What are the best microphones to make your song sound more pro?
You have to record with a good microphone. But there are a lot of them and some of them aren’t that affordable. So, which one should you choose and why? In this guide we will focus only on large membrane condenser microphones that require an XLR input. The typical studio microphone. These are the best microphones to upgrade your quality of music instantly.
Price: $ 100
Use: Vocals, Acoustic Guitars and cabinets
- Low self-noise
- High SPL for this price (144db)
Or not to buy
- Actually not much..
The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a studio workhorse! For this price you can expect some extra tweaking when putting in an EQ. But those 2 minutes are nothing compaired to the price for this baby. It’s a perfect microphone for every studio and for this pice, you have to own one!
Use: Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Other Acoustic Instruments
- Flat Frequency response
- Super Low Self-noise at 5 db
- Most popular mic ever!
Not to Buy:
- Only Available in a kit
- Needs a De-esser Sssssssssssssssometimes.
The Rode NT1A is a very beautifull microphone. It’s the most popular microphone on earth right now and there’s a reason why. It’s prices so well for the quality you are getting. Ideal for homestudio’s that are not that well treated, and a delight to listen to! On some vocals where a lot of ‘s’ is being recorded it doest require a cut on the high frequencies or a de-esser to tame that part. On the other hand. On soft singer-songwriter vocals, the mic is extraordinary. It’s like it’s from another planet. Well it kinda is.. Australia is the other side of the world! And just a tip. Don’t be fooled by other reviews that are saying negative things, like “it requires external 48v phantom power”. Because if you’re reading this. Your budget is probably limited. So all the large condenser mics require external 48v phantom power. Just so you know.
Aston Microphones Origin
Use: Vocal and a lot more!
- Built in stainless stell wire mesh pop-filter
- Built in low cut
Not to buy
- Design may scare you
- Price of the black bundle
Aston Origin has a fixed pattern, like the ones we discussed before, cardioid. But extra to this microphone is it’s two switches, to reduce to volume with 10db and an 80Hz low-cut filter. There is not much to discuss about this mic. It’s a great one and it also has a black bundle version (which is priced higher of course…)
To upgrade, you can purchase the Aston Microphone Spirit ($329). The spirit is practically the same microphone, but with extra polar patterns and an extra -20db pad.
Use: Vocals and other acoustic instruments and FX
- Super duper low noise, 4,5db
- Mimics Vintage mics
Not to Buy:
- It’s not suited for recording very loud sources such as drums or cabinets.
Holy Shh. A new game changing microphone that is here to stay. Rode even claims it’s the worlds quietest microphone! For everyone who wants to record vocals, this is a go to mic to get a truly exceptional sound!
If you’re looking for something more fancy can skip the Rode and upgrade to a Neumann TLM 102 ($729). In a well treated room, you will hear the difference this microphone makes for a recording. In a room that is not treated, you’re only buying this microphone to show-off. Because higher quality microphones only give extra quality when the conditions are right.
Warm Audio WA-47jr
Use: Almost anything!
- 3 polar patterns
- 70HZ Low cut filter
Not to buy
- To warm for loud vocals
Warm Audio WA-47jr is a very warm microphone. It makes it unnessasary to saturate your vocals as much as you are used to with other mic’s. The mic can be used for all kind of vocals but not for very loud vocals. Rock, Metal, some rap. It’s just not suitable. For Pop, R&B, Country, Ballads, Soft vocals, it’s a great mic!
For just a small $999 you can be the owner of the AKG C414XLII or the Warm Audio WA47 (so without the junior). Both are very very good microphones with each a different tone. But it only matters if you have a proper treated room for them.
Cheap mic’s are shit
I don’t know what is wrong with people who think like this. But know that rich people shop at IKEA. The mic’s mentioned in this guide are top mic’s for recording vocals in a professional studio or home studio. It all comes down on how you use the microphone and in what setting. As mentioned before. Having a well treated room is crucial if you are going to use very expensive microphones.
How do microphones actually work?
Sounds produced by your vocal or instrument produce soundwaves. The diaphragm in the microphone (thin membrane) will catch these soundwaves and ‘move’ or ‘vibrate’. As this happens an electrical signal is being transferred to, usually, your audio interface. This signal will eventually go to your studio monitors or headphones, so you will hear yourself or your recording. So the vibrations caused by soundwaves, caught by the membrane in the mic will send a signal to your audio interface, where it translates your vocal to a digital signal. That’s it. Magic.
What about the polar patterns?
A polar pattern is a pattern in which the microphone ‘picks up’ a signal. The most common pattern is cardioid and microphones who support this pattern are most sensitive to sound that is coming from in front of the mic.
Another popular one pattern is omnidirectional. Mic’s that support this pattern pick up sound from every direction. Therefor these mic’s are great for room ambience, duets and many more where you need to record sound from all directions.
Polar patterns are usually visualized with an image such as this one.
What is the best mic?
The best microphone is the one you can afford. You can’t decide on which microphone is the best one, because all of them have a different purpose. But it all comes down to how you work with the mic. The quality of the recording is based on the recording engineer and how he (or she) treats the signal after.
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t afford a $1000 microphone. But if I have to give a suggestion.
For vocals only: Rode NT1
For vocals and instruments: Rode NT1a And no, I am not a Rode fan.
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