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A good studio will be equipped with a variety of microphones for a wide array of purposes. Therefore, in order to choose the best studio microphone, you must first decide what you will be using the microphone for. You need to consider if vocals a priority, or if the studio microphone will be used to mic drums or stringed instruments. You will probably need several different microphones to build a versatile studio, and once you have decided what your needs are, it's time to research the different types of studio microphone and what each one does.
Perhaps the most popular type of studio microphone is the condenser microphone. A condenser mic uses capacitance to capture sound and requires a power source. It tends to be more sensitive than other types of microphones, making the condenser mic a good studio microphone for softer instruments and vocals. It is not necessarily a choice for amplified or extremely loud instruments, because it may distort.
A condenser mic is a good choice for capturing sound from a bass drum, but it may distort when used to mic cymbals. When using a condenser mic as a vocal studio microphone, keep in mind there are two types: a large diaphragm, good for producing a warm tone on vocals, and a small diaphragm, good for capturing stringed instruments. When using a condenser mic for vocals, be sure to add a pop filter — a thin screen that prevents harsh rushes of air from pronounced "p" and "t" sounds from reaching the extremely sensitive microphone.
Dynamic microphones are another type commonly found in studios. This type of microphone does not require a power source, and tends to be more versatile than condenser mics. They also tend to have less accurate sound quality, which makes them better suited to louder instruments with high sound pressure.
Another popular choice of studio microphone is the directional mic. A directional mic only picks up sound from a particular direction, and therefore is effective for eliminating ambient noise from recording. A cardioid microphone is especially good for this purpose; a directional mic is a good choice for capturing sounds from louder or amplified instruments. They are generally less expensive than condenser mics and can be used for live sound as well.
A more recent development in studio microphone technology is the USB microphone, which can be connected directly to a USB port on a computer. This useful microphone is a popular choice for home studios where simplicity and ease of use is priority. If you are considering doing small projects and are limited on space, funds, and equipment, a USB microphone can be useful in capturing the sounds you need to make simple recordings.
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