At Micspeech, we help you find a microphone that will perfectly suit your purpose no matter what it is.
You can be a professional singer, a reporter, an interviewer, a karaoke lover, a podcasts maker, and many more. Each of these roles may require a particular kind of gear. Each individual voice can sound different depending on the mic you choose. The problem is often how to make the right choice. Below, you’ll find a number of guidelines that are better to be taken into consideration.
There are two main initial steps that you need to take before exploring the variety of microphones models. Firstly, find out what kind of conversion technology you need – there are two main types: dynamic and condenser. Secondly, consider different polar patterns that are out there and decide which one can suit your purpose better: omnidirectional, cardioid, supercardioid, or maybe hypercardioid? Through understanding these basic theoretical principles you acquire the superpower of how to ignore the models that don’t suit you.
Now, we’ll go deeper into the details. There are lots of situations you may find yourself in. We’ve tried to embrace all of them and pick the right microphones for each one. All you need to do is find out yours and read the suggestions!
Types of microphones
Condenser and dynamic microphones can be quite different. The models depicted above are just two types, and there are certainly more of them. Most dynamic microphones are hand-held and most condenser microphones are not since they are more sensitive. However, this is not necessarily the case, which is why we invite you to learn more about how microphones can look like and what advantages their looks can give you.
Clip-on microphones are quite small. They are easily attached to clothing which is why it is best to use them in conferences, presentations, theatre performances, and other events that require individual voices standing out from the rest. Clip-on microphones can be quite different in quality and details, however, they are all very elusive, so if you need a mic that can be hidden from the eyes, consider these models. Other names for clip-on microphones are lavalier microphones and lapel microphones.
Shotgun microphones are used in broadcasting, TV and film production, sports interviews, and other situations where it is inconvenient for the subject to wear or hold the microphone. This microphone type is essential if you want to make a high-quality video. The main peculiarity of it is a narrow pick-up pattern which rejects all the side noises and takes in only the sounds that are in front of it.
The pick-up angle can vary – it can be 30, 50, or 70 degrees depending on the length of the microphone. The longer the mic, the narrower the pick-up angle. It is necessary to make sure that the tube is directed at the sound source. Otherwise, it will pick up distortions instead of the needed voice.
One more thing you need to know about this type of microphone is that it is very sensible. It is definitely more susceptible to the noises that are in front of it than other microphones, which is why it is worth buying a wind protection screen to make sure the recording is crisp and clear regardless of the weather conditions or unpleasant accidents. In short, all the reporters and video makers out there – this is the mic you need! Just make sure, you use it in a proper way.
Fitness Headset microphones or just headset microphones are for people who are being active while recording audio. Aerobics instructors, cycling instructors, Zumba trainers, Tabata trainers, video games streamers – you name it!
The wireless headset microphone system consists of a headset microphone, a wireless transmitter, and a receiver. The overall construction can be connected with any device. The construction is usually quite durable so you can think more of what you are talking about and less of what you are talking into. If you are into sports (cybersports included) and want to create content connected with sporty activities, definitely check such models out.
Boundary microphones are one more unusual type of microphones. It is rarely seen but frequently used. The areas of application are the following: conference rooms, discussion tables, theatres, churches, etc. The key feature of the mic is that it can be either placed on a plain surface or attached to a wall. Due to the variety of pick-up patterns, you can choose the sides from which the sound is captured.
So if you want to improve the room’s acoustics, boundary microphones are worth special consideration.
Binaural microphones are also somewhat unusual. They are used for recording clear authentic sounds with high fidelity. What it means is that you can create an experience for your listeners that is very close to what we hear in real life. Such microphones can be used in the cinema industry, documentary filming about nature, or just for making art. Just like it is with pictures today – everyone aims for better quality – for many, it is important to hear real-life sounds through earphones. A binaural microphone will allow you to ensure the high fidelity everyone’s looking for.
Gooseneck microphones are most frequently used in official gatherings such as conferences, meetings, political sessions. They are needed when a subject can’t or doesn’t want to hold the microphone.
Such microphones can have various pick-up patterns, however, the ones that are most frequently used are cardioid and supercardioid. The gooseneck microphone’s neck is moveable meaning a subject can place it in the way he or she finds more convenient.
Most such mics have a desktop basis, however, there are also clip-on options – they are attached to the edges of a desktop. In general, gooseneck microphones are quite useful for businesses, organizations, education purposes, and many more.
Microphones for conferences & meetings
As we see, microphones can be quite different, which makes it hard to choose the right microphone for each particular purpose. In this section, we are talking about the models that go well with speech. Sometimes it is hard to convey speech in a clear and balanced manner. Probably everyone has heard inappropriately loud voices in small conference rooms or inappropriately quite announcements aimed at a big audience. In order to avoid this awkwardness, it is best to, first of all, go through the sound check, and, secondly, make sure that your microphone is the right type of microphone.
