Microphones For Digital Recording

Microphones are the first and therefore most important electronic devices in the recording chain. They have to be chosen carefully.

A mike is an "air pressure to electric current" converter. It is the first one in the recording chain and also the most important for a good sound. That's true in the Analog, as well as in the Digital Domain.

Therefore, if you consider buying only one mike, buy a good one.

With a linear, phantom powered, professional condenser mike, you can record almost anything in very good quality.

When you read about enormous differences between well known condenser models in some tests, don't be fooled. There are differences, but most are minor compared to the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones.

In general you can say a good "condenser" is the right choice for Instruments that should sound as natural as possible. For powerful drums or E-guitar microphones with a certain "sound" (mostly dynamic mikes) are the better choice.

Now you get a short overview to my favorite mikes for certain applications. If you click at the links you go to Zzounds, an online retailer which provides the necessary technical details. Of course you can also order it there.

Natural Sounding Condenser Mikes:

  • A great "budget", but fully professional condenser mike is the AKG C1000 (for stereo recordings you need two of them):

    Condenser Microphones AKG S-1000
    AKG C1000S Condenser

  • Get the AKG C4000B with selectable polar patterns, if you have more money to spend:

    Condenser Microphones C-4000B
    AKG C4000B Condenser

  • For ultimate 24bit/96kHz digital recordings try the Neumann TLM 103. It's the mike with incredibly low noise and the highest SPL transmission.

    Condenser Microphones Neumann TLM 103
    Neumann TLM-103 Condenser

"Special"-sounding mikes for specific applications:

  • To record a standard snare or e-guitar sound, you don't come around the "standard" microphone for that application, the famous Shure SM 57. Especially for the snare very few good alternatives exist. 

    Dynamic Microphones Shure SM57
    Shure SM57-LC

  • Another "classic" mike that is used for Tom Toms or other percussion intruments like Congas or Bongos. It has a switchable 5-position bass- filter that is ideally suited for these instruments. The Sennheiser MD 421.

    Dynamic Microphones Shure SM57

    Sennheiser MD 421 II


Essential Mike Accessories:

Special Tip: A good pop-filter, though much cheaper, is almost as important, as a good mike when recording vocals. Don't neglect that. I've seen too many bad or even destroyed vocal tracks because of excessive pops.