Best Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Under $1000

A review of 5 best condenser mics in the price range of $500 – $1000. Part 3 of our “Top Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics” article.

Welcome to Part 3 of our 4-part guide to the best large diaphragm condenser microphones. This is where I review microphones that are more than capable of providing the best professional sound quality.

Some models have more than one mic capsule, allowing them to record different pickup patterns from the standard cardioid pattern typically used with single-capsule models. This tends to add a bit of additional cost – and I’ll highlight those options as well.

If you are looking for a condenser microphone in a different price category, then you may go through any of the other 3 parts of this ultimate guide to large diaphragm condenser microphone.

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Best Condenser Mics Under $1000

1. Shure KSM44A/SL

The Shure KSM44A is an incredibly powerful microphone. It is a side-address condenser mic that has a large-diaphragm and offers multiple polar patterns. 

Thanks to the sophisticated design of the Shure KSM44A, it looks great in any recording studio. It also features incredible internal technology that really sets it apart from other microphones on the market.

Like other Shure microphones, the KSM44A is ground-breaking in its own right. It has a very low threshold of self-noise, which is something that other microphones can tend to struggle with. 

Thanks to the transparent internal circuitry of the Shure KSM44A, it offers some of the best performance and audio quality of any microphone available on the market today.

The dual-diaphragm design lets you select among cardioid, omnidirectional, or figure-8 pickup patterns, so no matter what your recording environment calls for, the KSM44A is ready. 

Integrated three-stage “pop” protection grille reduces plosives and other breath noisenand adds an important layer of protection to the KSM44A when you record vocals or need to contend with air movement. 

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 1000

Shure’s ultra-quiet Prethos Advanced Preamplifier Technology also keeps your recordings free of noise, and the KSM44A’s transformerless output eliminates unwanted coloration. 

A switchable pad, a selectable high pass filter, and an extraordinarily wide frequency range all help to make this one of the best large diaphragm condenser microphone under $1000.

The mic ships with an elastic shockmount with spare elastics, a swivel mic clip, a velveteen storage pouch, and an aluminum flight case.

This is a premium studio large diaphragm condenser microphone that is designed for use by professional and advanced musicians. 

This one of the best large diaphragm condenser microphone for live vocals can also be used on the stage for live performances when quality is important and the performers are willing to invest in a great microphone for the best sound possible.

Any recording that requires a high-quality microphone will benefit from the Shure KSM44A. It’s great not only for vocal work but also background music, thanks to the different recording patterns that you can choose from. 

It sounds great for all types of instruments, including wind and brass, drums, strings, piano, and guitar. Additionally, it can be used as an overhead microphone for orchestral, choral, or percussion. 

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2. Neumann TLM 102 MT

Styled in a nickel finish, the TLM-102 Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Studio Condenser Microphone from Neumann has the ability to withstand very high sound pressure levels.

The capsule, with its high SPL rating, permits the recording of percussion, drums, amplifiers, and other loud sound sources.

The microphone is equally capable when recording lower volume sounds due to its fast transient response. However, its most important applications are in the realm of vocals and speech.

It is a large-diaphragm, transformerless capacitor microphone with a fixed-cardioid polar pattern. 

Though this top mic for voice overs looks superficially similar to other Neumann side‑address mics, it is significantly smaller than the likes of the U87. It weighs around 260g, has a diameter of 52mm, and a length of just 116mm.

The capsule, with its edge‑terminated diaphragm, makes use of more cost‑effective manufacturing methods than Neumann’s high‑end mics. 

Another cost‑cutting measure is the lack of pad and filter switches, which makes it very much a ‘no‑frills’ design — but again, this doesn’t impinge on the sound quality.

The mic comes with a secure screw-in stand mount with a solid-feeling clamp on the tilt control. It’s nominally cardioid-only, and there are no pads or low-cut filters built in.

