Best condenser microphones
I always thought that the quality of a recording is equal to the quality of the equipment you use to make the said recording. Of course, there is no doubt that you can make some beautiful music as an amateur, even if you do not have professional gear and whatnot. However, the better the equipment, the better the sound. The principle applies to condenser microphones as well. While most people prefer dynamic mics while they perform on stage, in a studio or at home, the condenser microphone is a much better choice.
What is a condenser microphones?
I do not know whether or not you know what a condenser microphone is, but since you ended on this page, I assume that you do. Or maybe you are just researching what that is. Whatever the case, information is always welcome.
In a condenser microphone, a very thin and conductive diaphragm is located near plate made of metal, also known as a backplate. Together they create a capacitor. The capacitor is supplied with a minimal electric charge, which can come from several sources such as a battery, outlet, or even phantom power. What happens during a performance is that the pressure of the sound waves will cause the diaphragm to vibrate, and the distance between the backplate and diaphragm will change. As a result, the output voltage will suffer variations. That particular varied output will create the electronic signal of the microphone. Not all condensers use the same technology, but most use this one.
Perhaps the definition may be a bit complicated, but there is really no easier of putting it. As I said above, the condenser microphone can use several sources of power. It can work on internal batteries, an external power supply, or even o phantom power provided by several pieces of equipment. However, the most commonly used power supply is the phantom power from a mixer input. With that being said, if your mixer is a bit old, you may want to check whether or not it can supply a condenser mic before you buy one.
Types of condenser microphones
As you can imagine, there are several types of condenser mics, not just one. Most of them are used inside a recording studio, ad if they are used on stage, they are used for acoustic stringed instruments, overhead miking of choirs, pianos, and some other instruments such as cymbals.
Large-diaphragm condenser microphones
The large-diaphragm microphones are generally the most sensitive. They have diaphragms that measure from three quarters of an inch to one inch. They almost always use an external power supply plus a suspension mounting that protects the microphone from external vibrations.
Since they are quite big and they require a suspension, this kind of mics is not very suitable for miking drum kits, for example, where there is limited space. However, these features make a large-diaphragm microphone ideal for recording inside a studio. In fact, in recording studios, the large-diaphragm microphones are usually the all-purpose microphones.
Side-address condenser microphones
This type of condenser microphones is also quite large, but they do not look like the former kind. Instead, they have a wide and flat windscreen over a large diaphragm. They are aimed to the side at a 90-degree angle, and they are placed horizontally. So, if the microphone is vertical, the performer looks like he or she is addressing it from the side. That is how it got its name.
Dual diaphragm condensers
This kind is pretty similar to a side-address condenser microphone, but instead of one diaphragm, there are two that are aimed in opposite directions. It is ideal for recording larger groups or duets, but they are also used for recording the ambiance in a room. At the same time, dual diaphragm condenser mics are better than two single-diaphragm microphones at balancing two sound sources.
Tube condenser microphone
Do you know those vintage models that you know from old-time movies? Those are tube condenser microphones. Even if they are pretty old-school, so to speak, they have a warmth and a rounded sound recording feature, which is why studios use them to this day. As a power supply, they use a dedicated power source, but you can use a mic preamp or a powered mixer as well. The only condition is that the supplier provides the right voltage.
Small-diaphragm condenser microphones
In this case, the diaphragm is about ½-inch, or even smaller. They are used in recording studios, and surprisingly, in some live performances. They are excellent at reproducing high-frequency sounds and sound sources that have a sudden attack or change the volume fast. The most common application of such a condenser mic is overhead miking for cymbals. Just like other such microphones, they need a phantom power supply or a battery.
As you can see, there are plenty of choices. Only you know exactly which one you need, which is why you need to establish the mic’s purpose before you actually by one. Hopefully, my information helps.
How to choose the best condenser microphone?
Before going out and buying a condenser microphone, you need to know what you are looking for, apart from the type you need. There are many models out there, and you need to differentiate them using some criteria. With that in mind, here is what you need to consider before hitting the buy button.
- Frequency response – this is one of the most important factors to consider. It allows you hear even the slightest detail of your sound. The frequency can be wide, flat, or tailored. The frequency response you need depends on what you intend to record. For example, recording an instrument requires a flat frequency response. Vocal recording, on the other hand, needs a tailored frequency response.
