A microphone is a very common device. By itself, the device can be used at concerts with an audience of thousands and for home karaoke, to communicate with relatives on Skype and to record the purest sound of water gurgling in a mountain stream. Naturally, with such a spread of assignments, there is also a huge spread of characteristics and parameters.

How to choose a microphone: determine the purpose

When choosing a microphone, you must first decide what you need it for. Read more at micspeech.

There are the following groups of devices:
  • Measuring - a group of specialized devices that are used to measure the noise level; the mass user does not need such microphones.
  • Concert - for live performances. Can be wired and wireless, and should be characterized by increased resistance to shocks and other troubles that may occur during the concert.
  • Studio - complex, expensive, and highly sensitive microphones. In this case, the higher the quality of the gadget, the cleaner the sound recorded with it will be. They can be used in professional studios or at home. In the latter case, you can choose simpler models. The crucial point here is the compatibility with recording equipment, and the devices themselves can differ significantly from each other.
  • Computer devices are the simplest option, which is usually purchased for Skype or voice chat in online games. However, there are some nuances here. So this group should also be considered more closely.
  • For the camera - although any camera itself can record sound, the presence of an external microphone significantly improves its quality, also insures against such unpleasant moments as wind noise or rustling at the hands of the operator.
  • For voice recorder - just improve the sound that is recorded on the recorder. Not a necessity, but a desirable accessory if you don't want an important interview to consist half of the extraneous noise.
  • For conferences - devices whose most important parameter is quality sound transmission over long distances. This is why they differ from other microphones with high sensitivity.
  • For professional video shooting - as a rule, narrowly directed and well protected from external noise by special pads.

How to choose a microphone for recording vocals: nuances and characteristics

First, you need to determine the direction of the microphone. Here everything is simple – the unidirectional device removes sound from the front and a little from the side. Sounds that are heard behind the microphone will not be heard. Bi-directional reduces sound from both sides.

If you are going to shoot sound in a noisy concert hall, it makes sense to choose devices based on the directional diagram. For use in a well-insulated home studio, you can ignore this option. By the way, in some models, you can switch between different directional diagrams.

But you should pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • Frequency range - for vocals you should have a range from 80 Hz to 15 kHz. If you plan to record the sound of musical instruments, the frequency range should be wider.
  • Sensitivity – the more sensitive the device is, the quieter sounds it can detect.
  • Sound Pressure Level - the opposite of the previous setting, characterizes the maximum volume of sound a microphone can work with.
  • Type - the device can be of a capacitor or dynamic type. The first option is more often used in a home Studio and needs additional power from the mains or battery. The second one is powered by a connector in the audio equipment and is much cheaper.
The material of the body is no less important. Metal options are usually better than plastic ones. The brand also plays a significant role. only products of the company specializing in this field can record high quality and clean sound. The leaders here are the company Shure, Rode, AKG, Neumann, and Sennheiser.

And the last thing you should pay attention to when choosing is the type of connector. It must match the connector on the recording equipment.

Microphones for musical instruments

If you choose a microphone for karaoke, you can stop at the characteristics described above. But if you have your band you should look at the following types of microphones:
  • for drums - a wide class of devices, which are selected for a particular type of drum. Typically, you can buy a set that will include a model for bass drums, plates, small drums, and so on. Different models differ from each other with a range of sensitivity;
  • for brass instruments - differs in a compact size and the presence of attachment to the clothes of the musician or directly to the instrument;
  • for the harmonica - very miniature microphones, which can be easily reduced in the palm of your hand. By the way, such models intentionally distort the sound.
When choosing a model to remove sound from a musical instrument, it is very important to pay attention to the sound pressure level and sensitivity, as some instruments can sound very loud or very quiet.

How to choose a microphone for your computer

Do you think that choosing a PC or laptop accessory is much easier? Several important characteristics should be considered. The first is the design. The following types are distinguished here:

The lavalier is fixed on your clothes. So you can move around during the conversation as you like. It's very compact, but this model cannot boast of high sound quality.

Desktop - here the sound is better. You can't turn your head, because it will negatively affect the volume of speech that your interlocutor hears.

A headset is a microphone plus headphones, the most comfortable option for a computer that boasts good sound quality with a good headset.

There are only two connection interfaces for computer models – analog and USB. The first one is good because the device can be easily connected not only to a PC but also to many other types of equipment.

As for manufacturers, give preference to companies that specialize in the production of computer accessories, such as Sven or Genius. Models from Defender, or Canyon will save your budget, although you should not expect high-quality sound from them.

Additional microphone functions

If you choose a gadget for communicating via voice chat, recording vocals or musical instruments, then you can use the following additional functionality:

  • a flexible leg - a useful function for a computer accessory, allows you to change the position of the working part of the device in space with a single movement of the hand;
  • wireless connection - gives you complete freedom of action when removing sound. Unfortunately, these models have one characteristic drawback – lower sound quality compared to wired microphones;
  • radio system – a wireless device that has a receiver and other additional equipment;
  • low-frequency filter - as the name suggests, it filters low frequencies, i.e. noise from breathing, wind, or mechanical impact on the accessory. You will need a model with this feature if you are going to record audio for a video blog on the street or take an interview;
  • attenuator - reduces the volume of sound at the output, does not allow the audio equipment to burn out during a particularly loud concert or other powerful noise;
  • stereo recording - recording audio in stereo format;
  • sensitivity adjustment - allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the device to the sound volume, which is very useful if you use a microphone for different purposes.

Choosing headphones with a microphone or a separate microphone that you are going to take with you on trips and generally often transport, buy an additional case. So the device will last much longer. A special tripod allows you to easily place the device on any surface, and the holder - to fix the microphone on the stand.