Whether you record or perform, one thing is certain: a microphone is everything. A quality microphone makes or breaks your sound, affecting the recording quality and how the audience perceives your performance. Opting for a cheap or lower-quality microphone system ultimately undercuts your hard work, creating an inferior track or causing listeners to lose interest.
Yet, not all microphones are the same.
Types of Microphones
For recording and playing live, three types of microphones exist:
If you're just getting started, a dynamic microphone is the most versatile and gives you the greatest amount of mileage. This type is ideal for recording low-to-mid frequency instruments, including drums and electric guitars, and captures vocals accurately. As another benefit, dynamic microphones do not require a power supply to function.
Furthermore, if you're someone who plays live, a dynamic microphone effortlessly switches from the recording studio to a performance venue, all while delivering a straightforward, distortion-free sound.
Both wireless headsets and handheld microphones tend to be dynamic.
Condenser microphones have a more specific purpose and, in turn, won't be for everyone. Rather, you'll want to invest in a condenser microphone if you record vocals, acoustic guitars, cymbals, piano or any other high-frequency instrument and want to capture its distinctive nuances.
Condenser microphones do require a power supply. As well, because they're more sensitive than dynamic microphones, understand that they will pick up everything - breathing included - and may have a degree of distortion. In turn, many decide to use a popper shield to record with this option, to prevent the singer's breath from vibrating the microphone and thus altering the sound.
A ribbon microphone isn't used as frequently as the other two, as it has a more specific purpose and sound. It's considered a professional-quality microphone and, in listening to playback, gives off more of a vintage character.
As such, a ribbon microphone provides the highest degree of sensitivity and is deal for recording piano, strings, winds, and vocals individually and in ensembles. In turn, a full choir or orchestra can create a quality recording as a group, and high-frequency notes are free from distortion.
What About Wireless Microphones?
Wireless microphones have seen a surge in popularity. However, while the functionality changes, all three types of microphones can be found as wireless systems.
A wireless microphone system essentially uses a different output: Rather than a traditional XLR cable, transmitters and receivers send the signal wirelessly and transmit it to the equipment via radio frequency.
Contrary to perception, a wireless microphone headset isn't truly wireless. Instead, you'll only see this technology employed with a handheld microphone. A headset, by contrast, utilizes a cable, which is then connected to a belt pack transmitter.
Upgrade Your Microphone at Alamo Music Center
Whether you're thinking about improving your recording studio or want to sound better at live gigs, find dynamic and condenser microphones at Alamo Music Center, as well as headsets, wireless options, and clips. Browse microphone systems and accessories today, and then inquire about our multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month, no-interest options at times.