Choosing the right microphone for you

Blog by Allianz Music Insurance under Recording & Production

During lockdown, research has shown that 4 out of 5 musicians have been proactively improving their home recording skills since lockdown and 55% intend to further invest in their home set up.

Microphones have made up a fifth of physical music equipment purchases over lockdown, so Allianz Musical Insurance have taken a look at some of the best microphones for recording at home, including your instruments, vocals and a growing trend in podcasts.

Whether you’ve got a professional studio set up, or you’re just starting to build your home set up on a budget, getting a microphone that can capture quality audio is key, so you’re not left frustrated with your work after a day of recording.

Vocal Microphones:

Shure SM7B microphone
Shure microphones have been loved by many musicians for all occasions, from live performances to studio recordings. The Shure SM7B is a ‘go-to’ microphone for vocals. It’s famously been used by Michael Jackson on the Thriller album and is highly recommended by other musicians and studio producers. One unique feature is that its internal shielding blocks electromagnetic hum caused by interference from computer monitors – this is ideal for a more cramped home studio.
Audio-Technica AT2035
This microphone has lots of popular reviews and is highly rated for recording vocals. It’s recommended by many musicians for capturing the mid and high ranges of a voice and produces a smooth and natural sound when listening back. It’s also quite budget friendly compared to other microphones, so could be a great addition to your home set up.

Warm Audio WA-47 tube Condenser Microphone 
Although at the higher end of the budget, this microphone will give you clear and pleasing vocals when recording. The tube type style brings a natural and unique sound, also making background noise inaudible.
Instrument Microphones:

Sennheiser MD421 II
This microphone is one of the most versatile ones on the market. When recording, whether at home or in a pro studio, the sound it produces is excellent quality, whether that’s for vocals, guitar cabs, tom drums, percussion or bass instrument. It is designed to handle loud and dynamic sounds.

Shure SM57
This has got to be a favourite microphone for drummers – especially the snare drum. It’s also popular for guitar player’s amps, as well as brass instruments. These mics are known to be extremely durable, whack it with a drumstick or knock it with your guitar; these mics are built especially to be used under pressure. It gives a very clear and clean sound and effectively isolates and highlights the sound you need in brilliant detail – but also reduces the background noise.

AKG C414
This legendary and versatile microphone has been used extensively in both home and professional studios and is regarded as an industry standard. The new models offer nine pick up patterns allowing the best setting for a huge amount of applications. It handles high impact sources such as kick drum with ease and whilst not recommended for vocals, you can capture more than acceptable voiceover and background vocals.

Audix I5
Designed as a dynamic, all-purpose instrument microphone there is little this mic can’t handle in a studio or on a stage. It has an open and clean sound and a more than solid construction so it can be a real workhorse to have around for recording amplifiers, snares, toms, brass, woodwind and vocals. Its compact size means experimenting with mic positions in tight spaces is easy too.

Recording Videos/Live Streaming Microphones:

Blue Yeti 

This is one of the most highly rated USB microphones, producing clear quality sound for YouTube videos, live streaming, online teaching, podcasts and more. This is the perfect options for musicians who want an easy set-up, simply plug in and start your recording.
This microphone is also another USB option that is great for recording videos or live streaming. The sound quality produced is also perfect for an acoustic session, whether that’s uploading your recent cover to YouTube or recording your new song to play to your friends. It also comes with some accessories to help with your set-up, including a mic mount, desk stand, pop filter, a pouch for storing it in and a USB cable.

Rode Video Mic
This microphone is designed to be used with video cameras and personal audio recorders. It is perfect for musicians who are always on the go, with its easy transportation and simple set up; it’s great for capturing quality audio while still being able to move around. Although we are limited on where we can go at the moment this mic is great for creating online tutorials, music videos and more, without spending huge amounts of money.
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