Microphone Types: For Recording Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Drums, and Others


types of microphones
Guide to different types of microphones

Perhaps the most important weapon in recording or your home studio arsenal is the microphone (yes, more important than your preamps!).

It’s how you capture your source in your room; it’s how you color it, how you get it to sound bright, dark, in between, or whatever you need.

Like all things in the business or hobby of home recording, microphones can be daunting simply because they exist in so many different types, forms, styles, and models, from many different makers.

For all of this “noise,” how do you separate the “chaff from the wheat,” as the saying goes?  This article will help you do just that.

It will introduce you to the three main types of microphones, give examples of each, and explain what they are used for and what situations.

Hopefully, this will eliminate some of the stress you might feel when you are making the important decision on which microphone(s) to buy for your home studio!

Plus, I will include some other types of microphones that are used in other fields too.

The Three Main Types of Microphones

For all the various kinds of microphones available to the consumer, they really all boil down to three main types:  

  • Dynamic
  • Condenser
  • Ribbon

All the microphones (or “mics”) you’ll find generally fit into one of these three categories.

They each have their uses and specialties, and while there is some overlap, some trial and error when using them will eventually lead you to some “best practices” and workflow for each that works for you.

1. Dynamic Microphones

dynamic microphones
Dynamic Microphones

We’ll start our discussion with the dynamic mic, which is probably the most “basic” type, with the widest range of uses.

Dynamic mics are also known as “moving coil” microphones because that’s how they work—they function in a way, not unlike a speaker, except in reverse.

In a speaker, a signal from some amplifier moves the voice coil that’s mounted to the speaker’s magnet, which causes the magnet to move the speaker cone back and forth, producing sound.

How do They Work?

A dynamic mic produces an audio signal when a sound wave hitting the small thin membrane in the mic called the “diaphragm” moves a coil of metal wire wound around a magnet, cause it to generate an electrical signal.

There’s no electrical circuit inside a dynamic mic, however.  It’s really a “passive” device that contains just the diaphragm, moving coil and magnet, and produces the sound’s electrical signal with only those three components!  Pretty neat.

The fact that it only contains three passive components (no active electrical components at all) makes it not only pretty simple but pretty rugged as well.  They are also cheap to produce thanks to that simplicity, so they are the most inexpensive mics to buy as a result.

As we’ll discuss later, there are, of course, exceptions to that rule—you can find consumer-grade condenser mics that are less expensive than the highest-end dynamic mic. Still, generally, dynamic mics are the most inexpensive of the three types.

For more information, check out this article on how to clean a microphone diaphragm here.

Nature

The “rugged” nature of a dynamic mic (you can drop them with no damage to them at all, and they can handle high sound pressure levels much better than delicate condensers or ribbons.  

They are used in a lot of live events because of this heartiness)  translates to a certain “ruggedness” in the sound quality they produce, as well.

They aren’t as detailed in the high end as a condenser mic would be, for example.  They don’t have as high an output level either. But sometimes, that’s just what the job calls for.

A super-loud guitar amp or a big beefy kick drum benefits rightly from the use of a dynamic mic.

In fact, they are the common go-to choice for lots of sources.

Drawbacks

The trade-off here is that they often lack the sensitivity to handle quieter sound sources, and by the time you boost them enough to do so (using a preamp or “Cloudlifter”-like device, you’ll probably find so much hiss from the noise floor that it’s not worth doing.  

Another inherent “drawback” (not really the right word, but still) of a lot of dynamic mics is that because of the way they work, they need to get right on top of them, the way you have to use them, “colors” the sound.

They tend to not have an even frequency response across the whole spectrum, in other words.  BUT… that doesn’t have to be bad.

Once you understand how to use a dynamic mic and what situations, you can get great results.  Use them to your advantage—using a dynamic mic with a big midrange response on a big loud, punchy guitar amp will sound great, for example.

The point is, you don’t always need a really expensive, detailed condenser mic to get the result you’re after.  

How They are Used?

Dynamics are designed to be used very close to the source.  Even moving back a distance of three to four inches can dramatically reduce their output levels.

