Choosing The Right MicrophoneA beginners guide to different types of microphone and what to use them for, how to get the most out of your mic and how to use it correctly.

So you need to buy a microphone?

If you have even glanced at search results for microphones you will know just how many there are out there to choose form.

Getting the right one at the right price isn’t as complicated as you thought.

Here are some tips to picking the right one for you.

What do you need it for?

Are you a public speaker, or a singer? Professional or just in the comfort of your own home? Do you want it to project to ten people or hundreds of people?

  • Cardioid is the most popular type of microphone; they are commonly used for vocal and acoustic sounds. These are also known as studio condenser mics.
  • Omni-directional microphones pick up sound from multiple directions and are a popular choice for things like choirs.
  • Dynamic mics are used for singular vocal or guitar sounds, they are less sensitive to background noise and generally need to be close to the sound source.
  • Shotgun and Broadcast mics are highly directional and are a good choice if you have a single sound source and need to filter out background noise.

Once you have established what you need it for
you then need to look at the cost, but remember: You get what you pay for

How will you connect?

How do you want to connect your microphone? Microphones have different connection types, so make sure you know which type it is when you buy it. You don’t want to buy one that won’t connect to your existing equipment.

  • The most common connector is the 3 pin XLR. This is industry standard used in studios all over the world.
  • There are also mini jack plug connecters that can plug into sound cards on your PC.
  • USB connecters are the new type of connection that plugs into laptops and PCs.
  • Then there is the mini jack connecter, similar to headphone jacks.
  • There are lots of adapters available to connect one form of plug to others, these are reasonably priced so don’t be too upset if you do get it wrong, there are ways around it.

How much can you spend?

Microphones can retail from as little as $10.00 to hundreds or thousands. Getting the right one for the right price is key but you don’t need to buy the most expensive for it to do the best job for you. Obviously you get what you pay for so don’t be fooled into buying a cheap microphone if you need it for a professional performance.

  • Read the reviews, everybody writes reviews these days. They will let you know what other people use microphones for and if that type would suit you.
  • Shop around after you’ve read the reviews that way you can have upfront knowledge about the type you need and the best price available to buy it.
  • Look for the deals on microphones, companies are always willing to throw freebies into a bundle for you, such as cables, protective cases, and shock mounts. This could save you money if you look carefully enough.

Where will you use it?

The location where you use your microphone should be key to choosing which one to buy.

For instance:
If you have to work in a house or a building that may be sensitive to outside interference such as traffic or general everyday sounds, a dynamic microphone may be the best choice.

Recording Studio

Also, think about what sort of a warranty you need. If you’re paying a lot of money for a product you need to know it’s covered if it goes wrong, especially if you will be using it heavily or in an environment with dust or other risk factors.

What do you use a microphone for?
Leave a comment and let’s find out what the most popular options are!

Article WritingAbout The Author

This post was written by Peter. Peter works at Kings Audio, who sell a range of Audio equipment like mics and amps (see the range). Peter is a massive audiophile and loves listening to all types of music.