When you’re giving a speech to a small number of people, it is not necessary to have a microphone. 10 or 20 people can listen to a person carefully even if there is no volume amplification. However, there are cases when you might consider using a microphone even if you are in front of a small audience. These are the qualities of the venue you are about to speak in. Such details as the size of the room, the presence of furniture, carpets, and curtains, the height of the ceiling may influence the acoustics. So if you know the venue has problems with delivering the sound, it is better to provide the speakers with microphones.
What kind of microphones though? It depends. If you are going to hold a product demonstration event, it is best to use a lavalier microphone. Since these microphones are hands-free, they will allow a presenter to play with a model or other material objects without thinking much about the microphone.
To hold the microphone properly is a separate kind of art, the subtleties of which are unknown to most people. That’s why it is always great if you can get the speakers rid of the necessity to do it. Besides, it gives an opportunity to use more gestures while speaking which makes the speech more emotional. This helps to break the barriers built between the speaker and the audience.
Of course, if you have other purposes in mind and they don’t refer to public speaking, you can consider buying and/or using a conventional mic. These days almost all the models can be adjusted to various types of situations. Just make sure you have got a person who is tech-savvy and who can make it all look and sound great. The obvious choice of pick-up pattern for public speaking would be cardioid. Both dynamic and condenser mics can be used – it all depends on their quality. So, it is either no mic or a carefully adjusted mic.
If a small audience can be good without a microphone, a big audience can’t. It is a completely different case in which you need a good microphone and a good technician to provide people with a nice listening experience. These days, it is more convenient to use wireless gear and equipment, which totally makes sense since there are so many great wireless microphones systems out there. If you can’t rid the speaker of the need to hold a microphone, at least make sure he or she doesn’t need to look at the feet in order to avoid crumbling in front of all those people.
Conference rooms are usually somewhat cozier than big audiences, which is why it is not always necessary to use microphones in them. However, there are always exceptions. If your conference room has really bad acoustics and you still need to hold regular serious events in there, think of buying a boundary microphone. As described earlier, these microphones do not amplify particular voices – instead, they make sure that the overall quality of sound in a room is high. You can attach such mics to a table or to a wall depending on the features of your conference room.
There are also ceiling-mounted microphones. They are not easily seen but can do the job quite well. If you don’t want to do the mounting and prefer the microphones that can be easily transported to any other place, think of buying gooseneck microphones. It can be quite expensive to buy a separate microphone for every single person in a conference room, however, if you’ve got the resources, this is an excellent way to solve the problem with the acoustics. Besides, gooseneck microphones are able to highlight individual voices, which is preferable, especially if there are lots of background noises in the room.
One more solution to the problem is buying a microphone array. It is far from cheap but it is a cool thing to consider. So there are quite a few options when it comes to choosing a microphone for a conference room. Depending on your preferences, you can either pump up the volume of the whole room or provide every single speaker with an individual microphone. Just think of your budget, weigh all pros and cons, and make the decision that suits your circumstances best.
4. Microphones for interviews
If you are a journalist or a sociologist, you might need a microphone for recording interviews. Interviews are a special kind of art, so it is better to think through every detail before taking them – microphones included.
What mic to choose to record an interview? Most professionals would recommend a shotgun microphone which is indeed a very convenient option in such a situation. However, you can also use a lavalier microphone or even a hand-held one. It all depends on the kind of interview you’re taking. Make sure your ‘victim’ is not against being recorded and go ahead.
Microphones for entertainment
Sometimes we need microphones just in order to have fun. After all, life is not only about conferences and meetings. If you organize events or parties, a good microphone will transform your work in an unrecognizable way. Below, we’ve outlined several purposes for which you might need a microphone and given certain recommendations on how to choose it.
Today, there are many karaoke microphones that are worth close attention. Many of them can be connected to PC, Android or iOS – either directly or through Bluetooth. In the earlier days, it was considered normal to buy a karaoke system. Recently, however, these systems have become outdated for it is quite easy to download a karaoke program on your phone or computer. These programs, however, don’t work properly without a good microphone. The microphones producers have quickly recognized this and created new modern devices that improve the quality both of singing and recording.
Of course, you may choose a simple dynamic microphone that won’t cost much, but there are some budget karaoke models as well, so consider all the options – just in case! It is not necessary to buy a condenser mic or the most sensitive mic you can find – after all it is just karaoke and most people wouldn’t like to hear all the imperfections of their voices. Even if you own a business, think of a simple yet efficient microphone that will deliver a pleasurable experience to its users.
2. Karaoke microphones for kids
Kids have a special place in our hearts. That’s why today, especially in the US, the producers of goods are trying to satisfy the needs of kids and young adults first because it is more beneficial. This is one of the reasons we now have karaoke microphones for kids. However, it doesn’t cancel the fact that they are very cool! Go on and check yourself.
There are also karaoke machines with 2 microphones for small children. These are actually useful because they are lightweight and safe. So if you have kids who love singing, a karaoke microphone will be a great gift for them!
