The Different Types of Studio Microphones

When recording audio for your production in the studio, you need to have the right tools for the job. You can use several types of microphones to your advantage. They all feature different attributes that make them beneficial for specific tasks.

Audio is one of the core elements of any video production, so you must choose carefully when purchasing a microphone. Learning about the different types of studio microphones will help you narrow down your search and provide your project with the quality and professionalism it needs.

Diaphragm Condenser Mics

To begin, we will break down the two main types of diaphragm condenser mics. As the name suggests, diaphragm condenser mics use a condenser to translate vibrations into an audio signal. They do this with a component called the “diaphragm,” available in large or small sizes.

They are not quite as good at handling higher sound pressure levels (SPL) than other mics on this list, nor are they as durable, but they can still be immensely useful in the studio.

Large Diaphragm Condenser Mics

This type of condenser mic is one of the most commonly used in studio settings. When you watch a movie involving people singing in a studio, you will probably see them using that large, bulky type of microphone.

These recording devices are a popular choice for recording vocals, particularly when singing. This popularity is due to the fact that large diaphragm condenser mics can produce audio with a warm tone, giving the vocals a professional, stylish quality.

Small Diaphragm Condenser Mics

This recording device is best used for recording acoustic instruments. The reason for this is that they are great for capturing sound in a way that accurately creates a stereo effect, whether it comes from acoustic instruments or a church choir. To achieve this, you will need to place at least two small-diaphragm condenser mics in strategic positions within the studio.

Dynamic Mics

Dynamic mics are useful in the studio due to their durability and versatility. Whether you are working with higher SPLs or you’re in a quiet environment, these microphones can get the job done. Despite the versatility of dynamic mics, people usually use them to record music.

You will also hear these recording devices referred to as “moving coil mics”. These mics contain a coil that moves in tandem with an attached membrane to capture audio. This movement is the result of the membrane reacting to incoming sound waves. Like condenser mics, dynamics utilize a diaphragm to capture sound.

However, the diaphragms in dynamics are more powerful than the ones inside of condenser mics. The power of these components allows dynamic mics to successfully record loud instruments with ease.

Dynamic mics also lack sensitivity, especially in comparison to condenser mics. This helps to combat feedback while you record with multiple subjects. Feedback can be a major hindrance to some mics if you are recording multiple sound sources within a small space like a studio. Luckily, using dynamic mics will help you avoid this issue. They will retain a consistently solid sound quality during your session.

Ribbon Mics

Ribbon mics have been around for many years, and they’ve only gotten better with age. Just like diaphragm condenser mics, this device’s technique for capturing audio is right in the name. Thanks to the titular metal ribbon inside, ribbon mics are more sensitive to higher frequencies.

This gives them the ability to capture a very specific type of sound. Ribbon mics give the audio they record a distinct, warm tone. A good ribbon mic can even capture the stereo effect we mentioned previously.

Aside from its stylistic benefits, a ribbon mic is great for capturing high notes in the studio. While some mics might struggle to deal with the harsh nature of higher notes, ribbon mics won’t have such problems.

By lessening the harsh effect of high notes, these mics allow your audio to retain a clear quality. However, despite the great sound quality they provide, ribbon mics aren’t very durable, so be mindful of how you handle them while working.

Shotgun Mics

Thanks to its interface tube, a shotgun mic has the ability to isolate sound in the field. You can use these mics successfully for a variety of applications, from movies to news broadcasts. A Shotgun mic has a very narrow audio capture angle that allows it to record clear sound without much interference from other sources of noise in the environment. You simply aim the mic at your subject and let it do its job.

Luckily, that narrow capture angle does not hinder a shotgun mic’s ability to record sound at a distance. Although you can use shotgun mics in a studio, they’re particularly helpful for recording good sound in noisier outdoor environments.

Shotgun mics also feature a great level of versatility. For example, you can attach one to a boom pole, which you’ll frequently see on film and TV sets. This allows you to capture sound nearby while filming, without needing to put the mic in the frame.

A boom mic operator can use the pole to simply hold the device above the frame during the shoot. You can also attach a shotgun mic directly to your camera. Using lightweight on-camera shotgun mics gives you the perfect way to capture audio from a distance.

Now that you’re more familiar with the different types of studio microphones, you can make sure you have the right equipment for your next project. Condenser, dynamic, ribbon, and shotgun mics are all suitable means of capturing audio, but the ways in which you use them determines how beneficial they are to your studio. If your video production lacks good audio, it will negatively impact the entire project, which is why having the right mics in the studio is so important.

Likewise, it’s crucial to use gear from reliable brands to ensure you’re getting the right level of quality for your production. For high-quality condenser mics, shotgun mics, and other essential gear, look through Ikan’s library of video production equipment.

The Different Types of Studio Microphones