What Microphone Should I Use?

July 24th, 2013 Blog Comments Disabled

Gasoline Alley’s Chief Production Engineer, Jerry Gaskins, explains how to find the right microphone for your recording project.

I recently received a phone call from a potential client asking what microphone I used.  I asked him to repeat the question, thinking I may have misheard what was asked.  His question was repeated and I paused…..he truly wanted to know what microphone I used….not microphones, plural, but what microphone did we have at the studio.  I informed him that we had a variety of microphones to choose from, including tube microphones, ribbons, condensers and dynamics.  I also let him know that we could experiment with the microphone to find the best suited for his needs, be it for instruments or vocals.  He almost seemed stunned that there would be options for consideration!

This really made me think, though, about how many people are used to going to a friend’s place or a home/garage/bedroom studio and being told that there is ONE mic to do the sessions with!  Judging from my conversation it’s more common than I was aware.

Microphones are to a studio as construction tools are to a job site.  You can maybe build something with just a hammer and a wrench, but to get things done with a greater degree of quality, having the right tool for the job can make all of the difference.  A pair of pliers, a few screwdrivers, assorted power tools…..you get the idea.  Same idea applies to microphones for recording.  There are a variety of microphones available (as mentioned earlier), large diameter elements, small diameter elements, offering different sensitivities, dynamic ranges, and tonalities.  Not to mention different (and often, selectable) polar patterns, offering a variety of applications, feedback rejection, enhanced sibilance, etc…..

The point of all of this is to encourage folks to research a bit about microphones that they may want to use…..to record their acoustic guitar, their speaker cabinet, their saxophone, their voice.  Or, to ask the studio you wish to record at about the microphone selection they have to offer.  Explain what you want recorded, and let them explain the microphones they offer, and what they would recommend….and why!

Simply put, find a studio that has the right tools for the job.

Until next time……

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