A condenser microphone is a type of audio transducer that converts sound waves into electrical signals. The most popular types are the large-diaphragm condenser mics, which are used by musicians and vocalists performing in live venues and recording studios for vocals and other acoustic instruments.
How do you know what the best condenser microphone is? That’s where we come in! Let us help you find the right one for your situation with our guide to choosing the best microphone for your needs.
- 1 Top Best Condenser Microphones 2022
- 1.1 Rode NT1
- 1.2 Lewitt LCT 940
- 1.3 Aston Microphones Spirit
- 1.4 Neumann TLM 103
- 1.5 Audio-Technica AT5040
- 1.6 Slate Digital VMS
- 1.7 Shure SM27
- 1.8 AKG C414 XLII
- 1.9 Sennheiser e 965
- 1.10 Neumann KM 184
- 1.11 Neumann TLM 170 R
- 1.12 Neumann TLM 67
- 1.13 Blue Kiwi
- 1.14 Neumann TLM 49
- 1.15 Blue Blueberry
- 1.16 Neumann TLM 102
- 1.17 Rode-NT2-A
- 1.18 AKG C214
- 1.19 Audio Technica AT2035
- 1.20 Blue Microphones Bluebird
- 1.21 Avantone Audio CV-12
- 1.22 Audio-Technica AT2020
- 1.23 Samson Go Mic
- 2 Thing To Consider Before Buying Best Condenser Mics
- 3 FAQs
- 3.1 Is A Condenser Mic Better For Vocals?
- 3.2 Are condenser mics fragile?
- 3.3 How can I improve the sound quality of my microphone?
- 3.4 Why is my condenser microphone so quiet?
- 3.5 Why is my condenser microphone requiring so much gain?
- 3.6 Why Is A Condenser Mic The Best?
- 3.7 Which Mic is better: Condenser Or Dynamic Microphone?
- 3.8 What does a condenser microphone need to work?
- 3.9 What makes a condenser microphone the best?
- 3.10 What is a condenser microphone?
- 3.11 Can You Use A Condenser Mic Live?
- 4 Conclusion
Top Best Condenser Microphones 2022
- Includes the RODE AI-1 USB...
- Includes RODE NT1 - 1"...
- Includes SM6 shock mount,...
- Neutrik combo jack - 3-pole...
- Condenser microphone with USB...
- High quality A/D converter...
- Headphone jack with volume...
- Mix control allows you to...
- High output, the internal...
- Frequency range- 20hz-20khz
- 48v Power
- Max SPL-125/135/145db
- Impedance-<50 ohms
- Sonic character of the famous...
- Nine selectable polar patterns...
- Three attenuation levels...
- Three switchable different...
- Includes (1) Sony MDR-7506...
Rode claims its recently redesigned NT1 cardioid condenser microphone is the quietest, one-inch cardioid. It has a self-noise of just 4.5dBA. It was quiet and flexible enough to mic many sources.
The sleek, minimalist design and dark-grey color scheme make it look super-cool. However, the minimal form factor doesn’t have any switches for a pad or bass roll-off. This is not surprising considering the price.
The NT1 offers exceptional performance. Vocals sound crisp and clear with a lot of warmth in the low end. There is also no problem in the mid-range.
The top end has beautiful airy clarity. The NT1’s silky top end makes it easy to record acoustic guitars or hand-held drums. The NT1 is an excellent drum for overhead use or as a keyboard accompaniment.
It is not recommended for close-miking loud drums or guitar cabs. However, the pad is a good option for all other studio applications. The NT1 is an excellent value because it comes with a suspension shockmount and a pop shield.
- Includes the RODE AI-1 USB...
- Includes RODE NT1 - 1"...
- Includes SM6 shock mount,...
- Neutrik combo jack - 3-pole...
- Excellent value
- Very quiet
- No filter or pad
Lewitt LCT 940
The Lewitt LCT940 is an excellent choice if you like the idea of creating sound with a microphone or being able instantly to dial in a proper tone.
You want the warmth and purity of a FET microphone while still having the flexibility of a tube mic. The LCT allows you to have both with the twist of a dial. You can also blend them.
The LCT 940 combines two high-quality mics into one. Lewitt offers a reasonably-sized combination PSU/remote-control unit to help you access its many features.
To choose between tube circuitry and FET, turn the dial on the left. To select from nine polar patterns, Omni, broad cardioid, super-cardioid, or figure-8, twist the right-hand dial.
There are also four intermediate patterns. The mic can pick up loud sounds with pad settings ranging from -6dB to a significant -18dB. The low-cut filter works from 40Hz up to 300Hz, well into the lower middle range.
All these features make the LCT 940 a versatile studio tool. The LCT 940 is a versatile instrument that can capture an accurate representation of a sound source or enhance it creatively. Although the price tag may be high, it is surprisingly affordable.
- LEWITT LCT 940 OVERVIEW:...
- TUBE VS FET: Equipped with an...
- CUSTOM CAPSULE: The LCT 940...
- VERSATILE FEATURES: Choose...
- There are endless possibilities for sound shaping
- It is straightforward to dial the right sound
- Solid construction
- Have fun!
- This is not the most affordable option.
Aston Microphones Spirit
Although the Aston Spirit doesn’t offer any new or innovative tech, it stays true to Aston’s original vision of creating high-quality and affordable instruments. It’s also made in Britain with pride.
The Spirit shares a strong aesthetic with its sibling, the Origin. They stand out in a competitive market with their unique, wave-shaped, sprung mesh protections and solid stainless steel casings.
The Spirit Black Bundle also includes a black-textured version. This bundle comes with a shockmount and pop filter.
Three patterns can be switched: Omni, cardioid, and figure-8. You can also choose between -10dB or -20dB attenuation and an 80Hz low cut filter.
The instrument is excellent for vocals or acoustic guitar. It has a pleasant mid-range, a high peak, and an agreeable brightness. It has a poor proximity response, which makes close-miking vocals in cardioid mics easy.
Thanks to its switchable polar patterns, it can be used as a room mic or distant miking role.
The Spirit Black Bundle is a more expensive mic, but it’s still a great value.
- Unique waveform spring head...
- Voiced in conjunction with the...
- Unique dual layer textured...
- 2 mm solid stainless,...
- Bundle includes Aston's...
- Great value
- Superb and warm sound
- Quality construction
- Standard does not include a shockmount or pop filter.
Neumann TLM 103
Neumann is a well-known name in microphones. However, the incredible sonic quality of its products is often matched by astronomical prices. The manufacturer has introduced various TLM-branded models that are more affordable over the years, including the TLM 103.
The mic was initially intended for home studios but has since been adopted by many professionals. How does the mic compare to a Neumann?
It works very well. Neumann describes the TLM 103 as a cheaper version of the venerable U 87 Ai studio microphone, one of the most beloved in the world. The TLM 103’s capsule design is based on the U 87 Ai, but instead of three polar patterns, it has a fixed cardioid. The mics have a similar sonic profile.
However, the TLM 103 offers a slightly more considerable presence boost at frequencies above 5kHz. This gives the mic a bit more clarity.
This mic is not only a great vocal microphone, but it also has a filter, pad, and switchable patterns. You won’t regret it if you use it with acoustic guitars or drum overheads, piano or classical strings, as well as lightly driven electric guitar cabs.
The TLM 103 will be dismissed by some as a budget Neumann. However, if you don’t require the extra features of U 87 Ai, then ignore them and save yourself a lot.
- Large diaphragm cardioid...
- Available in satin nickel and...
- Delivery includes an SG 103...
- A standard name in high-end...
- The TLM 103 is fast becoming a...
- Neumann: Cheap
- It doesn’t sound cheap.
- Performance close to U 87 Ai
- Set of basic features
The microphone design has not changed much over the decades. Models introduced 30-40 years ago, 40-years ago, and 50 years ago are still popular. Engineers of the past century seem to have it right. Well, not quite…
The AT5040 represents a rare breakthrough in microphone design. Mics with large diaphragms have higher sensitivity and less noise but a limited high-frequency response. Mic designers discovered that a 1-inch diaphragm is the best for vocals and other applications.
While it is common to see small-diaphragm microphones in action, it is rare to find any with a diaphragm greater than one inch. Audio-Technica’s big-brain engineers came up with a solution to the capsule-size problem.
A four-part rectangular grid was created that provides more than twice as much surface area as a traditional 1-inch diaphragm.
The four parts work together to overcome the limitations of the one large diaphragm. This mic produces a very open, transparent, and neutral sound that can be used for vocals and percussion, and acoustic guitar. The sound responds well to EQ, as you would expect.
Although the AT5040 mic is expensive, it is hushed, sounds great, and was built entirely by hand. It is a thing of beauty.
- Innovative design
- Beautifully designed
- Natural, open sound
- It is surprisingly affordable
- Requires careful positioning
Slate Digital VMS
You will indeed need a good collection of mics to equip your studio. This is a significant expense for many people. However, before you get discouraged, consider whether modeling technology could help you realize your dreams.
Slate’s approach to this technology is that studios are provided with an entire system, including mic, preamp, and plug-in. This ensures the integrity of the audio signal. The result should be more similar to the audio characteristics of the original microphones.
The system mic from the manufacturer, the ML-1 FET, promises a flat, clear response. The bundled preamp is also neutral and pristine. It’s the perfect blank canvas.
This transparent signal is transformed into a digital audio file by the included mic models loaded into Slate’s Virtual Mix Rack software. The VMS(virtual microphone system) also includes two software preamps: the FG-73, Neve 1073, and the FG-76, based on Telefunken’s V76.
We can explore a whole new world by switching between mic models. They are entirely in line with our expectations and very distinctive. It’s an attractive package with so many options.
- Classic microphones sound great!
- Multifunctionality is more significant than one mic.
- It’s affordable
- There is no highpass filter in analog chains.
To provide a high-frequency response, condenser microphones rely heavily on their fragile diaphragms. They sound amazing until they are dropped, kicked, soaked in beer, or left out in the rain. Many people spend their lives in a safe place, such as a studio.
The Shure SM27 is a much more rugged beast. It would have arms and be tattooed with old-school anchors and hearts. If it had friends, it would look and speak like Jason Statham. Shure’s whole SM range, including SM27, was designed to withstand the punishment of live performance.
It would seem that the SM27’s sonic characteristics might be compromised. However, it has a neutral frequency response and low self-noise.
This makes it ideal for reproducing natural, faithful renditions of light sound sources like acoustic guitars, strings, cymbals, and woodwind.
It’s also great for creating screamers or guitar cabs with its -15dB pad. The SM27 is a versatile instrument that can be used on stage or in the studio.
- Uniform cardioid pattern for...
- Superior transient response...
- Flat, neutral frequency...
- 3-position switchable...
- Durable metal construction.
- Construction with a rugged finish
- Faithful reproduction
- Excellent feature set
- Pop shield integrated
- Studio-only users will not appreciate the ruggedness of this material.
AKG C414 XLII
AKG’s valiant effort to recreate the sound of the iconic C12 microphone in the 1950s with the C414 XLII is AKG’s brave attempt. The frequency curve is slightly higher above 3kHz than its sibling, the C414B-XLS. This gives it a more airy top end.
Its nine switchable patterns are the main feature. This is a nod to the original C12. Five base patterns are available: omnidirectional and wide cardioid, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, and figure-8.
However, these can be combined for sonic experimentation. Three low-cut filters can be used, including -6dB, 12dB, and 18dB attenuation levels.
The C414 XLII’s comprehensive feature set allows it to tackle almost any task. It’s a C12-soundalike and can handle vocals well, but it can also handle strings, horns, and woodwind. The build quality is superb.
- Sonic character of the famous...
- Nine selectable polar patterns...
- Three attenuation levels...
- Three switchable different...
- Includes (1) Sony MDR-7506...
- Nine polar patterns are available in a variety of styles
- Presence boost for the ‘C12’ sound
- Quality is key
Sennheiser e 965
Sennheiser created the 965 for stage use. It is rare. This isn’t the ideal place for large-diaphragm condenser microphones. They prefer to be protected by a shockmount and a large pop shield. Sennheiser has accomplished a remarkable feat with condenser microphones. They are susceptible to noise handling.
For various reasons, dynamic mics are king on stage, but mainly because they are robust. They cannot match the frequency response of good condenser mics, so those listening to talented singers with good range may be disappointed.
Thee 965 transmits all nuances with remarkable detail. You can switch between super-cardioid and cardioid polar patterns to eliminate unwanted sounds. There’s also a low-cut filter that omits rumble and a pop filter that handles plosives.
This mic could be the right microphone for you if you want to make sure your audience hears every word.