There are also voice changing microphones for children that help to develop kids’ vocal abilities. They are all very colorful and bright. If you want to play with your kids in a somewhat unusual way, a voice changing mic is a great purchase! It will certainly bring lots of joy to anyone who uses it.
Weddings are a big deal. Most people try to make them memorable both for a couple and guests. To fulfill this aspiration, it is recommended to choose a good host who has a good microphone! If you are a host, then having a quality tool is a must.
Microphones for weddings can be quite different. You can choose any mic depending on your preferences. However, it is better to choose a cardioid pick-up pattern to avoid unpleasant noise. Without doubts, it is better to think about a wireless microphone that doesn’t restrict movement. And it is preferable to have at least two microphones – just in case!
The same applies to birthday parties, anniversaries, and other celebrations that involve lots of people. If you’re planning to arrange a birthday party for your best friend or for your relative, think of buying or borrowing a good microphone. A microphone can make any party more festive and dynamic since it lets the guests express their thoughts and feelings in a clear way so that everyone could hear and understand them.
Microphones for birthday parties and other celebrations can be both dynamic and condenser, have both an omnidirectional pick-up pattern and a cardioid one. The most important thing is that they should be hand-held – this way, you can hand over the microphone to someone else and get rid of the necessity to be with it all the time. After all, such events are made for private chit-chats, eating, and having nice drinks. And if someone wants to speak up, a hand-held microphone is all you’ll need to grab everyone’s attention.
Making sound for videos
This section is for all the content creators. Quality sound is important both for those who work at radio-stations and those who make YouTube videos. In the beginning, you might think that your embedded mic is enough for making quality content, however, later people usually realize that it is actually not and seek separate, more professional microphones for doing the job. That’s when the main question of this article arises. What mic to choose?
If you are making voiceovers, you probably know how important it is to convey one’s voice clearly and without any distortions. The essential tool for doing that is a condenser mic. Condenser microphones, as stated earlier, are more sensitive, which is why they are able to capture elusive sounds of your voice and make recordings sound more natural. Of course, you can choose a good dynamic microphone – there are some great models out there – but if you really want to upgrade your work to a pro level, you need a condenser mic.
Condenser mics can be different. It is better to take a look for those that have large diaphragms. As for pick-up patterns, obviously, the most popular choice is cardioid. However, you can try different options. Upon the whole, it is best to try different options before buying a microphone for any purpose. Only when you hear how everything is recorded, you can be confident about whether you’re making the right choice or not. So, always trust your ears! If you don’t have the opportunity to go through numerous sound checks or want to learn more about the possible options first, read this article about voice-over microphones.
The important thing worth mentioning is that you must avoid omnidirectional microphones. They will absorb the noize of your room which will affect the quality of a voice-over. That is also the reason why many people who work with sound use windshields, pop filters, and other kinds of protection.
If you are making visual content for the web, using your voice to convey certain ideas, then having a good mic is a must. After all, you don’t want your subscribers to listen to a dorky voice sounding as if it was coming from a low-ceiling room with poor acoustics, no lighting – complete chaos. You don’t want that. To make an excellent video, you need an excellent sound and therefore you need to choose the right microphone.
If you’d like to convey the atmosphere of a room, even if it indeed has a low ceiling and poor acoustics, then it is alright to choose an omnidirectional pick-up pattern. If you vlog in nature or in other places that have a nice vibe in them, try picking up sounds from all the sides as well. However, if you are looking for something that will first and foremost convey what you’re saying, a cardioid pick-up pattern is what you need. There are pros and cons of every particular pick-up pattern, so choose the one that suits your particular situation. If you can’t decide, you can always go for a multipattern microphone.
The shape of the microphone is also up to you. However, if you don’t want the mic to be seen in the video, you can go for a lavalier microphone. Most lavalier microphones have an omnidirectional pick-up pattern which makes them able of not only highlighting your voice but also of catching some of the sounds you hear in your surroundings. If you don’t want any sounds from your surroundings in your videos, choose a condenser mic – it can be both conventional and shotgun. Look through the models and bookmark those that fall within your personal budget range.
One more interesting thing to know is that you can buy a microphone that can be attached to your camera. These days there are lots of them. Placing a mic above your camera’s lens lets you forget about it and enjoy the recording so definitely explore this option.
If you have a GoPro, for example, you can choose a mic from these models. GoPro camera has an embedded mic, of course, however, its quality might not satisfy you, which is why there are so many options that can substitute it. These options are quite different – you can go for both lavalier and shotgun mics. It all depends on the type of activity you’re involved in. Since GoPro cameras are created for people who lead an active lifestyle, GoPro microphones are also designed to be strong and durable so that you could record in any weather conditions.
