The Different Types of Recording Microphones

With so many different microphones on the market right now, it can be tough narrowing down which one would best suit your musical projects. To help you establish the right one for your set up, here’s a brief overview of the different types of recording microphones and their uses.

Condenser Mic:

Condenser Microphone
Condenser Microphone

This is probably the most popular kind of mic used mainly by vocalists, rappers and commentators. These are designed to work with large frequency ranges, and use plates and diaphragms to create what’s known as a capacitor. This capacitor gives off a much stronger transient response compared to dynamic mics. This is due to their ability to reproduce the speed of an instrument of live vocal. They usually tend to have a better output for loudness in comparison to others mics. They also require an external power source to operate and are generally a bit more expensive than other types.

With condenser mics, you should decide whether you want a large diaphragm or a small one. This can make a big difference to the quality of sound, but generally larger diaphragms are best for vocal recordings.

Dynamic Mic:

Dynamic Microphone
Dynamic Microphone

Dynamic mics are also good for home studio and recording uses. However, they are much more suited to loud stage environments because of how robust and durable they are. Unlike condenser mics, these do not require an additional power source – just plug in and you’re good to go. What is worth noting is that the frequency response is much more limited on these compared to condensers. Many also say the sound quality is not as prominent. This is because they have been built to withstand high pressure sound levels like amplifiers, drums and heavy vocals. This is also why most will recommend a dynamic if looking to use your mic for live performances.

USB Mic:

USB Microphone
USB Microphone

USB mics have a much better sound quality in comparison to their ancestors. These days they’re a cheap and effective option for recording vocals without having to fork out loads on extra gear. Another big advantage with USB mics is the fact that they’re highly portable. You can pretty much hook them up to any device; PC, Mac, tablet, laptop, which also makes them great for gaming, chatting, podcasts and other uses.

Tube Mic:

Tube Microphone
Tube Microphone

Tube microphones are essentially condenser microphones, only they have slightly different insides compared to condenser mics. These work with tubes to manage the audio instead of transistors. The sound is also a bit different and tends to sound much warmer than your standard dynamic or condenser mic. Although, not everyone agrees with that! It really is down to you as to whether or not a tube mic would be more suitable based on your intended use. It may well be worth heading to your local audio gear shop to try one out for size before making an investment.

Ribbon Mic:

Ribbon Microphone
Ribbon Microphone

Ribbon microphones were the most popular type of mic used for broadcasts and televised recordings during the 1930s. Since then, they’ve been digitalized and provide a much more transparent sound compared to the former models. Ribbon mics are absolutely ideal for recording acoustic instruments and capturing their natural, organic tones. They do a fantastic job of this compared to most others and almost always feature polar patterns. This allows them to pick up omnidirectional sound from various different angles. An especially useful feature in rooms where multiple instruments being recorded at once, such as a band or orchestra.

Summary

There are other types of microphones out there, such as shotgun mics, switchable and multi-pattern microphones. Even hybrid ones which suit a range of uses. If you’re looking to keep within a reasonable price range and want a microphone specifically for recording vocals at home – a condenser mic will be the one for the job. Whereas, if you’re going to be outside in noisy environments, a dynamic mic will do a great job at isolating most of the unwanted noise in the background. If you want a mic that’s capable of cutting through loud instruments like guitar amps or drums, a ribbon will work a treat. Ultimately it depends on what you will primarily be using your microphone for. There’s no harm in experimenting to see which one caters to your needs the most!

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Different types of DJ equipment

DJ Headphoes

You can’t DJ properly if you can’t hear what you’re doing or gauge what the audience is hearing. This is why a top-class pair of headphones is essential in any DJ setup. There are hundreds of great headphones on the market, but what you need to factor in when buying is whether they will be in-ear or over-ear, the cup size, orientation, comfort, and durability, among other things.

Different types of DJ equipment

speakers

 If you haven’t got some already and need to add speakers to your shopping list, you’ll want to avoid cheap brands and opt for some which are powerful but suitable for your DJing environment. You wouldn’t go out and buy a huge PA system if you live in a cupboard under the stairs, and you wouldn’t invest in some tiny desk speakers if you are mixing in a large room with thick walls and high ceilings. A set of speakers that fit somewhere in the middle is best.

Different types of DJ equipment

DJ Software

If you’re looking to play solely digital, you’re going to want to invest in some good software. Some DJs who play from USB still do not use software, but the truth is, it can seriously help you stay organized. Software not only allows you to prepare your tracks into neat and tidy playlists, but it also detects the BPM and key of all your tunes, lets you set hot cues, make loops, mashups, and other really cool stuff that wouldn’t be possible if you simply stuck all your tunes on a USB stick or burned them to CD. If you’re just starting out as a DJ, there’s no question that using a high-quality software program will make mixing easier and your sets sound better.

Different types of DJ equipment

Controllers

 DJ controllers are highly convenient because they are an all-in-one setup that you can carry around with you, then plug in and play right off the bat. They also eliminate the need to spend thousands on individual pieces of gear. There are many different types of DJ controllers that are ideal for beginners, each with different functions, personalities, and more. Some are fantastic for multi-deck mixing, changing the volume, tempo, track settings, looping, panning, playing drum pads, and even scratching.

Different types of DJ equipment

mixers

For any analog DJ setup, a mixer is an essential bit of kit. Besides being used to make seamless transitions from one song to another, they also have a wide range of other functions. The crossfader can be used to make epic scratch performances, while the vertical sliders control the volume levels, panning, and can be used in conjunction with effects. They also act as a soundcard to process the music signal you’re sending out to your audience, and let you cue up your next track in your headphones while the current song is playing.

Different types of DJ equipment

Turntables

As mentioned, mixing on turntables is the classic way of DJing, and even some digital DJs still have a vinyl player or two in their repertoire. Turntables are ideal for those who want to get into scratching. They also allow you to switch between songs and albums, slow down tempos, alter the pitch, and do other creative tricks. While laptops and digital DJ setups are the most popular in this day in age, we still recommend learning how to mix on vinyl, even if you don’t plan to buy turntables or use them in your setup. The saying is true – if you can play on wax, you can play on anything.