have the budget for some of the more expensive small diaphragm condenser microphones.

If this is the pair you want, make sure to check my Recommended Gear page to purchase it.

Behringer C-2

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 with 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.

Saramonic SR-M500

Saramonic SR-M500
Saramonic SR-M500

The Saramonic SR-M500 are a matched pair of small diaphragm condenser microphones which come with 14mm capsules and a gold-plated membrane.

They have a cardioid polar pattern, which is great for keeping out unwanted noises making them ideal for both live and studio performances.

One thing that isn’t mentioned literally anywhere is their self-noise… they assure that it’s ultra-low though, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

These microphones can be used for a variety of applications, such as recording drum overheads, choirs, acoustic instruments, voice-overs, etc.

The Gold-plated 3-pin XLR connectors allow these microphones to maintain excellent signal integrity.

These cost exactly the same as the Rode M5, which only come with the microphone stand mounts and windscreens, but the SR-M500 also provide a stereo mounting bar and a camera shoe mount adding a bit more versatility to them.

Pros

  • Good Value, they come with a lot of extra items

Cons

  • No PAD and High-Pass filter

What comes in the Box?

  • 2 x small diaphragm condenser microphones
  • 2 x adjustable microphone clips
  • 2 x spherical foam windscreens
  • 1 x stereo mounting bar
  • 1 x camera shoe mount with 1/4 20 thread adapter

Specifications

  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 22Hz – 18kHz
  • SPL: max 135dB
  • Impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: -40 ± 3dB
  • Self-Noise: not specified

The Saramonic SR-M500 are definitely a good option, they aren’t as cheap as some others on this list, but they are excellent.

If you already have loads of microphones and are adding some small diaphragm condenser ones to your collection then maybe you’re also thinking about upgrading from a small Audio Interface to something with more channels.

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

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 sell for $80 on their official website.

They sound very flat and detailed, 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 are 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.

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 on 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

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

Neewer NW-410

Neewer NW-410
Neewer NW-410

Just as with the LynxPro, the Neewer NW-410 pair also 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.

NEEWER PENCIL MICROPHONE REVIEW – NW-410. Two really nice mics in a case!!

Pros

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

Cons

  • A bit noisier that 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.

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 microphone 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

The MXL CR21 is another good option, make sure to check them out.

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 this one 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.

MXL V67N – Acoustic Guitar Demo 1080.mov

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 is great.

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 shockmount, 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.

Acoustic Looping – Avantone CK-1 Pair

Pros

  • High-Pass Switch 80Hz 6dB/octave
  • Attenuation Switch -10dB
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent shockmount 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 the MXL V67N, even though they sell for exactly the same, the Avantone Pro CK-1 has a HPF and PAD and comes with the shockmount.

If this is the microphone you need, make sure to check my Recommended Gear.

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.

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 which 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.

Conclusion

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

My recommendations;

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 over all.

Lastly, my top recommendation would be the Avantone CK-1. It’s a much more expensive microphone and you would need to buy two, to use them as stereo pairs. But it would be worth it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *