Home Recording Studio Microphone Extras - dummies

By Jeff Strong

After you have your basic microphones, you can start to add a few more. If you intend to record your band, you need to at least microphone the drum set (four microphones can get you around the set). In this case, you can add a couple more dynamic microphones and perhaps get one or two that are designed for particular applications. For instance, microphones are made to work best on the kick drum of a drum set.

At this point, you can also get a second condenser microphone — maybe a small-diaphragm condenser microphone this time or a large-diaphragm tube condenser microphone. You may want to choose one that sounds different from the one you already have — or, if you love the one that you have, you can get a second one just like it to use as a stereo pair.

Dynamic microphones

For additional dynamic microphones, you could add one or two more SM-57s and try one of the following:

  • Sennheiser e609: Sennheiser microphones are popular and inexpensive amp or kick-drum microphones. The e609 has a different sound than the venerable SM-57 and doesn’t cost much more — a little over $100 — so adding one of these lets you cover some more bases.

  • Audio Technica ATM25: This is a pretty good kick-drum microphone for not a lot of money — about $200 — although it is more costly than some other dynamic microphones. If you record drums live, this microphone is worth trying.

Large-diaphragm tube condenser microphones

If you’re on a budget (and who isn’t?), try out the following inexpensive large-diaphragm tube condenser microphones:

  • Rode NTK: This is an awesome microphone regardless of price, but for about $400, it’s one of the best deals available. This microphone is good for vocals and acoustic instruments. You can even use a pair for the overheads on a drum set.

  • Studio Projects T3: This microphone has an advantage over the Rode NTK because it has a variable polar pattern selector, allowing you to choose among cardioid, figure-8, and omnidirectional patterns — and patterns in between. The NTK is cardioid only. This variability gives you more options when recording and increases the versatility of the mic, making this $600 microphone worth checking out.

Small-diaphragm condenser microphones

Though not sexy to most recordists, small-diaphragm condenser microphones can come in handy. Here are a few inexpensive ones that are worth checking out:

  • Octava (Oktava) MK012 (MC012): This microphone is a great buy. It’s inexpensive (under $100) and sounds good on many types of acoustic instruments — guitars, violins, cellos, double basses, drum overheads, and percussion. The only drawback to this microphone is that quality control has been known to be variable. You need to try out each microphone carefully before you buy it because some just don’t sound good.

  • Rode M3: For a relatively inexpensive small-diaphragm condenser microphone (around $200), the Rode M3 is pretty nice. The Rode offers overall very good microphones for the money, and this microphone is no exception.