- Great mics for live vocals
- Pop filter built-in
- Excellent at handling noise rejection
- Studio use has many options.
Neumann KM 184
Mics that enhance the vocals of vocalists by adding warmth to their low-end or top-end sound are a favorite choice. Because they add a little sonic fairy dust to the sound, large-diaphragm condensers do the job.
When it comes to copying instruments, the audience expects to hear authentic renditions of the source. Because they have a flat response, small-diaphragm condensers produce a transparent sound. Because of their small size, they are easy to place and visually not intrusive.
The Neumann KM 184 small-diaphragm condenser is well-respected, particularly for miking overhead drums. It is often purchased in pairs or sets for surround-sound or stereo applications.
This condenser is also famous for piano, acoustic guitars, woodwind, brass, and violin. Although small-diaphragm condensers can be used for vocals, they can only be used where authenticity is essential.
- Transparent, faithful sound
- It’s discreet
- Cable runs with low impedance are possible
- It doesn’t flatter vocals.
Neumann TLM 170 R
The Neumann TLM170 R professional microphone can be used to record both vocal and instrumental music. It produces a rich sound with excellent dynamics and high transient response.
The TLM 170R is a great microphone that can record everything from vocals to drums.
This mic is an excellent option for budget-conscious buyers who want top-quality sound quality and performance without breaking the bank.
The Neumann TLM170 R analog microphone is designed to record acoustic instruments.
This transformerless, large-diaphragm microphone with a shock mount and gold-sputtered dial delivers excellent transient response.
The Neumann TLM170 R is a large-diaphragm ribbon microphone with transformerless circuitry. It can be used to record vocals or instruments and drum overheads.
- Inexpensive for this mic
- Great sound quality
- Transformerless circuitry
- The boomy low end on vocals
- No phantom power
Neumann TLM 67
The Neumann TLM 67 microphone is a classic for recording vocals, drums, and acoustic instruments.
This mic was used for many albums, including the Beatles’ Abbey Road album that captured John Lennon’s vocals and Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti.
For decades, the TLM 67 microphone has been regarded as one of the most reliable. It produces a natural sound without distortion or adding coloration.
The Neumann TLM 67 large-diaphragm condenser mic is still in production. This microphone was the first to use a transformerless circuit. It is one of the unique and versatile mics for all recording situations.
The TLM 67 microphone is affordable and will help you realize your dreams. The TLM 67 has been used by many famous musicians, including John Lennon, Michael Jackson, and others.
It is well-known for its warmth and soulfulness, but it also delivers the precision and clarity required in modern recordings.
- Classy retro look.
- Great for use with female vocals and electric guitars.
- Sound is very distinctive and unique.
- Its sensitivity to handling.
Based in the United States, the iconic mic company has the Kiwi as its flagship multi-pattern microphone.
The Kiwi has a stunning vocal tone that inspires impressive performances.
The sound can be described as a shimmery, elegant top with articulate midrange and full-bodied lower end.
When it comes to recording world-class vocal tracks, the Kiwi mic is a worthy competitor.
- Innovative sound.
- High price tag.
Neumann TLM 49
The Neumann TLM49 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a flat frequency response and a wide high-frequency range.
It can be used to record classical, choral, and opera voices and voice-overs, broadcast news, sound effects.
The Neumann TLM49 microphone has been used on many significant records, including the Beatles’ Let it be and Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy.
This microphone is well-known for its excellent frequency response. It can be used as a vocal mic or an instrument mic.
The Neumann TLM49 microphone is a classic microphone that has been used on many recordings.
Because of its warm and full sound, the TLM 49 is a recommended mic for many engineers and studios. It can also handle vocals as well as acoustic instruments.
The TLM 49 Neumann microphone is a well-known brand for its high quality.
This microphone is designed to reproduce the perfect sound every time. It sounds as if you are standing right in front of the performer.
It also features robust construction, which makes it resistant to noise and feedback.
- Great high-end and high dynamic range
- Nice and light
- Small and compact
- The boom could be better
- Not the most delicate handling
Blueberry is a pressure-gradient cardioid condenser microphone from Blue. This allows you to place your voice or instruments in front of the primary mix.
The capsule is handcrafted and features custom components that produce a shimmering high-end with a smooth midrange and commanding presence. It’s the perfect mic for vocals, acoustic guitars, and strings, and brass.
