Studio Recording Microphones

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Choosing Studio Recording Microphones

Studio recording microphones are arguably the most important component of any home or professional studio setup. If you require microphones for producing podcasts, online videos, or a full live band musical project, you need to choose the best studio recording microphones for your application. Studios primarily use condenser style mics, as they excel in picking up the subtleties in vocals and instruments during the recording process.

What's a Studio Recording Microphone?

A vocal recording microphone is an audio device that converts sound into an electrical signal, which is then amplified and processed during a live performance or recording session. The two main types of microphones used in studios are condenser and dynamic. With dynamic recording microphones, you get rugged devices that can withstand higher sound levels without distortion, making them perfect for recording loud guitar amplifiers and drums. Condenser microphones are the mics of choice for recording vocals and acoustic string instruments, as they feature a better frequency response (range of sound they can reproduce) and transient response (ability to reproduce fast sound).

Types of Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones generally break down into two main types: large diaphragm microphones and small diaphragm microphones. The diaphragm is the component that vibrates within the microphone, ultimately creating an audio signal. You can further categorize condensers by their pole pattern or pickup pattern, which refers to the space around the microphone that's the most sensitive to sound.

Large Diaphragm Condensers

Primarily used for recording vocals, large diaphragm recording microphones are usually side addressed and feature a cardioid pattern that minimizes off-axis noise and picks up sound straight on. As these are highly sensitive to loud noise and movement, a pop screen and shock mount are both necessary for an effective setup. Condensers need external power to operate, so a 48-volt (phantom power) supply from a mixer or external unit is a requirement. It's a fact that ribbon recording microphones predate the modern condenser, but contemporary designs have made a comeback. They're optimal for picking up mid-range sound, and mostly feature a figure-8 pattern. This pattern produces a natural effect by picking up sound from the front and rear, recording both primary and ambient sound.

Small Diaphragm Condensers

Typically smaller in physical size, small diaphragm recording microphones are a pencil style, and are a very popular choice. These mics offer a neutral sound and feature a tighter pattern, such as super cardioid, with the capsule located at the end of the microphone. You can use small diaphragm microphones to record orchestras and choral groups, as well as for overhead mics for drums. They're often sold in pairs for this purpose. USB recording microphones offer condenser-like qualities with the option of plug-and-play functionality, patching directly into your computer via a USB cable.

Whether you're searching for a variety of professional recording microphones for your band's next demo or a single microphone to plug into your Mac or PC, B&H Photo and Video has everything you need when it comes to microphones and microphone accessories.