Which type of microphone is best for Musical Recording?
When it comes to musical recording, microphone plays a great role in determining how good or bad the final audio will be. And we should realized there isn’t a microphone suitable for all recording occasions, even it is high quality and expensive. A microphone which is able to make your voice/instrument recording better is very important. Therefore, we should know about aspects as follows:
1.Microphones should play a role of “compensation”. To put it simply, you should select a microphone that it can overcome the sound shortcomings of your instrument. For example, if the recorded instrument sound is too sharp, which means the frequency is too high and causes the rounded sound to break away from the mix. You need a microphone with lower frequency range.
2.Focus on polar patterns. Microphone with various polar pattern influences sound pickup in musical recording:
·Omnidirectional: An omnidirectional microphone has the same sensitivity and frequency response to sound coming from all directions. Compare to the cardioid mic, it can pick up a wider sound field, especially suitable for recording chorus, ambient sound effects and acoustic instruments.
·Directional: It specifically includes cardioid and hyper-cardioid. Cardioid pattern is mostly used in live performance. It sensitively catches audio signal at the front of microphone and blocks sounds from the back. Hyper-cardioid pattern has stronger direction than cardioid, reducing sound from the side, more suitable for short-distance pickup, such as fixed-point recordings of drum sets and pianos. Its property makes it suit to live recordings that require isolation (interference between instruments or noise), especially recording of sing and play.
·Bi-directional: It is mostly used in studio rather than live, picking up sounds from front and back not both sides. The one of common usages is recording two singer’s singing. Letting one singer stand in front of the mic and the other stand at the back could reduce the sound reflection in room.
3.In additional, microphones with different transducers have their own characteristics. Generally, there are three transducer types in musical recording:
·Dynamic mic feature:
-Lower sensitivity than condenser mic, lower background noise
-No need to use hiss canceller because it doesn’t pick up extra high frequency sound.
-Avoid harsh sounds
-Widely used, including voice/instruments recording.
-Cons: If the preamplifier is not good enough, it cannot provide sufficient gain.
·Condenser mic feature:
-Popular in the recording studio, good for voice/instruments recording.
-The preamplifier needs to provide less gain for desired level.
-Electric metal plates and thin diaphragm bring more vocal details such as voice with breath, great for folk singers who write and sing.
·Ribbon mic feature:
-Suitable for folk guitar drum recording.
How do some professional microphones work perfectly for Voice/Instrument Recording?
SHURE SM75, a dynamic microphone, has on-side enhancement effect due to the wavy frequency response. The effective cardioid polar pattern isolates the main sound source, only recording the directly aimed sound source while suppressing the sound behind the microphone.
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Most suitable for: snare drum, brass drum, electric guitar, bass, saxophone, trumpet or drum.
NEUMANN U87 is famous for its warm sound quality and good balance as a professional studio microphone. It is a large-diaphragm mic with 3 polar patterns, single frequency and transient reactions.
Polar pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bi-directional
Most suitable for: voice, indoor recording
NEUMANN KM84 is an condenser microphone with cardioid pattern. It can handle high sound pressure levels with ease, reaching 138dB before overloading, while keeping low self noise, and differently capture rich details of different instruments.
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Most suitable for: orchestra, percussion, piano, guitar
ELECTROVICE RE20 is a omnidirectional dynamic microphone, designed for recording, amplifying and broadcasting. It reduces echos and prevents signal interference, picking up clear and fine voice. It also comes with an integrated bluster-proof and windproof filter, allowing users to perform directly against the mic without worrying about sizzling.
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Most suitable for: voice, kick drum
In conclusion, each type of microphone has its own advtanges for recording specific sounds such as voice and sorts of instruments. In addition to the above discussion, you could read more reviews or experience online by musicians or sound engineer so that you get more information about how to choose a best microphone for you musical recording.