When you need to record beautiful sound, the right microphone can make the entire process simpler and cause less frustration. Professional recording engineers know that selecting a creative microphone is essential in every great recording project. However, it is not always simple to determine which mics will work best for your particular project unless you have an extensive knowledge of acoustic theory. With so many mics to choose from, you may quickly become overwhelmed, making it important that you educate yourself on the different microphone types and their uses. A poor choice will typically come back to haunt you, causing troubles with audio and more.
When choosing a studio microphone, you must first decide which type you would like to use in your office. Dynamic microphones generate audio signal by the motion of a conductor within a magnetic field. In most of these mics, a thin, lightweight diaphragm moves in response to sound pressure, and that motion causes a voice coil to move. These are less sensitive to sound than condenser mics, and they can generally take more wear and tear. They also tend to be on the lower cost spectrum, making them perfect for drums and electric guitars.
When you want to be loyal to the source, reach for a condenser microphone. These are more responsive to the speed and nuances of sound waves than a dynamic microphone. This simple mechanical system consists of a thinly stretched conductive diaphragm placed close to a metal disk, or backplate. This arrangement creates a capacitor that is in turn given an electric charge by an external voltage source, such as a battery. Condenser mics come in both solid-slate and tube variations, and you can find them in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but they all function along the same principles.
These were used extensively during the golden age of radio, and they were the first commercially successful directional microphones. Today, this option is seeing a strong comeback, thanks to the effort of clever marketing. Ribbon mics respond to the velocity of air molecules moving a small element suspended in a strong magnetic field, rather than utilising sound pressure. In studio applications, the difference is not particularly important, but it can be a useful option when working outdoors.
A recent technological development brought about the USB microphone, and these mics contain all of the elements of a traditional microphone. The key difference is its inclusion of an on-board preamp and an analogue-to-digital converter. The preamp makes it unnecessary for the USB mic to be connected to a mixer or external mic preamp, and the A/D converter changes the microphone’s output from analogue to digital. You can plug it directly into a computer and read it via recording software. That makes mobile digital recording as simple as plugging in your microphone, launching your DAW software, and striking the record key. No matter what microphone you choose, it is certain that your recorded output will be excellent, and making the right microphone choice will only increase that excellence.