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Using the right microphone for computer recording is essential to capture the best sound quality possible. Depending on the type of recording you are doing, different microphones can be used to achieve this.
It can be daunting, especially if you’re just starting out with audio recording using your computer. Here’s a short guide on how to pick the best microphones for recording using your PC.
When choosing a microphone for your computer, the first thing to consider is what audio interface you use. You will need a microphone with an XLR connector if you have an analog interface. However, if you have a USB interface, then you can use either a USB microphone or an analog microphone with an adapter.
Generally, XLR mics are more expensive than USB mics due to the additional audio interfaces needed to make them work. The price of USB microphones can range from high-end to affordable, and there are many USB mics out there that can give you a bang for your buck.
USB microphones are also flexible in the way that if one USB mic isn’t enough for you, you can always pick up a digital interface to hook up XLR mics later.
Another factor to consider is the type of audio you are recording. If you are recording vocals, then a condenser microphone or an XLR microphone would be the best choice as they produce a clear and clean sound.
They work when sound waves vibrate a conductive diaphragm mounted in front of a charged backplate, changing the capacitance of the backplate and converting acoustic energy to an electrical signal. Condenser mics require phantom power to operate.
If you are recording instruments or audio with a more dynamic range, then a dynamic microphone might be better suited for the job. Dynamic mics are based around a diaphragm attached to a metal coil suspended inside a magnetic field and when the sound waves vibrate the diaphragm, the coil vibrates, generating an audio signal.
Let’s say you have guitar amps. To get the best audio quality possible out of the guitar amps, you should use dynamic mics as they can handle high sound pressure levels. Aside from recording guitar amp cabinets, drums, and other loud sounds, dynamic mics are also great for podcasting and some vocal applications. Furthermore, a dynamic can pick up the sound without capturing ambient noise.
The next thing to consider is the directionality of the polar pattern of the microphone. Depending on how you want to record, there are several different polar patterns available.
Cardioid microphones only pick up sound directly in front of them and ignore background sound from other directions, making them ideal for recording vocals or a single instrument in a quiet setting. They do a good job of isolating a sound source from any unwanted ambient noise. They can also be useful in scenarios where you want to minimize room sound.
On the other hand, omnidirectional mics pick up sound equally from all directions, making them great for recording audio in a room with multiple instruments.
Having omnidirectional mics in your arsenal means that you don’t have to worry about the mic position since it can pick up audio from any direction. One downside is that omnidirectional mics cannot isolate room noise.
Lastly, bidirectional microphones only pick up room sound from the front and back of the microphone, making them great for recording interviews or conversations between two people. They’re also ideal to use in situations where you want to record two separate sound sources while blocking out others, such as recording guitar and vocals together.
Finally, you should also consider the budget you have available for your microphone. There is a wide range of options available, from entry-level microphones to those with more professional audio capabilities. Taking the time to do research and find the best microphone for your needs can help ensure that you get the best audio quality possible.
When it comes to recording, condenser mics are generally the best choice. This is because a condenser microphone has a higher frequency response and sensitivity, which allows for better capturing of audio details. A condenser microphone also produces a cleaner sound with less room noise than dynamic microphones.
For example, if you’re recording an acoustic guitar sound, you should use a small diaphragm condenser as it has an airy sound and low noise. Acoustic guitars aren’t the only instruments that shine with a condenser; vocals, piano, drum overheads, and brass instruments work well too.
If you’re going to record a video, you should use lavalier mics or shotgun mics. If you’ll be streaming, it’s best to have a separate mic instead of using the mic included in gaming headsets so as to not compromise the audio quality of your video.
Dynamic microphones are still useful for certain types of recordings, such as live recordings or tracking instruments with a lot of volume. However, as mentioned, other condenser microphones are generally the preferred choice for recording vocals and other detailed audio sources.
Although sometimes, some people combine both dynamic and condensers to get a better room tone.
When it comes to choosing the best condenser microphones for computer recording, there are many options available. Some of the most popular and highly recommended microphones include the Shure SM7B, Neumann TLM 103, AKG C214, Blue Yeti, and Rode NT1A. Whether you’re recording vocals or an acoustic guitar, these microphones will surely help you out.
The Shure SM7B is a popular choice for recording vocals and is known for its warm, natural sound. The Neumann TLM 103 has an accurate, detailed sound that works great for capturing subtle audio nuances.
The Blue Yeti is a great USB mic that’s affordable and offers a premium sound. The AKG C214 is a versatile microphone that can be used in many types of recordings, while the Rode NT1A offers a bright, clear sound perfect for vocal recordings.
For vocal recordings, large diaphragm condenser microphones are generally the best option. They capture a greater frequency range and provide more clarity than other microphone types, which helps to bring out the nuances in any vocal performance.
Large diaphragm condensers also often provide a lush and warm sound to any recorded material.
Popular large diaphragm condensers include the Shure SM7B, Neumann U87, AKG C414, and Rode NT1-A. These microphones are widely used in professional studios, but they can also be found at a more affordable price if you do your research.
Finding a good microphone for your needs is essential for achieving recordings with great audio quality. Before making a purchase, be sure to do your research to find the best option for you. Consider matters such as audio interfaces, the type of audio you are recording, and how much budget you have available.
When it comes to making the right decision, nothing beats trial and error. Consider renting a few different microphones and testing them out in your own studio. This will allow you to find the best audio gear that works best for your needs without breaking the bank.
With a little bit of research and experimentation, you should be able to find the perfect microphone for your recording setup.