Due to its remarkably linear response across the entire midrange, the TLM 102 is able to capture the authentic character of any voice or instrument, enhanced by a slight lift around 10kHz for silky highs. The TLM has a gorgeous bottom end too, enriched by the well-controlled proximity effect of a large diaphragm cardioid capsule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uzm6Ee4ewY

The TLM’s technical performance is impressive too. Its self-noise of only 12 dB-A is much lower than the ambient noise in even a very quiet room. 

At the same time, the TLM 102 is capable of handling extreme sound pressure levels of up to 144 dN free from distortion. 

As a member of the TLM range TLM 102 is equipped with a transformerless output stage, which means: powerful bass, even at highest signal levels, and a very direct sound without transmission losses. 

Its self-noise of only 12 dB-A is much lower than the ambient noise in even a very quiet room. 

At the same time, the TLM 102 is capable of handling extreme sound pressure levels of up to 144 dB free from distortion.

TLM102 is available in both black and nickel finishes. The mic comes in simple foam‑lined cardboard box along with a swivel standmount. 

A silver band below the basket and the red Neumann logo add a nice visual relief to the black basket and the satin-black body. 

A thread around the XLR housing locates into the stand adapter to provide a secure support, and the Neumann logo denotes the ‘hot’ side of the capsule. However, the thread will fit other Neumann‑compatible shock mounts.

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3. Warm Audio WA-47

The WA-47 is a large-diaphragm tube mic with a transformer-balanced output and multiple pickup patterns. The WA-47’s pattern is switched at the power supply, with nine variations ranging from the big three (figure-eight, cardioid and omni) through intermediate positions such as wide-cardioid and super-cardioid. An external power supply, cable, shockmount (with extra bands) and wood box for the microphone are shipped in a cardboard box with a foam insert. 

The WA-47’s nine polar patterns — cardioid, omni, and figure-8; plus six in-between patterns — give you amazing flexibility when it comes to exploring different recording techniques. 

Cardioid, with its moderate side and near-total rear rejection, is useful for just about any studio task. 

You can use the WA-47 on anything — with world-class results. It’s simply stunning on vocals, acoustic guitars, double bass, electric guitar and bass cabs, piano, drums and percussion, strings, brass, woodwinds, and any other source you’d care to throw at it. 

In fact, you could mic an entire symphony orchestra with nothing but three judiciously placed WA-47s set to omni.

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 1000

Considering its amazing price, it would be wise to at least double your value and get two for recording tracks in stereo.

The WA-47 comes with a wood case for storage as well as a shock mount. Beyond the aesthetics, Warm re-created the K47-style capsule that was used on the classic 47 starting around 1958.

The microphone features the classic styled tube JJ 5751. It’s a low noise, low gain tube that really pushes the classic sonic quality of the capsule and transformer. 

The use of the JJ 5751 no doubt led to an impressively low self-noise spec of 11dBA, impressive for a mic of this style—or any other microphone for that matter.

The provided power supply of this large diaphragm condenser microphone under $1000 allows for variable pattern switching from Omni to Cardioid to Figure 8. It is well constructed, like the microphone itself and has the feeling that it was created to take a beating if it needed to. 

The provided 7 pin cable once again shows an attention to detail as it is not just any cable.

There really is very little reason not to want to get your hands on the WA-47. It’s inexpensive and sounds like it’s worth a million dollars. Not many of us will ever be able to afford a real Neumann U47, and while this might not be quite the same, it does put you in that ballpark.

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4. Austrian Audio OC18 

Designed by a team of former AKG personnel, the Austrian Audio OC18 Studio Set is a large-diaphragm studio condenser microphone offering detailed audio capture for vocalists, voiceover artists, musicians, and producers in personal and commercial recording facilities. 

The handmade 1″ ceramic capsule features a gold-plated polymer membrane and a cardioid polar pattern, which yields reliable on-axis directivity with enhanced off-axis rejection. Being 48 VDC phantom powered, the OC18 does not require batteries or an external power supply.

OC18 is a versatile large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a fixed cardioid polar pattern, -10dB and -20dB pads, and a three-position, switchable highpass filter. 