Apart from GoPro, there are other types of cameras, of course. Many microphone producers try to make their product compatible with all the devices so that you could have a choice. It is especially convenient if you have and use different kinds of cameras – you can just take the mic from one camera and set it to the other. DSLR cameras still remain quite popular and are often used both by professionals and amateurs, which is why it is preferable to look for the microphones that can do both.
Microphones for professional musicians
Microphones are widely used in the music industry. In fact, nowadays it is hard to imagine the music industry without quality microphones. If you are a musician, a singer, a concert manager, a studio owner, etc., an awesome mic is what you need in order to be awesome at what you do.
Recording anything requires a good condenser microphone. However, there are great dynamic options that can also do the job. We’ve selected several great models that will ensure studio quality of your recordings. Most of them are condenser ones since such mics have a wider frequency response which is a very important feature. As for a pick-up pattern, it is better to go for a cardioid one – it will let you eliminate background noise and at the same type allow singers to play with their voice by changing the mic’s distance.
Vocals microphones usually have a shaped frequency response which stands for the elimination of extreme high- and low-end frequencies and the boost of middle-range frequencies. While buying a vocals microphone, consider the price of the product. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a mic is, the better it can handle the noise.
Concerts are a bit different than studio recordings. If you are choosing a mic for performances, you’re probably looking for something durable and reliable. Most dynamic mics have these qualities, but condenser ones can also offer a range of opportunities for singers. Needless to say that everything depends on the kind of music you’re performing and your personal preferences.
The best microphones for singing are hard to be found. You got to take into consideration frequency range, pick-up pattern, and conversion technology. All of these can both complement the peculiarities of your voice and make it sound worse. The best thing you can do is to try using the mic before buying it. If you know exactly what you want, look for that. We offer the basic guidelines, you make the choice!
Microphones for a choir are usually condenser with a cardioid pick-up pattern, however, there might be variations. There are two big categories of mics that can highlight the voices of a choir – individual mics and boundary mics. Individual mics can be both clip-on (lavalier) and conventional – if you choose these, you’ll have to use stands. Depending on the choir you’re buying the mics for, you can go for various options. The best thing to keep in mind is that the choir voices should be conveyed in a clear way, without any distortions.
Microphones for recording musical instruments
Musical instruments are a special topic. They are all very different so you never know which mic is better at recording an acoustic guitar and which one will be able to catch the low bass sounds. If you have a band or a studio which is used by bands, you might already be discerning in these subtleties, if not – read a quick review below to learn the basics.
1. Acoustic guitar and piano microphones
If you want to record an acoustic guitar, it is better to use a condenser microphone. The same applies to piano recording. Condenser microphones are able to produce smoother sound. Since they are more sensitive, they can capture elusive vibrations that will make the recording sound more natural.
The most popular choice of pick-up pattern for recording such instruments as an acoustic guitar and piano is cardioid. Cardioid pick-up pattern is able to capture all that’s in front of it and avoid the background noise. This is all you need while recording the mentioned instruments.
As for frequency response, it is better to choose a flat one, although as always it depends on your preferences. Flat frequency response doesn’t boost nor low- nor high-end frequencies. Some prefer microphones that are a little bit better at capturing high frequencies. It is all up to you!
One last tip is to play with the positioning of a microphone. This only applies to guitar recording. If you need to boost high frequencies, you can place a mic near the neck of a guitar. And, on the contrary, if you need to highlight low frequencies, place a mic nearer the bridge.
All in all, you don’t need to buy a special mic for recording an acoustic guitar or a piano. A good condenser one with a cardioid pick-up pattern will do just fine.
Microphones for recording bass guitars, kick drums, or other bass instruments are special kind of microphones. It is better to choose a mic with a cardioid polar pattern and a shaped frequency. Most importantly though it should be dynamic. Dynamic mics are less likely to catch distortions even if there is a high sound pressure. This is exactly what you need while recording a bass instrument.
Bass microphones are easily found on Amazon or in other online and offline shops. In case you don’t want to spend your time on processing bass sounds with software desperately seeking the right solutions, it is better to buy a special bass mic. What you need is to convey smooth low frequencies and this is most easily reached with the help of a special microphone. Undoubtedly, it doesn’t mean you can’t use other mics to record bass. Try whatever you want, but remember that most likely you’ll find the special gear more useful.
With drum microphones, it is always the same as with bass microphones – because what you need is beautiful low-frequency sounds. To record kick drum, snares, or floor toms, you need a dynamic microphone. A condenser microphone will also do but only if it has a high SPL so check the mic’s specifications first.
It is better to choose a cardioid or supercardioid pick-up pattern for drums recording. These ones are best at controlling feedback. Shaped frequency response is the most desirable one since it features extreme high- and low-end frequency and boosts middle-range frequencies. However, if you want to record overhead cymbals and hi hats, you need a flat frequency response. It all depends on the type of instrument.
For recording drums, it is convenient to choose boundary microphones. All you need to do is place them properly. Make sure you check all the possible options and choose the one that fits you best!
