Choosing the Right Microphone

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There are many different types of Microphones out there of every price level from $49 on up to $1000’s. Now, for most of you, I will keep my examples within the $200-$400 range. It is also going to depend on what you will be using the microphone for. (Guitars, vocals, all around, etc.) First we will talk about purchasing Microphones.


Purchasing a Microphone

If you can afford it, it makes sense to buy a range of microphones and use the most appropriate one for each job. If your budget is more limited, think about all the different things you need to use the mic for and try to find something which will do a reasonable job of as many of them as possible. Most of us out there can only afford to have a few different types to choose from, so lets talk about the most common types and their uses.


Different Mic Types

There are many different types of mics out there but what do they all do? Let’s break it down in to the (2) main categories:

  1. Condenser Mics
  2. Dynamic Mics

Condenser mics work better on high frequency instruments like acoustic guitars,  cymbals pianos, etc.

And dynamic mics work better on low-mid frequency instruments like electric guitar cabs, drums and bass cabs

While it is much more complex than that, this is a great beginner’s starting point.


Popular Microphone Brands and Models

Microphone quality can vary from brand to brand, model to model or even within the same brand. I have often heard a lower cost, lower quality mic track a better sound that an expensive, supposed high quality mic. This doesn’t happen often, but as you are out there searching, you will see that no two mics are the same. They all have their own sound. That being said, I am going to talk about the best couple of mics to have in your arsenal, whether you have a project studio or you are in the big times.

Shure SM57 – In my opinion, (and everyone else s on the inter web) the Shure SM57 is a must have. They only cost around $70-$80 new and around $50-$60 used. You cannot kill these mics. I once found one after a concert I played that had been broke in half. I took it home, rewired and re-soldered it and Bam. Worked ever since. These mics are great for Guitar Cabinets, Acoustic Guitars, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, and everything in between.

Sennheiser MD 421 – This mic is a must have in any recording studio. They do cost a little more, but the uses are endless. These mics usually run around $375-$400 new and are optimal for recording drums, guitars, almost any other instrument and back up vocals.

Behringer C1 – The Behringer C1 usually costs around $100. It won’t get you anywhere near the tone and quality of the more expensive mics, but for home recording it does the job and it does it fairly well. It’s fair to say that most home recorders won’t have their rooms acoustically treated, so you won’t be able to pick up as much of a difference between this mic and the next (the room is the most important bit of studio equipment you can invest in, by the way).

I hope that this post has helped you even in a small way figure out what it is that you need to do to find what works best for you.

Please leave your comments below!

 

 

 

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TOPIC: The Importance Of A “Click Track” When Entering The Studio

 

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In the modern music era, entering the studio for a demo or full album recording can be intimidating. The current state of popular top 40, hip-hop, and rock ‘n roll music may best be described as slick, polished, and harrowing to reproduce in anything but the most expensive studios. By extension, the sound of modern drumming is predominantly mechanical and measured. If you want to produce a recording with a professional sound, then you should consider whether, and how, to utilize a metronome, or “click-track.”

If you have never used a metronome before, the first step will be to choose a model that you are comfortable using. You will want to check that the sound of the click is audible while you play; but a harsh, grating tone will make your studio session an exercise in teeth-grinding. You will typically want your metronome or drum machine to sound like a cowbell: a precise, upper-midrange “ping” will cut through clearly in most playing situations.

Remember that the click-track is only your guide. The metronome is not making any music: you are. If you have put in the work in rehearsal, the click-track will not dominate or overshadow your studio session. You will have the assurance that your best performance will not have an unintended sway in tempo. By the same token, a click track will not fix a bad song, mask sloppy playing, or energize an uninspired performance. If used correctly and diligently, and if you remember to keep it musical, a click track can be a valuable tool to polish your playing and to finish your recording with a professional edge.

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