Setting up of home studios for voice and music recordings has become increasingly popular courtesy of reality shows in America, microphones have become the most vital component of sound engineering studios. Using high-quality instruments, having a great voice or even adding enhancement effects to make your work stand out explicitly are pointless unless these efforts are amplified using a supportive microphone.
Choosing the right microphone is as important as the quality of the sounds involved and the high investments made in professional projects demand equal output quality during execution.
Voice actors, professional singers, music composers, animation audio engineers, professional rappers, instrumentalists, impressionists, musicians and sound engineers are continuously on a hunt for the most cost-effective and pitch-perfect microphones available at different selling sites with indomitable performance levels.
A microphone is a device that is used to convert mechanical energy from sound waves to electrical impulses or sound producing energy waves that can be captured into sound calibrating recording devices.
How Does a Microphone Work?
- Sound waves created by voices or instruments are transferred to a microphone with the help of vibrations in the air.
- The hitting sound waves cause the diaphragm to move back and forth which in turn causes the connected coil’s movement.
- A magnetic field that cuts through the coil is produced by a magnet component that causes electric current flow.
- This electric current flow is directed towards an amplifier or a recording device that records the sound. This recorded sound can be amplified with speakers or altered to sound different later with enhancing effects.
- In condensers, the thin diaphragm, a metal-coated plastic film is mounted close to a capacitor back-plate. Voltage is applied either using external power sources or internal batteries. Air pressure vibration caused by sound makes the diaphragm move closer and farther from the plates, that causes distance-based charge which is transferred to mixing/recording devices using cables.
What are the Different Parts of Microphone?
Microphone consists of four crucial parts assembled properly for better quality output:
- Enclosed Carbon Granules in Carbon Microphones
Let us understand the each of these parts in detail in terms of functionality.
The most pivotal and common component of all types of mics is a diaphragm, which is a thin piece of metal or plastic which vibrates when sound waves hit it. Vibrations of the diaphragm cause other components to vibrate as well producing electric waves. The quality of these waves often determines the output sound quality of digital microphones.
The coil is a connecting component which is a multi-wound copper wire seen in most dynamic mics that vibrates around its axis as a result of the diaphragm vibration, generating a voltage-inducing, magnetic current when contacted by an inbuilt magnet surrounding the coil that is channelled by electric wires to other devices in the form of audio signals. An effective coil captures the right vibrations and redirects it in the form of electrical energy output.
Capacitor plates mostly found in condenser mics are two metal plates creating voltage while storing electrical charge. One of the plates acts as a diaphragm generating sound waves when struck and this vibration causes the plates to vibrate as well, which generates waves due to the distance between them.
Enclosed Carbon Granules in Carbon Microphones
An enclosure holds the lightly packed carbon granules with electrical contacts on either side. The enclosure has a thin diaphragm on one side, which causes the sound waves hitting it to compress the granules while altering its resistance.
How to Choose a Perfect Microphone for Home Studio Set up
Microphones are categorized based on their functionality, design, and properties into two important types namely dynamic and condenser. For a home studio, microphones that render the best possible output quality are imperative. While recording playback singing, an acoustic instrument, heavy instruments like a sax or piano or percussion beats, professionals usually rely on these two based on their requirements.
- It is a robust and versatile mic, that is usually used for live recordings due to its dependability and affordability without any external power supply requirement.
- Accommodates heavy variations in Sound Pressure Levels, audio frequencies, rapid sound distortion and high volumes as electrical impulses, because of which dynamic mics are ideal for heavy instrumental and voice recordings.
- It can be easily integrated into small setup recording devices or amplification sources.
- It can handle heavy falls or accidents gracefully without heavy damages being inflicted on the equipment and is also resistant to humidity and other environmental challenges.
- The cardioid pickup pattern of the mic picks up unidirectional signals from the source which boosts low frequencies that sound jagged because of which vocals may become bass heavy, built-in components like EQ shelves prevent this from happening, dynamic frequencies are not supported by this mic.
- High frequencies under 20KHz like certain guitar harmonics may not be identified by this mic because of which definitive signal capture may be missed out on. On the flip side, any undesired background noises and feedback will not be picked up by this mic due to its lower sensitivity to it, because of which there is higher gain before feedback.
- For conventional home studio recordings and live or unplugged work, dynamic mics are substantial.
- It is lighter and has high levels of enhanced sensitivity to loud noise, with a thinner diaphragm that demands extra care.
- Best suited for Digital studio recordings that need high definition and precise sound detailing. Vocals, Acoustic instruments, Piano, Violin, Banjo, Flute and significant wind instrument projects may need the sound precision and detailing support of condenser mics especially in closed, smaller environments such as home studios.
- The capacitor needs to be charged up with ‘phantom power’ to function. It uses an XLR socket and cable to send the power of +48V to the mic
- Enhanced high-frequency responses are due to the support for higher dynamic frequency ranges and faster transient response providing clarity in positive feedback audio
- Risk of damage limits the support for multiple variations in Sound Pressure Levels.
- High response to unwanted feedback disturbances.
Top-Rated Dynamic Microphones
- Shure SM57– The world’s most versatile mic that is perfect for both outdoor and indoor use, durable and perfect for dynamic sound frequencies.
- Sennheiser MD421 II– Because of its advanced sound quality and 5 position bass roll-off it makes virtually any instrument sound good.
- Shure SM58– Feedback resistance, ergonomic capsule, and sturdy casing advantages.
Top-Rated Condenser Microphones
- Rode NT1-A– Great for vocals and guitars with average preamp and interface.
- Samson C01 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone- LED power indicator, more isolation support with Hyper-cardioid polar pattern, swivel stand mount, heavy mesh grill and gold-plated XLR connector.
- MXL 990– Professional entry-level mic with mic stand adaptor and shock mount provision.