Choosing the Microphone for Your Home Recording Studio

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 46,759
    Recording engineer Franklin Taggart demonstrates how to create a home recording studio, including how to choose a microphone.

    Franklin Taggart

    Franklin Taggart is a guitarist, singer/songwriter, recording engineer and record producer based in Silver Spring, MD. He's played guitar since 1975 and has been involved in some aspect of performing, recording and composing ever since then. He also is a well known guitar teacher in the Washington, DC area. He has been nominated for many WAMMIE awards from the Washington Area Music Association, winning the Traditional Folk Instrumentalist category in 2001. His first CD Falling All the Way has received excellent reviews from a variety of sources and was also nominated for seven WAMMIE's.

    Hi, I am Franklin Taggart. I am here to talk about Home Recording, setting up a good quality Home Recording Studio that is computer based. One of the things that we need to talk about is microphones. Microphones are a very important part of the signal that you create to record with and microphones now are, they range in price from $50 - $60 on up into the thousands of dollars. For a Home Recording System, it is helpful to have a variety of microphones to choose from for a bunch of different needs. For vocals and for some acoustic instruments, I use a condenser microphone. A condenser microphone needs to be powered through a phantom power in order to be used with my interface. The condenser microphone has a large diaphragm in it. This particular one has a large diaphragm in it, almost 1 inch in diameter and it has a whole bunch of different settings that I can use to roll-off the low end. It has the boost signal and it has a flat response. This particular microphone cost less than a $100 and it is one that I use for rough drafts of vocals, I use it for demos of acoustic guitar and vocals. I have also used it in stereo with another of the same kind of microphone to record both percussion instruments, hand percussion like shakers, congas and jam bass and things like that. It is a very versatile microphone and it covers a lot of basses. In addition to the large diaphragm microphone, I also have a small diaphragm condenser microphone. It too has the options to go flat, do a bass roll-off and to lower the gain by 10 dB. Again, this is a very versatile microphone, I have also used this to record acoustic guitars, I use this one for overheads on cymbals when I particularly recording a drum set. It is really a good microphone to use for almost any kind of high-end type of instrument. Anything that needs to have really bright treble, a small diaphragm condenser is a great microphone to use for that. This again, is a microphone that ranges or and costed about a $100. It is a good idea to have a stereo pair, a pair of these that have been matched with each other to be used as a pair. They can be of course, used individually but if you set them up as a stereo pair, you can get some very great depth in the sound of your recording. So, when you are buying microphones, again it is all about a couple of things. First of all, it is about your taste. You want to find the microphone that suits your purposes the best. Is it pleasing to your ear and does it do good things for your voice and for your instruments? So, find a microphone that really works for the purposes that you have. The second aspect of microphone is, again it goes back to the same thing we talked about in monitors and headphones. You want to have a really good, wide frequency response in your microphones, anywhere from 5 - 25,000 Hz is great and most of the microphones that are out on the market today, have a very good, wide range of frequency responses and then they record a pretty flat response across all frequencies. There are also microphones called dynamic microphones. I use this microphone for recording guitar amplifiers, I use this for doing like, if I am ever going to do a lot of vocal layers like harmonies and things like that, this is a particularly good microphone for that because it has got a really nice midrange. So, I use this dynamic microphone for a lot of just really good maintenance type of recording from the guitar amplifier to the layered vocals and I also use this for snare drum and I have also used it in the past for bongos that have a real nice kind of, high mid pitch when they are struck. So, the dynamic microphone is a nice addition to your microphone collection. As far as I am concerned; you can never have too many microphones. There are a lot of microphones to choose from and again, it is a good idea to do some research and find the microphones that really fit best for the applications that you have. They are available in prices like I said from the tens of dollars up into the thousands of dollars. So, find the microphone that works best for you and let us get recording. Thanks.