Microphones - Here is the other (very!) frequently asked question by folks new to recording at home.
And I confess I asked it when I was just starting out. Though I do agree with the "it depends" part of the answer to a large degree, all the person asked for was "a clear mic" for under $300.
The advice as basically this: you can either get a $300 mike (the AT and the AKG are about that), or you can use dynamic mics (the Shures) for about $100. Really? those are the only choices? See the Home Brew Audio answer at the end.
Q: I'm looking to buy a microphone for a home recording studio. I want a really clear mic for under $300. I'd love help from someone who has a good one, or knows one.
A: It really depends on what you want to record with it. What are you recording to? A good vocal mic you can use is Rode NT2-A, which is my "everyday mic". It is it a large diaphragm condenser mic, so, it will need phantom power to make it work. You can also use it to record acoustic guitar, or just set it up in a room to record music.
Another good mic is the Audio-Technica At2035 microphone. It's an outstanding microphone to put in a room and just record what is happening. Again, it is a condenser mic so you need phantom power.
All in all, its hard to record music with one mic, but you can do it. It's better to have a couple mics set up so you can get better levels on what you want to record. Good luck.
Here is the Home Brew Audio answer:
While the two condenser mics mentioned above are good, they push or exceed the budget of the person asking the question. I don't think the either of the Shure mics are particularly "clear" (something else the questioner asked for) for recording purposes (mainly because they are dynamic mics as opposed to condenser mics - see our article What Are The Different Types of Microphones? for a review of that).
the other budget issue for mics like the Audio-Technica At2035 or Rode NT2-A is that though they sound great, they need an audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo in order to plug them into your computer, adding another $100.
Not only is it cheaper than any of the mics mentioned in the answer above, but for PC audio recording it is definitely better than either of the Shure mics for clarity. You might do even better with some of the more expensive USB mics on the market too, such as the Samson C01U or Blue Yeti. At that point it is all down to budget.
Our two cents.