Condenser Mic Buyers’ Guide
Most people think the skill level of the vocalist or an instrument player gives great recordings, and that is a part of it. But a mic can either make or break the quality of your recordings. Choosing the right one is critical. We all know that the mics primarily come in two types, dynamic and condenser.
Condenser mics have a better sound quality than dynamic mics. The microphone plays a vital role in the quality of your recordings, t so you should do a little digging before hitting the shops. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind.
The Frequency Response
The most important factor to consider in a condenser mic is the frequency response. It lets you hear the slightest of details in your recordings. The frequency response of a mic can be flat, wide or tailored.
In order to choose the best frequency response, you must keep in mind your mic’s application. For example, if you’re doing an instrument recording, you’ll want a flat frequency response. Flat frequency response means what goes into the mic is exactly what comes out of it and what you will hear. This is definitely the one for you if you plan on doing a lot of instrument recordings.
Recording vocals? You should go for a mic with a wide or tailored frequency response. The wide frequency response has the capability of refining the sound that is put into the microphone yielding a much clearer sound.
Choosing the right frequency response completely depends on how you’ll be using your mic. Figure out what you’ll be recording before you decide to buy.
The Polar Patterns
Another important factor to consider is the polar pattern. Different mics have different polar patterns. These polar patterns are Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Figure-8, and Multiple-pattern. You have to keep in mind how you’ll be using your mic to decide the polar pattern that suits you the best.
The cardioid polar or pickup pattern got its name because it resembles the shape of a heart. You’ll find it in most of the condenser mics out there. This pattern is considered to be the best when it comes to eliminating background noise. The cardioid polar pattern only focuses on the source in front of it and rejects sounds from the rear. The cardioid polar pattern is really good whether used in the studio or on stage.
Omnidirectional mics are capable of picking up sound equally from all the directions. If you prefer to have that true feel in the recordings. omnidirectional mics are the ones for you. Bear in mind you’ll also pick up ambient noises in the room. These mics are highly capable of giving you the natural recordings that you always wanted.
The Figure-8 polar pattern is mostly used in-studio applications. It picks up sound from the front and back and rejects sounds from the sides. One thing that you should keep in mind is that these mics are not that effective when used in any on-stage application.
A mic with multiple polar patterns gives you total versatility. You have the freedom to switch over to different patterns according to your needs. One thing to note here is that the mics are expensive compared to single polar pattern mics.
Size of the diaphragm
The size of the diaphragm is another important factor to consider. Condenser mics come in two diaphragm sizes, large and small.
Large-diaphragm mics are good with almost every application. Whether you are looking to record vocals or strings, brass or percussion. all you need is a large-diaphragm mic to give you the ultimate recordings. Most large diaphragm condenser mics come equipped with multiple polar patterns and pads, adding up to the versatility of these mics.
On the other hand, small diaphragm condenser mics might not be quite as good as the large ones across different types of recording but are excellent with responsiveness. These small-diaphragm mics are ultra-responsive. If you are looking to record any instrument with extended overtones and sharp transients such as an acoustic guitar, these mics are just the best.
Mic placement is the key to success when we’re talking drums. You need a combination of large and small diaphragm mics to get that perfect sound. Go for a small diaphragm cardioid mic to record hi-hats. It’s important to use a matched pair of large or small diaphragm mics when it comes to overheads. A condenser mic also delivers big sound when positioned with the snare and toms or even with the kick.
To record acoustic guitars, go for a small diaphragm condenser mic. Even though you can also record these guitars with a large diaphragm mic, the quality won’t be as good. Mic positioning also plays an important role; try out different positions to figure out what works best.
There’s no better mic than a large diaphragm condenser microphone for vocal recordings. They offer the clearest and highest quality recordings and are best used for in-studio applications.
Since this instrument is usually recorded in the studio, a combination of large and small diaphragm mics would work best. The large diaphragm is perfect for picking up the lows while the small diaphragm is better with the highs.
If you want to get the ultimate recordings of your string instruments, you can go for any high-quality condenser mic. It totally depends upon your preferences whether you choose a large or a small diaphragm.
Here’s another factor that is also dependent upon your personal needs and requirements. The more features and the accessories you want, the more you should expect to pay. If you’re a beginner, go for the inexpensive options. Odds are you won’t require most of the features and accessories that come with high-end models as a beginner. Set a budget then figure out what mic is best for your needs within that budget.
This is hands down one of the best condenser mics that you’ll ever find. The Neewer NW-700 Professional Studio Broadcasting Recording Condenser Microphone has everything you need for quality recordings. It’s a versatile mic that’s good for almost every application you can imagine.
It has a cardioid pickup pattern for eliminating all background noise. In general, the sound quality you get in your recordings is the absolute best.
Considering the qualities of this mic, it’s actually quite inexpensive. Overall, the Neewer NW-700 Professional Studio Broadcasting Recording Condenser Microphone is one of the best in business.
If you love that vintage tube sound, this is the mic for you. The Audio-Technica AT4060 Cardioid Condenser Tube Microphone uses a cardioid polar pattern for detailed, focused recordings that are ambient noise-free.
It’s a complete blend of vintage and modern. The sound you get from the tube is complete vintage. but it also has high SPL capability giving it that modern touch. It also has a wide dynamic range and low self-noise which makes it really good for recording vocals. Since it is a small diaphragm mic, it’s great for instrument recording such as acoustic guitars.
The AUKEY Condenser Microphone has amazing features at an incredible price. It has an omnidirectional polar pattern for providing you with that natural sound you’ve always wanted in your recordings. The AUKEY Condenser Microphone also has a built-in volume control dial to easily adjust the microphone input volume. It also comes with a 3.5mm cable to connect with most recording equipment, desktops, and laptops.
With such an amazingly low price and all the qualities on offer, the AUKEY Condenser Microphone is one of the very best condenser microphones out there.
Best Recording Practices – Condenser microphones can be pretty sensitive and are prone to pick up potential unwanted high frequencies. If your recording environment isn’t as isolated as you would like it to be, it may be a good idea to look into getting a vocal shield. Alternatively, you can help soundproof your recording space with studio foam panels.
What is a Condenser Mic?
A condenser microphone is the most common type of microphone found in a studio. These mics are also known as studio mics. These mics have a much higher frequency and transient response compared to other types of mics. They can give you the best quality recording, whether vocal or instrumental. The sound that you get with these microphones is more clear, transient, and natural.
What are the Benefits of a Condenser Mic?
As already stated above, they’re the best type of mics when it comes to studio recording. The biggest advantage you have with condenser mics is quality studio recordings. Since these mics have a high-frequency response you can use them to record virtually anything. No other mic can give you the quality studio recordings that you will get with a condenser microphone.
Even if you are looking to record the vocals, these mics are really good with recording these as well because of their high-frequency response and sensitivity.
Why Should I get a Condenser Mic?
If you’re planning on recording in the studio, condenser mics are your best options for the reasons outlined above.
How do I Choose the Best Condenser Mic for Me?
There are a lot of things to consider while choosing the condenser mic that is perfect for you. Factors like budget, the mic’s frequency response, polar pattern, and diaphragm size are all things to consider based on your skill level and needs.
What’s the difference between condenser and dynamic mics?
Dynamic mics are really good for eliminating the handling noise and are sturdy, making them better for on-stage applications. Condenser mics are more sensitive and offer better sound quality but are less sturdy, hence why they’re used in the studio.