While recording audio is a multifaceted process which necessitates the use of a variety of technological equipment, the most obvious piece of gear within this process is none other than the microphone.
Here at HigherHz, we review a wide range of microphones, so whether you’re looking for the best or buying on a budget – we’ve got you covered.
We try to keep our reviews as honest as they can be while still taking into account the item’s value to cost.
There are plenty of dirt cheap microphones that are absolutely amazing, and expensive microphones that really aren’t worth your time.
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How we rate microphones?
While any microphone can technically be used to record anything, certain microphones are better equipped to handle specific types of sounds over others. This has to do with a handful of factors, from the microphones design, their frequency response, the impedance, their SPL, etc.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of how to read a spec sheet (which we can save for another article), the point is that if you’re looking at a vocal microphone, it’s not that important for the mic to be able to capture frequencies within the 10 – 20 Hz range. The average human voice doesn’t sit within that register, so if your microphone’s range only extends between 100 Hz – 20 kHz – that’s perfect!
Similarly in the case of recording drums, in which a microphone with a higher SPL (Sound Pressure Level) is preferable. This doesn’t make more sensitive microphones worse, it just means they’re better suited for different (quieter) applications.
The main takeaway here is that every microphone does something a little bit different, and can’t immediately be written off. Even the worst mics imaginable can prove to have some validity when used in the right context. “If it fits it ships”, so to speak.
Certain cases we may be more flexible with regards to our rating, such as in the case of USB microphones. USB connections aren’t ideal for audio due to latency and degradation, but considering how popular they’ve become over the past decade, we have to give them their due.
Their simplicity often makes them a good choice for podcasters and inexperienced producers who don’t have the time, money, or motivation to invest in an audio interface, cables, and monitors.
In summary, the main thing we’re looking for is whether or not a microphone can fulfill its advertised purpose or not, and to what extent can it deliver results successfully.
If the microphone has a particular characteristic which we believe could be beneficial to certain uses over others, we will note it and vice versa.