Microphone, or simply “mic” is a device that converts an acoustic energy into electrical energy that results to an audio signal. Its diaphragm captures the sound waves to create the signal. Microphones are used for vocals, recording, and amplifiers.
One surprising fact we can find in history is that many engineers were working on microphones with the purpose of use in a telephone. Graham and Watson’s first microphone used an iron reed put next to an electromagnet. Later on, these microphones were developed and used in different industries.
One of the uses of microphones is speech. This piece of equipment can amplify the volume of the voice of a speaker many times and yet adequately maintain the quality and tone of his voice. The speaker would not need to strain his vocal cords. The listeners do not have to struggle catching what the speaker is saying.
Though microphones are used in different events as an amplifier, they are known to be useful mainly in music.
Practical Microphone Applications in Music
Microphones are normally used in music. But each type of microphones has specific purposes. Here is a guide that can help you choose the right microphones depending on the use you have in mind. Once you experience using each mic, you can tell what applications will truly work for you.
The types of microphones used in recording are the:
A dynamic microphone is what a singer usually uses during a show. It is most commonly used for live sound and known for its durability. It can generally take a beating both in sound level. It has moving coil magnetic diaphragm that enables it to reliably capture sound and to do so even at high sound pressure levels.
It’s also the best choice for the high volume levels of bass guitar, bass drums and amplifiers. Normally, a dynamic mic is best when used close to the source that is not too distant for the sound. For optimal performance, this mic should not be placed any more than one foot away from the sound source. Otherwise, the result could be a thin sound with less color and clarity. It is not good with the more subtle stuff or with something that needs more “air”, room or ambiance.
A condenser microphone is most commonly used for recording lead vocal tracks, acoustic guitars, pianos, and live strings. Since it uses capacitance instead of actually moving coils, fidelity and sound quality is improved. With this, this mic becomes ideal for precision recording in the studio. The condenser is known for its ability to capture the smaller nuances of sound.
It has a very quick, accurate response as well as a clarity that cannot be achieved by other types of microphones. While not as rugged as a dynamic, this mic is capable of capturing a broader range of frequencies from a greater distance than any other type.
A ribbon microphone is known as the most fragile of the different types of microphones. Some sound engineers are not that confident to utilize this mic in any live setting for fear of damaging it. The light metal ribbon used in this mic allows it to pick up the velocity of the air and not just air displacement.
In spite of its lack of ruggedness, the effects and quality of sound from a ribbon mic are very similar to those of a dynamic in that they tend to enhance the higher frequencies of the sound and perform best when placed within close proximity of the sound source.
You might have struggled to capture the natural sound of your instrument, it would be better to try a ribbon mic. If going to recording studios, or friend’s house just to record the real sound of your instrument the way you hear it, then ribbon mic will be in charge. Ribbons are the warmest, most natural sounding mics in the world. They are also amazing on guitar cabs, rooms and drum overheads.
5 Best USB Microphones (2019 Reviews)
- Plug and Play USB Connectivity allows the convenience of digital recording
- Contoured frequency response for clean, instrumental reproduction and rich vocal pickup
- Includes Padded, zippered pouch and USB cable (3m / 9.8ft)
Shure SM58 is knownlanguage as the Most Popular Vocal Microphone in the world. This would be the best microphone for certain styles of music. It has resistance to feedback, rugged casing, and ergonomic capsule which makes it perfect for live performances. Moreover, it works just as well in the studio that is why this is the obvious choice for any starters.
The Shure SM58 vocal microphone Is a great choice for it is truly designed for professional vocal use in live performance, sound reinforcement, and studio recording. Not only that, its tailored vocal response for sound is a world standard for singing or speech. Unwanted background noise is minimized while a unidirectional pickup pattern isolates the main sound source.
- Outdoors or indoors
- Very slight lack in tonal quality
- Atleast in the higher range
- Cardioid Polar Pattern
- 1" Diaphragm
- 48V Phantom Power
- Filter Reduces Ambient Sound and Reflections
- Tripod Stand measures 46" to 76" Height with Reflection Filter
Do you want quality but no enough budget? Rode NT1A is one of the most affordable entry-level condenser microphones complete with a shock mount, pop filter, and cables. In addition, it delivers the warmth, extended dynamic range, clarity and high SPL capability typically only featured on some of the world’s most expensive microphones. It is also a great microphone for vocals as the brightness can make your vocals stand out.
