If you are contemplating getting a new microphone, there are a number of features and factors that you will have to take into account. Acquiring knowledge about the specifications that need to be checked, and the features that you need to pay attention to will ensure that you purchase a microphone that is apt for your requirement. You should also acquaint yourself with the terminologies that are used to describe the effects of the microphone, which will allow you to have the knowledge about what an individual product has to offer.
What Do Polar Patterns Mean?
The polar pattern is the shape of the field of sensitivity of the microphone, which is the direction from where it accepts the incoming sounds. An omnidirectional microphone will respond to the sound coming from every direction. On the other hand, a unidirectional mic will respond to the sound that originates from a particular direction while ignoring the rest. A bidirectional mic hears sounds from the east and west only. Commonly, it is the unidirectional microphones that are available on the market.
It is important to pay attention to the polar pattern especially when you are working in a noisy setting. For instance, if the microphone is to be used in a band, you would want it to block all other sounds apart from the lead vocalists or whoever is in front of the mic. This ensures that signals do not get muddled and do not produce feedback. Some microphones are multi-pattern i.e. their polar patterns can be changed. Such microphones offer you versatility and can be used in different settings.
Frequency response is another feature that needs to be taken into account. This refers to the range of frequency that the microphone is designed to pick up. You need to opt for the microphone that has the frequency range in line with your requirement. The frequency response will let you know about the range of frequency that would be picked up by the microphone.
The performance that it will give at difference frequencies is another important factor that needs to be given attention. The response curve is the shape of the response of the microphone at different frequencies. It takes the form of a curve, hence the name. In the curve, you will notice certain peak points and certain points where there will be a dip. These are the features that will tell you about the character of the mic and let you decide which applications a certain microphone will be more suited for.
The sensitivity of a microphone is the measure of the lowest sound that it can detect. The lower the number, the more sensitive you can deem a microphone to be.
Sound pressure level, or as it is commonly called SPL, is the maximum volume that can be handled by a microphone. If you have to use the piece for loud instruments such as drums, you will have to select a microphone that has a high SPL.
Condenser Vs Dynamic
There are two main categories of microphones that you should know about, condenser and dynamic.
Dynamic microphones are said to be more rugged than the other option and thus, are more apt for on-stage usage. Condensers are sensitive, and you will find them to be more appropriate when it comes to recordings. However, this is not a fixed rule as many dynamic microphones are used for recording and vice versa.
What You Need To Look For
While purchasing a microphone, you should take a deeper look at the piece and not just focus on the specifications that are given. Make sure that you have taken every relevant factor into account before you settle for a microphone. It will have a pivotal impact on the quality of your sound and thus, is not something that one can afford to be negligent. We are now going to provide you with some options that you will come across in the market.
Top 10 Best Recording Microphones
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone
The Blue Microphone Yeti USB has all the features that you are likely to be in need of when it comes to recording your music. With this microphone, you can be certain that you have managed to get your hands on a product that will provide you with quality results you are looking forSpecifications
- Three condenser capsules
- Multiple pattern selection: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo
- Gain control, mute button, and zero-latency headphone output
- Requires a minimum of 64MB of RAM
- Perfect for vocals, musical instruments, podcasting, voiceovers, interviews, field recordings, and conference calls
Rode NTK Tube Condenser Microphone
It has been provided with a rather appealing design. With a large capsule and gold plated diaphragm, this microphone offers you reliability in addition to optimal performance. It has also been provided with a wide dynamic range.
If you are looking for a microphone that will enhance your performance and provide you with high-quality results, the Rode NTK is the one that you should take a look at. This mic will last with you for a long time, and the quality of the sound coming from it is amazing.Specifications
- 1-inch capsule with gold plated diaphragm
- Class A valve circuitry
- Wide dynamic range
- Low noise
- Hand-selected and graded 6922 twin-triode valve
- Includes a power supply, 30-foot cable, stand adapter and case
Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
It comes with an efficient pop filter which will take care of eliminating all the other sounds, even the explosive breath sounds while recording.
