If you are looking to do any sort of recording or anything like that, then without a doubt the most essential tool for you will be the condenser microphone. We will be explaining this a lot more later on, but the short version of this is that the condenser mic is essential for making sure that your voice comes across clearly and smoothly.
Now, when compared to their counterpart, the dynamic mic, condenser mics are a bit uncommon, so we figured that we would help you out a bit by looking at what you need to know in order to properly buy a good condenser microphone.
This article is going to be a guide to everything that you need to know about this type of microphone.
What Are Condenser Microphones?
The first thing that we want to talk about in this part of the article is what exactly these microphones are. We imagine that those of you who are familiar with microphones or who already have recording studios setup will probably be rolling your eyes because this is a really basic concept.
However, this article is intended to be at least somewhat helpful for those of you who are brand new to high-end microphones (and by brand new, we mean in the process of setting up your recording studio). So, we figured that it would be a good idea to start with some really basic info to help make sure that everyone is able to find out what they need in this article.
With all of this being said, let’s discuss condenser mics and what they are. The simplified explanation for how they work is that condenser mics work by having a built-in capacitor in the inside of the mic (because of this, they may be called capacitor mics). The capacitor helps to translate sound waves into electric signals, which then becomes the music that you know and love.
What Are They Used For?
In comparison to other types of microphones (most notably dynamic mics), condenser microphones are by far and away the best option if you are aiming to do something like recording.
It doesn’t matter what the recording is actually for; it can be music, singing, making videos, doing podcasts, and anything else. Basically, if you are doing any sort of recording in a closed environment like a studio, then a condenser microphone is the best option for you by far.
You may be curious as to why this is the case. Well, condenser microphones, because of the way that they are built, are extremely sensitive. And when we say sensitive, we mean it.
These microphones pick up everything. You can already start to see the advantages of these microphones for things like singing, as their sensitivity allows them to pick up even the slightest changes in pitch, tone, etc. It is the best option for those trying to get their immense vocal talents recorded properly.
At the same time, you can probably also see the potential issues that are posed by using a very sensitive mic. Every little bit of ambient audio that can be picked up will be picked up.
This includes things like walls creaking, furniture creaking, coughing, breathing, noise from outside the room, and everything else. If you are trying to record, you could quickly run into issues, which is why most people will set up a recording studio with soundproofed walls, to help stop ambient audio from being recorded by the mic.
Some Tips For Picking Out A Condenser Mic
Next up in this article, we want to go over some helpful tips that you can use when it comes to picking out a condenser mic for your home recording studio. We will avoid going into a full-on buying guide, as that would make the article a bit too long and off-topic, but we will help you out by giving you some information that should help you to sift through the hundreds of condenser mics that one can find online.
Know The Type Of Mic That You Need
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to learn about the various terms that pop up when you are dealing with microphones; this will help you to pick out the one that works best for you.
Now, while condenser mics are a type of microphone, there are other subtypes that you need to know about. The one that we think will most be useful for those of you reading this article will be the cardioid mic.
What does cardioid mean? It essentially refers to the direction that the microphone picks up audio from. A cardioid condenser microphone is designed to primarily focus on picking up audio from whatever is in front of it. Given that those buying a condenser mic are usually those who are trying to find something to record them singing or talking, a cardioid mic only makes sense.
The opposite of the cardioid mic is the omnidirectional mic, which as you might guess is a condenser mic that does equally well at picking up audio from all directions. These mics aren’t quite as useful, but depending on what you plan to do, they might be the better option.
Don’t Be Afraid To Spend A Bit
If you were a first time buyer and you were buying a dynamic mic, we would probably recommend going cheaper as dynamic mics are a bit less well-built. However, condenser mics are usually very well-made and even “cheaper” options are usually designed for high-end use and to last for quite a while.
In other words, the condenser microphone that you buy is likely going to be a staple of your recording career for a while, so don’t be afraid to go all out from the very beginning. Don’t be afraid to invest in a pricier condenser mic because the chances are good that that will be the microphone that you are going to be using for quite a while.
Don’t Just Buy A Microphone
This might seem like an odd thing to say, but if you are in the market for a condenser microphone, we would recommend against just getting a mic on its own. What we mean by this is that even the best, most costly microphone is only going to take you so far on its own.
Most microphones are designed to be used with accessories that help to not only make it a bit more comfortable to use, but also make the audio better as well.
Some examples of accessories that we are talking about include adjustable stands (essential for making sure that the mic is positioned right), pop filters (meant to eliminate annoying voice pops), and shock mounts (meant to get rid of vibrations, which can really impact condenser mics).
So, make sure that if you are going to go all in on a condenser microphone, that it comes with these useful accessories so that you don’t have to spend time and money buying them separately. As an added bonus, buying a mic with these accessories will ensure that they are compatible.
Keeping Your Condenser Microphone In Good Shape
As we hinted at in the last section of this article, condenser mics tend to be on the pricier side of things.
While you never want to mistreat your microphone, it is undeniable that you definitely don’t want to mistreat your really expensive condenser mic, as replacing it is going to be a lot more expensive. With all that being said, let’s now go over some easy tips that will help you when it comes to keeping your condenser mic in good shape for a long time.
Use A Pop Filter
Keep It In A Dust Free Environment
Dust will eventually destroy every electronic, regardless of what type it is. So, naturally you are going to want to do your best to keep your microphone safe from dust. The simplest way to do this is to keep the microphone in a dust free environment. If that isn’t possible, then just put a cover over the mic or put it in a bag when not in use.
Avoid Bumping Into It
Even the smallest amount of contact can potentially damage your mic due to how sensitive condensers can be. This is even truer if you have your condenser mic on a stand that isn’t particularly sturdy.
Like this guide? Then you’d definitely love our other guides on the best microphone for vocals.