Choosing the right type of microphone would be an important step if you want to set up a recording studio in your home. Whether you want to record in a little part of your room or transform the whole basement into a recording studio, the microphones you select will have a significant impact on the sound quality and overall performance. The microphone can be of various kinds and of different prices. It makes deciding which one to buy a difficult process. However, having a basic grasp of the available types of microphones for a home studio would be a fantastic place to start when it comes to selecting the finest mics.
Microphones and Their Different Types
Understanding the basic work process, types, features, and designs of a microphone will help a person to choose the best one for him. A microphone at its simplest definition is a transducer. A transducer is a special instrument that transforms acoustic sound into electrical energy. This later energy, also termed as an audio signal, gets amplified before it can be emitted through a speaker.
Typically, the electrical signal captured by the microphone remains too quiet to be properly captured. That's where enters a tool named "pre-amp". It amplifies that signal through a producer referred to as a 'line-level.' It makes the sound capturing process more suitable.
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Microphones can be classified into three major categories:
· Dynamic microphones
· Condenser microphones
· Ribbon microphones
Based on their connection types, microphones are divided into two types- XLR and USB. XLR is the simple abbreviated term for X connector, Locking connector, and Rubber connector. The USB mic is to connect to a tablet or computer using a USB port or audio interface.
Before buying a microphone, knowing about all these types of microphones is essential. Let’s get on the full details.
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A dynamic mic is the earliest type of microphone. It is most likely what people see musicians using on the television screen or their favorite comedian using on stage. These microphones perform really great in loud settings.
On their interior, they have a tiny coil that is responsive to sound waves. These waves hit the coil, and move it which gets converted to a recordable electrical signal. Dynamic mics would be the best choice to record a performance on stage, an on-street interview, or simply a guitar tune or drum kick.
These mics are also ideal for all the mentioned setup as the magnets and coils inside them are more robust and durable than those found in other microphones. They aren't precisely rugged, but they can withstand a strong hit without being entirely destroyed. Many people prefer a robust and flexible dynamic mic that works great on different sites or at an indoor setup.
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Condenser microphones are the second most common type. They work a little differently. They use capacitor plates but a coil or magnets. If technical aspects get stripped from their detailing, the condenser microphones are normally more sensitive to tinier vibrations than dynamic microphones. Unlike dynamic microphones, condenser mics are not suitable to use with bass drums. Users can use them to capture nuances in a voice, such as while recording a video for YouTube, podcast, or a singer's voice in a booth.
A condenser microphone works in a more static way than a dynamic microphone, owing to the fact that capacitor plates used in condensers are not as withstanding as magnets. The only exceptions are the shotgun microphones. They are the large microphones seen on movie sets. They are much sensitive to smaller noises. Though they are comparatively larger in size, still the best to capture even the smoothest noises.
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Ribbon microphones are a less common kind of microphone. The feature that entitles ribbon microphones to its name is also the sole reason why they are prone to break: a ribbon. A totally conductive ribbon has been sandwiched between a couple of electromagnetic poles which detect the sound source. This type of mics is technically a sub-category of dynamic microphones. Early singers in the indoor studios used to have a ribbon mic in front of them.
Ribbon microphones are more durable when they are new than the older ones. They are normally made with a strong kind of nanomaterials. but they should not be used in a guitar amp's front without a directive from the manufacturer.
These microphones feature a bidirectional polar signal or pattern most of the time. If the loudness difference gets controlled in a pinch, this pattern record from two sources at the same time, such as two individuals are speaking. Ribbon microphones are also excellent voice microphones. Many early broadcast mics were ribbon, so if properly placed, they work wonderfully for podcasters.
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USB vs. XLR
USB microphones are not only handy and simple to use, but they are also less expensive than XLR microphones. Most USB microphones have a cardioid polar pattern, which means they pick up sound from the front, making them ideal for podcasts or voiceovers.
However, if you want to record voice or instrumental music, or if you want a higher quality sound for your podcast, you should use an XLR microphone. XLR microphones are more expensive and need the purchase of an audio interface, but they generate far higher quality audio than USB microphones.
This is because of the internal mechanics of each type of microphone's output. The electrical currents that depart a USB microphone share a single channel with the currents that enter it, resulting in distorted sound. In contrast, XLR microphones have two channels for incoming and outgoing currents, and they cancel out undesirable noise.
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Before choosing a microphone for home studio, you need to understand your own requirements first. Like what features and how much capacity you need in a microphone, as well as which type of connection would be best for you. You should also consider the pattern orientation of the microphone and other physical features like weights, lengths, heights, etc. Once you know your requirements, you have to just select a microphone to meet all of them.