How to choose a microphone: types and features of models for a computer, karaoke and vocal recording
It is not easy to choose the right model from a wide range, because the devices differ in many ways. In this article, we will consider the existing types of microphones, we will analyze which option would be appropriate in certain cases.
Let's start with a review of qualitative models of various types, optimally suited for individual tasks:
1. Maono AU-A04
2. BBK CM114
3. Razer Kraken 2019 –
Condenser microphone Maono AU-A04 for recording vocals and streams
maximum sound pressure - 120 dB;
sensitivity - 38 dB;
frequency - from 30 to 16000 Hz;
signal-to-noise ratio - 70 dB;
cable - 2.5 m;
costs 4400-5500 rubles.
The professional model captures crystal clear sound. Thanks to the capacitor converter, it is capable of delivering strong bass. The extended frequency response delivers excellent sound reproduction, making it versatile for singing and speaking. Thanks to the cardioid directivity, unnecessary noise is almost completely eliminated - only the voice is recorded.
The magnetic ring on the USB cable protects against various interferences. It independently processes the sound, and ready-made digitized material is delivered to the computer. The acoustic device is compatible with all operating systems, does not need to install additional drivers. Once connected, it's ready to go.
A good model for recording studios, radio, television, interviews, streaming, skype conferences.
High sound quality can be achieved by pointing the microphone towards you. Suitable for streaming and professional vocal recording. The kit includes everything you need for use: a filter, a windshield, a USB type A to USB type B cable, a tripod and an anti-vibration holder.
USB connection, so the device is suitable for PC and recording equipment;
professional audio chipset;
comes with a filter that removes hissing sound and extraneous noise during a call.
not the best option for gaming, as it has high-quality audio capture - even keystrokes will be clearly audible.
BBK CM114 for karaoke
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connector - jack 6.3 mm;
resistance (impedance) - 600 Ohm;
sensitivity - 74 dB;
frequency - from 50 to 17000 Hz;
cable - 2.5 m;
costs 160–600 rubles.
A classic inexpensive model for karaoke with a wired connection. Here is a typical vocal frequency response with a clear sound in the mids and some attenuation in the lows.
Cardioid directivity prevents the occurrence of feedback, noise. Additionally, there is a wind protection function - interference is excluded. There is a convenient on/off switch. The construction is strong and reliable.
Good value for money. The model is inexpensive, fully justifies its cost. Suitable for home use, karaoke bars. It picks up even distant voices well.
high sensitivity, good voice pickup;
compatibility with almost all audio systems for karaoke;
convenient on and off.
limited frequency range, does not reveal the fullness of the timbre.
Razer Kraken 2019 Headphone Microphone for PC Gaming
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over-ear headphones with dynamic microphone;
connector - mini jack 3.5 mm combo;
sensitivity - 45 dB;
frequency - from 100 to 10000 Hz;
cable - 1.3 m;
costs 5700–16000 rubles.
The headset has a modern design. Sounds as good as it looks. Headphones transmit surround sound while watching movies, playing games, listening to music. They are equipped with gel fillers that have a cooling effect during prolonged use. Flexible and durable, with an aluminum headband.
The microphone does not have the highest sensitivity, which is appropriate in models for games. It does not pick up distant sounds, but records the near voice with high clarity. Has a cardioid pattern. Additionally suppresses noise from behind, from the side, so teammates in the game will clearly hear speech.
A complete headset for the real gamer. Extension adapter included. Thanks to him, you can be three meters from the computer and talk. The device transmits clear, intelligible speech. Thanks to noise reduction, the interlocutor practically does not hear extraneous sounds. In headphones, the sound is surround, you can even use it to listen to music.
microphone with headphones in one set;
a large selection of colors;
the microphone transmits the most clear and natural speech;
The earcups are made of thin leather, which improves sound isolation.
the cost in some stores reaches 16 thousand rubles.
Types of microphones
To choose the right model, you first need to figure out how the microphones differ. Depending on the design features, devices may have different volume, sensitivity to near and far sounds, sound quality of low, medium, high frequencies, and so on.
