Looking For Good WebCams and Condenser Mike's
September 22, 2022 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Looking for good webcams and condenser microphones for about $40-60 each. Any recommendations?
posted by goalyeehah to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most decent condenser mics start at around $100. What are you trying to accomplish, that you don't think a less-expensive but still decent dynamic mic wouldn't accomplish?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:39 AM on September 22

Response by poster: Greg_Ace, I was going to use it for streaming on YouTube. A friend said I could find a good one from $40-60. I am open to going higher.
posted by goalyeehah at 10:52 AM on September 22

Are you looking for something you clip on to your shirt, or that you mount on a stand? If it's on a stand, are you planning on speaking directly into it, or having it pick you up from a distance?
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:17 AM on September 22

Response by poster: jonathanhughes, I am open to both clip and mike on the stand. On the stand, I would like it picking me up from a distance
posted by goalyeehah at 11:19 AM on September 22

How far of a distance? If you're youtubing, mic is generally less than a feet from your face, esp. if you're on cam. If you don't want to see the mic, then you use a Lavalier (or equivalent) clip-on.
posted by kschang at 11:26 AM on September 22

FWIW, I have a webcam from Aukey and condenser mic from GLX, both obtained from Amazon, both for about $50. Aukey got blacklisted by Amazon a while back.

I think I'd recommend the Anker 2K webcam for $50.

Logitech bought Blue a while back, but I'd probably still recommend the Blue Snowball, which is still about $50 or so on Amazon. Keep in mind these mics only come with a tiny desk tripod. If you want a mic stand, that's another $25-50 depending on how professional you want it. AND you can always use a pop-filter, another $10.

Also keep in mind that if you're not going to be too far from the webcam itself, webcam has microphone too.
posted by kschang at 11:37 AM on September 22

Don't assume you need a condenser mic. One of the most popular mics for streaming and voiceovers is the Shure 7MB, which is a dynamic mic. It's not cheap, but that doesn't mean that a cheaper dynamic mic wouldn't work.

Condensor mics require power of some kind (either via USB, or via phantom power from a mixer or audio interface, or via a video camera), so you need to make sure if yo get one, that whatever it's plugging into will supply power.

But depending on how far away you're planning to put the mic, a lavalier mic would probably provide better sound quality (you're going to get a lot of room sound with a mic several feet away).

Ultimately, unless you're really trying to create a broadcast TV-level product, it really doesn't matter. Anything anyone recommends here will probably be fine, as the quality of most things these days is very good. And while I generally recommend getting something good so you don't have to replace it, if you're just starting out, you might be better starting with just about anything, and then if you want to upgrade, you'll know what aspects you want to improve, and then you can get better suggestions for those specific things.
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:51 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]

I got this bundle from Amazon about a year ago for $20.99 on sale. Mic, foam windscreen, pop filter, stand, cable. There are dozens of clones like it. I use it for streaming and gaming. On Discord, in voice-activated mode, it works great, has good discrimination, and activates quickly without chopping the start of my sentences. Most mics of this style have a definite sensitivity pattern; on this mic, you want to be talking into the front of the mic, just above where it says YOTTO, instead of into the end of the mic.

In PTT mode, it is sensitive enough to clearly pick up keystrokes from hubby's mechanical keyboard, across the house. Is it a pro-grade studio mic for recording vocals? No. But it works perfectly fine for my needs and my baritone speaking voice.

For webcams, I usually just stick with Logitech, 'cause I know it will work, be painless to set up, and will give at least decent quality. There are a lot of sketchy cameras on Amazon, Ebay, etc. that advertise as 2K or 4K or whatever, but from a look at the video, it's painfully obvious that they're taking a 720P image and just upscaling it.
posted by xedrik at 1:01 PM on September 22

What are you looking to plug the mic into? A USB port? An XLR jack on an audio interface? If you're planning on using a mic miniplug input, you'll be at the mercy of the motherboard's hardware and drivers.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:36 PM on September 22

If you're looking for a USB mic, Rode's 'NT-USB mini' is meant for podcasting, and you can upgrade it to an arm if you decide you want to later. $80 from BH Photo. Comparison in the video.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:44 PM on September 22

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