You can use the OC18 on any source with excellent results. Austrian Audio microphones are rigorously tested with state-of-the-art measurement systems and are precision matched to within a stringent 1dB tolerance. 

This means you can confidently use your OC18 along with another OC18 in a stereo-pair configuration and assure stunning results.

best large diaphragm condenser mic for acoustic guitar

The single-diaphragm OC18 features a beautiful new handmade ceramic CKR12 capsule

Austrian Audio’s CKR12 capsule is traditional in terms of acoustics, but thanks to new materials and an innovative (and to be patented) production process, the assembly is much faster and easier.

Where most makers of C12 clones use a metal-on-plastic interfacing, the CKR12 capsule uses a black ceramic-on-ceramic interfacing of the capsule halves. 

Ceramic is stiffer and more temperature and humidity resistant. It also has a higher density, which improves mechanical isolation. This makes for a more modern, consistent, and reliable microphone.

This one of the best large diaphragm condenser microphone for overheads comes in a sturdy carrying case with a mic clip and a spider mount, plus a foam windscreen. 

The body of the microphone is made as a single piece and has a distinct, stylish look. Everything about this microphone tells you that this is a professional piece of gear.

Apart from being able to precisely adjust the polar pattern to any degree between figure-8 and omnidirectional, the PolarDesigner software enables the selection of different polar patterns for up to five different frequency bands. 

This level of control offers a multitude of recording options and can be an effective way of dealing with unwanted spillage by selecting separate polar patterns for different frequency ranges, enabling rejection of HF spill when recording bass instruments for example.

Apart from being able to precisely adjust the polar pattern to any degree between figure-8 and omnidirectional, the PolarDesigner software enables the selection of different polar patterns for up to five different frequency bands. 

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5. Warm Audio WA-87

Warm Audio released the WA-87 in 2016 as the company’s first venture into the world of microphones. It quickly earned a reputation for its sound and affordability. 

Building on its knowledge and success in the years following, Warm Audio has revamped the original design with the recently released WA-87 R2.

The original WA-87 already brought the sound of a classic, vintage, and most importantly, expensive microphone to hard-working engineers on a budget. 

The WA-87 R2 upgrades many features to make it sound even better and even closer to the original. For instance, even more top-shelf components are used throughout, such as a NOS Fairchild transistor and film capacitors from Wima.

The WA-87 R2 is inspired by the vintage 1967-1985 era U 87. It’s a large diaphragm FET condenser microphone with a transformer-coupled output. The nickel-plated brass body features three switches: polarity (cardioid, figure-eight, and omni), a -10dB pad, and an 80Hz highpass filter. 

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under

While the design is easily identifiable, the body itself is a bit more substantial than that of a U 87, and with a flashier finish. 

Singers will surely be impressed, but it can also be a bit more cumbersome to work with due to its size. It ships with a wooden box case, shock mount, and mic clip.

Every studio needs at least one pair of high-quality large-diaphragm condenser microphones, and the Warm Audio WA87 R2 is one of the best. 

You can use the WA87 R2 on anything — with world-class results. It’s great for vocals. It makes drums sound huge. It’s a must-have for adding a bit of room to complement a close dynamic or ribbon on a guitar cabinet. It’s an ideal choice for any acoustic instrument — strings, brass, woodwinds, or percussion. 

You can even use it for overhead or kick drums (where the 10dB pad comes in handy)! It’s equipped with an 80Hz highpass filter that’s useful for killing low-end mud and rumble. And its three polar patterns further increase this microphone’s already impressive versatility.

If what you need is a very high-quality microphone that outperforms most other mid-tier condensers, don’t even hesitate. Pick up a WA-87 R2 for yourself, we guarantee that you will not be disappointed. 

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Didn’t find what you were looking for? You may find your next studio condenser mic here in this list of large diaphragm condenser mic under $5000

Or, if you were looking for something cheaper, you may look at mid-range large diaphragm condenser mics, or check out our list of cheaper but good condenser microphones under $200.

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