How to choose the perfect microphone for your needs
Microphones are amazing tools that can be used to capture sound in various ways. Whether you're a musician, podcaster, or just need one for work, there are a few things you should know before you start using your first microphone.
Microphones are devices that capture sound. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used for various purposes.
There are three basic aspects to consider when choosing a microphone: the type of microphone, the pickup pattern, and, of course, what you're going to use it for!
With so many options on the market, it can be daunting to choose the perfect one for your needs. But don't worry, we're here to help.
Types of Microphones
The type of microphone is the first thing to consider. There are three main types of microphones: condenser, dynamic, and ribbon.
The most popular type of microphone. They are versatile and can be used for various tasks, from recording vocals to capturing the sound of a live event.
Typically used in studios, as they produce a clear and accurate sound, yet colored sound.
Best suited for live performances, as they can handle high levels of sound without distorting. Their limitation is that they often sound dull, and the high frequencies can be brittle.
What is the mic picking up?
The second aspect to consider is the pickup pattern. There are three main types of pickup patterns: cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional.
The most popular type of microphone. They are named for their heart-shaped (or booty shaped) pickup pattern, which allows them to pick up sound from the front of the microphone while rejecting sound from the sides and back.
Pick up sound equally from all directions. They are often used in recording studios, as they provide a more natural sound.
Also known as figure-of-8, ribbon mics pick up sound from the front and back of the microphone, while rejecting sound from the sides. Most ribbon microphones are inherently bidirectional – which means they'll always pick up sound on both sides of the mic! This can be fun when you're recording acoustic music in which the ambience of the room tone helps the recording sound more natural, or if you want to record two musicians simultaneously with a single microphone.
Which Ohma Mic is Right For You?
The Ohma Condenser
In most situations, the Ohma condenser microphone will be the mic for you. It picks up sound on one side, making it as easy as pointing it directly at the instrument you want to record. They're the classic mic for voices, having been used on almost every recording since the late 1950s.
Condensers have a natural and bright top end with a bump that lets voices, guitars, and other instruments cut through a recording nicely. They have a tempered and balanced low end without a lot of bass build-up, making it great for positioning close to whatever you want to record.
The Ohma condenser's Cinemag transformer adds a lovely warmth to the sound.
The Ohma Ribbon
Ribbon microphones are some of the most beautiful sounding mics in the world. We like to say that ribbons capture instruments the way you want them to sound.
Just like your ears, ribbon microphones roll off the top end of your instrument and can tame instruments that often sound harsh – and yet ribbons also add a unique color and character that can only be described as ribbony.
Ribbons are often ideal for bowed string instruments, electric guitars, brass, woodwinds, drum overheads, rooms, and certain voices. They also have an incredible proximity effect that can boost the low-end of your instrument, making it sound bigger than ever before.
Ribbon mics may be trickier to use
The limitation with ribbon mics is that they pick up sound on both sides. This can be more challenging when you’re recording live, performing live, or you’re in a less than ideal room when you’re recording – though there are lots of bands that opt to use ribbon mics in these situations. Because of the proximity effect, ribbons often perform better from further away than other microphones. This is a great aspect when you want to record the natural sound of your instrument, but it can be an issue when your room doesn’t sound that great.
Ribbon microphones are also more fragile than other microphones, though way more durable than their reputation suggests – especially the Ohma Ribbon, which is highly protected. But on the right instrument, they truly capture the essence of your sound.
So Which One Should I Get?
For beginners or vocalists, podcasters
For most people starting out, we recommend choosing the Ohma condenser mic. It’s much simpler to use, and it is often hard to go wrong with a good condenser.
For those looking to expand their sonic landscape
If you have experience recording, ribbon microphones are a very special tool that we highly recommend. They are a more advanced microphone to use, but they have a magical sound.
Either choice will do a great job of capturing your instrument. Often times, when we’re recording, we’ll choose whichever mic we have that’s closest to us, regardless of if it’s a ribbon or a condenser.
All Ohma mics are phantom-powered
Both the Ohma Condenser and Ohma Ribbon are active microphones that require phantom power to use. They will work with almost any preamp, interface, or sound card available on the market.
At the end of the day, it’s about capturing your sound the way you want to hear it.
Microphones are just an extension of your instrument, which is an extension of your art. It’s all about expression, and we want to make it so you can create instead of debate.
Need more deets? Check out our online manual for specifications are more.
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