Best Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone 2023; Reviews

Here in this 4-part “Best Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone” article we’ve rounded up 26 top condenser mics for recording vocals & instruments to help you compare them by price & specs.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a studio veteran, I can GUARANTEE YOU that you’ll be able to find a good large diaphragm condenser microphone here, which is also in your budget.

This is the MOST in-depth large diaphragm condenser mic review article that you’ll find on the internet. 

In this article, I review 26 of the most popular and best large diaphragm condenser mics by price and specifications and help you choose the right mic for you, whatever your budget or home recording studio situation may be.

I have divided this article into 4 parts. If you already know what you’re looking for, then you can click on the links above to skip straight to those sections.

 

So, are you ready to get started?  

Let’s begin!

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

1. Marantz Professional MPM-1000U

This unit might be an entry-level microphone, but you can expect studio-quality sound from it. If you need it for podcasts, video commentary, or isolating instruments on a crowded stage, the MPM-1000 is a perfect condenser mic for you.

The Marantz Professional MPM-1000 is a large diaphragm condenser mic with a directional cardioid polar pattern and pure-aluminum-plated, 14mm-diameter-diaphragm condenser capsule.

This being a microphone which is priced under $100, might not be applicable to every instrument out there and you may find better solutions for certain recordings, but this unit works wonders in particular settings and environments. 

As such, this product is a useful tool for the amateur and professional alike, whether you are a self-recording artist or a studio producer.

Bypassing the need for any audio interface, preamp, or mixer, the MPM-1000U lets you record yourself right out of the box, capturing broadcast-quality audio in the process. 

When it comes to podcasts, streaming, and YouTubing, Marantz Pro MPM-1000 stands proudly at the top. Many content creators out there favor the MPM-1000 for its convenient price, but also for its simplicity, sound quality, and durability.

This one of the best affordable large diaphragm condenser microphone comes with a desktop tripod stand that proves that this is a model primarily intended for YouTubers but it also performs remarkably well in the studio too.

The mic records audio at sample rates and resolutions up to 16-bit / 48 kHz, giving you the broadcast standard for media playback. 

This mic will capture audio at the same sample rate and resolution that all your viewers or listeners would likely hear it.

Pros:
  • Budget large diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Ideal for podcasters and YouTubers
  • Delivers a clear tone without being harsh
  • Comes with a shock mount
  • Perfectly suitable for home or studio
Cons:
  • Not for instruments

2. MXL 990

The MXL 990 is an ultra-affordable large-diaphragm FET condenser. It’s traditional in appearance, with looks seemingly inspired by legendary German designs of the past and present.

It features a fixed cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz.

The mid-range sensitivity of this mic is beautifully weighty and rich, which is surprising for a mic of this budget. The mic adds body and warmth to vocals without sounding muddy. 

The natural presence boost of the mic is bound to add welcome detail on some phrases on an acoustic guitar.

The construction of the mic is solid and understated with a satin metal finish, giving it a classic look.

The microphone comes with a shockmount, as well as a regular stand adaptor, and the whole kit comes in a practical foam-lined plastic case. 

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 100

The MXL 990 is designed primarily as a cardioid-pattern vocal mic, based around a gold-sputtered six-micron diaphragm (20mm) in a capsule that has a nominally flat response from 30Hz to 20kHz. There’s a gentle presence peak centred around 8kHz, but the effect of this is fairly subtle and it helps balance the proximity bass boost when the mic is used close up.

This is one of the best cheap large diaphragm condenser microphone perfectly suitable for home recording enthusiasts.

As a vocal mic, the MXL 990 produces a subjectively neutral and nicely balanced sound with just a hint of high-end sizzle that can help out vocalists who have difficulty getting the definition they need.

The MXL 990 delivers a silky sweet high end and retains tight, solid low and midrange reproduction. It is built with an XLR connector and requires 48V phantom power to operate.

Pros:
  • Solid build and durability
  • Versatile 
  • Great for vocals and well as instruments
  • Solid, musical sound
Cons:
  • Isolation could be better

3. AKG P120

The AKG P120 Project Studio Condenser Microphone is one of the most affordable & best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 100 built for home studios.