Microphones for home use & personal purposes
These days many freelancers work at home where there is a familiar environment, no angry people, 24/7 hot tea, and other creature comforts. If you are lucky enough to be one of these people, you may come to a point when you need to upgrade your equipment in order to upgrade your job’s results. Audio-content can and should be better! The only problem is how to choose the right microphone.
Nowadays podcasts are gaining more and more popularity. It is convenient to listen to audio-programs when you’re driving a car, cycling, walking, or doing any other type of activity that doesn’t require too much of your brain power. That’s why many content-creators start to think about this type of communication with an audience more frequently. If you want to start recording podcasts, you’ll definitely need a good microphone.
In the beginning, it is not necessary to buy the most expensive model, but surely you’ll need a good microphone to make high-quality recordings. We recommend you to look for condenser microphones since they are more sensitive. As for pick-up patterns, for obvious purposes, it is better to choose a cardioid one.
If you record at home, you are probably using a computer to process the results. If this is the case, you need a microphone compatible with PC. There are two categories of mics compatible with PC – those that can be directly connected to a device through a USB cable and those that use additional audio-units to produce the sound of better quality. The latter ones cost more, so if you have a limited budget it is better to choose a USB microphone. However, if you don’t have financial limitations, be free to look for an XLR mic.
Microphones with the plug size 3.5 mm are usually compatible with Android devices since they have 3.5 inputs. However, it is not necessarily the case, plus there are plenty of other options you can try out. It is not a problem anymore to make good audio- or video- content, if you own an Android smartphone. All you need to do is download a special app for dealing with audio and do the recording. Of course, a nice microphone wouldn’t be odd since it will significantly improve the quality of the sound.
The same applies to Android tablets. For many people, it is easier to deal with hard work on bigger screens and who would argue that making quality content is hard work. No matter what you need a mic for – recording podcasts, making first hip-hop compositions, making voice-overs – a microphone that goes well with Android tablets will enormously facilitate your job.
Of course, most microphones that can be connected directly to your phone are not of excellent quality, but there are many great options you can choose from. Besides, all of the options are definitely better than your embedded Android mic. Plus, you can theoretically choose a microphone that uses an XLR cable and therefore connects indirectly both to a tablet and a PC. These microphones require additional equipment, but if you’re ready to buy it, why not to consider a broader range of options? After all, it doesn’t matter that much what kind of device will process your recording – what does is the quality of your recording gear. Just make sure you have a nice preamp or another audio unit required for the functioning of an XLR mic.
Both iPhones and iPads can be improved even more – by attaching a quality microphone to them. A microphone that will let you create fantastic podcasts, make voice-overs, record unusual Instagram stories, and more. It is truly amazing how many activities we can perform with our pocket monsters. If you are choosing a microphone for an Apple’s device, take a look at these options. Among them are both the microphones that can be simply attached to a device and those that require cables. Both types will transform your audio- and video- performance!
Microphones for gaming
If you are a fan of PlayStation or cybersport in general, you can upgrade your game by buying a good microphone. Consider the options below and surprise your opponents!
Actually, any microphone can be compatible with ps4. The question is how to make it compatible. With some microphones though it is easier than with others. Headset microphones, for example, are great for playing games and live streaming. If you are looking for a good mic to enhance your ps4 experience, definitely check them out. Microphones for playing ps4 can be conventional, lavalier, hand-held – now that you know what types of microphones are out there, you can decide yourself which ones suit your purpose better and look for more specific items both on our website and in online shops.
There are also microphones compatible with Xbox 360 – another popular video game console. If you have this console and want to buy a microphone that goes with it, also check out headset microphones. They are great for games! They rid you of the necessity to hold the mic or bow down in order to use it and at the same time provide a great gaming experience. There are other options as well, of course – choose the microphone you will enjoy the most!
If you are streaming online, it is necessary to have a high-quality microphone. Today streamers can become quite popular and even earn some money while doing what they’re doing. Video games are a big business industry. Creators, illustrators, coders, sound producers, and many other people are involved in it. It draws lots of people to the games, which makes microphones suitable for online streaming quite popular.
Such mics can be used for other purposes as well, so don’t be afraid to buy one – in case you cease streaming, you can think of some new activity and use a microphone in a different way. This applies to any microphone actually. If you have a vibrant imagination, you’ll think of ways how to tame the technological advances and make them work exactly how you wish.
Gear that might come in handy
Regardless of your purpose, you’ll need additional microphones’ gear to deal with your microphone. Some microphones don’t require much – for example, all you need to use a USB microphone is the right cable.
Most microphones come with everything you need, however, if you want to improve the mic’s output, you can buy certain details separately. The same applies in cases when you have something lost or broken. It is not always necessary to buy a new microphone. Just look for special gear that is compatible with the one you already have.
A microphone case is what you need in order to prolong the life of your microphone. The conditions in which you keep a microphone are very important, which is why in case you don’t have a microphone case, it is time you bought it.