The Shure SM7B has a classic cardioid polar pattern, which reduces the sounds coming from all other directions apart from the primary source. With a rugged construction along with cartridge protection, this microphone offers you all the feature for optimal performance, reliability, and profound quality.Specifications
- Wide range of frequency response
- Uniform cardioid pattern
- Rugged construction
- Pop filter
- Bass roll-off with mid-range emphasis control
- Graphic display of response setting
Sennheiser MD 421 II Cardioid Dynamic Mic
It has a wide frequency range for usage in a variety of capacities. It has a uniform cardioid polar pattern, which implies that you will not have to worry about noisy settings while getting your recording done as it will respond to the sound coming from a particular direction alone. It is a dynamic microphone which means it can be used for stage performances as well.
The quality of the microphone is exceptional, and it offers you impressive performance. This is a microphone that you will not be disappointed with and will last for a long time.Specifications
- Apt for recording instruments and backup vocals
- Frequency range: 30-17000Hz
- Uniform cardioid polar pattern
- Average impedance: 200 Ohms
Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone without Cable
The frequency response of this microphone has been designed for vocals. It is equipped with a bass roll-off that offers you the opportunity to control the proximity effect. It also comes with wind and a pop filter. Since it has been provided with a pneumatic shock mount system, the handling noise will be cut down, and your performance should not be affected. It has a uniform cardioid pickup pattern, which is unidirectional. It will focus on the main sound while minimizing any other sound that might be in the background. It offers you quality performance and is one of those microphones that you just love to use.Specifications
- Tailored for vocals
- Bass roll-off with brightened midrange
- Frequency response: 50Hz-15000Hz
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern
- Pneumatic shock-mount system
- Built-in spherical wind and pop filter
- Break-resistant stand adapter rotates to 180 degrees
SE Electronics sE2200a II C Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
However, that is not the case. It has been equipped with many features that top mics has. It is also a cardioid polar pattern which means you can use it in a noisy environment with ease. With a wide frequency response range, this microphone give you no reason to complain. The design of this piece is also highly appealing and will leave you impressed. All in all, this is not the kind of product that you would regret getting your hands on.Specifications
- Custom, hand crafted, 1-inch gold-spluttered diaphragm
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Supply Voltage: Phantom power 48V ± 4V
Neumann TLM 102 Condenser Microphone
When you purchase a microphone, you are looking for something that would offer you reliability and improve your quality of music. This microphone gives you both to near perfection. It has everything that you are likely to look for in a recording microphone and the quality of the product is surreal. It has a cardioid polar pattern, making it even more appealing.Specifications
- Large-diaphragm microphone
- Cardioid directional
- Compact Neumann design
- High maximum sound pressure level (144 dB)
Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package
It has a high SPL range and a rather low self-noise level, making it one of the quietest studio microphones that you can expect to come across.
The Rode NT1A has a studio grade pop shield along with shock mount present. This cardioid condenser microphone is definitively a top notch product. It will enhance your performance and the quality of the product will leave you impressed.Specifications
- Large 1-inch capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Self-noise of 5dB
- Wide dynamic range
CAD GXL2200 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
This microphone is known to work for a long time. While being affordable, this microphone will certainly not let you down.Specifications
- Externally-biased condenser
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Frequency Response: 30Hz to 20KHz
- Sensitivity: -36dBV (16mV) at 1 Pa
- Impedance: 75 Ohms
MXL 770 Professional Studio Condenser Mic Recording Bundle
With the MXL 770, you should be able to produce professional quality music. It will not give you a reason to complain.Specifications
- Fixed boom mic stand
- Pop filter
- XLR to XLR microphone cable
The quality and performance of the microphone that you use would have a major role to play in the quality of the music. This is not something that you can afford to be cheap with if you are serious about your music.
Ensure that you go through the specifications and features of the microphone before you purchase it. Look for a microphone that is within your budget.
The mics mentioned above will provide you with quality results. Conduct a thorough research so as to make it certain that you get a microphone that will be best for your music.