Welcome to Day 3 of 31 Days to Better Recordings!
In the 12 Home Studio Necessities series, I talked about microphones. Regardless of the style of music you’re recording/producing, you’ll need to use a microphone from time to time.
If you’re like me, you use a mic for almost everything you record.
There are hundreds of mics to choose from. It can easily become overwhelming. You could buy microphone after microphone, in search of the perfect combination.
Just One Microphone
Ever heard the phrase “less is more”? It really applies to home studios, especially if you’re starting out.
It’s easy to hop on some of the popular forums and hear a hundred different engineers recommend a hundred different microphones. Before you know it, you’re starting to think you need a whole closet full of microphones to have any hope of making good recordings.
That’s not necessarily true. Having all of those microphones doesn’t guarantee you’ll make better recordings.
I’m not against a big mic locker. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that a good engineer will give himself several microphone choices for any given recording scenario. (For example, one mic may sound better on a particular vocalist than another.)
Re-read that last paragraph. The key phrase there is “good engineer.” My buddy Slau (of the Sessions with Slau Podcast) is a full-time professional engineer in New York. He loves to talk about (and buy) new microphones. He has a lot of microphones.
The difference? He knows how to use them.
If you’re just starting out in the recording world, you need to first learn how to use a single microphone effectively. Once you’ve mastered that one, move on to a second, then a third, and so on.
I’d suggest starting off with a large-diaphragm condenser mic, but you can start with something as simple as a Shure SM57 or SM58. There are no rules. (See Graham Cochrane’s article about $100 microphones.) Whatever you choose, commit to becoming an expert in using that microphone.
Find out how to best record acoustic guitar, male vocals, female vocals, piano, guitar amps, etc. with that one mic. Once you’ve mastered it, get another mic and repeat.
Imagine owning three or four different microphones that you are intimately familiar with rather than a dozen mics you don’t know how to use. That’s a huge way to start getting better recordings.
For more on mics, check out Intro to Microphones.
Day 3 Challenge
Leave a comment below and tell us what your one microphone is and what you’re going to do to start learning it inside-out.