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If you just purchased or already own a condenser mic, then you would know that this microphone type is great at reproducing a rich and detailed recording. While the condenser mic is already great at picking up sound as is, there are other ways how to further make the most out of it.
Here are some simple steps on improving the sound quality of your condenser mic.
First and foremost, you need to know your condenser mic. Depending on the brand and manufacturer, condenser mics are built and designed differently. With that said, you have to familiarize yourself with the features, specs, polar patterns, and frequency range of your condenser mic because these will tell you how and where you should be using your device for optimal results.
Knowing the features and specs of your condenser mic will allow you to figure out its capabilities and limitations. There are condenser mics that are designed for content creators and there are those that can perform best for vocal studio recordings solely based on the features and specs they pack. It’s safe to say that if you know the features of your microphone, then you can easily figure out the recording application it can best perform in so you can achieve professional-level sound quality.
Take note of the polar pattern or directivity of your condenser mic so you know where it can pick up sound and where it cannot. Most condenser mics have a cardioid polar pattern, which makes them sensitive to sound that is coming from the front and not much from the back. By simply knowing this, you can easily determine which side of the microphone you have to speak on or place the sound source closest.
One reason why a condenser mic is more sensitive than a dynamic mic is because of the frequency range it has. Most condenser microphones are below 50 Hz to 20 Hz, but this allows them to perform well with high-frequency sound and vocals. Know the specific frequency range of your condenser mic model so you are able to determine its sensitivity.
Once you have studied well enough your condenser mic, then you would be able to easily navigate yourself around it and improve the overall sound quality in other aspects.
Once you know the basics of your condenser mic, then you can dive into the technicalities of it to improve the sound quality.
A common practice done to enhance the sound quality of a microphone is to set the input level to 75% or by -12 dB so the sound source being recorded is regulated. Remember, a condenser mic is extremely sensitive when picking up sounds so it is a best practice to also manage the volume of the sound recording internally. By adjusting the input or gain level of your condenser mic, you can also prevent your recordings from “clipping”. This helps in avoiding the recording from sounding distorted.
You may also equalize your microphone to help you achieve the best sound possible. Equalizing can adjust the volume frequency, peaks, or dips of your recording, and alter the audio that will be recorded.
While some microphone models will allow you to do all this straight from the device, some mics have an application or program where you can further tweak the settings. Although, not all brands will provide this for free so you should check if your condenser mic offers this.
One of the best ways to improve the sound quality of your condenser mic is through add-on accessories that control noise levels. These add-ons help in reducing plosives, ambient noise, or background noise that can ruin your sound recording or distract listeners from hearing the main audio.
The most common noise-reducing add-on microphone accessory is a pop filter or shield. A pop filter will help reduce plosives, which are the ‘p’ and ‘b’ sounds, that may be picked up when a person is speaking directly to a microphone. While some condenser mics come with a built-in pop filter or shield, there are models that will require you to purchase these.
On the other hand, a microphone windscreen will help reduce wind noise pickup and help prevent capturing disruptive noises. Consider purchasing a microphone windscreen if you feel your mic needs added superior protection from plosives. Otherwise, a pop filter would do.
Another add-on accessory that is highly recommended to have is a shock mount. This will help your condenser mic refrain from picking up any noise caused by vibration. With this accessory, your sound recording will sound less shaky and more stable.
While there are microphones designed for use in live settings and loud places, a condenser mic is not ideal for a noisy environment. Due to the sensitivity of condenser mics, they can easily pick up any unwanted sounds and background noise. With that, it is important for your to control the room setting if you would want to get the best sound recording quality possible.
Turn off anything noisy in the room when you’re about to record. If your fan or air conditioner can be picked up, then you may have to turn this off for the time being or consider changing its wind direction.
Close your windows and doors if you live in an area where neighbors or cars can be heard. Unless you plan on recording outside sounds, it’s best to keep the focus on the sound source you intend on recording.
Consider the interior and layout of the room. When you record in a room with lots of hard surfaces, then the sound waves may bounce around causing echo or reverb. One thing you can do is to set up the recording room with soft furniture or keep it minimal as possible.
While there are a lot of ways how to properly place and position your condenser mic, perhaps the simplest one is to be mindful of distance. Your condenser mic should have a distance of at least 6 to 12 inches away from your mouth so it won’t pick up any breathing sounds or make your voice too loud.
As is and when used properly, your condenser mic can do a great job of making your recordings sound great. However, you can take extra steps to make your recordings sound the best they can be.