Large-diaphragm condensers provide a highly detailed sound that is largely unrivaled by other types of microphones. They have superb dynamic range, wide frequency response and are the go-to mics when it comes to many studio recordings, most notably vocals and acoustic instruments such as drums overheads or kick drums, upright bass, acoustic guitars and many others. We have deeply-surveyed our threads for some of the very best condensers under $1000, so they are!

United Studio Technologies UT FET47

United Technologies breakthrough microphone is not only impressive because it was their very first project, but mainly because it screams quality without a prohibitive price tag attached to it. The UT FET47 is a recreation of what is one of the best condensers ever made, and years of research allowed the company to deliver a microphone that closely follows the original. Boasting a carefully created capsule that matches the classic German design, a custom-made Cinemag transformer for the output stage, nickel-plated brass body, 75Hz high-pass filter, gain attenuation pad (-10dB) and a sturdy swivel arm that facilitates mounting without the need for shock-mounts or other adapters.

sE Electronics sE4400a

Based around the same capsule found on sE's successful 2200 condenser, the 4400a greatly expands on its functionality to offer a highly versatile microphone. For starters, the 4400a features six polar patterns including four cardioid variants, figure-8 and omnidirectional, which vastly increases its range of applications, making it a fine choice that takes on nearly everything a recording studio needs. The shock-mount further adds to its flexibility, allowing the mic to be safely angled and perfectly positioned to get most out of the sound source. A matched-pair package for stereo recordings is also available.

Warm Audio WA-47

We already covered the FET version of the U47, so now it's time for the classic tube version. Warm Audio is known and cherished for bringing studio classics to a friendly price point without compromising the quality, and they have done it again with the WA-47. As the famous forty-seven number hints, this is their take on the coveted Neumann U47 tube condenser microphone, a studio staple with a history like few others, and they have all angles covered including carefully-selected parts to match the sonic characteristics of the originals, including all nine polar patterns and external power supply.

Audio-Technica AT4047/SV

The AT4047/SV pays homage to classic FET designs of yesterday, combining the sonics of the past with the best of current-day technology for great accuracy and reliability. This is a warm sounding cardioid with a frequency response of 20Hz-18kHz and can take up to 158 dB maximum SPL. It also has a -15dB attenuation pad and a 12dB/octave low cut filter at 80Hz. If stretching your budget is possible and/or more versatility is desired Audio-Technica offers the “4047 MP” version, which adds omnidirectional and figure-8 pickup patterns, considerably extending the possibilities of this excellent microphone. No matter which version you decide on, the 4047 SV and MP are both very worthy additions to any microphone closet.

Austrian Audio OC18

Austrian Audio might be a rather new company, but their story stretches far back in time as they were founded by former AKG engineers who made some of the iconic mics of all time, such as the C12, C414, D12 and many others. Here we have the OC18, which is the smaller brother of the flagship OC818, with some of the core features trickling down to a more affordable package. The OC18 features the same handcrafted ceramic capsule and inherits the sonics of its bigger brother, but with a single polar pattern instead of multiple - they're matched to the point that these two siblings can even be paired when set to the cardioid pattern. Definitely a wise choice that can be further expanded down to the road.

Lewitt LCT 640 TS

A gorgeous looking microphone with a tremendous sound quality and a big feature set from the rising Lewitt company. The LCT 640 TS presents a rugged metal construction with a distinctive hexagonal metal grille, corrosion-free XLR connector, variable gain attenuation pad and an illuminated front panel that provides access to the polar pattern selection (cardioid, broad cardioid, supercardioid, omnidirection, figure-8). But here's the big and innovative twist: you can alter the polar pattern after the recording is done thanks to its Dual Output Mode. This technology sends two signals from the front and the back of the mic to two individual outputs that are recorded and then encoded in your DAW of choice with Lewitt's Polarizer plug-in, allowing the user to change the polar pattern when mixing. If you're looking for a next-gen mic, this one is definitely worth getting!

Stam Audio SA-87

A recreation of the revered U87, made with selected parts and the famous sonic signature at a non-prohibitive price: that's the SA-87 in a nutshell. This mic is handmade in Chile and features a Pizzolante Labs K87 capsule that closely matches the original, Lundahl output transformer and three polar patterns (omni, cardioid, figure-8) to revive all the glory of the Neumann without having to dig deep into the second-hand market. Stam Audio's gear may be a bit tricky to find as the company usually operates in small batches with limited numbers, so keep an eye out for them and seize that opportunity when it presents itself!

Slate Digital VMS (Virtual Microphone System)

Slate Digital stormed the world of plugins with awesome emulations of classic gear and now they’re about to do the same in the microphone department. The VMS - Virtual Microphone System - is comprised of the ML-1 LDC and the VMS-ONE. The first is a microphone with high definition and ultra-linear frequency response and the latter is a preamp that’s made to be as clean as possible, not adding any colouration to the sound. The "sonic transformation" happens after the recording is done when it’s processed with the VMS Module plugin, which brings an ever-growing list of emulations of classic microphones and preamps to your DAW. With such an ambitious proposal the VSM is definitely something to watch and consider for your recording setup.


A popular product in many “recommend me a mic” threads and a popular choice in recording studios since the 1970s, the C414 currently comes in two flavours: The XLII model evokes the legendary C12 microphone and features a spacious sound with a top-end boost, while the XLS (featured) continues the lineage of the classic C414 B-ULS in all its neutral sounding glory. Both of these large-diaphragm condensers feature nine polar patterns (omni, cardioid, wide cardioid, hypercardioid, figure-8 and four intermediates), gain attenuation pad (-6/-12/-18 dB) and three options for cutting low frequencies at 40, 80 and 160 Hz. Both the XLS and B-ULS are excellent choices for any recording setup.

Lauten Audio LA-320

Lauten Audio's "Black" line of microphones is headlined by the LA-320, a classy cardioid condenser that combines the warmth of a dual triode vacuum tube with the clarity and punch of a premium USA-made output transformer. The LA-320 also features a set of filters not usually seen on this category, and besides the usual low-cut to prevent excessive rumble, it also packs a high-cut filter that allows the top end to be shaped at the source, which is useful not only on studios but quite handy for live sound applications as well. A perfect mic for that "all-around" role that is so important for today's music producers.

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