home studio microphone

A quick buyer’s guide for your home studio microphone

Microphones are among the most important things in a studio’s arsenal – but don’t get caught up in the “more money equals better quality” syndrome when purchasing a home studio microphone. Like a camera lens, there are microphones that are good for wide angles, others for narrow focus, and there are those that have a vintage feel to them. No mic/pattern combination works for everything. Read more.

Microphone Pickup – or Polar – Patterns

Different types of mics are categorized by the type of element used. The most common mics used in an audio recording situation are condensers, electret (condenser), ribbon, and dynamic. Differnt mics also have various pickup patterns (or polar patterns), which refers to breadth of a microphone’s area of concentration. In other words, it refers to how sensitive the microphone is to picking up a sound source relative to it’s central axis. Most mics have a fixed pattern, though many studio mics include a range of pickup pattern choices, typically by way of a switch on the mic.

Recording Studio Microphones: Good, Better, and Wow!

Before you go microphone shopping for your home recording set up, your first consideration – besides budget – should be, “What will you be recording?” Whatever your intentions, assembling an arsenal of quality mics can be one element of your studio that defines your work. While assembling the world’s greatest mic collection is not something that’s done overnight – even if you DID just hit the lottery – here are some recommendations for where to begin. We’ve gone to three industry veterans and asked them for their picks for mics they couldn’t do without in a variety of price ranges: $0-500, $500-$1,000, and “lottery day.” Here’s what they came up with. Read more.

Home Recording Shopping Guide

Many people have a limited budget this year to upgrade their home recording systems. Because of that, it’s helpful to prioritize what is the most important element you need or would benefit from upgrading. If you consider your entire home recording system as 100% of your sound, assuming that you already have a digital audio recording system, then as much as 50% of your sound comes from the quality of the microphone you use. When you purchase your first really nice microphone, you’ll be surprised at what a difference in the overall recording quality it makes. Read more…

Holiday Gear Guide

NightTrainEach year our Pro Studio expert seeks out a range of products which might make for a welcome addition to your music-making or home studio recording in the new year. This year is no exception, as he spoke with a pro audio expert to learn about some great additions to your home recording rig, and also visited a local music store to try out some new music-making toys that deliver outstanding results. Read more…

The $999 Home Studio

A pair of VLA-4 powered monitors makes it easy to mix your project. As the cost of home recording technology has continued to fall, the list of products and their available features continues to grow. So it seems timely to ask the question, “Can you put together a viable home recording set up for less than $1000?” To help answer this question, we turned to pro audio veteran, Richie DeCarlo at Philadelphia’s music superstore, 8th Street Music. Let’s see what gear goes into a prototypical home studio rig and how much bang for the buck can you get with a grand. Read more…

Drum Mic Showdown

p810-fig1-3We took three drum mic packages into the studio for a live showdown.
Although most engineers will tell you they select microphones based on the type of instrument or the tonal quality of a particular instrument, we all have a trusted set of “go to” mics when it comes to recording drums. In the last few years, many microphone manufacturers have grouped sets of drum mics into affordable, easy-to-use packages for both the studio and live performances. This month we put three sets of drum mic packages through their paces to test what kind of performance you can expect. Read more…

Pro Studio: Vocal Mics in the Studio

Fast Forward’s Pro Studio guru puts four mics through their paces

One of the key elements in any popular song is the vocal performance, and an essential part of capturing a vocal performance accurately is the microphone used in the recording. Top recording engineers know how important it is to match each singer’s particular vocal qualities and timbre to the microphone that will best capture the power and subtleties of that voice. This month, Fast Forward brought four high-quality vocal microphones (i.e. list price of $1,000 or more) into the studio and ran each through its paces, recording male and female vocal tracks and some narration. By the end of the session, you’ll have a good idea of which of these mics may be worth the investment for your home recording studio and what you might want to look for in studios near you. The four contenders include: the Kiwi, from BLUE Microphones; the TLM 103 from Neumann; the Black Hole BH-2 from JZ Mics; and the KSM 44 from Shure. I invited my colleague Jeff Crawford, a local producer and engineer over to provide a second set of ears for the evaluation. Two singers were asked to help with the testing, each one bringing a backing track of a song that they were familiar with to use for the test session. Read more…

The Beginner’s Guide to Microphones

Audiotuts+ has put together a simple, helpful guide on microphone basics. This is a quick read of the fundamentals and will help you understand the different types of microphones, how polar patterns describe the way a microphone picks up sound, and what other factors you should consider before purchasing new equipment.

At their most basic, microphones are transducers. A transducer is an electrical device that converts energy from one form to another. In this case, the transducer is turning sound — acoustical energy — into an audio signal — electrical energy. Read more…