Different Types of Microphones: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier

You might think that all microphones are broadly similar. They certainly all do a similar job, but the truth is that there are many different types out there that you need to know about. If you are thinking of buying a new mic anytime soon, then here are 10 things you need to know.     

The Use You Have in Mind Matters

Why are there so many different types of microphone around? This is simply because each one is ideal for a certain type of use. Whether you plan to record your singing, capture musical instruments or stream your gaming, you need to find a microphone that suits your needs. You need to think about issues such as the type of sound you want to capture and the environment you will be doing it in.  

Different Uses for Dynamic and Condenser Mics

If you are going to record music, one of the first choices to make is between dynamic and condenser microphones. This is a crucial point, as they work very differently. This article on the different types of microphones explains that dynamic models are best on low to medium frequency response instruments, while condenser mics are best on high-frequency instruments.

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The Size of the Microphone Matters

You can probably easily picture the sort of giant studio mic used in videos by singers like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, but you may wonder if they are real or fake. Well, the bigger models are known as large-diaphragm microphones and they are ideal for capturing studio vocals. If you want a clear, precise sound then a big mic is perfect, but they aren’t right for every occasion.  

Ribbon Mics Are Useful but Difficult to Use

Instead of using a tightly-stretched piece of thin material, a ribbon mic has an aluminium ribbon running across it. This makes it extremely sensitive and gives an interesting sound, but they are quite expensive and difficult to use for people recording at home. So, it isn’t really an option for a beginner to choose. However, it is worth pointing out that they are highly durable.  

The Importance of Multi-Pattern Mics

In this case, it is a model that is extremely versatile, allowing the user to choose from a few different polar patterns that result in varying sounds. If that sounds a bit complicated then this backs up the idea that it isn’t really something that is aimed at beginners or people recording at home. It is more likely to be used by an expert in a recording studio than someone at home.    

Gaming Mics Have a USB Connection

There has been a growing amount of interest in gaming microphones in the last few years. As this activity becomes ever more popular, more and more people look for ways to get more out of their gaming or else stream their sessions. These mics are typically were easy to set up and use, by simply plugging them into a USB socket. Others run off batteries to provide greater portability.   

Mics That Isolate Sound

One of the key features in certain types of recording is the ability to isolate sounds. A shotgun microphone is often best for this, as they can perfectly capture the sounds you are after. It isn’t the sort of mic you are likely to use while recording at home, but it is useful for recording outdoors more than anything.  

How to Keep It In Place

There are different ways to keep the microphone perfectly in place. For example, with gaming mics they will typically be attached to a set of headphones for ease of use. Another example comes with boundary mics, which are used in professional studio recordings and can be simply mounted on a flat surface.   

Separate Power Sources

Some mics need an additional power source while others don’t. Dynamic mics are among those that don’t need extra power, while condenser models often do need this. If you need an additional power source this adds a bit of extra complexity when the time comes to use it.  

The Wide Range of Prices

As we have seen, there are lots of different factors to take into account, since there are many models of microphones that are each suitable for different types of recording. Naturally, this also means that you can choose from a wide range of prices. The key in getting a good deal is in deciding what type of mic you need and then choosing one that gives the right level of durability and versatility.