Studio microphones are one of the most important pieces of any home recording studio. When you use
the right microphones for the right job, the improvement in sound quality is immediately
noticeable. By making sure that the studio microphones you have are suited for your recording
project, you'll spare yourself a big headache down the line and produce a much better recording as
Types of Studio Microphones
By using the right studio microphone for the occasion, you'll help ensure that your home
recording sounds the way you intended it to. For some home recording projects you may only need one
studio microphone to get the job done. Other recordings however, may require multiple studio
microphones of varying types. Since different recording projects may require different studio
microphones, it's always a good idea to do some research to ensure that the studio microphones you
choose match your needs.
Dynamic microphone – By far the most popular type of microphone today is the
dynamic microphone. Because of their ability to withstand loud volumes, dynamic studio microphones
are great for recording amplified instruments, acoustic drums, and generally loud sound sources.
Additionally, dynamic microphones don't need a power source to operate so they will work on nearly
every board. The one downside of dynamic microphones is that they tend to be less accurate due to
their limited frequency response.
The industry standard
SM57 is by far the most widely used dynamic microphone today when it comes to recording
everything from amplified instruments to drums. Used in professional recording studios and live
concerts alike, the SM57 makes an all around fantastic studio microphone for nearly every home
recording project. The clean and robust sound you get at an affordable price from the SM57 has made
it a main stay in nearly every studio, and is recommended for yours as well.
Condenser Microphone – Condenser microphones need a power supply called phantom
power in order to function properly. By relying on a power source, condenser microphones are able
to pick up a much more accurate sound than dynamic microphones, making them great studio
microphones for recording vocals and acoustic instruments. The downside of condenser microphones is
that they are less suited for loud instruments, and won't work without a power supply.
C01 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone, for example, makes a great low cost option when
looking for a condenser microphone capable of recording everything from vocals to acoustic
instruments. In fact, the accurate and smooth sound you get with the Samson C01 even makes it a
great overhead microphone for the drums.
Ribbon Microphone – Ribbon microphones have long been considered more accurate
than both dynamic and condenser microphones. Often times considered to be the most natural sounding
type of studio microphone, ribbon microphones can be used on nearly every instrument. However, they
are also by far the most delicate of the bunch; using a thin metallic strip to vibrate in
accordance with sound waves. Accordingly, care must be taken when using ribbon microphones.
Although ribbon microphones tend to carry a higher price tag, the quality gained is often
viewed as worth the cost. And with new, low cost ribbon microphones hitting the shelves, like the
Trion 7000 Dual Element Ribbon Microphone, you can often have the best of both worlds. The CAD
Trion 7000 brings you a whole new level of sonic clarity with the rich, full body sound it's known
for; just be sure to read the instructions before using it, as ribbon microphones often require
special care when using them.
USB Microphones – Over the past couple of years, professional quality studio
microphones with USB connectors have begun to play an integral role in home recording studios. A
USB studio microphone is not actually a new kind of microphone (you can find USB condenser, dynamic
and ribbon studio microphones). Instead, for recording rigs that use a computer and software
programs, USB microphones can give users the ability to record more tracks simultaneously by
plugging directly into the USB port on a computer. The
Microphones Yeti has earned the distinction of being the first THX certified microphone because
of its exceptional recording abilities.
What type of studio microphone should you use?
– When the time comes for recording vocal tracks, selecting the proper
studio microphone is the first step to success. Typically, large diaphragm condenser microphones
are preferred by sound engineers because of their ability to capture the natural warmth and depth
of the human voice. However, condenser studio microphones require phantom power, so if that's not
an option, the second best choice is typically a large diaphragm dynamic microphone.
– Depending upon what instrument you're recording, you may want to use
a different type of studio microphone. For amplified instruments, a dynamic studio microphone is
usually preferred, since these microphones are great at handling the loud volumes that come from
amplification. On the other hand, if you're going to be recording a quieter instrument, such as an
acoustic guitar or a violin, then a condenser microphone is usually in order.
– Recording drums is no easy task, and without the proper studio microphones
it only gets harder. With that being said, there are several different ways people tend to record
drum sets. The most common way is to use a dynamic microphone on each of the different drums, and
then to use small diaphragm condenser microphones for each cymbal as well as two others overhead to
capture the whole set. This way is usually preferred for the control it gives you when mixing the
drum set later.