Microphones & Pickups
Dynamic and Condenser
As discussed on the the GarageDoor | Live Recording | using microphones pages, it is important to buy the best microphone you can afford. Cheaper microphones will give you an unclear, distorted result that no amount of EQ or other effects can fix. They also lack the warmth and subtle colouring that many good mics provide.
There are many types, but the two you are most likely to use are the
The best known, and most widely used instrument microphone is the Shure SM57, which I have used on stage and in the studio for many years. To quote the manufacturer:
"It is a tool found in the workbench of every sound engineer, both for live and studio applications. There's simply no question: it's a "must-have" mic. The SM57 is a cardiod (unidirectional) dynamic microphone with a contoured frequency response of 40 to 15,000 Hz, perfect for clean reproduction of vocals and instruments. But the SM57 is most renowned in the music industry as the standard microphone of choice for snare drums and guitar amplifiers. Go to any stage or studio and you're likely to find SM57s pointing at the amps and snare. By the way, the '57 has been proudly standing on the podium of the US President for over 30 years. This mic is also known to take a beating and come back for more, so tell your roadie Rocco to have a ball! Its outstanding performance, legendary reliability, and diversity of application make this "workhorse" the choice of performers, producers, and sound engineers the world over. "
|For more descriptions of microphones, see zZounds.com:|
Acoustic Guitar pickups
Sometimes in live or studio settings, a direct line from the guitar is preferable to a miked guitar sound. An acoustic pickup is the answer. There is usually less "spill", it is much smaller and inobtrusive than a mic & stand, and the sound can have very attractive colouring if you use a good one. Some engineers like to combine the mic and line output to achieve enough control to produce a great guitar sound.
See also zZounds.com: Guitar Accessories ( tuners, straps, strings, capos, stands, chord finders, etc.)
M-Audio Luna professional condenser microphone. (
Getting the lead vocal track right is the key to a song's success, and the quality of the microphone has a lot to do with that. The MAudio Luna received a positive review in the March issue of Sound-on-Sound magazine:
"It suits most vocal types and delivers a well balanced combination of warmth and clarity, with minimal noise and more than enough sensitivity for all normal studio applications"
From the manufacturer:
Who says beauty is only skin deep? The new M-Audio Luna professional condenser microphone is truly a work of art inside and out. Luna delivers vintage look and sound combined with modern electronics for the best of both worlds. The large diaphragm cardioid design is perfect for professionally capturing vocals, guitar, piano and just about anything else. Simply put, Luna eclipses the competition. Whether you're looking for a great all-purpose first mic or a fresh new sound for your microphone locker, Luna is the right microphone at the right price.