This mic is simply a winner!
The Blue Blueberry allows your vocals to be prominently placed in your mix without becoming lost in the distorted gain structure of modern recordings.
It is a good choice for vintage microphones.
You don’t have to sacrifice your vocal track by using EQ plug-ins or all that jazz!
- It has a wide frequency response
- It’s rugged, so it’s perfect for live performances
- It sounds great
- The mic does not have a lot of durabilities
Neumann TLM 102
The Neumann TLM 102 microphone is a condenser microphone with a large diaphragm that has been used extensively in the music recording industry for many decades.
TLM stands for Transformerless microphone. This makes it an excellent choice for musicians who wish to record without any noise interference.
It is a great mic for recording sound naturally without distortion or coloration.
The TLM 102 is made of durable materials such as aluminum and brass, making it ideal for live performances due to its ability to withstand bumps and drops.
The microphone has a comprehensive frequency response, so every part of your voice will sound great.
The Neumann TLM 102 microphone was designed in the 1960s. It was one of the most loved microphones on Earth and is still widely used today.
It was used by Bono, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Dylan, among others. This microphone was used to record Darth Vader’s voice in Star Wars.
This mic has an excellent sound quality to record vocals and instruments. However, you should make sure that your recording environment is clean before using the mic.
- Compact microphone with...
- Uniform cardioid patter
- Transformerless circuitry for...
- Very low self-noise
- Gentle treble lift for silky...
- Good sound quality
- Can be used on stage
- Durable and affordable
- Does not work well in noisy environments
Rode NT2-A microphone is the best microphone for recording.
It is a high-quality mic and will produce a clear, pleasant sound for all your listeners.
It is made of a very durable material that can withstand any abuse, including falls or clumsy hands.
The NT2-A has a low self-noise, so background sounds are not picked up when recording vocals, guitars, or drums. Rode NT2-A microphone is a premium mic that can withstand harsh environments.
It was designed by Australia’s most renowned manufacturer of professional audio equipment.
Rode NT2-A microphones are professional dynamic microphones that produce high-quality audio. The NT2-A microphone has been used in many live performances and on famous albums. It is also used by broadcast news agencies such as NPR and CBS News.
Rode NT2-A microphone is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic. This mic produces a clear sound, which is ideal for recording vocals or instrumentals.
The on/off switch turns the mic on/off without you having to remove it from your device. This makes it easy to switch between setups quickly and saves you time.
This microphone is ideal for solo artists who want their vocals to be heard in a mix but don’t need excessive control over frequency response and polar patterns. It also comes at a great price!
- Great price
- Good quality sound
- Quick and easy on/off switch
- Requires an external power supply (not included)
Since the 1970s, the AKG C214 microphone has been in use. It was released for the first time in 1970 and is still being used by podcasters, voice actors, and broadcasters today.
The AKG C214 condenser microphone was designed for recording vocals, speech, and instruments.
The C214 has a cardioid pattern that helps to control sound pickup from all directions.
The integrated shock mount system of these AKG microphones reduces vibrations and handling noises that can reach your vocal recordings.
- Works well with a wide variety of sources
- Can be used in a multitude of recording situations
- Does not have the highest sensitivity
Audio Technica AT2035
Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone is a versatile and cardioid pickup pattern. It was designed for instrument and vocal recording.
The mic features an 80Hz high-pass filter that can be switched off and a 10dB pad to reduce distortion from loud sources like drums or guitar amps. It also features an integrated shock mount system and an internal pop shield.
Audio-Technica AT2035 dynamic microphone can be used to record vocals, instruments, and voiceovers.
- Fantastic for drummers and vocalists
- Amazing vocal presence and sound quality
- Versatile and great for vocals and instruments
- No true cardioid mode
Blue Microphones Bluebird
Fair enough, a lot of people are crazy about the Blue Microphones Bluebird. It is a competent alternative to the NT1A.
Blue is Blue’s bread-and-butter, and this mic is it. Condensers are a topic that is always brought up in discussions. It is distinguished by its high quality and excellent 1950s design.
The mic’s flat frequency response is what makes it a winner. This is ideal for recording every nuance and detail with true-to-life clarity.
It comes with a shock mount, pop filter, and a case, just like most versatile mics we have reviewed. Blue-made special pop filters and wooden cases that attach directly to the capsule. This mic is a rare example of audio quality and presentation.
