Your microphone may either make or break the music that you are creating. It not only is the main equipment that you’ll use for recording, it also dictates the quality of your music. This is especially true if it’s your first-time recording.
However, choosing the right microphone can be a huge task for beginners. After all there are almost an infinite number of makes and models that you can choose from. So, how will you know if it’s right for you? There are three types of microphones: the dynamic, condenser, and ribbon mics. These mics can be used for a variety of situations but dynamic mics are enough if you are still starting your musical career.
In order to answer this question, read more to find out!
What Are the Three Different Types of Studio Mics?
The three main types of microphones are:
- Dynamic Mics
- Condenser Mics
- Ribbon Mics
What Are Dynamic Microphones?
If you want the most durable mic that you can get, dynamic microphones are the one for you. They can hit by hard objects like drumsticks or get dropped on the stage. These mics will still function well.
However, compared to other microphones, they are not particularly sensitive. So, they are perfect for loud sources like snare drums and guitar amps. They are also very versatile which makes them perfect for all sounds in the studio. In addition, they capture sound in a unidirectional pattern which means that they will only pick up the sound from the direction that they’re pointed. Thus, the sound that comes from behind is cancelled out.
This makes dynamic mics perfect for those whose setups are not sound isolated. These mics can be placed strategically away from the source of noise in your room. Aside from that, they cost less than other types of microphones. This makes the dynamic mics the perfect microphone for amateur musicians and podcast hosts.
The dynamic mics that we recommend are:
- For studios: Shure SM57 and Sennheiser MD 421-II
- For those who want to capture low-end dynamics: AKG D112 MKII and EV RE-20
What Are Condenser Microphones?
Compared to dynamic mics, condenser microphones capture rich and frilly sound. But they are more fragile and expensive compared to the former. They are also not as versatile as dynamic mics as they cannot be used on the same number of sound sources. Although when they are used to capture audio, they make sounds even better than before.
However, condenser mics have more polar sound patterns and they have switches to change between:
- Unidirectional: similar to dynamic microphones
- Bidirectional: captures sound from the front and back and canceling out lateral sound
- Omnidirectional: sound from all directions are captured
This feature makes them versatile, although not as versatile as the dynamic mics. There are also two kinds of condenser mics that can be used depending on the instrument. These are:
- Large Diaphragm Condenser: The Audio Technica AT2035 and se22000 belongs to this category. They pick up bass and low mids but highs are reduced. LDCs must be used for full-bodied instruments.
- Small Diaphragm Condenser: Microphones like Rode NT5 and Shure SM81 belongs in this category. SDCs capture less lows and mid but are very top heavy. So, they are better utilised for brighter instruments.
What Are Ribbon Mics?
Ribbon mics are the ones that you see from vintage films from the 50s and 60s. Long before the dynamic and condenser microphones came into the market. So, they are not as durable and are more expensive than their counterparts.
However, they produce warm sound and they add a vintage vibe to your studio or performance. They are also very sensitive which can be use for softer sounds like vocals or stringed instruments.
The majority of ribbon mics are bidirectional which confines their use to rooms where outside noise cannot penetrate.
The best ribbon mics available these days are the Cascade Fathead and the Royer R-121.