Microphones explained: choosing the right mic for you

The world of music can be intimidating at first, with all the new things to learn, instruments to play, and side factors to consider. Two of those side factors that come into play a bit further down the path of all musicians are recording sessions and live gigs. For both of these, singers and instrument players need to have the right gear to help them out. This translates to amplifiers, cables, pedals, and more importantly, microphones. Microphones are at the center of the music business and learning how to pick the right one in every scenario is very important. Keep reading to learn all about the types of microphones and choosing the right one for you.

Dynamic mics: jacks of all trades

Dynamic microphones earn their name due to their incredibly versatile capabilities. The inner mechanics of this type of mic allow it to record sound in almost any circumstance. When you imagine a microphone, a standard dynamic mic is probably the first thing that you picture in your mind. These microphones are sturdy, durable, and reliable, so don’t hesitate to include one of these in your equipment list.

What are they good for, you say? Well, for pretty much anything. You will see people more commonly using them as vocal mics, but they can be used to record instruments as well. Dynamic mics don’t perform at their best when used for recording instruments that need more air and space to produce their typical sounds.

Condenser mics: quality comes at a price

Condenser microphones are the next on the list and they are perhaps the best at being microphones. What does this mean? Well, they just excel at sound recording thanks to their condenser mechanism. This mechanism is also what allows them to have different sound recording patterns, which translates into more overall options and directions from which to capture sound. They require power to work, though, so in that way, they also need some extra setup work. Of course, all of these features also make them more expensive in general.

They are great for vocals due to their inherent qualities but they shine their brightest at recording with precision and detail. Condenser mics come in different form factors, with the large-diaphragm condensers built to handle vocals, bass, and percussion better than small-diaphragm ones. The latter condenser microphone works best with acoustic instruments and classical music instruments.

Ribbon mics: vintage with a vengeance

Last but not least, ribbon mics come into this list like a literal blast from the past and showing us that not all old things are worth discarding. This microphone category figures as one of the best vocal mics in the golden age of radio, when they were the standard equipment used for broadcasts. The modern version has brought some of that sweet sound output and kicked it up a notch or two to also be able to handle some of the stronger sound sources like amplifiers, drums, and others.

Nowadays they can be used for whatever instrument you want, and even vocals too. Going for a ribbon mic is more a matter of sound output aesthetics than one of versatility or specialized use, some people might say. Adding that vintage feel to your vocals or guitar might give your song that special touch you were looking for, but there is no telling without trying first!

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