Condenser vs Dynamic Microphones- Which One Should You Buy First For Your Home Studio?

One of the greatest impacts that technology has made in the music industry is the affordability of gears that will make a song sound as good as that we hear on radios. With the production of audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, and microphones that won’t cost you a fortune, independent artists are emerging in more numbers than ever. They mostly operate from homes, do their own recording, and if they’re skilled, they even mix and master their songs.

Due to this technological revolution in music production, many people are turning towards learning basic recording and mixing skills by making studios in their bedrooms. Having said that, for any musician who has just bought their gear and attempted to record with it, they are often not satisfied, especially during their first production projects.

Learning a new skill requires patience and dedication. Having said that, one of the issues that new producers face is room noise in their mixes. Emerging new artists are mostly operating from their bedrooms which are not well treated for recording and mixing. In this article, we’ll take a look at which microphone- a condenser or a dynamic, to buy first in your home studio. 

If we save up money, we may buy the gear we’re looking for, and in that sense, we have some control over what we can or can’t use. On the contrary, as artists working from their bedrooms, what we have little control of is the size of our room.

In any recording situation, the size of a room makes a huge difference. Smaller rooms, in particular, can reflect sounds instantly due to the walls being close to each other. A rectangular room is ideal for recording and mixing purposes, but not everybody has it.

Condenser Mics Are Great For Voice And acoustic Guitars But Might Be Difficult To Work With In An Untreated Room

For any untreated room, working with condenser microphones can be a pain. These microphones are well known for their ability to capture detailed sounds and are specially chosen in recording intimate vocal takes and acoustic guitars. Although condenser microphones like the Rode NT1-A indeed capture pristine sounds with all the little details, they are also prone to capture room noise and reflections.

For any well-treated room with thick acoustic panels, these microphones can do wonders. However, they are very sensitive to loud signals and can distort easily when they’re close to a loud source. 

A beautiful cover recorded using a condenser mic

Given the fact that a human voice is one of the most dynamic instruments, they have a wide range of frequencies. Moreover, singers are unpredictable, and many songs require loud singing in the chorus section. While using a condenser microphone, singers tend to pull back a bit to avoid overloading the microphone while singing the louder parts.

Consequently, the further the source moves away from the sound, the more room noise a microphone captures. As a result, the louder vocal takes can sound terrible in untreated rooms while using a condenser microphone.

Dynamic Mics Is Go To For Untreated Rooms And Versatility

Unlike condenser microphones, dynamic microphones don’t require a 48V phantom power and can well handle loud sound signals. They might not have a detailed sound like a condenser, but they can get the job done. Especially for an untreated room, dynamic microphones can be a great option for recording vocals.

They have been widely used by many artists, mostly in the rock and metal genres which require the singer to scream into the mic. Be that as it may, these microphones have also been used in softer sound recordings like Sufjan Steven’s Michigan and Bon Iver’s For Emma, both records using the famous Shure SM57. 

Given the fact that dynamic microphones don’t clip easily, they can be great for singers with a loud and powerful voice. Moreover, the singer sings at a closer distance (not too close) while using a dynamic microphone to get a proper signal out of it which can aid in a lot of room rejection. Even in the louder vocal takes, the singer doesn’t need to pull back by a significant distance from the microphone as these mics don’t tend to clip easily.

Bruno Mars singing using a SM58 mic

Due to this reason, a dynamic microphone like the Shure SM57 can be a great microphone that can work in almost all recording situations, whether it be singing, recording acoustic guitars, miking an amp cabinet or recording snare drums. The SM57 is an industry-standard and reliable option that you won’t need to give away. 

You must note that a low-sensitive dynamic microphone like the SM7B needs adequate gain to power it up. If you’re interested in getting one, make sure that your audio interface has cleaner preamps so that they can provide enough gain without making a hissing sound. 

To cut a long story short, both condenser and dynamic microphones are widely used in studios. Both can be used in numerous recording situations. What matters is which one will be suited for your voice, your room and your recording needs. 

Default image
Atif Abidi
Articles: 163