When you are planning to start a home studio, you probably want to have the best condenser mic for vocals. Fortunately, the following will be your guide as you look for the one that suits your needs.
An ideal condenser mic should have high pass filter and cardioid pattern. This mic is ideal for those who are starting their career in music.
Condenser Mic for Vocals Reviews
Audio Technica AT2020
Audio Technica AT2020 boasts of a uniquely-engineered diaphragm section. It provides longer frequency response than other microphones that you may have tried. Also, its cardioid polar pattern significantly reduces sounds and noise coming from the sides and back.
Shure MX418D/C is a balanced condenser microphone that effectively removes interferences and electromagnetic noise. As such, you can choose to use longer cables reaching 1000 feet and expect great sound quality. It is a good mic for bigger stages.
Rode NT1-A is equipped with a 25mm capsule covered with gold colored diaphragm. Overall, it has a low self-noise. Also, its high SPL gives you a warm, clear and sharp sound reproduction capability.
AKC C214 has outstanding sonic features that stand as a common favorite among instrumentalists and lead vocalists. It has pre-installed integrated suspension and ultralow noise feature. Also, an interchangeable attenuator and bass cut filter allows to experiment on proximity factors.
SE Electronics sE2200a II C
SE Electronics sE2200a II C has a large diaphragm and optimal 135dB SPL. As such, it performs better sound recognition than other microphones. However, you must have a device that powers a standard 48V phantom power microphone.
MXL 770 is one for the seasoned veterans in recording. You can learn to hear better tones using this mic. Essentially, it has a low distortion diaphragm with an interchangeable bass cuts and -10dB pad.
Neumann TLM 102
Neumann TLM 102 lets you amplify sounds better. Its 144dB SPL rating gives it higher output capacity. It also gives a 6kHx boost to let a particular track naturally stand out during the mix.
Professional Cardioid Condenser Mic
Professional Cardioid Condenser Mic enables recording with optimal sound quality even at 10 feet from the sound source. With a dedicated tripod, you can adjust its angle to achieve optimal sound-to-noise ratio. It is a good mic for group recordings.
Digital Reference DRV100
Digital Reference DRV100 answers to the most common vocal reproduction challenges especially in wide stages. Its cardioid audio recording pattern picks up all sound sources in a specific range. You can get this mic if you want to record groups.
Movo LV4-C gives you a clear audio recording with its high frequency response and SPL rating. Moreover, it blocks noise coming from loud sound sources through its dedicated 3-pin XLR connecting cable. It is a decent mic with standard features.
Types of Condenser Mics for Vocals
For recording vocals, using a condenser mic is advisable. A top reason is that it requires less gain. This means that it introduces relatively less noise even when you turn it all the way up.
LDMs (or Large Diaphragm Microphones) are one of the types of condenser microphones for vocals. These microphones are distinguishable due to their high level of sensitivity to loudness.
LDMs also have less room for noise. At an average of 90 mV, these mics can produce good sound pressure levels. While they are sensitive to sound, they can be relatively forgiving to noises, too.
SDMs (or Small Diaphragm Microphones) are another type of condenser mics. Compared to LDMs, they have a wider frequency range and are less sensitive to loudness.
SDMs and their capability of dealing with relatively large SPLs (or Sound Pressure Levels) are also advantageous. This allows you to manage distortion levels for your recordings.
They also offer a high dynamic range. They can create a fairly average amount of THD (or Total Harmonic Distortion). While the noise floor can rise easily, a small-sized diaphragm holds more control when it comes to noise.
Reasons to Buy a Condenser Mic for Vocals
The main reason to buy a condenser mic for vocals is to produce high-quality recordings. With it, you can record vocals that are easily understandable.
The high frequency of a condenser mic gives it an edge. By using a condenser mic, you can create a pleasant and more realistic vocal recording.
If a recording sounds as if it was recorded in a professional studio, the mic used was probably a condenser. Regardless of the recording process being performed on a professional or a DIY home studio, using a condenser microphone will produce such a quality recording.
You would want to buy a condenser microphone also because of the amount of detail that it can provide. Especially if you prefer to emphasize your voice, it is the advisable mic to use.
Slow songs and ballads will have much better impact with a condenser mic. This is due to the microphone’s ability to focus on your voice, and drown out unnecessary sounds.
A condenser microphone has a high output level. This lets you get the signal to rise easily and get it to reach a usable level.
How to Maintain Your Condenser Mic for Vocals
As a rule of thumb, do not place your condenser microphone just anywhere. Wherever you would not place your ears is wherever you should not place your mic. Because they are very sensitive devices, they can respond to even the smallest sound pressure changes. Exposing them to frequent changes is not advisable.
Use a pop screen filter whenever you record with your condenser. This will prevent saliva, spit, and air-borne elements from accumulating in the mic’s diaphragm.
A pop screen filter will also protect the mic’s diaphragm and the mic itself against contamination. Protection against air-borne contaminants will keep your mic from shutting down completely.
If you are not using it, wrap your condenser microphone with a plastic bag before you store it in its casing. This will shield your mic by keeping foam particles away.
While it is alright not to use one, dedicated power supplies are advisable. If you prefer to use a power supply, make sure that the cables are connected before it is turned on.
If you are recording vocals, do not get too close. Maintain a distance of 6 inches between your mouth and your mic so that the components do not get damaged easily.
Frequently Asked Questions about Condenser Mics for Vocals
What are wet and dry signals, and why do I need to know about them? Wet and dry signals refer to live and non-live recordings. With a condenser, it is advisable to record vocals dry. If you want to add liveliness to your recordings, you should do it after.
Do you need a mic stand to achieve a quality recording with your condenser? A mic stand is unnecessary. But, having one is advisable.
Are condenser microphones less rugged than dynamic microphones? Condenser microphones are not necessarily less rugged than dynamic microphones. Just like dynamics, they are long-lasting, too. As long as you use and maintain them properly, their durability is fairly equal to dynamics.
Are condenser microphones useless when recording in a loud environment? No, they are not. While they are very sensitive to loudness, condenser microphones are usable in loud environments. The concern is the low quality of the recording if loud noises are present in the background.
Is it okay to use your condenser mic in a live on-stage performance? Yes, it is. But, doing so is not advisable. Because they are not built for live use, they can easily get broken upon exposure to air-borne elements.
Are condenser microphones harder to clean compared to other types? Condensers are not necessarily harder to clean. You simply have to use and maintain them properly.