How to Buy a Microphone for Music


A good microphone will accurately reproduce your original performance. The right microphone will capture the sound and room ambience you want, without picking up other sounds.

Things You’ll Need:

Step 1:
Read reviews on the Internet and in professional audio magazines.

Step 2:
Ask other musicians for recommendations and a chance to try the microphones they use.

Step 3:
Expect to spend $50 or more for an adequate microphone.

Step 4:
Get a microphone with a windscreen to use for singing.

Step 5:
Check the manufacturer's recommendations for uses of individual models (for example: voice, accoustic guitar, snare drum). Make sure the frequency response of the microphone covers the spectrum of the instrument to be recorded.

Step 6:
Compare frequency, sensitivity and impedance specifications of different models.

Step 7:
Buy a balanced, low-impedance microphone with an XLR (large 3-pin) connector, if you can afford it. These microphones are more resistant to radio frequency (RF) interference, providing better signal-to-noise ratios.

Step 8:
Choose an omnidirectional microphone if you can afford only one or two microphones and you need to record or amplify a group of musicians.

Step 9:
Buy a unidirectional microphone to pick up sound from individual instruments and exclude other sounds in the room.

Step 10:
Use a unidirectional or cardioid microphone for vocals. Cardioid microphones pick up sound in figure-eight patterns, with the microphone in the middle of the "eight."

Step 11:
Demo a microphone before buying it. If possible, record from the microphone or listen through your own speaker.

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