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Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Microphones come in a wide variety of models, types, patterns, shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” microphone as every recording scenario is unique. A deep understanding of microphone specifications will assist in the proper selection and application for a desired outcome. After all, good sound starts at the microphone.


Microphones come in 3 main types…

§ CONDENSER – operates via the electrostatic principle

· Excellent transient response for capturing crisp details.

· Favoured mic type for vocals, acoustic guitars and percussive instruments.

· Requires 48vDC phantom power to operate.

AKG C414 // $1,409.99

AT4050 // $999.00

NEUMANN U87 // $4,675.00

§ DYNAMIC – generates a signal via electromagnetic induction

· Translates deep, rugged tones very well.

· Typically chosen for guitar cabinets, bass amps and snare drums.

· No shock-mount required.

SM57 // $129.00

BETA 52 // $259.00

SENNHEISER MD441 // $1,300.00

§ RIBBON – generates a signal via electromagnetic induction

Although the ribbon mic is of the dynamic type, it differs quite drastically from standard dynamic mics and therefore deserves its own category.

· Increased range of sensitivity in terms frequency response.

· Extreme care must be taken when handling ribbon mics.

· Does not require 48vDC phantom power - can be damaged if phantom power is applied!

ROYER 121 // $1,649.00

AVANTONE CR14 // $429.00

RODE NTR // $999.00

Polar Patterns

Microphones exhibit different sensitivity points…


· Types of unidirectional patterns in order of least to most directional: cardioid, super-cardioid, hyper-cardioid, lobar (shotgun).



· Provides an accurate, directional response.

· Decreased sensitivity off axis.

· Best for capturing specific sounds. For example, individual drums on a full kit, a vocalist on a busy stage and specific parts of instruments.

· Super-cardioid captures sound within a 115-degree span while hyper-cardioid captures sound within a 105-degree span.


· 360-degree pickup – sensitive from all angles.

· Best for capturing ambient sounds such as room reverberation, audience applause and atmospheric field recordings.

· Not susceptible to proximity effect as other pickup patterns. Proximity effect creates an enhanced response in the low end of the frequency spectrum and occurs when a microphone is too close to a sound source.



· Sensitivity on axis and 180-degrees off axis.

· Best suited for specific applications such as the mid/side and Blumlein stereo micing techniques, recording a one-on-one podcast conversation or even picking up extra low-end on a kick drum.

· Ribbon microphones exhibit only a figure-8 polar pattern due to the nature of their design.



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