Microphones Buying Guide
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Microphones Buying Guide

Microphone choice is a critical part of recording and performing. A good quality microphone in any situation must be technically suited for the purpose, and also gives you the sound you want so you can make a world of difference to the audio reception. The following guideline will help you to understand the types of microphones, the feature first before you purchase it on the internet store like Addimart or other stores.

Types of microphones

Condenser

Large-diaphragm

Large diaphragm condenser mics usually used to record vocals, while small diaphragm mics are better suited for instruments, such as the acoustic guitar due to the large size of these mics and their need for suspension. They are very sensitive, almost always require external power and suspension mounting that isolates the mic from external vibrations.

Side-address

A microphone term that denotes the parallel position of the diaphragm in relation to the body of the mic. A side address microphone accepts sound from an angle perpendicular to the mic as opposed to a front address mic where you speak into the “end” of the microphone.

Dual-diaphragm

Dual-diaphragm mics are effective for recording duets or larger groups, and they can be great for picking up room ambiance. A dual-diaphragm condenser mic makes it easier to balance two simultaneous sound sources as opposed to using two single-diaphragm mics.

Tube

Tube condenser microphones are made and still used in professional studios to this day because the warmth and a rounded sound much like a tube guitar amp colors the instrument's sound in pleasing ways.

Small-diaphragm

Small diaphragm mics are better suited for instruments, such as the acoustic guitar and are sometimes used to in live music venues to mike cymbals, which can give them a clean, tight sound

Dynamic

Dynamic microphoneis usually sturdy and comes with a high SPL-handling capacity. They tend to do very well in live sounds and recording situations because most of them have good shock absorbing system and limited frequency response therefore clear and constant sound can be kept during a performance and can withstand high sound pressure levels, which makes them ideal for live performance.

Ribbon

Ribbon mics are a type of dynamic microphone commonly used for vocal and most instrument recordings in the studio because they soften the sound and impart warmth to recorded material. However, ribbon mics are not the first choice of live-sound mixers and front-of-house engineers because their benefits are too subtle in a live performance atmosphere.

USB

USB mics offer simple plug-and-play convenience that complements today’s digital music landscape and the trend toward home recording. They include both condenser and dynamic mic types configured for specific applications such as vocal and instrument miking. Many work seamlessly with iOS and Android apps that turn your smartphone or tablet into a highly portable recording studio.

Wireless

Unlike wired microphones, wireless microphones include a transmitter to allow a greater range of movement. These microphones feature a battery-powered transmitter in the microphone body, replacing the traditional cable used by wired mics, transmits the mic’s signal to a a receiver attached to a public address system or mixing board. Please pay attention microphone-receiver sets will operate on matching frequencies, separately purchased microphones and receivers may not.

Shotgun

Shotgun are often used used when you can’t position a microphone directly in front of a sound source because shotgun’s long, cylindrical shape gives the mic a narrower focus to pick up specific sounds sources from a distance.

Instrument

Typically small and lightweight, these microphones have a frequency response tailored to the specific instrument, and they employ a special mounting system that attaches to the instrument's bell or body which allows each mic to capture the tone a specific drum while rejecting the sounds from the others.

Features

Polar pattern

Cardioid

The most common unidirectional microphone is a cardioid microphone, so named because the sensitivity pattern is 'heart-shaped', ie a cardioid

Omnidirectional

Omnidirectional will in principle pick up sound equally from all directions. The microphone will though become more and more directional the higher the frequency.

Bi-directional

Bi-Directional mics pick up sounds from two directions opposite each other from the microphone. Bi-directional mics are useful when two people have to share a microphone — such as an interview, or two singers.

Body

There are two microphone body types — wireless and wired. Wireless mics are a popular option for many live vocal performers. While wireless mics are a good option on stage, they are not recommended for studio use, as they can lose their signal.

Frequency Response

Frequency Response is the range of frequencies that a microphone will hear and pick up which is referred to by its lowest and highest frequencies. Frequency response are measured in hertz.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity refers to how quiet a sound the mic can detect. The lower the number, the more sensitive the microphone is. The SPL, or Sound Pressure Level, is a measure of the maximum sound level a microphone can handle. Decibels (dBs) is used to expressed SPL.

Proximity Effect

Microphones with a strong proximity effect will be very sensitive to the movement and distance of sound sources. Singers who sing at a consistent distance from a mic will see a level bass tone range, whereas singers who move in and out, or who “work the mic”, will notice a fluctuation in the bass range, spiking as they approach, and dipping as they back off. Vocalists tend to like this effect since it fattens their voice, but a constantly varying bass boost can wreak havoc on headroom and carefully set levels.


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