Analyzing Microphone Accessories - dummies

By Jeff Strong

Along with your new microphones, you’re going to need a few accessories in your home recording equipment inventory. These include microphone cords, stands, and pop filters.

Microphone cords

Microphone cords can cost from about $10 to several hundred dollars. You’re probably asking yourself, “Is there really a difference between a $10 or $20 mic cable and one that sells for hundreds of dollars?”

Unless you have a very good mixer, recorder, microphones, preamps, analog/digital and digital/analog converters, monitors, and ears, you’re wasting your money on expensive microphone cords.

Don’t waste your money on an expensive mic cord (or any cord) until the cord is the weakest link in your signal chain. By then, spending a couple hundred dollars on a cord will seem trivial because you’ll already have invested tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars in top-quality gear.

Microphone stands

A sturdy mic stand is essential for your studio. Mic stands are relatively inexpensive, so resist the temptation to buy a flimsy one. A good mic stand has a sturdy base and can securely hold your mics.

Good mic stands cost about $30 and have either a round cast iron base (great for getting into tight spaces) or a tripod base. Either one works well.

Pop filters

A pop filter is a nylon screen that eliminates the “pops” (technically called plosives) that singers make when they sing. Plosives are the result of sudden bursts of air projected into the mic (from singing words starting with Ps and Ts, for example). If you record vocals, a pop filter is a must-have.

Pop filters are relatively inexpensive (starting at about $20), but if you want to make your own, use a pair of tights or panty hose and a coat hanger. Bend the coat hanger into a circle and stretch the nylons or panty hose over it.

You can attach the coat hanger to the mic stand by using duct tape. Adjust the coat hanger so that the pop filter is 4 to 6 inches away from the microphone, and then have the vocalist sing through it.