Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Recording Microphone

If you’re recording audio in a controlled environment, you’ll need a microphone that zeros in on your voice and blocks out ambient sound.

Shure recording microphone
A recording microphone can make or break any audio project, so be sure to get the best device you can afford.Shure

Whether you’re a podcaster, budding vocalist, or piano composer, the kind of microphone you use to record your efforts matters. Imagine the difference between a pick-up truck and BMW. Both will get you down the road, but in very different ways. A stage mic will definitely record your efforts, but a mic designed for recording will sound much better, particularly as it is designed for recording specific things. Here’s three things that matter when choosing a recording microphone.

Condenser vs. Dynamic

Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming
Here’s a reasonably priced and versatile condenser microphone suitable for a number of recording applications.Blue Yeti

A condenser microphone is a far more sensitive tool for recording than the typical dynamic mic used on stage. It’s also more delicate, so must be used with greater care. Good recording condenser mics will often have a large diaphragm and will record a wider frequency range.

Dedicated Use

Shure SM7B Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
This dynamic recording mic is a good all-round choice for general recording needs.Shure

The best recording microphones are often designed for recording specific things. What makes for a good vocal recording mic doesn’t necessarily make it great for a kick drum, or a guitar. Still, most of us can’t afford a home recording studio with an expensive mic for each instrument. Choose the best general recording mic you can afford.

Sensitivity and Range

Fifine Metal Condenser Recording Microphone
This extremely reasonable condenser recording mic is perfectly suited for beginners and digital vocal recording using a computer.Fifine

On stage, sensitivity can be a detriment in picking up unwanted sounds and rumblings, as with a vocalist handling a mic or thumping a mic stand. In a studio that same sensitivity is a plus, and you can always re-record if you have a mistake or bad take. A good recording mic will pick up more and record a greater range and frequency of desired sound, particularly in the lower end. Because you often use a recording mic in a suspension or shock mount, and often with a windscreen, you can keep background noise at a minimum.