Take a look at any online music superstore, and what do you see?
Thousands upon thousands of microphones.
But you don’t want thousands. You want one – or two – or however many it takes to get the job done.
So how then, do you assemble an effective microphone collection that does exactly what you need it to?
It’s simple. You just gotta know your options.
Starting first off with…
1. Dynamic Microphones
Dynamic mics are typically used to record instruments in the low to mid frequency ranges. Those include drums, percussion, bass, and electric guitar.
Next are the features:
- Durability – There’s a good reason dynamic mics are the standard mic choice for live performances. On stages, accidents happen, and mics take a beating. And dynamic mics are built to handle those beatings.
- Heavy Diaphragm – The diaphragm of a dynamic mic is typically more robust. Therefore dynamics can record at much higher sound levels of acoustic drums without being damaged.
- Passive Circuitry – Dynamic mics are passive, meaning they do not require an external power source.
- Resistant to Moisture – When moisture gets into a microphone, bad things happen. And all it takes is a simple change in humidity from traveling. That is why dynamic mics are perfect for life on the road.
- High Gain before Feedback – This feature is great for live use. But in the studio, it’s irrelevant, since the musicians wear headphones, and there is no feedback.
It’s a cheap, durable, no frills microphone. A sharp contrast to the next type of microphone on the list…
2. Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
Small diaphragm condenser microphones are typical used to record instruments that are rich in high frequency content. Those instruments commonly include cymbals, acoustic guitar, and acoustic piano.
Here are the key features to know:
- Delicate Design – Unlike dynamic mics, condenser mics contain many small parts and therefore very fragile. So don’t drop them, because they will break.
- Light Diaphragm – Condenser mics have a small, light diaphragm which allows them to accurately record high frequency detail. With less mass to move, it’s more sensitive to the lower energy levels of higher frequencies.
- Active Circuitry – Condenser mics are active, meaning the require phantom power. This means they can achieve higher gain, and record quieter sounds. Unfortunately, that also means that they’re more sensitive to feedback. For live use, feedback could be a problem. In the studio, it’s mostly irrelevant.
- Higher Cost – Condenser mics are typically more expensive, as all those small delicate parts are more difficult to build and assemble.
The next microphone on the list is has a design pretty similar to this one, with one notable difference: a larger diaphragm.
Home Recording Studio Microphone
Maybe slightly OT - Am setting up a home studio for voiceover based around GarageBand - any thoughts on best microphone for setup, or other pearls of experience-based wisdom? Need best possible sound quality, but have a very limited budget. I saw an adapter by Griffin that goes XLR to 1/8" (then into iMic), but have only seen it on overseas sites. What have you found?
Check Out Ubuntu Studio
Ubuntu is a version of Linux- an open source operating system.
Ubuntu Studio is a version of linux that comes with all sorts of multi-media software built in.
Even if you have no interest in switching to linux, much of the Ubuntu Software is available for Windows as well.
To do simple home recording, all you need is a microphone that plugs directly into your computer's USB port and software called 'Audacity'. You'll get decent recordings, though certainly not professional quality [which would take thousands of dollars in equipment and years of experience to achieve].