That vocals can become a bit crispy and may need a de-esser. Rotating it slightly from your mouth, even by 10 degrees, will help you get off-axis. This will preserve the mic’s beautiful high-end vocals, strings, and woodwinds.
- Great price point
- Beautiful high-end, woodwinds, and string sounds
- Flat frequency response
- Can be used for audio engineering applications
- Needs to be mounted directly in front of you
Avantone Audio CV-12
Tube mics are often considered the Holy Grail for vocal mics.
It was difficult, however, as most mics have ridiculous prices…sometimes up to 5-10 grand for vintage.
But, there’s one option that stands out…right at our upper price range.
This mic is… the Avantone Audio CV-12. This mic has the following notable features:
- 9 Polar patterns
- Hi-pass filter
- 10 dB
The CV-12, as with all tube mics, has its PS-12 power supply.
Additional accessories are available with this microphone:
- Wooden box padded
- Flight case
You heard it right…a flight case, LOL. This mic is compatible with everything.
- It’s one of the few tube mics that will fit every application.
- The sound is flat.
- It’s lightweight.
- It’s not the best microphone for vocals, only guitar/voice.
- It requires a power supply.
- The flight case.
Audio-Technica AT4050 microphone is a condenser microphone that captures high-frequency details. It excels at recording vocals, strings, and other high-frequency sounds.
The AT4050 microphone was designed to be versatile and efficient. It can be used to record vocals, drums and guitars, and strings and brass instruments.
This microphone comes with a shock mount, a tripod desk stand, and the mic itself. It is easy to set up in any environment.
Audio-Technica AT4050 can handle very high Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs).
Audio-Technica AT4050 is capable of handling up to 160 dB without distortion. The average studio condenser microphone can only operate at 150 dB before it begins overloading or distorting. If you’re recording anything, this means that the microphone can handle up to 160 dB without distortion.
Audio-Technica AT4050 microphone is made for high-quality audio recording. This mic has a preamp built-in and an impedance of 50 Ohms.
It can handle sound pressure levels as high as 138dB sound pressure level (SPL). This makes it ideal for environments with louder sounds, such as live performances or studios.
Audio-Technica AT4050 large-diaphragm condenser mic can be used live or as a studio microphone.
Audio-Technica AT4050 has a frequency response between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. It also has an output sensitivity that is -54dBV/Pa. This means it can produce higher sound levels in a shorter range than other microphones.
- CAPTURES EVERY NUANCE OF...
- HANDLES HIGH SOUND PRESSURE...
- PROVIDES BETTER NOISE...
- IDEAL FOR PROJECTS AND HOME...
- INCLUDES - Audio-Technica...
- Very durable
- Consistent build quality
- Great sound quality
- Attractive look
- One of the best live recording microphones
- No LED indicators
- No switch for adjusting the sensitivity
Samson Go Mic
Samson has been in business for over a decade. Samson’s microphone is perfect for musicians.
This mic has a comprehensive frequency response and high SPL handling to capture sound in all situations.
It also has a built-in headphone jack, so you can listen to what you are recording while you’re away from your laptop.
Samson Go Mic, a wireless mobile microphone connected to your smartphone or tablet by Bluetooth, is available from Samson.
This mic allows you to record audio and videos anywhere, just by pressing a button. The internal rechargeable battery can last up to 12 hours before it needs to be charged.
Samson Go Mic USB microphone is great for recording music, podcasting, and YouTube videos.
- Budget microphones
- Compact and portable
- A variety of options to choose from
- Offers complete freedom for users without requiring an app
- Does not have a USB port for direct recording from a PC
See more our top pick of best Bluetooth mic: https://hookeaudio.com/best-bluetooth-microphone/
Thing To Consider Before Buying Best Condenser Mics
Do you need a condenser microphone?
We recommend that you don’t mistakenly think one type of microphone is better than the other. All mics, whether they are condenser, dynamic, condenser, or small-diaphragm, will affect the sound of your music to some degree. This trait can seem unattractive, but it can open up huge creative possibilities.
Think about the sound you want to create and consider a microphone as an instrument that can help you achieve it. Different microphones and applications will produce different results. Different results are not necessarily better or worse.
