Selecting a Microphone

Selecting a microphone isn't as simple as it sounds. The first thing you should do is some research. Getting familiar with how microphones actually work is easy but can be time consuming. I will provide links through this blog that can get you pointed in the right direction. This way when you are looking for your microphone you have an understanding of what characteristics you need. If this research is to tiring or you are still unsure just describe your space and scope in detail to the sales rep and they usually can point you to a good microphone that fits your needs. From my experience Sales Reps at places like Sweat-water, and zZounds are knowledgeable and usually have a decent understanding of what their consumers need. After the research, you can worry about the easy stuff like size, brand, price, flexibility, etc.

4 Things to Consider

There are 4 major things to consider when researching what type of microphone best fits your needs.

1. Direction

Deciding which type of directional pattern best fits your needs is sometimes tricky. This is why you really need to do some research on how microphones work.  In most cases it is best to use less directional mic's that are in position close to the sound source. I've had it both ways. My old setup had the mic about 20 feet away from the work station. My current setup pictured below has the Mic securely mounted in the booth directly about the work station, putting the microphone less than 2 feet away from the source. I normally won't point to a competitors website but these guys give some solid tips for more information about microphone directional characteristics and in what cases to use them.

2. Frequency Response

Flat response patterns are normally the best, however in several circumstances a tailored response will be just as good or maybe even slightly better. Making sure the mic's frequency response is right for the intended use is important. For more information about mic frequency check out the Shure Website they have a good blog about microphone frequency response.

3. Impedance

Low impedance is better than high impedance especially when we are talking vocals! Microphone impedance is the amount of opposition that a microphone has to AC signals. Every microphone comes with an impedance rating. Here's the bare minimum basics of the significance of this rating. Microphone uses AC voltage signals and so does our voices. The signals from our voices are picked up by the microphone and converted into electrical signals. Most cases have a microphone hooked up to an amp to increase the strength of the signal because microphone signals alone are not powerful enough to drive speakers.

Here's What Independence Ratings Look Like

  1. Low Impedance (0-600 Ω)
  2. Medium Impedance (600-10,000 Ω)
  3. High Impedance (10,000+ Ω)

Bottom Line, when considering purchasing a new microphone to use with your interface, you will want to make sure the impedance for the mic is lower than the impedance for your interface input. For instance, the AudioBox USB has a preamp impedance rating of 1200 Ω. Therefore, you would want to make sure you are using a mic with an output impedance rated below 1200 Ω. For more information on microphone impedance try google! Google knows all!

4. vibration response

Vibrations will become part of the generated audio signal. Such as Speakers vibrating, feet tapping, loud speaking, etc. If your mic is exposed to any sort of outside interference, handling noise or vibrations, you will need a mic which will help prevent this noise from being picked up. High quality hand-held mics usually attempt to isolate the diaphragm from vibrations using foam padding, suspension, or some other method. Low quality mics tend to transfer vibrations from the casing right into the diaphragm. This can result in a less than desirable sounds. It is important to make sure your mic is placed where it won't be moved or bumped. See my blog about mounting a microphone for more information about mic placement and storage. Thanks for reading and enjoy shopping for that new Microphone! Take a look at these suggestions!

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