Microphone cases can be different – they can be designed both for keeping one single microphone and several microphones. In case you usually use more than one mic, a big microphone case is what will make your life so much easier. Cases can be used both for storage and transportation. Their main goal is to keep your apparatus safe and sound.
There are various cables for microphones as well. A cable usually comes together with a microphone – in a microphone’s kit, however, you might need another one with better characteristics.
Good XLR cables can boost your sound quality. So if you are in search of a new cable, check them out and choose the one that suits your budget.
Condenser microphones need to be powered in one way or another. If you have a condenser microphone or think of buying it, you probably consider buying a good external power source as well.
Today there are many such sources on the market. Some of them are small and best suitable for GoPro microphones or other tiny microphones that are attached to the cameras. Such power sources are called external. Phantom power sources are more like preamps. In fact, in many cases, phantom power and preamp can be the same thing. Preamplifiers (a full name for preamps) usually contain phantom power. Check out specific phantom power sources to become more discerning in this issue.
A microphone preamp can truly upgrade your work with a microphone. Not only does it provide phantom power for it but it also expands your capabilities.
Pre-amps can be multichannel meaning you can plug in several microphones and they all will work just fine – this is especially convenient in case you have a band or a duet. Plus, preamps can have special filters and controls that significantly improve the quality of the outcome. In case you use a quality studio microphone, having a quality preamplifier is a must. After all, why would you need an expensive microphone if your audio unit sucks?
4. Analog-digital converters
Analog-digital converters can be already installed in your mic which is the case with all the USB mics, however, it may come separately. It can also be a part of the microphone’s preamplifier. If you have a microphone that doesn’t have an analog-digital converter in it, you will need to buy it separately. Also, if you don’t like the analog-digital converter of your microphone (or the one of your preamp), you might want to find something else.
5. Microphone mixers
Microphone mixers or mixing consoles allow you to play with various features of the sound. Most of the time they include several channels so that you could simultaneously plug in a vocals microphone, a guitar, and drums, for example.
Microphone mixers usually have preamps in them so if you buy a microphone mixer, you don’t really need to buy a preamp. The only exception is when you want to get a particular sound or tonal quality.
Some people say that mixing consoles are outdated and aren’t worth buying for home recording, while others prefer being able to regulate sound manually. You can relate to any of these people. If you enjoy mixing on the way, look for a nice mixer. If you prefer using software to customize the recording results, just buy a preamp. Mixers are usually essential in live performances when you need to react on the spot. In all the other situations you have a choice.
6. Microphone stands
Microphone stands can be needed for various purposes. If you are a singer, you’ll need some construction to hold a microphone – even if you like being active on stage. If you are a studio musician, you will also need support to produce clear recordings. There are many other situations in which you need a stand – stand-up performances, public speech, even podcasts.
Choosing the right stand is not that difficult. You need to look for such features as durability, compactness, and type of mounting. Many people prefer tripods since they are more foldable, however, you can check many different options in order to find a stand that suits you best.
7. Pop filters
Pop filters are used in order to mitigate the harsh P-sounds, however, they also make other sounds smoother and more pleasurable to listen to. If your audacity diagram shows many enormous lines that stand out from the rest, it is time to think about buying a pop-filter. A pop-filter will make your recordings more enjoyable which will hopefully attract new listeners.
Filters also prevent saliva from ending up on the surface of the microphone. Since human saliva contains salt that can damage metal with the time, using a pop-filter prolongs the life of the microphone and helps to maintain its looks. If you are interested in buying a pop filter, you can check out these items to see what is available out there.
8. Wind protection
If you happen to use a microphone outside, you might encounter bad weather conditions. Of course, if you make a recording for yourself or what you’re doing is not of paramount importance, you can just stop doing it. However, if you are a reporter, any weather conditions are working conditions. So, in case you need to use a mic come rain or come shine, it is better to have wind protection or a windscreen.
Today there are many types of wind protection screens out there. They protect not just from the wind but also from many other unpleasant circumstances such as accidents, background noise, and more. The two main types are windscreens and fuzzy muffs. They’re frequently used with shotgun microphones since a shotgun microphone is the most obvious choice for making news reports, creating movies, and other outside activities. Sometimes using a wind protection shield inside can also benefit the mic’s output. The main thing to remember while choosing wind protection is that it should be compatible with your microphone.
Haven’t made up your mind yet? Maybe you have one of these questions unanswered. In this section, we provide you with information about certain microphones’ specifications and try to answer the most frequently asked questions.
Q: What is frequency response?
Frequency response or frequency range reflects how a microphone responds to a range of frequencies. Some microphones favor high frequencies while other microphones favor low frequencies. For example, a typical vocal microphone will be able to capture more high frequencies than a bass microphone that is designed for recording low bass sounds.
There are microphones that have a flat frequency response meaning they do not necessarily favor nor high frequencies nor low ones. In most cases, such microphones are an undesirable purchase since you often need to emphasize a particular sound source.