That’s why you see so many singers in live situations “eating the mic”!  But when you use them on a nice, loud source, they’ll give you great results

A great example of a classic dynamic mic used in studios all over the world, on many different sources is the Sennheiser MD 421.

2. Condenser Microphones

condenser microphones
Condenser Microphones

The condenser mic is the one most everyone thinks about when they think about a recording studio.

They are big, impressive-looking gadgets and are often seen in music videos, promotional shots, and album covers.  I’m willing to bet that it’ll be that of a condenser microphone when someone thinks of an iconic recording studio image.  

How do They Work?

A condenser mic (also called a “capacitance mic”) includes active (meaning it draws an electrical current) electronics, which necessitates them drawing power from an external source to make them work and produce a signal.

This active circuitry usually means they need “phantom power,” which is an additional voltage (usually 48 volts) supplied by your board or recording interface.

This additional power allows the mic’s very thin, light diaphragm (which is part of a little internal structure called the “capsule” to move when hit by sound waves.

Because this capsule is so small and delicate, a condenser mic is significantly more sensitive than a dynamic mic.

For us end-users, it means that a condenser will give us greater audio fidelity, more balanced frequency response, and a lot more sensitivity for capturing quiet, detailed sources.

Nature

They are far more delicate than dynamic mics too.  You have to be very careful when handling them and using them, as they won’t hold up to the abuse a dynamic mic can take.

They also aren’t great on loud sources, and they will distort easily.  Even more, their capsules can be damaged by high sound pressure levels.

How They are Used?

In contrast to dynamic mics, they are designed to be used from further away from the source.  A singer should be eight to twelve inches away from a condenser mic, for example.

There are some exceptions to this but that’s a good rule of thumb.

Of course, their sensitivity allows you to capture a far more delicate source, like a fingerpicked acoustic guitar performance or a soft vocalist.

They pick up on many nuances that will be missed by even the best dynamic mic, especially in the higher end of the frequency spectrum.

They’re also great for installing multiple microphone sources at once, like a string quartet or bluegrass band who want to perform live together.

Types Of Condenser Microphones

Condensers come in a few different types and sizes. The two main types will be either solid-state or powered by a tube.

Generally, tube condensers are more expensive than their solid-state counterparts and require a separate power source than just the 48v phantom power offered by your board or interface.  

While phantom power is usually delivered through the standard XLR cable plugged into the mic, a tube condenser will have a special multi-pin cable running to an external power supply box (that comes with the mic when you buy it), which then has a standard XLR cable that goes from that to the interface.

Within those two main subtypes are several different sizes of condenser —

  • small-diaphragm condensers (SDC, also called “pencil condensers”)
  • medium diaphragm condensers (MDCs) and,
  • you guessed it, large-diaphragm condensers (LDCs).

To be honest it’s usually enough to just talk about SDCs and LDCs.  They will cover pretty much ALL of your condenser needs. MDCs really are fairly rare and are kind of squeezed out by the other two types.

Small Diaphragm Condensers

SDCs are great for a variety of uses, and their tiny capsule really helps pick up the detailed high end. They are great for drum overheads, acoustic guitars, and other detailed sources.

Large Diaphragm Condensers

LDCs are king when it comes to recording vocals (and many other things as well of course).  But not always. That depends on your singer; sometimes even a great dynamic mic like a Shure SM-7B works great on a vocal.  It all depends.

In general, condenser mics are more expensive than dynamics.  At the higher levels, they can even cost tens of thousands of dollars!  Some good examples that won’t break the bank for you:

A good solid state LDC is the Audio-Technica AT-4033.

A good tube LDC is the Rode NTK.

A good SDC would be the Rode NT5 or the Shure SM81.  

