April 09, 2015
Everything You Need to Know About Choosing the Right Microphone
Microphones. This is the next step for a musician. Playing your guitar around a campfire or to impress a significant other is fun and all, but microphones will help share your sound with the world.
Anyone who wants to record anything is going to need one. If you want to record, you’re going to have to eventually know the ins and outs of microphones. For all of the novices out there, they’re not as complicated as you might think! But with so many different categories, types and sheer number of them out there, choosing the right microphone can be a little intimidating for us all.
In today’s post, we’re going to break down all of the important basics of microphones to make choosing the right microphone as straightforward as possible.
Condenser and Dynamic
When it comes to choosing the right microphone, it’s important to know that microphones will fall under these two categories.
These aren’t hard and fast rules to live by, but mostly condenser mics work best with pianos, acoustic guitars and cymbals. Dynamic mics work well with electric guitar cabs and drums. With that said, real experts know that those are only guidelines. Neither microphone type is better than the other for the studio. And no microphone is good for all-purpose usage. Let’s go over different types of microphones.
Musicians have turned dynamic microphones into industry standards for rock vocals, electric guitars and drums. You’ll find that a lot of professional studios have tons of these available for usage. Many musicians will find that these are a must when choosing the right microphone.
Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics
There’s no doubt that this is the standard for recording vocals. Most studios will always have one of these on deck.
Small Diaphragm Condenser Mics
These microphones are great for recording instruments with high-frequency detail, like acoustic guitars or cymbals. These are perfect for singers who perform in their home studios, and are sure to come up when choosing the right microphone.
So, most mics are either condenser or dynamic. The ribbon mic is neither. They are much more durable than dynamic mics, more sensitive to high frequency than a condenser mic and have a standard figure-8 polar pattern. Professionals love these— amateurs not so much, because they can be pricey.
These mics give you the ability to switch between omnidirectional, figure-8 and cardioid. Not the best choice for a beginner, but a great buy when you feel comfortable.
These microphones feature a special frequency response distinguished by a scoop in the mids, a presence boost around 4k and a low end boost. On kick drums, they get both the low end thumps. Bass cabinets work well with these as well. Most low frequency instruments work great with these.
These mics are really easy to use. The rise in popularity of podcasting and YouTube have turned these mics into a hot commodity. They plug right into your laptop and… that’s it! Anyone who wants to record without the high-cost of a studio can easily get started with one of these.
Taking Care of Your Microphones
Okay, so you’ve purchased your microphone and you’ve been using it for years. It’s also good to know how to take care of them.
Keeping your microphone safe when not in use is a good idea, and just as important as choosing the right microphone to begin with. Dust particles can be damaging to the device. Even something simple like a plastic bag works.
A pop filter works wonders to stop saliva getting on the microphone. Lastly, always remember to connect the mic to the power supply before you turn it on. Voltage shock can permanently damage the device.
How to Travel with Your Microphones
Hard equipment cases are great for carrying not just the microphone, but the cables and other accessories as well. Hard cases provide protection against drops, crushing and any significant impacts. If you consider your instruments as really precious cargo, you can invest in some extra-protection. There are even more impact resistant options with foam interiors, shock resistant pads and even some waterproof cases.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right microphone. Head to your local store or reach out to customer service if you have any questions.