The build quality is solid as the body of the AKG mic is solid metal with a nice modern finish, coming in black with a minimal and simple design. On the microphone body itself, you will also find the only two physical switches: one for low cutoff filter and one for -20dB.

At the bottom of the AKG Perception 120 microphone, you will find the XLR output and when it comes to the physical aspects of the microphone, that is pretty much it.

With a cardioid polar pattern, this mic comes with a capsule in a 0.66-inch diameter. 

If you use it as a vocal microphone, the P120 can produce a very nice and warm sound that is slightly compressed.

However, it works well with different sound types including the feminine vocalists to lose some edges and gain some depths.

The all-metal body improves rejection of RF interference so you can use the microphone near transmitter stations and along with wireless microphones.

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 100

The P120 is built to resist high temperatures and humidity. The rugged body and sturdy front grille protect it from tough handling.

The controls on this microphone are not technical to handle. They are pretty easy to use and very practical. This microphone comes with a bass-cut filter that is switchable and you can use it to eliminate any footfall noise or rumble.

The mic also comes with its attenuation pad that you can switch to handle high SPL. It is good enough for applications that involve attenuation of up to 150 dB.

The attenuation pad comes in very handy as the mic doesn’t come with any position adjustability.

Being a cheap large diaphragm condenser microphone it shines in its ability to deliver clear audio that most entry-level to intermediate level users will be satisfied with.

It can be used for a professional recording setting, podcasts, voiceover and anything you might need from an all-around microphone.

The dimensions coming at around – length: 165mm, diameter 54mm and the net weight at around 455g makes the AKG P120 condenser microphone a nice fit for a travelling microphone, as the microphone, the required XLR cables and even an audio interface can easily fit in a backpack making it easy to travel from studio to studio if that’s the workflow you prefer.

Pros:
  • Very affordable 
  • Built well to last long
  • Good sound reading
Cons:
  • Loud self-noise level

4. MXL 2006 

The MXL 2006 is an inexpensive FET condenser microphone with a fixed-cardioid, large-diameter capsule and a transformerless, class A amplifier circuit.

The capsule is a single-sided K67 copy, manufactured in China. The capsule diameter is 32mm, with a 25mm diaphragm that allows it to capture the details and nuances of vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitar cabinets, and percussion. 

The back side of the capsule has a clear membrane, as is typical of Cardioid-only K67-type capsules.

best large diaphragm condenser microphone for electric guitar

The mic has a FET preamp with a Class-A circuitry with a wide range of frequency response starting from 30Hz up to 20kHz. This means that when used with a good quality amp, it produces a clear, crisp sound with nice low end without being muddy.

The mic comes with an elastic shockmount and a hard shell plastic carrying case.

This is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that requires an amplifier or audio interface capable of providing 48-volt phantom power in order for the mic to perform at its best.

Pros:
  • Large capsule for picking up crisp detailed sound
  • Rugged metallic build
  • Affordable
  • Can be used with acoustic guitars and percussion
Cons:
  • Not for professionals

5. Stellar X2

Most low-cost condenser microphones have a noticeable harsh and bright tone that makes them hard to sit in a mix and can sound fatiguing over time. 

The Stellar X2 is different in that its capsule and circuit are carefully tuned to produce a sound that is very smooth and easily sits in any mix without the tinny harshness of low-cost condenser microphones.

Outwardly the Stellar X2 looks much like any other large–diaphragm microphone, other than being slightly smaller, at just six inches long and 1.725 inches wide.

The mic is supplied in an aluminium case with a shockmount, a foam wind shield and a soft storage pouch.

Inside the black, powder-coated, shell is a custom–built, centre–terminated brass capsule skinned with Japanese Mylar. This is a K67‑style design, and measures 34mm in diameter. This high-frequency attenuation is employed to balance the harshness commonly associated with this style of capsule, the aim being to achieve very smooth highs. 

The hand-built, transformerless JFET circuit includes tight–tolerance German WIMA film capacitors and other highly specified components, while the PCB has gold-plated tracks to optimise conductivity.

