You have your production in mind, may you have even taken the time to write out the music, the script, or your podcast idea. The next step is trying to figure out the recording process. Once of the most important aspects of the process, if not the most important, is your microphone. But is it really that simple? As it turns out, there are several different types of microphones that can help enhance your recording. Understanding which microphone that best fits your production can make or break the entire recording process. Below are seven different types of microphones and how they impact recording differently.
- Diaphragm Condenser Mics
These are the types of microphones that you usually see on television and in movies. They look exactly what you think a microphone would look like and they are great if your production will be seen and heard, such as a video podcast. This is traditionally the first microphone that a studio will purchase as it can be used to record both voice and instruments fairly well. It is the “one size fits all” of microphones and is never a bad choice for most products. They come in both large and small sizes. The large are the classic larger microphone look, the smaller size is the type of microphone you would see in the hands of a singer during a concert or a game show host.
- Dynamic “Utility” Mics
This is one of the classic microphones used in music. This microphone has become the industry standard for recording electric guitars, drums, and vocal performances. If your production is going to be music-heavy, then this may be the best bet for you. While many microphones are meant for a wide variety of recording, these microphones are meant largely for one task: recording music. Professional studios will sometimes carry dozens of these for easy setup and recording.
- Bass Mics
The previous microphone can be used on drums, but when you really need to capture the low-end sounds you can’t go wrong with a bass mic. Many producers will keep a few of these mics on hand for recording bass, mainly drums. These mics are also commonly known as kick drum mics. They also work well on bass cabinets and are recommended to keep around your studio for capturing those lower sounds effectively. These mics have a frequency response that includes a low-end boost, small scoops in the mids, and a presence boost at 4K.
- Multi-Pattern Mic
These mics have a dual capsule design that allows you to switch around between 3 different polar patterns; cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-8. This makes this microphone highly versatile and a must have for any studio productions. However, this is not recommended for beginners as it has a steep learning curve and what it can do can be accomplished slightly easier with less expensive microphones. However, this does not mean that beginners should disregard these types of mmics completely. The quicker a musician can master multi-pattern mics, the quicker they will notice vast improvements in their recording quality.
- Ribbon Mics
Ribbon mics are in their own special category of microphones because rather than using a diaphragm to record audio, they use a small aluminium ribbon. These microphones are on the higher end of the cost spectrum and are a bit more rare in studios because of how cost prohibitive they can become. Features of this mic include a standard figure-8 polar pattern, increased durability, and high frequency sensitivity when compared to less expensive microphones. These mics are also great for brass and woodwind recordings, strings, and they are becoming an industry standard for guitars.
- USB Mics
These types of microphones are newer and are rarely seen in studios. As the name implies, these microphones plug into a USB port in a computer or laptop for recording. This can be used with programs such as Garageband on Macs to record music and voices. If you have ever listened to a smaller podcast, a YouTube documentary, or any production with just one or two people behind it, they are likely using one of these microphones. USB mics are at their peak popularity, largely because they can be very budget friendly and they require no other gear. Setup is easy and requires little more than plugging it in and testing the levels. If you don’t have the budget to start an entire studio, or if you are simply recording podcasts or voice-over audio, it can be a great way to dip your toe into the industry without investing too much into the studio gear.
- Shotgun Mics
These mics are rarely used in the recording studio, but for remote productions. These microphones are largely used for outdoor productions such as nature documentaries or news reporting. The main feature of this microphone is its ability to isolate one sound coming out of a particular person amidst many other sounds. With these microphones, you are able to pick up sound further from the actual individual you want to record. This gives you more versatility in mobile productions. If you are planning on being outside of a studio then these mics are essential for your audio.
Now that you know what you need for recording, you can get going on your production with professional sound and a quality performance. If you find yourself hearing about a different type of microphone, or you still aren’t sure what mic you want for your product, you can always talk to qualified professionals. The people at the Underground Brisbane Recording Studio are knowledgeable and experienced enough to help greatly enhance the quality of your recordings.