Microphones are devices designed for capturing audio. When buying a mic, pay particular attention to the type of microphone, intended use, and also its connectivity to other devices. Professionals should also consider technical characteristics such as the impedance, sensitivity, or frequency range.
What should you know before buying a microphone?
If you are buying a more expensive and professional mic, you should consider the type.
- Dynamic - suitable for open-sky performances, live feeds, music production and so on. Perfectly sufficient for normal home use, e.g. Skype calls.
- Condenser - used mainly in recording studios. This type has higher sensitivity and lower noise levels. Requires separate a power source.
- Handheld - classic microphones that you can either hold in your hand or put on a stand.
- Desktop - designed to be placed on a desk; suitable for home use or lectures.
- Lavalier - also known as lapel mic, it is a small microphone that you clip on your clothes. Commonly used by TV anchors and YouTubers.
When choosing a mic, consider what do you plan to connect it to and how.
- 3.5 or 6.3 mm jack - standard connector for connection to PC, mobile phones, dictation machines etc.
- USB and Lightning - modern connectors for connection to a PC or Mac.
- XLR connector - for professional models.
- Micro USB - suitable for connecting to mobile devices.
- Impedance - important if you want to achieve an optimal connection to the amplifier. The value should be about 5 to 10 times smaller than the amplifier impedance.
- Sensitivity - the ratio of the output voltage or value to the input pressure. Higher numbers indicate higher microphone sensitivity, which means a mic can catch softer audio changes.
- Frequency range - indicates the range of frequencies a microphone is able to discern. To put it simply, the higher range the microphone has, the more sounds it can record.
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