The microphone doesn’t have an over-the-top proximity effect, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the actor. 

Some voice actors working at home with some of the similarly priced competitors are struggling with extra mouth noise, no doubt related to that upper-mid boost.

This is undoubtedly one of the best budget microphone for voice overs as on vocals the mic delivers a clean representation of the person in front of it, with no obvious coloration and a good balance of low–end density and high-end detail, all the while sounding smooth rather than aggressive. 

The lack of significant presence peaks also means the mic should suit a wide variety of voice types. 

Female singers and males with high voices tend to show up any high-frequency coloration a little more so the smooth high end of this model could well be a benefit in such cases.

For its price, the Stellar X2 is a must have. It competes effortlessly with mics costing five times the price. 

We strongly recommend this best large diaphragm condenser microphone for vocals, which is a worthwhile addition to any mic locker. Whether you’re a voice actor, podcaster or a musician, this mic is well worth a listen.

Pros:
  • Mic has a robust finish
  • It is flat and neutral
  • It can fit numerous sources
  • A good condenser microphone as reviewed by customers
  • Uses pure brass
Cons:
  • A bit difficult to use

6. AKG Pro Audio P220

The P220 is a large-diaphragm true condenser microphone offering a warm and clear sound for lead vocals, acoustic guitar and brass instruments. 

A switchable bass-cut filter and attenuation pad make it perfectly suited for use on loud sound sources with sound pressure levels up to 155dB SPL. The rugged and roadworthy design also makes the P220 a perfect choice for on-stage applications.

This one of the best large diaphragm condenser microphone for acoustic guitar has a typically rugged and strong feel to it common to most AKG microphones and weighs 1.25 pounds. A tough all-metal die-cast chassis stores the condenser. 

Tough enough to withstand use on a daily business with no problems. Finished in a matte black, it has a very clean, understated, and minimalistic look.

The microphone’s cardioid pattern helps focus audio capture in front of the capsule, reducing unwanted ambient sound from the other sides and back. 

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 200

A low-cut filter at 300 Hz allows you to cut unwanted low end from your sources, while its selectable -20 dB pad allows the mic to handle SPLs up to 155 dB, allowing it to be placed in front of a variety of sources.

The P220’s frequency response is broad enough to capture a variety of sound sources, from the low yet powerful percussion of a bass drum to the chime of a triangle. 

It’s also got a fantastic maximum SPL of 135 dB, stretching to 155 dB with the help of the attenuation pad. Whether you’re recording a violin solo or some heavy drumming, you can be sure the P220 is going to hold out.

The 3-pin XLR connector is gold-plated to ensure a quality connection that will last, Also,it has a spider design shock mount and also has a tough aluminum padded metal case.

This is a microphone with a multiplicity of uses. Although it is probably made essentially for studio use, its scope is wider than that. In the studio, it is obviously great for vocals, brass instruments, and even acoustic guitar. 

A range of other instruments all fall within its range to produce great sound reproduction.

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Good audio
  • Durable, metallic build
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Average looks

7. Blue Spark Blackout SL

The Blue Blackout Spark SL is amazing to look at and it’s even better to use, and more importantly, it comes complete with its own shock mount, a classy wood traveling case and full instructions for use in the studio or in place of your USB microphone.

It sports the unique lollipop shape that will be familiar to anyone with experience with Blue Microphones’ regular output and is certainly enough to turn a few heads.

This one of the best large diaphragm condenser microphone under $200 is kitted out with a custom designed JFET condenser capsule. This delivers consistent, detailed and transparent sound for a wide range of recording scenarios.

best large diaphragm condenser microphone under 200

The cardioid-only polar pattern greatly reduces pickup of background noise. The microphone has a standard frequency response range of 20Hz to 20kHz, with a max SPL of 136dB. 

These are enhanced by some on-mic features, such as the 100Hz low-cut filter switch to reduce unwanted rumble and boom, and the -20dB pad switch to keep things distortion-free.

Note that this mic features an XLR connection, so 48v phantom power is required to use it.

The design, features and lower max SPL all point to the fact that this is not the ideal mic for recording instruments. 