The Rode NT1-A includes everything you need to get a real professional vocal recording. Moreover, it is ideal for home studio recording. Rode’s NT1A has a cardioid polar pattern. It features a 1″ diaphragm, and 48V phantom power. Its tripod stand measures 46″ to 76″ height with reflection filter.
- Bright recordings
- Excellent for acoustic guitars
- Not a USB microphone
- Needs an audio interface with preamps to work
- Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect
- Effective built-in spherical wind and pop filter. Frequency response: 50 to 15,000 Hz
- Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise.
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise
The Shure SM7B is perfect for those who are looking for an industry standard dynamic microphone. This microphone is known for being a go-to studio mic for numerous sources, including vocals. What’s more is this cardioid studio microphone delivers warm and smooth audio reproduction in a close-proximity studio and vocal applications. This microphone features wide-range frequency response, bass roll off and mid-range control, and internal air suspension shock isolation.
Shure SM7B is also used by professionals on commercials. Producers use this for voiceovers. So, if you’re looking for a dynamic microphone that you can use in recording and vocals, Shure SM7B is for you.
- Clear natural sound with rich lows and extremely smooth highs
- Needs a preamp to get good sound
- Optimal for recording drums, guitars, almost any instrument and back up vocals
- Frequency range:30-17,000Hz
- Nominal Impedance: 200 Ohms
Here is another best-known microphones in the world. The Sennheiser MD 421 II has the versatility that has made this mic so widely regarded as the best dynamic microphone. It has the ability to handle high-pressure levels that makes it natural for guitars and drums. Because of its sonic qualities, you can perfectly use it in various recording situations, and in all areas of sound transmission technology. Besides, MD421 II’s cardioid pattern offers outstanding feedback rejection.
If you want an excellent choice for live situations or recording environments which also works on electric guitar, drums, bass, percussion, and almost anything you can think of, then Sennheiser MD421 II is a great choice.
- Extremely versatile
- Sturdy and reliable
- Does not match certain vocal styles
- Amazon as the seller is the ONLY authorized Fulfilled by Amazon Dealer, and purchases from unauthorized dealers carry No Warranty
- A premium valve condenser microphone designed to provide incredible detail and warmth in the studio
- The cardioid polar pattern is perfect for most single instrument recording scenarios
- The electronic circuitry complementing this very sensitive transducer includes a hand-selected twin-triode 6922 valve and audiophile grade components
- Features an ultra-wide dynamic range, low noise, and stunning tube warmth
Most experts agree that while others would understandably be interested in the Rode NTK as a vocal microphone, it surely makes a great all-around mic for different purposes. You must be looking for a good condenser at a very affordable price, the Rode NTK mic is a good one for it delivers a smooth sound of a tube microphone, and is a perfect way to get into a warm sounding tube for vocals as well as many acoustic instruments.
This gold-plated large diaphragm has very low noise level, and it wide frequency range. Plus, it features an ultra-wide dynamic range, low noise, and stunning tube warmth. You would want to have the Rode NTK because its rich valve sound is ideal for vocals, acoustic instruments, and pianos, drum overheads, and guitar amps.
- Clarity and warmth
- No low-frequency cut switch
What is the best USB microphone?
You have seen how the main types of microphones are used and how they work. Each type of microphone has its own features, and different types of microphone are used in different applications so that the best performance can be delivered in any given situations. You have also known different great choices you can use at an outstanding price. You can maximize each of them in various circumstances.
They all offer great features that can greatly help you depending on your need of using them, and of course, your budget. When choosing the microphone for a given application, it is wise to check its overall response and tailor it to the type of sounds it is required for pick up. Nevertheless, as you get more experience with these microphones, you will know how to break with convention by yourself.
As for the best of them, Rode NTK Tube Cardioid Condenser Microphone is the top on our list. This gold plated capsule has a class A valve circuitry that can really help you with your activity. And of all the list, this has the ultra and most powerful low noise or background capacity – which is the reason it is also best used in studios for recording