So, you’re thinking about starting a podcast. Or a Youtube channel. Or, maybe you want to start keeping an audio journal and want your voice to sound its best when you listen to the entries in the future.
Whatever the reason, most people look for a microphone that gives them good sound quality. The problem is that there are thousands of options available online.So, how do you find the right one?
If you’re just starting your recording journey, you might not know what type of microphone is best for you. Condenser microphones and dynamic mics are the two microphones most people use for home recording or podcasting. Before buying one of these microphones, here’s what to consider, including an overview of what each sounds like.
What Is A Condenser Microphone?
Typically, you’d use a condenser microphone if you’re trying to capture softer sounds, like vocals or acoustic musical instruments. Condenser mics, like Babbl, are built to be sensitive to sounds, which means they can pick up on sounds as quiet as a whisper, but also handle normal conversations or light music well.
Microphones work much in the same way as your ear does. They contain an interior piece called a diaphragm, which functions much in the same way as an eardrum. The diaphragm in a condenser microphone is very thin, which allows it to pick up on more minor sounds. Unfortunately, this also means that louder sounds can damage the diaphragm. Therefore, if a person plans on recording quieter audio products like a podcast as well as louder recordings, like studio albums, they are going to want to own both a condenser microphone and a dynamic microphone.
Most condenser microphones also require power hookup, which is why the most popular condenser mics (like Babbl) are USB compatible.
What Is A Dynamic Microphone?
Unlike a condenser microphone, dynamic microphones are built like the gladiators of the microphone world. Their diaphragms are built to handle large sound waves, and therefore the diaphragm on a dynamic microphone handles loud noises (or many noises) much more efficiently than a condenser mic. Additionally, since dynamic microphones are used for live recording scenarios, their exteriors are also a lot tougher than condenser microphones. They can withstand drops, weather, and rough handling better than a condenser microphone.
Typically, you’d use a dynamic microphone for things like rallies, ceremony recordings, and studio music recordings. Dynamic microphones will be able to drown out the noises of a crowd without skimping on sound quality for the recording itself.
Unfortunately, their ability to handle loud sounds does not make them good for quieter recording scenarios. The sound might come out, but it won’t be clear.
Which Has A Better Sound: A Condenser Mic Or A Dynamic Mic?
The answer to this question isn’t black and white. It depends entirely on what you intend to use your microphone for.
Podcasters, acoustic artists, and streamers usually lean toward condenser microphones. Although they are sensitive and recordings might require a little more editing to remove unwanted sounds, the sounds they do pick up are much crisper and of higher quality.
However, condenser microphones won’t be the best option for people trying to record very loud sounds, like music recordings. It will be too sensitive, washing out the subtleties of the recorded sounds. For louder recordings, you will want to use a dynamic microphone.
How Do You Find The Best Microphone For Your Needs?
- Plan out your project before you buy your microphone. Even if it is just recognizing that you’re going to be the next big true crime buff and not the goth band leader your inner teen wished they would be, this will help you pick out a microphone suited for your sound needs.
- Be honest about your technical skills. Not all microphones require a tech degree to use, but some require a little common sense. Condenser mics like Babbl are designed for people with less tech know-how than a professional band or podcaster, but people who want a microphone with quality sound. Don’t opt for an expensive microphone made for industry professionals if you’re an entry-level podcaster or new to YouTube. Not knowing how to use your microphone will only hurt you down the line!
- Do a little research into frequency response. Your voice has a frequency, just like every sound in the universe. Higher-pitched voices have higher frequencies, but most adult human voices are between 110-210 hertz. You’ll want to make sure your microphone tells you what frequencies it can pick up on so that it accurately records your voice. Most mics will tell you their frequency response in the item description or on the package.
- Research microphone add-ons. Depending on the type of content you are recording, you might want to invest in things like a pop filter, a shock mount, and especially editing software.
- Test it, and don’t be afraid to return it. Everyone’s voice is different – there is no one-size-fits-all microphone. Even if you believe you’ve done your research and have found the perfect microphone, you’ll want to test record some material before you record your final product.
Do you prefer condenser microphones or dynamic mics for your audio projects? Drop it in a comment below.