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Learning About Audio Recording Devices

Audio recording is the process of capturing sound. Sound is captured by a recording microphone or other recording device. From there, the sound can be changed and manipulated by mixers and other specialized equipment used by sound technicians and producers.

Types of Audio Recording Devices

There are many different types of audio recording devices, including recorders, players, and duplicators. Digital recording devices, such as portable audio recorders, are small and handy, and feature built-in microphones or microphone inputs. Mountable recording devices are suitable for permanent locations like conference rooms, places of worship, and pro audio recording studios. Multi-track mixers and recorders are versatile by allowing for multiple recording channels, and use during live performances. Analog recording devices include cassette recorders, as well as equipment to convert analog recordings into digital files.


An audio recorder mixer allows the user to manipulate the audio input by altering the high and low frequencies, the volume, and the presence in stereo output, as well as allowing the inputs to be diverted into specified auxiliary outputs. Audio mixers are optimal for both in-studio recording sessions and for live performances. The mixer allows for nuance and control in the output, creating the ability to carefully balance all of the instruments or inputs. Being able to divert sound into auxiliary output is especially useful in recording sessions when instrumentalists may need to listen to specific parts of the mix.

Alternatively, you can use microphone accessories, such as channel strips, preamps, and direct boxes, to control sound input for recording. Preamps are also recommended for all microphone recordings of vocals and instrumentals, as they boost the input to create a cleaner sound in post-production.

How Recording Microphones Work

A recording microphone works by intercepting vibrations created by an instrument or voice, capturing those vibrations via a thin diaphragm inside the microphone, and then translating that vibration into electrical signals. Different studio recording microphones have their own specialties, and are better suited for capturing various sounds or instruments.

Microphone Types

Dynamic microphones are a staple, as they're reliable, durable, and adaptable. Large diaphragm condenser microphones are ideal for studio use, as their sensitivity captures even the most subtle intricacies of a voice or instrument. Small diaphragm mics are particularly useful in recording loud dynamics and high-pressure sounds like cymbals and high hat percussion. Ribbon microphones are multi-directional, and are optimal for capturing a balanced sound of the instrument, as well as the sound of the room.

Whichever microphone, audio mixer, or piece of studio recording equipment is right for you, B&H Photo and Video has what you need to meet your audio recording needs.