Also, this is undoubtedly a vocalist’s mic and works particularly well for all kinds of speech, giving a rich, clear and focused sound to your voice, while eliminating background noise very well.

While singing is not out of the question, like instruments, there are better mics for that. Where the Blackout Spark SL shines is in its broadcasting output, making it ideal for talkers – voiceovers, gaming and podcasting in particular. 

Pros:
  • Great looking
  • XLR connection for pro use
  • 100Hz high pass filter and -20dB pad
  • Great mic response
  • Awesome clarity
Cons:
  • May be a bit pricey for some

Were you not able to find the mic that you were looking for. No problem!

Check out any of the other 3 parts of this article, I am sure you will be able to find something that suits your budget and requirement.

Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones - FAQs

What Is A Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone?

Easily the most critical component in any microphone for determining the sound of the mic is the diaphragm. The diaphragm’s ability to move accurately with the sound pressure waves that hit it is determined by a combination of its size, mass, rigidity, and the enclosure around it.

Studio microphones are offered as small and large diaphragm types. If you are looking for large diaphragm condenser microphone definition, then here it is:

A good general rule of thumb is that “Large” means the capsule’s diaphragm (or membrane) is 1 inch (25.4 mm) or more in diameter; “small” means it is ½ inch (12.7 mm) or less. But that is just a rule of thumb. 

In reality, many small diaphragm microphones for audio recording (as opposed to measurement mics) use slightly larger capsules. Also, there are large diaphragm microphones whose diaphragm size is slightly below 1 inch, often 22 mm.

Small diaphragm microphones are often used on woodwinds and other delicate orchestral instruments, acoustic guitars, cymbals, hi-hat, small percussion instruments or anything where a lot of detail needs to be captured.

Why Use A Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone?

Large diaphragm microphones (large diaphragms are usually considered to have a diameter greater than .75 inches) tend to do a better job of capturing the depth of very low frequency sounds (though some would argue this). 

At least they subjectively sound better on low frequency sounds to most engineer’s ears. In general large diaphragms have a “big” sound to them that many people have found very pleasing over the years – particularly on the human voice.

Using a large diaphragm condenser microphone has several advantages.

The main technical advantage of large diaphragm condenser microphones to this day is their noise performance.

The general rule is that larger diaphragms capture more detail but are not good at handling high sound pressure levels. Smaller diaphragms are usually not as good as their larger counterparts when it comes to sonic quality, 

Large diaphragm condenser microphones shape the sound in a pleasing way. A good large diaphragm condenser encourages speakers and singers and gives them something to focus on in the absence of an audience. 

Apart from vocals and spoken word, large diaphragm microphones are often used for solo instruments to make them appear vibrant, rich and “larger than life.”

What Is A Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Used For?

Large diaphragm microphones are great when you want a big and warm sound. Usually favored for vocals, voice-overs, and some instruments as it adds that richness to the sound – the accentuation of the low frequencies.

The large diaphragm condenser microphones are highly sensitive and can record even the hum of your A/C or computer fans or mouse clicks.

They also have warmer sound around the low frequencies.

Large diaphragms can always make you sound much nicer, giving you that ‘record’ quality, that many producers yearn for.

Conclusion

This was a roundup of the best large diaphragm condenser microphones ranging from under $100 to under $5000 that you might consider for your home studio, especially if you are looking for a professional quality sound.

There really is a wealth of choice out there when you are looking for a good condenser microphone. We hope this article helped you find your perfect large diaphragm condenser microphone. 

Written by:
AJ Mani
AJ Mani

AJ has been intimately involved with music for more than 25 years as a composer, electronic musician, guitarist, writer, music software developer, and keyboard technician.

More about me...
Most Popular
ABOUT US

At Radaudio, we help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high- quality, authoritative reviews. Our passion here at Radaudio is to provide helpful straight forward clear advice and product reviews for aspiring and established musicians.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

Radaudio is a participant in several affiliate advertising programs, including (but not limited to) proprietary programs and the following networks: Amazon Associates, Clickbank, ShareASale.
We disclose, as an affiliate publisher, that we may earn advertising fees by advertising through these networks at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Reply

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