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Which microphone should I choose?

There are several types of microphones, each dedicated to different uses (voice recording, recording of musical instruments, stage microphones, etc.). When choosing your studio microphone, take into consideration the sensitivity of the microphone (its voltage, function of the ambient sound pressure), the breath (the movement of the electrons on the sound processing chain), the response curve (how the bass and treble are predicted), and the directivity (the microphone's response to the sound source). Each of these characteristics will determine a microphone type.

Let's first review the families of microphones quickly. There are 2 main families of microphones: dynamic and condenser microphone

For voice recording in your home studio, we advise you to choose a condenser or tube microphone. They are highly sensitive and have high definition adapted to the home studio. Here is a brief introduction to the different studio microphones and their specific features.

Dynamic microphones

Dynamic microphones will be favoured in "live" conditions: robust and able to withstand high sound pressure levels, they need to be placed very close to the sound source, but are not very sensitive to feedback and other interference.

To record a guitar for example, the cardioid polarity is best suited. In general, they have a narrower bandwidth than condensator microphones and a lower dynamic response as well.

We recommend: the Shure SM57 microphone remains the absolute reference, able to adapt to a very wide range of instruments and amps, its frequency response is particularly adapted to the guitar...

Condenser microphone / cardioid

Condenser microphones are widely acclaimed by professionals for their sensitivity (compared to dynamic microphones) and for their fidelity of reproduction. On an condenser microphone, the membrane is not fixed to a coil but separated by a plate that is electrically charged by an insulator (air, vacuum, etc.). The inner side of the membrane is sprinkled with metal (fine gold, Myla or aluminized polyester) to make it conductive and form a capacitor. Equipped with stack electronic preamplifiers with capacitors, transistors or lamps, the condenser microphone often includes signal processing options such as directional modulator, low-frequency attenuator, or volume limiter (Pad).

Sensitive to manipulation, the condenser microphone is usually mounted on a suspension mount to absorb shock and vibration. The qualities of the microphone are as follow: excellent transient response and perfect bandwidth, due among other things to the lightness of the moving part. However, this studio microphone requires a phantom power supply (external standard 48-volt power supply), usually provided by all pre-amplified devices or the sound card.

Due to its high sensitivity, the condenser microphone is therefore recommended for use in a closed environment: studio or home studio. There are several sub-categories within this large family, let's focus on the main ones.

Large diaphragm microphone

The go-to studio microphone: as its name suggests, this microphone is equipped with a wide capsule, ideal for capturing an extended sound spectrum, and thus achieving a balanced take on the whole frequency band. This type of microphone can be placed close or away from your source, depending on the desired result. We recommend the micro Neumann TLM 102, known for its rich midrange.

Small diaphragm microphone

Like the wide diaphragm condenser microphone, but with a thinner diameter, which tends to make this type of microphone more sensitive to high-medium/treble frequencies. Ideal as a pair, or in addition to a dynamic microphone, or for ambience shots if placed far away from a source. We recommend: the X-Tone XR-Steammicrophone, very versatile, it will adapt to any type of source.

Tube microphone

The tube microphone is a static microphone that also requires phantom power to operate and incorporates a transistor or electron tube preamplifier circuit. Sensitive, it is used as an ambient microphone, overhead or for the pickup of musical instruments that do not generate high acoustic pressure (strings, vocals...).

Ribbon microphone

The ribbon microphone converts a variation in sound pressure into an electrical signal using the phenomenon of magnetic induction (Lenz law). As its name suggests, the main characteristic of the ribbon microphone is to replace the moving coil system with a thin metal ribbon that acts as an acoustic membrane and electrical coil.

The extremely fragile ribbon studio microphone requires pre-amplification and easily reaches saturation level. However, its qualities are recognized by professionals: an excellent response to transients, a particularly natural, "warm" and precise sound and a very wide bandwidth. These advantages are due to the narrow width of the ribbon compared to the shortest wavelength to analyze. The position of the tape in relation to the sound source is important in this case (vertical or red dot poiting up for some models).

Digital Microphone / USB

The USB microphone allows direct connection to your computer. The digital studio microphone integrates the conversion of analog sound into digital sound. It allows you to digitize sounds as close as possible to the source, with high quality.

Microphone directivity

The directivity of a microphone is the way the microphone picks up sound from different directions. The polar diagram of the microphone represents the limits of microphone sensitivity in space, this essential characteristic is called microphone directivity.


An omni-directional microphone does not favour any source. It picks up sounds from all directions. It is mostly used in recording, but rarely in sound systems.


The cardioid microphone is sensitive to sounds placed in front of the microphone and is not very sensitive to sounds coming from behind. It is used when you need to isolate one source from another or in a reverberant environment.


The hyper-cardioid microphone is more directional than the cardioid; its pickup field is longer forward and there is a slight sensitivity to the rear. This type of microphone is used when more forward selectivity is required.

Directional microphone

Their relatively long body (50 cm and over) consists of an interference tube placed in front of the capsule. This microphone is mainly used outdoors (targeting the source as if with a rifle) to pick up distant sounds by reducing noise: reportage, interview, documentary...


The two-way microphone is sensitive to sounds coming from the front and back of the membrane, but will not pick up sounds coming from the sides. This characteristic of the ribbon microphone makes it a specially adapted microphone for duets, placing the performers on either side of the microphone.

Useful accessories

For voice recording, an anti-pop filter is a must with your studio microphone, to hold the blow of the some vowels (b, t, p,...) and prevent the microphone membrane from popping.

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