Rode NT5-MP Compact Cardioid Condenser Microphones, Matched Pair
128 Reviews
Rode NT5-MP Compact Cardioid Condenser Microphones, Matched Pair
  • ENSURE YOU BUY GENUINE RØDE PRODUCTS! Products from sellers which say ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ under the price are NOT authorized resellers, and may not be selling genuine product.
  • Buy only from Amazon.com (labelled ‘shipped and sold by Amazon.com’)
  • Intended for recording acoustic instruments, drum overheads, cymbals and live performances
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
85 Reviews
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
  • This microphone requires phantom power and performs best with a 48 Vdc supply (IEC-61938). However, it will operate with slightly decreased headroom and sensitivity with supplies as low as 11 Vdc. Most modern mixers provide phantom power. You must use a balanced microphone cable: XLR-to-XLR or XLR-to-TRS.
  • The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. It is furnished with a swivel adapter, attenuator-switch lock, foam windscreen, and case for carrying and storage. Other accessories are available.
  • 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response. Flat response curve for accurate reproduction of sound sources.

3. Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon Microphones
Ribbon Microphones

The third main category of mics is the ribbon microphone.  Before the advent of condenser microphones, ribbon mics were the workhorses of the recording world.

They were very popular during the Jazz Age of the 1930s and were in use in studios all over the world.

Condensers came along in the 1950s and changed the things, but ribbons have gained a resurgence in popularity thanks to some overseas manufacturers who are making some reasonably priced models

How do They Work?

Although I’m classing them as a separate category on their own, ribbons are really dynamic mics at heart. They use passive technology that produces their signal in a manner similar to a dynamic.

The difference with a ribbon is that instead of a heavier, thicker circular diaphragm and coil, a ribbon mic uses a long, narrow, extremely thin ribbon of metal clamped between the poles of a magnet, coupled to a transformer, to capture sound.

This makes them less sensitive than condenser mics in terms of their output level, although they produce a nice thick, dark tone that makes them perfect for use in certain situations.

Use them when a condenser sounds too tinny and dynamic sounds too dull.

Benefits

They can really help “thicken” or “warm-up” a track, especially one that was recorded digitally. They can also be very helpful in taming harsh-sounding sources, like violins.

Another benefit is that ribbon mics can pick up sound from all around them and operate with a “figure 8 polar pattern” (more on those later).  This allows them to be used to capture a nice “airy” room sound.

A great example of an affordable ribbon mic is the Cascade Fathead II.

Cascade Microphones FAT HEAD BE Stereo Pair-Grey Body/Anodized Silver Grill
  • Grey Body/ Anodized Silver Grill
  • Includes 2 FAT HEAD BE Ribbon Microphones
  • 2 Microphone clips

4. Some Other Sub-Categories Worth Mentioning

Radio Production Microphones

These microphones can be found in radio stations and are used in radio programs/announcements and dubbing.

Almost all the microphones have some parallel features that they share, like pickup pattern of cardioids, shock-mounted capsule, and integrated pop filter.

Some classic examples are Electro-Voice RE20, Shure SM7B

Sale
Electro-Voice RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone with Variable-D
101 Reviews
Electro-Voice RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone with Variable-D
  • Professional quality dynamic cardioid microphone with studio condenser-like performance
  • The classic sound of FM radio voices with smooth, natural, and controlled sonic character
  • The Variable-D design and heavy-duty internal pop filter excel for close-in voice work, while an internal element shock-mount reduces vibration-induced noise
Sale
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
2,721 Reviews
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
  • Flat, wide-range frequency response for exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech
  • Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic display of response setting
  • Improved rejection of electromagnetic hum, optimized for shielding against broadband interference emitted by computer monitors

Video Productions and Filming

These microphones are commonly found on television shows, making of a movie or commercials. Most of them are top of the line because it can get sound signals from all over the set of a production.

