The Beginner’s Guide to Recording Studio Microphones

How on Earth will you ever sort through the endless assortment of microphones you DON’T need…To find the few you actually DO need?The answer is…you won’t. And you’ll make some pretty dumb purchases, and waste a lot of time and money in the process.So to spare you the headaches that so many of us newbies go through in the beginning…
I’ve compiled the following comprehensive guide which outlines everything beginners should know to choose the right microphones for their home studio.Sound good? Then let’s begin.

The 2 “Umbrella” Categories

One of the first things we all learn, Is that the two “umbrella” categories of studio microphones are:

Condenser Mics
Dynamic Mics

95% of all the mics you will ever use, Will fit into 1 of these 2 categories.That part’s simple.The harder part is understanding the 8 KEY WAYS in which they compare.

Frequency Response

The Beginner’s Rule of Thumb states:Condenser mics work better on high frequency instruments…such as:

acoustic guitar
cymbals
piano

And dynamic mics work better on low-mid frequency instruments…such as:

drums
electric guitar cabs

Diaphragm Size and Weight

The reason condenser mics work better with high frequencies is…They use a smaller, lighter diaphragm to capture sound.Since high frequencies contain LESS energy than low frequencies, they don’t have as much power to move mass.That is why the heavier diaphragms of dynamic mics are far less responsive to them.

Internal Circuitry

The upside of a heavier diaphragm is, The larger mass generates enough voltage through movement, to eliminate the need for an external power source. That is why dynamic mics are known as “passive“.Condenser mics however, which are “active“, require “phantom power” to amplify the weaker voltage.But this is by no means a disadvantage.