This is why professional studios have so many condenser mics available and why artists, producers, and engineers prefer specific models to reproduce their unique sounds.
This helps us to understand the vast array of condenser microphones available and narrow down our choices to the one or two that best suit our sonic goals.
Read full our article about What Is A Condenser Microphone? to know more.
Some condenser mics that have been around for decades enjoy almost mythological status due to their many years of brilliant recordings.
Many of us might have to sell an organ (antique Hammond, newish kidney!) You may need to sell an organ to pay the high price, but don’t worry – many models and brands will support your needs.
We’ll be covering some basics of physics to help you get the information you need to buy the best condenser mic for you. It’ll all be over in no time!
Condenser mics rely on capacitance to produce an electrical signal. The mic’s business end acts as one conductor plate and the other as a backplate.
The distance between the diaphragm and the backplate will change as sounds vibrate, causing a variation in the electrical charge or capacitance. The resulting capacitance change is converted into an electrical signal fed to your amp, desk, or audio interface.
This design has a unique feature: the diaphragm can have thinness that allows it to vibrate more freely and faster than other types of mics. Condensers have a comprehensive, almost colorless frequency range that allows them to reproduce sounds accurately.
They can pick up sounds that are higher in the frequency range than dynamic mics, which is why they are so helpful. Condensers are used to create acoustic guitars as well as hi-hats, vocals, and other instruments.
These capacitor plates must have a charge to function effectively. This is usually supplied by an onboard battery or +48V Phantom Power from your desk or audio interface.
Condensers have a higher output than dynamic microphones, so they don’t require as much gain at their preamps to produce a helpful signal. Crank preamps can create noise, so it can be a huge advantage to work at lower levels.
Maybe you should read Condenser Microphone Vs Dynamic: Which Is Better And Why?
Different polar patterns can determine the direction of a microphone, but they also have different frequency responses, which results in different sounds.
The cardioid microphones can pick up a specific sound pattern, making them ideal for isolating singers or instruments being masked up.
Omni-directional microphones pick up sound from everywhere, but their character and tone are more open, natural, and less nasal than those made by cardioids. The proximity effect, a low-frequency boost that occurs when close to miking, is less common in Omnis.
Although it may seem logical to use a cardioid condenser microphone for miking up vocalists, you might be more comfortable using an Omni in a room with minimal reflections. You could use a studio or even a spare bedroom with carefully placed blankets and duvets.
Some of the best condenser mics, like the AKG C414 XLII, have switchable polar patterns that include cardioid, Omni, and the less-used but still-useful bi-directional figure-8.
There are three types of condenser mic diaphragms available: small, medium, and large. Large-diaphragm mics like the Aston Spirit are almost always side-addressed, meaning you can perform to their side.
The diaphragm size increases in noise performance, so large-diaphragm microphones often have impressively low self-noise figures.
These mics are very popular for vocals as they have a subtle high-frequency boost – presence – and a roll-off at the top end. The cardioids can also take on Omni characteristics at the low end, giving them a rich, open sound that suits most vocalists. Be aware that presence boosts can make vocals sound harsher or more aggressive.
The frequency response of small-diaphragm condenser mics like the Neumann KM 184 is much flatter, making them more adept at picking up every detail at all levels.
These condensers are popular for miking classical instruments, such as guitars, hi-hats, woodwinds, and even some classical instruments. Because they are end-addressed, it makes them easy to aim and place.
Condensers with medium-diaphragm sit somewhere in between.
Tube or FET
A condenser microphone’s active circuitry will be either based on 1940s FET technology or 1900s tube technology. Tubes provide a rich, harmonic sound, while FET produces a more transparent, cleaner sound.
Some condenser mics feature a Passive Attenuation Device (PAD). This can be used to prevent loud sounds from overloading the microphone’s active circuitry, causing distortion.
Applications for condenser microphones
Here are some trusted methods to use condenser microphones. Don’t let tradition limit you. Experiment to discover your sound! A cheap mic in a well-treated space will always sound better than an expensive microphone in a poorly controlled room.
Acoustic piano: Multiple condenser mics. For the low strings, use the large diaphragm and small diaphragm mics. Try different placements.
Acoustic guitar: A small-diaphragm cardioid mic is positioned at the 12th fret.
Strings: A small diaphragm condenser mic can be used for any instrument of the violin family.