  • Shotgun Microphone – This microphone is used to capture the dialogues of the scenes. These types of microphones are great in rooms. They tend to get much more resonance than what you require for the dialogues. Examples: Sennheiser ME80, Audio Technica AT8035
    Audio-Technica Condenser Microphone (AT8035)
    35 Reviews
    Audio-Technica Condenser Microphone (AT8035)
    • The length (14.53") of the AT8035 Line + Gradient Condenser Microphone is well-suited for ENG, outdoor recording and other specialized uses. The microphone is designed for video production and broadcast (ENG/EFP) audio acquisition. Suited for both boom 5/8"-27 to 3/8"-16 threaded adapter; AT8132 windscreen; battery; protective carrying case Audio-Technica Case Style: SG1
  • Lavalier Microphones – Also known as lav microphone or lapel microphone. This microphone is used in televisions and other events that require to speak in public. It is placed on the collar of the clothes, belt, or pockets. Its advantages are it is convenient to use because of its portability, and it also has an excellent voice transmission quality. People who make videos on social media and tube sites use this kind of microphones to be hidden in their clothes. However, it is not advisable for sessions in studios. Examples: Sony ECM-CS3, Audio-Technica AT899
    Sony ECMCS3 Clip Style Omnidirectional Stereo Microphone with Audio Recorder case Bundle (2 Items)
    31 Reviews
    Sony ECMCS3 Clip Style Omnidirectional Stereo Microphone with Audio Recorder case Bundle (2 Items)
    • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Sony Clip-Style Omni-Directional Stereo Microphone and the Hardshell Case for Sony Audio Recorders
    • DESIGN: This microphone features a hands-free audio recording with convenient omni-directional microphone
    • CLIP-STYLE: This microphone has clip-style design for hands-free recording. When clipped, it can rotate for optimal audio recording

    Audio-Technica Condenser Microphone (AT899)
    28 Reviews
    Audio-Technica Condenser Microphone (AT899)
    • Audio-Technica’s omnidirectional AT899 is engineered for intelligible, accurate voice reproduction. Its low-profile design (a mere 5 mm in diameter) assures minimum visibility. The mic may be worn as a lavalier and is easily hidden in clothing or hair. It offers the convenience of battery or phantom power; its switchable low-frequency roll-off reduces popping. Features: Maximum intelligibility and clean, accurate reproduction for vocalists, lecturers, stage and television talent, and houses of worship Low-profile design (a mere 5 mm in diameter) is ideal for applications requiring minimum visibility Operates on battery or phantom power All wireless models available in either low-reflectance black or beige Extensive array of provided accessories includes a clothing clip, viper clip, magnet clip and lanyard (black models only), windscreens, element covers, interchangeable single and double mic holders Accessories available separately include complete accessory kits, clothing clips, three-pack element covers and three-pack windscreens 9.8' (3.0 m) cable permanently attached to mic, TA3F connector at power module RoHS compliant—free from all substances specified in the EU directive on hazardous substances Specifications: Transducer: Fixed-charge plate, permanently polarized condenser Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional Frequency Response: 20-20,000Hz Dynamic Range (Typical): Phantom: 108dB, 1kHz at Max SPL, Battery: 86dB, 1kHz at Max SPL Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 64dB, 1kHz at 1Pa Maximum Input Sound Level: Phantom: 138dB SPL, 1kHz at 1% THD, Battery: 116dB SPL, 1kHz at 1% THD Power Requirements: Phantom: 11-52V DC, 2mA typical, Battery: 1.5V AA/UM3 Output Impedance: Phantom: 200 ohms, Battery: 250 ohms Output Connectors: Mic Cable: TA3F output, Power Module: Balanced 3-pin XLR Pad: No Low Frequency Roll-Off: Low Frequency Roll-Off Switch Dimensions: Microphone: 0.63x0.20" / 1.60x0.50 cm, Power Module: 5.71x0.83" / 14.50x2.10 cm(Length x Diameter) Weight: Microphone: 0.02 oz / 0.56 g, Power Module: 3.6 oz / 102.05 g
  • Video Microphones – This type of microphone is also in the shotgun microphones category. It is directly connected to the camera for the audio to be scratch-track. It makes the job easy for the editor to synchronize the video and the sound as one. Examples: Blue Yeti USB Microphone, Audio-Technica AT875R
    Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play – Blackout
    19,201 Reviews
    Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play – Blackout
    • Custom three-capsule array: produces clear, powerful, broadcast-quality sound for YouTube, game streaming, podcasting, Skype calls and music
    • Four pickup patterns: cardioid, Omni, bidirectional, and stereo pickup patterns offer incredible flexibility, allowing you to record in ways that would normally require multiple microphones
    • Onboard audio controls: studio controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain put you in charge of every level of the recording and streaming process

    Sale
    Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone
    455 Reviews
    Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone
    • Designed for video production and broadcast (ENG/EFP) audio acquisition
    • Extremely short length (under 7 inch ) ideal for use with compact digital cameras
    • Provides the narrow acceptance angle desirable for long distance sound pickup

What Microphone in What Scenario?