- Polar pattern – mics have different polar They are Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Figure-8, and Multiple-pattern. Again, you need to know how you will be using your mic so that you know what polar pattern you need. Shortly, the Cardioid eliminates background noise, and it is the most common polar pattern people use. The omnidirectional pattern picks up the sound from any given direction, while the Figure-8 rejects sounds from the sides and picks up the sound from the back and front. Lastly, the multiple-pattern provides you with all the options above. The downside to the latter is that it is costly, but you get total versatility.
- Size of the diaphragm – there are two sizes: large and small. Large mics are good with at virtually everything. Small-diaphragm mics, on the other hand, are the best with responsiveness, which is ideal for recording instruments with sharp transients and extended overtones. Like an acoustic guitar, for example.
What are the best condenser microphones?
While browsing the internet, you will find a lot of models that are capable of giving you what you want. However, do not be tempted to buy the first product you want. You can read some condenser microphones reviews online just to see what other people bought and whether or not they are satisfied with their purchase. It can help. If you are not in the mood for that, you can choose one of the microphones below. All three models are excellent choices.
MXL 770X Multi-Pattern Vocal Condenser Microphone Package
I chose to start with this one because of the three products I found and likes, this one will give you the versatility you need if you record at home or in the studio. It is a premium condenser microphone with a large 1.25-inch gold-sputtered diaphragm. Sure, it is a bit pricey, but that is mostly because it is a multi-pattern condenser microphone. They are generally the most expensive. However, think about the fact that you will be able to record from whatever direction you want. You can move around, for that matter.
The MXL microphone provides stunning clarity and detail in the highs balanced with warmth on the low end. Your recordings will have everything you want. The best thing about it is that you can change from multi-pattern to cardioid polar pattern, to figure-8, and you can turn it into an omnidirectional polar pattern condenser microphone. It is the beauty of a multi-pattern.
The package includes the 770x microphone, shock mount with integrated pop-filter, a balanced 20-inch XLR cable, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. Basically, you will be getting everything you need to start using it. As a power supply, the MXL condenser microphone uses 48V phantom power.
Neewer NW-700 Professional Broadcasting Recording Condenser Microphone
From the shock of the price that the former microphone has, we get to a lot cheaper product, but highly efficient still. It runs on phantom power, but you have to buy the adapter because it is not included in this package. However, what this package does include is the microphone itself, the adjustable suspension scissor arm stand, the table mounting clamp, the metal shock mount, a pop filter, a ball-type anti-wind foam cap, and a 3.5mm male to XLR female cable. I almost did not finish that sentence. The point is that you will receive pretty much everything you need to start recording or broadcasting.
As for for the polar pattern of this mic, you get to enjoy a cardioid pick-up pattern, which will minimize the background noise and isolates the primary source. This is the feature that makes it ideal for broadcasting. The scissor arms stand is adjustable and has a sturdy steel construction. You can fold it down if you need to carry it somewhere. It can also be mounted on a table.
The windscreen and the pop filter shield make sure that your tracks are perfectly audible, and if you are broadcasting, your voice will come out as loud and clear. There will be no hissing sound in the background. Lastly, the metal shock mount features an angle adjustment with a locking knob that reduces the noise when you are handling the mic.
Marantz Professional MPM-100 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Last but not least, the Marantz condenser microphone may also peak your interest. It has an entry-level price for recording studio-quality sounds. I think you should go for this one of you are a beginner or you are just flirting with recording. You can also use it for Podcasting projects. As I said, this is a cheap condenser microphone, but it is good enough for amateurs.
As for the polar pattern, this is a cardioid condenser microphone that will pick up the sounds from right in front of it. That eliminates background sounds, it will not catch echoes or any other sounds that may be happening nearby.
The Marantz MPM-100 has a large diaphragm and a wide frequency response of 20 to 20,000 Hz. It may not be the best product overall, but it is one of the best condenser microphones you can find in this price range. Especially if you have no experience with broadcasting or recording.
I think that my choice is pretty obvious. After all, when you choose a product, you want it to have all the best features. That is why my number one recommendation is the MXL 770X Multi-Pattern Vocal Condenser Microphone Package. It is multi-pattern, it comes with everything it needs to get you started, and it has a pretty nice design too. I think it is one of the best condenser microphones you can get. I strongly recommend it.
I agree that the vocals and the instruments matter the most, but they are pretty much useless without the right equipment to record them. A microphone is supposed to send your message, so to speak, and if that message is distorted, it will be ill received. One of the condenser microphones above will make your message loud and very clear. That is why I guarantee that whichever you choose, you will be happy with your decision. Click here to buy on Amazon
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