Music Recording Equipment: The Best MicrophonesBy
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
In both live performances and music recording, there are a lot of components that affect the way the final product will sound. Because they are the initial pieces to capture and filter the sound of instruments or voices, microphones are very important.
If you’re setting up a studio, here are some different microphones to consider:
U87 by Neumann
One of the most popular microphones, this large diaphragm condenser (LDC) is mostly used on female vocals or breathy vocalists because of the way it beautifully captures the “air” of a voice. In 2012, this microphone was rated by Sound On Sound magazine to be the “best microphone”. $3,600
TLM 103 by Neumann
With the same capsule as the U87, this more-affordable LDC is also great for capturing the air and presence of a vocal. It has a flat response to around 5k, then a 4 dB boost. This mic has very little noise, so it can be used for very quiet things (radio broadcast, foley recording) while still handling high SPL (for use as drum overheads). $1,100
C1 by Studio Projects
This mic is very, very affordable, but the low price doesn’t mean low quality. This microphone can be found in high end music studios recording some big records, and it has been compared to microphones 10 times its price. The C1 has the ability to close mic high SPL sources (such as guitar cabs and drum overheads). $300
C414 XLII by AKG
This is another versatile microphone that is mainly used for drum overheads and vocals. This LDC is often sold in pairs for the application of recording stereo rooms or overheads. Acoustic guitars and other acoustic instruments also sound great through this. $1,100 (single) $2,300 (pair)
SM27 by Shure
This mic is another affordable, flexible LDC. Compared to the other, more expensive microphones in this list, this one might need some shaping in post, depending on what you are using it for. It can take the high SPL of drums and capture all the light nuances of vocals. $299
Capturing the sound during music recording sessions as best as possible is an important part of the recording process. Although they aren’t the only element that matters, the right tools make a big difference.
Do you have a favorite mic for recording? Is it one of the above mics, or something else? Does your go-to mic vary depending on what you’re recording?
See also: Recording Music: Pros and Cons of Creating a Home Studio, Recording Music: Essential Equipment for a Home Studio, Music Recording Equipment: Digital Audio Workstations, Music Recording Equipment: Finding the Right Headphones.