Drums: Hi-hat small-diaphragm cone condenser, overhead multiple small-diaphragm cone condensers. Condensers are often used on toms or snares. However, the kick drum is typically dynamic-mic territory. Experiment!
Vocals: Use a large-diaphragm condenser microphone. However, try to match the microphone to the talent. Pop shields can protect even the most condenser mics from sibilances and plosives. You can also keep your prized purchase from being ruined by saliva.
Is A Condenser Mic Better For Vocals?
Condenser mics are good for capturing vocals and high frequencies, as well as studio applications.
These best condenser mics have thin diaphragms, which make them more sensitive than other types of mics, so they’re also used to pick up delicate sounds like flute or piano music.
The best condenser mics need a phantom power supply from an external power because their signal is too weak without it, but there’s no battery necessary (unlike dynamic mics).
Are condenser mics fragile?
Remember that mics can be fragile. Ribbon and condenser mics are not able to withstand rough handling. You can break a ribbon mic or condenser mic if it is dropped. This is why you need a sturdy stand
How can I improve the sound quality of my microphone?
These are seven tips to make your microphone sound better when recording music
- Turn off any background noise in the room.
- If possible, keep the microphone off your desk.
- Your microphone should be facing away from any noise source.
- Keep your microphone at a distance of a few inches from your mouth.
See full article about How To Improve Microphone Quality? Top Full Guide 2022
Why is my condenser microphone so quiet?
The condenser microphone will become quiet if the gain of your mixer, preamp, or audio interface is too low. The condenser microphone will be quieter if the gain is lower. You can increase the gain until you achieve a precise and audible signal.
Why is my condenser microphone requiring so much gain?
Condenser microphones have a high output level. Dynamic mics, such as ribbons, require more gain because of their low sensitivity. There are three variables to consider: the sound source’s volume, microphone distance, and microphone sensitivity.
Maybe you need: What Is Gain On A Microphone? Top Full Guide 2022
Why Is A Condenser Mic The Best?
Low-mass diaphragms allow condenser microphones to capture sound waves than dynamic mics more accurately.
Condenser mics also offer higher sensitivity and lower self-noise level, which is ideal for recording loud sounds like drums or vocals with a high sibilance (hissing).
Which Mic is better: Condenser Or Dynamic Microphone?
Applications. Condenser microphones are suitable for most studio applications, including voice acting and field recording. They are more sensitive than dynamic microphones, with a flatter response suited to capturing detailed audio in either application.
Know more information about this difference: Condenser Microphone Vs Dynamic: Which Is Better And Why?
What does a condenser microphone need to work?
A condenser works on an electrostatic principle, using two charged metal plates to help generate sound.
When a sound wave hits the diaphragm, the distance between these two plates changes, producing a change in one electrical characteristic called capacitance.
What makes a condenser microphone the best?
A condenser microphone’s diaphragm can follow sound waves faster than a dynamic microphone attached to a moving coil. This is due to its low mass. Condenser microphones offer a higher level of sensitivity (i.e., condenser microphones have lower noise levels than dynamic microphones and produce a higher sensitivity)
What is a condenser microphone?
Condenser microphones stand out from all other types of microphones due to their high-level accuracy and sensitivity. This makes them popular for studio use.
A condenser microphone capsule contains a thin, sensitive, conductive membrane. When sound waves are introduced, it causes a change of capacitance. This converts electricity into audible signals with the help of extra current. Most commonly, this is 48V Phantom Power.
Can You Use A Condenser Mic Live?
Condenser microphones are the most commonly found type of mic in recording home studios.
These mics, which can be seen as a thin diaphragm stretched over metal plates called backplates and held close to each other by springs or rubber bands, have been used for live sound environments.
If you’re looking for the best microphones available, there are a few things to consider. Your budget and how much space you have will be significant factors in your decision-making process, but equally important is which type of mic fits what kind of application.
Condenser mics are typically used for capturing high frequencies like vocals or acoustic instruments because they can pick up more detail than other types of microphones.
It’s also the preferred choice for studio applications where accuracy is critical and versatility (e.g., recording drums).
The condenser mic market has changed considerably over recent years with technological advancements, making them both affordable and reliable enough that even beginners can get started without breaking the bank! Hooke Audio hopes our guide helped you choose the suitable condenser mic.
Last update on 2022-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API