Over at Yahoo! Answers, someone just asked for advice on a microphone in the price range of 200-500 that he could use for recording rap on his home studio. Here's his question:
I'm making a home studio for rapping and need a good microphone, possibly 200-500 dollars. I want a good one so if I have to pay a little more I'll do it instead of paying a little for something that sucks. Please help.
A: You're going to want a large diaphragm condenser type of mic. My absolute favorite (in that price range anyway;)) is the Rode NT2-A, which runs about $399. I record all my vocals, both singing and voice-over stuff, with it.
Another solid choice for less money is the Audio-Technica AT2035 for about $149.
Both of these microphones are large diaphragm condenser microphones. If you aren't familiar with what that means, see my article What Are The Different Types Of Microphones?
Both of those microphones are "standard" mics. That means they are NOT USB mics. For more on what the difference is, see my article USB Mic Versus Condenser Mic And Interface For Home Recording.
Basically, though it is bit more expensive than using a USB mic that plugs straight into your computer, a standard mic + recording interface will give you the best quality (most of the time).
Like I mentioned above, standard mics need an audio interface with phantom power. One example (out of many available) would be the Focusrite Scarlett Solo.
There are tons of different mics available though. For example, I mentioned the Rode NT2-A. But if you don't need the switchable polar patterns of that mic (see my article Directional And Omnidirectional Microphones - What Are They Good For? for more on that), you could get it's "little brother" - the Rode Nt1A instead.
Anyway, if you'd like to hear how both of these mics sound, I did a review of the AT2035 and tested it against the Rode, and put the audio results on the page here: Review of the Audio-Technica AT2035 Microphone. I hope that helps!
This question gets asked pretty frequently with the only variable usually being the price range. Interestingly, I've never seen anyone give a price range of $800-$1,500 or higher;). But as soon as they do, I'll post it here on the site.