There are two ways a frequency response can be shown in the mic’s characteristics – one of them is a graph, the other one is pure numbers. Most of the time we encounter the pure numbers like 20 Hz to 20 kHz – they reflect the range of frequencies a microphone is able to capture. As for the graphs, they provide a more complicated overview, making a customer aware of what particular frequencies a microphone favors the most:
Q: What is shaped frequency response?
In general, there are two common types of frequency response: flat response and shaped, or tailored, response. Unlike flat frequency response, shaped frequency response is more sensitive to some frequency ranges than others. So, in its essence, shaped frequency response is any response that considerably differs from a straight line. No matter what frequency response you choose, it should be depicted as a smooth line on the graph. Otherwise, the mic won’t sound natural.
Q: What is impedance?
Every electrical circuit is resistant to an AC signal. Impedance is a specification that reflects how resistant this or that device to an AC signal is. Microphones usually have low impedance ranging from 50 to 1000 ohms. The lower the impedance the better. Why? Because the microphones with low impedance can process incoming sound quicker and more efficiently.
Q: What is sensitivity?
Microphone’s sensitivity shows how sensitive it is, which is obvious. To be more exact, it is the amount of output for a given input. Sensitivity specification is a negative number. The closer it is to zero, the higher the sensitivity. For example, a microphone with a sensitivity rating of -40 dB is more sensitive than -60 dB.
Q: What is SPL?
SPL is a sound pressure level. It reflects the maximum volume a microphone can handle and is expressed in decibels (dBs). This characteristic is important in case you need to record really loud sounds like the ones produced by drums, for example. The average SPL is 100. More than 100 is considered to be a high SPL.
Q: What is dynamic range?
The dynamic range of a microphone is the ratio between the noise floor and the maximum SPL. When stated separately, like 120 dB, it doesn’t provide much insight. Because of the fact that this specification is directly linked to the self-noise and max. SPL, it is better to use these figures to find out more about the microphone’s features.
Q: How to use proximity effect?
Proximity effect is not a specification. It is a trick that singers and news correspondents use to make the mic work as they want it to. In its essence, proximity effect is the exaggeration of low-frequency sounds when the microphone is located near the sound source. It only refers to directional microphones. Omnidirectional microphones are flat in response and free of proximity effect. They try to capture and preserve the “sound” of the whole recording location.
If you are a singer or a journalist, you are most likely to choose a unidirectional mic that will emphasize your voice and limit the sounds coming from the sides. There are a few ways of how you can work with your microphone more efficiently. For a smooth and low sound, bring the microphone closer to your mouth. And if you want to ‘make a statement’, keep it further to avoid unpleasant speech plosives (p-, b-, t- sounds). Learning these tricks requires time and practice but the result is worth the efforts. The most important thing is to always be mindful of proximity effect!
Q: Is it always necessary to buy phantom power?
Earlier, we talked about phantom power. To make things clear, let’s explore what phantom power is in more details. Phantom power is external DC power needed for a condenser microphone. Condenser microphones can’t function without a power source – it can be a battery, a bus power of a certain device, or a certain phantom power device.
In its essence, phantom power is DC voltage that is sent to a mic’s preamp to power it. Besides, it provides a polarization charge. You can buy a separate power source or use the one that is installed in your recording device – these days most cameras have phantom power so this shouldn’t be a problem. What’s problematic is that your camera’s phantom power’s voltage may be incompatible with what your microphone needs. In this case, it is recommended to look for other options. You can either buy a phantom power source separately or choose a good preamplifier that already has it. In any case, make sure your mic gets its fuel!
Q: How to check whether my recording device has phantom power?
In order to check whether your camera, audio recorder, or other device has phantom power or not, you need to read the manual of the device. Phantom power is usually reflected as 48V or +48V. It can be just written down as phantom power.
Q: What is the difference between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone?
USB microphones are plug-and-play microphones. They don’t require additional equipment such as preamplifiers or analog-digital converters. XLR microphones, on the contrary, function with additional equipment. The better the equipment’s quality, the better the recording results.
While choosing between a USB microphone and the one that requires an XLR cable, consider your goals. If you are not too concerned about the quality of your recordings, then a USB mic might be the right choice. This option is used for home recording, skyping, online streaming, and many other activities that do not necessarily require studio-like results. The advantage of these mics is obvious – you don’t need to spend much on additional details. Plus, you can take such a microphone with you wherever you go.
If you choose a microphone for a studio though, it is better to consider buying the whole microphone kit. An XLR cable has three conductors – ground, positive, and negative. This provides a better recording quality which results in better results. So the main question is what factor is more important to you – convenience or quality? Not all the USB mics are worse than XLR – some are okay even if you plan to use them for important tasks. In the end, it all depends on your personal preferences and needs.
Q: Can I have both a preamp and a mixer?
