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Do I really need a Neumann microphone?
My go to mic at this point is a Shure KSM 32. It gets high praise from many... and to my ears its character compares favorably with a number of the high end mics that cost twice as much.
Still this little voice in the back of my mind keeps saying... "yeh it sounds good but it's not a Neumann."
So is a Neumann really necessary to compete with the big boys and girls in the voice over universe?
What say you?
When it comes to buying a microphone, you want to be sure that whatever you purchase does justice to your voice and brings your talent to the fore.
Considerations When Choosing a Microphone Include:
The best microphone is the one that you can use with the fewest technical problems. If all other things are equal, choose the simplest setup that you can that will enable you to record as quickly as possible, hence the saying "plug and play."
Some microphones like the RE20 (the stereotypical radio microphone) are large diaphragm microphones designed to pick up lower frequencies such as a deep male voice, a bass drum or even a bass guitar. The small diaphragm or small capsule microphone is designed to pick up higher frequencies such as the female voice, the brightness of an acoustic guitar or shimmering cymbals. You may have seen these as the overhead microphones on a drum kit or above an orchestra.
Decide which type of directional pattern, also known as a microphone's polar pattern, best suits your needs. For voice overs, a more focused directional microphone is likely best. The polar pattern you should be looking for is a cardioid or a hypercardioid. This type of polar pattern will minimize room tone and ambient noise as it's designed to pick up sounds within close proximity of the front of the microphone.
A pop filter is considered a standard accessory for voice over artists. The pop filter acts as a screen that helps to reduce the impact of the air from your mouth onto the microphone capsule which results in the minimization of sibilance, plosives and other mouth noises.
A shock mount is a mechanical fastener that holds your microphone in place, suspending them by elastics. I have one of the USB microphone that we use at the office for podcasting. One of the benefits of a shock mount is that the microphone is isolated from stand vibrations. For instance, if there is a low rumbling under foot, the shock mount can absorb it.
Experiment with a friend's microphone or borrow a handful of microphones from the music store and test them out. If you're looking at a high end microphone, you might consider renting a few mics for a couple hundred dollars overnight to test a few pieces of equipment before investing a couple of thousand dollars on the right microphone for your voice.
The best microphone for your voice won't necessarily be the most expensive one on the market. From one perspective, the best microphone is the one that is affordable and gets the job done which is why many of these criteria could be considered "nice to haves," and not "need to haves."
Having said that, the microphone, along with the preamp are the pieces of technology that are between you and your computer so get the microphone that makes your voice sounds best but also fits in your budget.
I welcome you to check out this webinar "Microphones: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job" for more information.
Microphones: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job
Join Christopher Currier, Product Specialist at Sennheiser & Neumann and Ashley Davidson, Social Media Manager at Voices.com on the "Microphones: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job" webinar. In this webinar, Christopher will help take the mystery out of the technology and talk about the importance of choosing the right microphone for your voice. You will learn what to look for in a microphone and how to make it work for you with studio tips and tricks to help accentuate the positive attributes in your voice.
How To Pick the Right Microphone For Your Voice
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