Now that we know all about the various types of microphones, it’s probably a good idea to discuss how to use them! Here are some example situations, and some suggestions for what types of mics to use:

Vocals

As mentioned earlier, the Large Diaphragm Condenser is king when it comes to recording vocals.  Nothing will pick up the breathy nuance of a great singer than an LDC. If you want a nice “warm” tone, try a tube mic.

BUT… not always!  It’s not uncommon to use a dynamic mic for a vocal track.  Loud rock singers can really benefit from a dynamic, which they are used to live, and will even out their performance somewhat.

The Shure SM-7B is a great mic for this purpose. The singer can scream and howl away; the SM-7B will happily take it all.

Sale
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
2,721 Reviews
Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
  • Flat, wide-range frequency response for exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech
  • Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic display of response setting
  • Improved rejection of electromagnetic hum, optimized for shielding against broadband interference emitted by computer monitors

Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars can be very tricky to record.  They are complex instruments which produce a wide range of tonalities and sounds.

You will find yourself using pretty much every type of mic in this situation; it all depends on the kind of player, the kind of guitar and the nature of the performance.

A soft, nuanced fingerstyle performance will benefit greatly from the use of an SDC.  A hard-strummer might be best captured by an LDC. It’s all going to depend, and some trial and error will be helpful here.

Check out our picks for the best acoustic guitars for recording here!

Also, check out the best mics for recording acoustic guitars here!

A good example mic would be  Shure SM81-LC

Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
85 Reviews
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
  • This microphone requires phantom power and performs best with a 48 Vdc supply (IEC-61938). However, it will operate with slightly decreased headroom and sensitivity with supplies as low as 11 Vdc. Most modern mixers provide phantom power. You must use a balanced microphone cable: XLR-to-XLR or XLR-to-TRS.
  • The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. It is furnished with a swivel adapter, attenuator-switch lock, foam windscreen, and case for carrying and storage. Other accessories are available.
  • 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response. Flat response curve for accurate reproduction of sound sources.

Electric Guitar

Electric guitar amps are big and loud, and as such, they benefit most from the use of a dynamic mic on the amp cabinet, in most simple situations.

The venerable SM-57 is the studio go-to here (and at around $90 new, why not?).  Put it right on the grill (about an inch from it), right in the center of the speaker cone and start there.

You can move it out from the center of the cone closer to the edge, for a darker tone if desired.  A great combination is to try using a dynamic mic like the SM-57 (or try a Sennheiser e906 for some variety) along with a ribbon mic for the best of both worlds, both the high-end brightness from the dynamic and the dark weight of the ribbon.  This is a pretty common technique.

For more information, check out this article about why electric guitars are shaped the way they are.

Drums

Drums, usually being made up of several different sizes and types of drums plus cymbals, are the hardest instrument to record well.

You need multiple mics, multiple preamps, and channels on your interface, and all the multiple mic stands and cables that go with it.

Generally, I like to place a specialized kick drum/bass microphone (which is a type of dynamic mic) on the kick drum (the AKG D112 is great for this), a simple SM-57 on the snare and toms, and use a pair of SDCs like the Rode NT5s for overhead mics.  This is my go-to, although there are certainly other methods (try the Glynn Johns method, to use fewer mics if you want)

Sale
AKG D112 MkII Professional Bass Drum Microphone
183 Reviews
AKG D112 MkII Professional Bass Drum Microphone
  • Integrated flexible mount makes it even more versatile
  • Bass resonance volume chamber for unique, punchy sound
  • Large diaphragm dynamic microphone delivers accurate low frequencies

It all depends on the style of drumming you’re dealing with.  A rock guy is going to need more spot mics, while a jazz performance can probably do with just some overheads.  Experiment and have fun!

Check out to see the best overhead drum microphones here!

Types of Polar Patterns

Not only are there multiple types of microphones, but there are also different ways each mic picks up sound.

Essentially, a mic can pick up sound in one or several different directions.  More specifically, it describes how sensitive the microphone is to sound waves coming in from different directions.