There are not so many types of microphones:
Condenser. Choosing a condenser microphone is for professional vocal recording in studios or at home, for radio, television, interviews. They differ in the maximum frequency range, have high sensitivity (sometimes it is even excessive, so sound insulation is required), they give a lively and warm sound. Made in the form of a flat capacitor, in which one of the plates is fixed, the other is a membrane that vibrates under the influence of sound waves. Capacitor capacitance always changes with air fluctuations. Such models are more expensive than dynamic ones and are always tied to a power source. They do not tolerate a sharp loud voice, falls, blows.
There is a separate variety - electret. The membrane is thicker and smaller in area, so the characteristics of acoustic devices are more modest. But microphones are more compact, cheaper, more resistant to external influences. They do not need external power to operate, as the voltage is provided by a charged electret (polarized material) on the surface of the membrane. The charge is small, so devices are almost always equipped with a preamplifier. As it is consumed, the sound quality deteriorates. Common in household radio equipment, smartphones.
Dynamic. Such types are practically not used for professional studio recording. They are made of a movable membrane with an inductor attached to it. The latter creates a magnetic field. As the membrane moves, an alternating current flows through it. The large weight of the coil entails a slow response of the microphone to sharp impulse sounds, less sensitivity to weak sound. That is why the devices are irrelevant for professional acoustic recording. But a few advantages should be highlighted: they are cheap, last a long time, create less noise. The design itself is durable and more resistant to mechanical stress, therefore it is often used in karaoke, for voice recording (dubbing), during
General technical parameters
Before choosing the right microphone, pay attention to the most important technical characteristics of the devices:
Orientation. This parameter indicates the ability of an acoustic device to pick up sound from different directions. There are:
Omnidirectional. They perceive sound equally from all directions. Appropriate at concerts, when in addition to the voice of the performer it is important to hear the response of the audience.
Unidirectional. Perceive sound from one side, due to which extraneous noise is eliminated. They are of several types:
cardioid - sensitive to sound coming from the front;
supercardioid - narrower perception than the previous model, but partially capture the back zone;
hypercardioid - similar to the above option, only they perceive sound from behind a little more;
eights - equally sensitive to front and rear sound, completely ignore noise from the side. Good choice for an interview.
Membrane size. This parameter affects the frequency range that the device can output. A large membrane (2-3 cm) perfectly perceives low frequencies, but copes less with high ones. A small one (1.5 cm or less), on the contrary, transmits high frequencies well, but at low ones, the overload capacity and sensitivity decrease.
Sensitivity. Indicates the device's ability to perceive distant sounds. The higher the sensitivity, the better the microphone will pick them up. If you need an acoustic device that will transmit voice well in crowded or noisy places, for example, on the street, it is better to choose a lower sensitivity. And, on the contrary, if the device will be used in a soundproof room (studio), then high sensitivity will be very useful.
Bit depth and sampling rate. The last parameter means that the recording device captures the intensity of the input sound in 1 second. For example, at 48,000 Hz, a sound recorder captures, measures, and records sound 48,000 times per second. The higher the value, the better the sound in the end. As for the bit depth, it affects the accuracy of recording each sample. The rule also applies here: the more, the better. Measured in bits. In modern equipment, as a rule, 24 bits are implemented.
Signal/noise. This parameter indicates the difference between the average signal and noise levels. It is usually in the range of 60-135 dB. The higher, the clearer the sound.
Preamp. The element is important for any microphone. The main task is to raise the low-level signal to an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio. There are several types: transistor (preserve tonal characteristics), tube (color, transform the signal, which is not always appropriate), hybrid (combine the characteristics of previous models), digital (convert an analog signal to digital, this is convenient for subsequent sound processing on a computer). By the way, at the peak of their capabilities, transistor and tube ones create interference and distort the sound.
Sound pressure level. Indicates the maximum possible volume that the microphone can receive. The average is 100 dB.
Resistance (impedance). The indicator determines the compatibility of the sound recording device with the connection equipment. Important in professional technology.
microphone format. The model can be wireless - it does not restrict the user's movement, but there is a possibility of interference. Also, the device can be lavalier (put on clothes, the user's hands remain free, used in the field of television broadcasts, for interviews), manual, head, combined.