Most vocalists regard condenser microphones as a vital part of their studio setup. Condenser microphones are extremely sensitive, meaning they capture clear and sharp sounds. To this end, we would like to take you through our carefully curated list of the best condenser microphones in 2021.
We'll start off with a list of the best condenser microphones available right now. We'll also guide you through the process of looking to buy one. The succinct FAQ section will top it all off. It's time to turn up the amp, power your DAW, and record some magic. Our team combed through dozens of condenser microphones to come up with this best list. Rest assured, these products boast amazing price to performance ratios.
We all know that the right mic can make or break any studio. So, you'll want to know the features of a condenser microphone before purchasing one.
Condenser Microphones Buying Tips
First of all, we would like to equip you with some killer buying tips. These would help you make a more informed decision when in the market for a new condenser mic.
The first words to learn are polar patterns. What are these? Well, these patterns will basically determine the sounds and frequency by dictating the mic's directional levels. The kinds of patterns that you would want would be determined by your preferences.
A cardioid mic is better for isolating the vocals for a more clear experience. On the other hand, Omni-directional condenser mics will create more openness and suffer less from the proximity effect.
The next tip concerns the frequency response, or how clearly you can hear the details in the sound. Whether you would want a wide or flat frequency response would be determined by your mic's application.
A flat frequency response will do nothing to tailor the sound that goes into the mic. Basically, what goes in is what comes out. This is great for instrumental recordings. The opposite is the case for wider frequency responses.
Things to Consider When Buying Condenser Microphones
We recommend that you look at two factors when buying a new condenser microphone for your studio.
Size of the Diaphragm
The diaphragm on your mic can either be small, large, or medium. As its size increases, the sound performance also increases. However, the frequency response tends to flatten as you decrease the diaphragm size.
Proximity Effect Sensitivity
If you've ever had the pleasure, or possibly displeasure, of attending a gig by a performer who tends to drift away from the mic a lot, you must have noticed how the sound and bass get badly affected because of it.
It is here that the proximity effect sensitivity comes into play. A mic that is more sensitive will be able to catch the sound even if the input is a bit far away. However, this also means that some background noise will also be recorded if the mic isn't good at filtering it well.
How Much Do Condenser Microphones Cost? Are They Worth Buying?
Do you know what time it is? Well, it is time to talk about the dollar signs. As far as price tags go, a condenser microphone can cost you anywhere from $200 to upwards of $1000. That's right, some premium models can cost you an entire grand, or more!
The important part is that you buy intelligently. Equip yourself with the important pointers on frequency response, diaphragm size, and polar patterns. Then, accordingly, buy one that comes under your budget and helps you float your boat!
How We Choose Condenser Microphones
So, you read our list and are now wondering how exactly we shortlisted the seven best condenser mics, right? Well, wonder no more for here are the two factors that were particularly prioritized when we were shortlisting our top picks.
Durability & Warranty
No one wants their new mics to break down in just a few months, or god forbid, weeks, after being bought, right? Well, for this very reason we only selected the most durable condenser microphones made of the most premium materials. These bad boys are sure to last you years. Some even have great warranty packages. Warranties and the sense of relief that they bring along are always a sigh of relief, right?
Most premium condenser microphones will require fancy power supplies or phantom power. No one likes searching for a power supply that works. So, we prioritized products that came with their own power supplies or required ones that are readily available.
Best Condenser Microphone FAQ
Q: What is a condenser microphone?
A: Condenser microphones, also called capacitor microphones, are a staple in most studios. Loved for their detailed and accurate vocals and acoustic guitar pick - condenser microphones are composed of a diaphragm which is super lightweight. A fixed plate suspends this diaphragm.
Sound waves that you generate create pressure. This pressure moves the diaphragm which creates crystal clear vocals.
Q: What are the benefits of a condenser microphone?
A: Vocalists love condenser microphones and consider them to be a vital part of their setup. Their many advantages include being extremely sensitive to sound and possessing the ability to emulate crisp and clear vocals.
The diaphragm used in the construction of these bad boys is super lightweight. This, along with its closeness to the mic's charged plate equals a highly resonating product. Their lightweight also means that the vocalist doesn't have to exert too much strength moving it. This means more energy in amping out good vocals.
Q: Will a condenser mic pick up background noise?
A: Since condenser microphones are more sensitive than standard microphones, they are extremely efficient at converting noise into electricity. This means any background noise would easily be caught up in the mix.
While the best condenser microphones, like the ones on our list, curtail this phenomenon, we still recommend that you sing closer to the mic. This will naturally make your sound input louder than the background noise.
So, there you go - a cool mixing/recording trick!
Jack has been a touring guitarist for almost 20 years, playing in a number of country music and rock bands. Jack loves the road and defines himself as a never-ending student of the guitar and other important instruments or tools that make a musician.