The mantra that we've been repeating over and over on our tutorials is true: the better the source, the better the recording. But it's an unfortunate fact that without a good microphone to translate that good sound to the recording, even the best sounding source will come through poorly. Fortunately, in recent years the price of microphones that will do the job well has dropped significantly.
One thing to remember is that not every microphone can do everything, and what your ears love, another pair of ears might hate. What makes you happy, and what meets your needs (and budget), is most important.
In this guide, updated for 2010, you'll learn about five great microphones that ring in at under $200 each, but pack a punch worth much more. With these selections, you can't go wrong; they can record just about anything you throw at them, and the right combination of value for your dollar and performance makes these choices good for every audio engineer, professional or amateur.