Yes, you can have both a preamp and a mixer. But only in case you need them both. Mixers do have embedded preamps. If you are not satisfied with the recording quality of your mixer, you may consider buying a separate preamp and connect it to the equipment you already have. If you have a preamp, a mixer can be an additional purchase in case you want to be able to control the sound with physical touch.
Q: What is the difference between a large diaphragm and a small one?
A microphone’s diaphragm is a thin sheet of material that moves back and forth when the sound waves hit it. It can be of different sizes depending on the type of microphone. The main difference between small-diaphragm and large-diaphragm microphones is that the latter ones are smoother and warmer. While small-diaphragm mics work faster and sound brighter and more exaggerated, large-diaphragm mics provide you with a more natural output.
Small-diaphragm mics have higher self-noise, higher SPL handling capability, wider frequency range, and lower sensitivity. Large diaphragm mics, on the contrary, have a higher sensitivity, lower self-noise, lower SPL handling capability, and narrower frequency range. So, the size really matters! However, this is applicable only to condenser microphones.
Q: What is the ultimate piece of advice for those who choose a microphone?
No matter what you are buying a microphone for, it is always better to sound check! Only when you hear how everything is recorded, you can be sure whether you’re choosing the right mic or not. Following the guidelines will get you rid of the necessity to check all the models on the market, which is in our modern circumstances impossible. Once you’ve found your range of models, don’t be lazy to explore how they sound before the purchase.
First, decide what are your main purposes for buying a microphone are and how much money you are ready to spend. It will significantly reduce the number of possible options. Then just seek the models that you like most!
Tips on how to give a perfect speech
Not all of us are born perfect orators. While good equipment plays a huge role in delivering a speech, the manner of delivering also matters. In the talk below, Julian Treasure, who professionally studies sound, gives a few tips on how to make your speech flawless.
The main points of the speech are the following:
- Make sure that you speak with integrity. Gossiping, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, and lying are not worth delivering at all.
- Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love (HAIL) should be the main components of a flawless speech.
- Be mindful of your register. The best sounds come from our chests and they are deep and low which is frequently associated with power and trustworthiness.
- Timbre is also important. Train yourself to speak warmly and smoothly. Avoid high sounds – they only disturb your listeners.
- Prosody is one more tool that you can use to make your speech better. Don’t sound monotonous – it will bore your audience.
- Pace should be neither too slow, nor too fast. Make sure that your audience is comfortable listening to you. The slow pace can make them fall asleep while the fast one can hinder understanding, so it is better to converse in a normal relaxed manner. You can imagine that you’re talking to a friend and you two are in the middle of the argument.
- Pitch is also something you can work on. Rare exclamations, highlighting the most important facts, and other tricks will liven up your speech.
- Volume. Don’t scream, but don’t emulate a mouse either. The golden middle is always the best way to approach these things.
But most of all, be yourself. The exercises given in the video will just help you to be a better self – like the right microphone will catch the unique tone of your voice and highlight what you’re saying to make it more powerful.
Psychological tips on how to speak in front of a big audience
While the work with your voice and attitude is important, it is also worthwhile to keep in mind special techniques that allow you to be on the same wavelength with a big audience.
First of all, interaction. The bigger the audience, the more energy you should be putting out in order to keep everyone engaged. Make sure that there are at least some interactive elements in your speech – ask questions, ask people to raise their hands, go down there and pick someone to talk to if that’s appropriate. It is not always necessary to transform your speech into a show, but it is always great to keep people entertained and active. Don’t be afraid to seem funny. Be afraid to seem dull.
Secondly, you got to stand up. It is not appropriate to sit in front of a big audience. In fact, it is better to stand up even if you have 10 people listening to you. If there are less than ten people, then it is alright to sit with them and talk. You got to make sure though that everyone sees you and your facial expression. Sometimes you should even take a walk – especially if your speech takes a lot of time.
And finally, the eye contact. Ideally, you got to make every single person believe that you’re talking to them. In order to get close to this ideal, divide your audience into four areas and look at each one at least several times during your speech. It is also recommended to choose a particular person from each area and talk directly to them from time to time. Just make sure it all looks natural.
So, here we have it. In order to ‘own the audience’, you have to stand up, engage people in conversation, and look at them. It seems easy but it requires lots of practice, so don’t worry if you forget something the first time you’re in front of a big audience. The next time you will do better!
How to hold a microphone?
With your hands. That’s a joke, of course. Holding a microphone correctly is very important when it comes to speaking publically, singing, or performing any other type of activity. The best way to do it is by gripping the mic with your whole hand – not just with the tips of your fingers. It looks better and feels safer.
The second thing you should keep in mind is the distance between you and the microphone. Try asking a person who is giving you a microphone at what distance you need to hold it. If you don’t have the opportunity to ask, then stick to the chest rule – make sure that the microphone is at the level of your chest.
We hope this little guide has made you savvier in microphones. It is time to choose one! Be free to surf this website and explore a huge variety of models.