Choosing the Microphone Like a Pro: 5 Tips

When you need to buy a microphone, you face a variety of choices. While basing your decision on the unit’s price may have some merit, you may want to consider several other parameters.

Even though microphones can look and feel similar, they can have a different sound, capacity, longevity, and purpose. Knowing what to pay attention to can help you make the right choice. Let’s take a look at five pro tips that help you buy the right mic for your needs.

Consider the Purpose

The main question you have to ask yourself when choosing a microphone is how you plan to use it. Do you need a mic for at-home karaoke sessions or do you want it for home-studio recording? Maybe you aren’t sure yet but want a unit that performs great in any situation?

The mic you select should be appropriate for the environment you plan to use it in. If you are planning to record high-quality demos, you have to invest in a high-quality mic that matches with the rest of your recording equipment.

If you plan to have fun with the microphone during friendly karaoke get-togethers, you can get a less expensive unit. Once you know the purpose, you can narrow the choice down substantially.

Evaluate Your Singing Style

Not all microphones can work equally well for all singing styles. When you check out DPA Condenser Microphones specifications, you may find that it’s great for your singing style but is a little less than perfect for your singing partner’s approach.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to tell which singing style a mic matches simply from the specifications. Consider trying out several units to see which one works the best. Things to consider include:

  • Baritone – needs a mic that captures warm low mids well
  • Aggressive style – needs a mic that handles high SPOL and intense transients of screaming.
  • Rap – needs a mic that isn’t overly sensitive to loud plosives of spoken syllables.

If you’ve tried a mic that works before, take the time to study its specs and compare them to what the new units have to offer.

Think about the Type

Microphones come in different types. Understanding these types can simplify your choice.

  • Dynamic microphones – robust mics that tend to do well in noisy environments. They are usually fairly priced. These microphones last long and don’t require high maintenance. They are excellent for at-home studios.
  • Small Diaphragm Condenser microphones – these microphones have great transient response and consistent pick up patterns. They tend to come in pairs for studio recording.
  • Large Diaphragm Condenser microphones – these mics are highly sensitive. They are also big – up to an inch in diameter. They usually need external power and a suspension mounting for isolating the vibrations. These mics are great for recording voices and many instruments simultaneously.
  • Ribbon microphones – these a great for studio recording of voices and other instruments. They make the sound softer and warmer. Ribbon mics go way back. They were used on numerous classic recordings.

When you know the purpose of the microphone you are planning to buy, it can be easy to select the type.

Evaluate your Budget

Once you know the type of mic that suits you well, you can come back to the budget. Today, it’s easy to find numerous microphones from different manufacturers. They offer products for any budget.

Don’t try to cut corners and save too much on your microphone. If the quality of your microphone is poor, it affects the quality of sound tremendously. Eventually, it could ruin your recording plans.

Always Test It

Buying a microphone online is convenient. However, no matter how hard you pour over the specs, you can never tell how suitable the microphone really is. Consider borrowing a friend’s mic to test it before buying one for yourself. You can also go to a music store to do some testing.

Many online mic retailers will allow you to return the product if it doesn’t suit your needs. Take advantage of these return policies in order not to get stuck with a less-than-perfect microphone.

The Takeaway

Since hardly all mics are created equal, choosing one requires some time. Don’t rush into making a decision you may regret later. Dig deeper into specs, types, and sounds. Choose a retailer who is ready to accept a return in case you and your new mic don’t click.

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