A microphone’s polar pattern is an important consideration when it comes to figuring out if a microphone is the right or wrong tool for a particular situation.

These are the main types of polar patterns :

  • Cardioid
  • Omni-directional
  • Figure of 8 (Bi-directional)
  • Unidirectional

Cardioid

Probably the most popular type is the cardioid pattern. When graphed on a chart, the cardioid pattern looks kind of like a heart (hence the name!).

A cardioid pattern mic will pick up sound from right in front of it but will reject sound to the sides and rear.  This can be very helpful when using two mics on a vocal and acoustic guitar played at the same time, for example.

Pointing one mic at the performer’s voice and away from the guitar will help isolate just the vocal in that mic.

It can further be divided into three more sub-categories:

  • Hyper-cardioid,
  • Super-cardioid,
  • Sub-cardioid.

You can learn more on Cardioid from wiki.

Omnidirectional

The omnidirectional pattern is straightforward—it picks up sound from 360 degrees around it.  This is a great tool for microphoning groups of performers, who can gather around it and perform simultaneously.

Figure of 8 (Bi-directional)

You’ll also run into the figure-8 pattern, which looks like an infinity symbol, both in the way the pattern works, and the symbol used on the mic itself to represent it.

Figure-8 pattern mics pick up sound from the front AND the back simultaneously but reject it from the sides. Ribbons are figure-8 mics.

The cool part is, some mics have MULTIPLE polar patterns to pick from( called Multi-Pattern Microphones), to allow you to use the one mic for various situations.  Not all mics have this feature, but some do. Usually, the polar pattern is chosen via a small switch on the mic body, if it has that feature.  

USB vs XLR Microphones

Based on connectivity, there are two types of microphones that are commonly used

  • one with USB connectivity
  • the other with XLR connectivity.

It is a hot debate on which one is better among the users. My opinion is that each one of them has its own pros and cons. It depends on where and how you want to use it.

USB mics are the “plug-in and play” type use. Easy to use and work with PC, laptops, and even smartphones. You can plug it in and use it on any of the devices above.

In the case of XLR, you will need an audio interface that will convert the analog signal to digital signals fed to consoles. They are mainly used in recording studios as they can easily manipulate, upgrade, fix, etc.

If you are going to use it for Youtube, podcasting, or something simple, USB mics are more suitable. You can still use XLR ones too. It’s your choice.

You can learn more between the two from this artcile on XLR and USB.

One Caveat

It’s important to remember that “it’s not the tool, it’s the carpenter.”  The quality of your recordings is directly related to how much time you spend with what we call “mic placement” and “mic technique.”

Simply put, you can’t expect to throw up a mic near an acoustic guitar and expect the sound coming out of your interface to be perfect.

It takes a lot of trial and error (not to mention a foundation of experience) to get the mic in the right spot to deliver the best recording.

Like football, this is truly a “game of inches”—a subtle move might make all the difference, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

Getting the right microphone for the job is only half the battle.  Spend the time to make sure the sound you are capturing is as good as it’s going to be, given your room, acoustical situation, the quality of your instrument (and the player, if it’s not you), and where you place the mic, and you’ll be a lot happier.

That really can only be done by putting the mic where you THINK it might sound good, recording a bit, going back and listening to the results, and adjusting.  Is it too bassy? Move the mic back from the source a bit. Is it too thin? Move it closer. That kind of thing

Spend some extra time on this admittedly unsexy and not fun part of Recording; it will pay dividends, believe me.  

In Conclusion

If you’re on a budget, every dollar counts.  If you can only afford a SINGLE mic, what should it be? While there are obviously many types of mics for many situations, you CAN make do with just ONE!

If you can only afford ONE mic, I definitely recommend you get a Shure SM-57.  It can do everything, and starting small is usually a great idea.  You can use this guy on anything from vocals to guitar amps to drums.  Give it a shot, and you’ll see that you can get some great results!

Hopefully, this guide will help you wade through the seemingly complex world of microphones!  While the topic (like many others) may seem daunting at first, you should now see that if you can break things down into smaller chunks, things can be easier to digest.

Last update on 2021-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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