• Donny

How to choose the right microphone

Updated: Jun 23, 2018

First in a series intended to assist the first time buyer or hobbyist. We'll start with how, and later move on to what, and why #microphones Tune in again soon to find more pro tips.

Tube microphone with power box
The ADK TC-251 is a moderately priced tube mic, ideal for warm studio vocals

After over two decades of helping people pick out mics, I've found some things I know will help a first time buyer or hobbyist to get a microphone that will be both sonically pleasing and a valuable tool as time goes on. For this issue of the blog I'm going to focus on vocal studio mics and what to key in on and listen for.

The trend these days is to buy online based on reviews, and that certainly is one way to do it, but I firmly believe you will benefit from listening in person before you buy. Find a dealer who has things in stock and the experience to help you understand what you're hearing and what you can get from different mics and price points. With mics you most definitely get what you pay for.

Tip Number 1) Try Before You Buy. Your ears matter way more than some stranger who can type.

Tip Number 2) is to Establish Your Budget first. It's better to have a mic than to not have a mic so if you wait six months or a year saving up for the nicest mic on the planet you could have been recording your next hit the whole time with a mic that's perfectly usable if not as expensive. When inspiration strikes it's best to be ready. There are good mics in almost every price category. New mics that will have usable quality start about $100.

AT 2020 Large Diaphragm Mic for sale
The AT 2020 is a budget mic that sounds great

Tip Number 3) Trust Your Ears. Often first time buyers want confirmation they are doing the right thing and seek the approval of the hive-mind (often called "doing my research") but the truth is almost everyone will hear the difference between a sound they do or don't like right away. Don't doubt yourself! If you like it that's what matters most. There's no right or wrong to it---this is your art and mics are colors to paint with. Find the color that makes you happy! Bob Ross style. It's not rocket science.

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