Shopping for a microphone. Here's my research notes. If you are not an audio professional, and confused and don't have time to research, just buy any on this page, can't go wrong. $80 gets you very good ones. $30 still pretty good for video conference or YouTube.
Best Recommend Microphones, Under $100
Ordered from expensive to cheaper:
Fifine Metal Condenser USB Microphone
This is what i bought. A cheap one. Good enough for my YouTube.
What's the Different Between a Headset with Decidated Mic?
Dedicated mic is a magnitude higher quality. And dedicated mic usually have knobs to let you control gain. And dedicated mic can be used for singing. You can actually hear the “space of the room”. Headset is exclusively for just for speech communication only. With headset, your natural voice is not transmitted fully.
USB vs XLR Microphones
XLR connectors is a standard connector for professional audio industry.
USB microphones are basically entry level. Good USB mics are good enough today.
For professional audio work, you want mic with XLR connector.
XLR Mic Need Preamp
Microphones usually need to be connected to a preamplifier before the signal can be recorded or reproduced. In usb microphones, the preamplifier is builtin.
Types of Microphones
- Dynamic or Condenser microphone
- This is the general purpose mic for human voice. Often seen used by singers or radio hosts. Need mouth close to mic. The term “Dynamic microphone” and “Condenser microphone” refers to the tech used in picking up sound. Dynamic microphones
- Lapel/clip-on microphone
- (aka lavalier mic) clip on to shirt. lapel mic
- Shotgun microphone
- Aim at a sound source in a straight line, ignore sound from other direction. The mic can be placed 1 meter away from mouth. Shotgun mic
- Noise reduction
- Usually used in headset. Ambient noise or any sound in room are cut off, usually signal processing circuitry. This type is usually just for functionality talking, such as in gaming or phone. Does not capture the full context of human voice.
The tech of mic is very diverse. There are many different tech to pick up sound and transmit it into electronic signal.
- Dynamic Microphone
- Use a coil of wire suspended in a magnetic field. Similar to speakers but in reverse.
- Condenser Microphone
- Use the vibrating diaphragm as a capacitor plate. Capacitor was known as condenser.
- Contact Microphone
- Use a crystal of piezoelectric material. This type is used to capture sound transmitted from solid objects, such as table, window, wall. Not from air.
- Fiber optic Microphone
- Use fiber optic tech by measuring light variation reflected from a vibrating mirror. This type has no electronic inteference.
- Laser Microphone
- Shoot laser from far away onto a window, and capture the reflected light, measure intensity variation or movement pattern, decipher it. Used for spying etc.
Sensitivity Direction Pattern
Microphone is more sensitive to certain direction of sound, due to how it is build. Here's the terms and what they mean.
Here's common patterns:
- Sensitive in any direction.
- Most common. Most sensitive in tip of mic (called end fire or end address) or front side of mic (called side fire).
- Like cardioid, but a bit extended in opposite side.
- Like cardioid, but a much extended in opposite side.
Mic Shock Mount and Pop Filter
Shock Mount is elastic bands holding the mic, preventing noice generated from shock or vibration from the mic holder.
Pop filter is used to remove noise of wind such as blowing into mic. pop filter
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Blue Yeti is popular, but is actually one of the worst with quality/price ratio.
Blue Snowball iCE USB microphone
The Blue Snowball Ice is extremely popular, and as such, i think it tends to be hyped by ignorant populace therefore over priced.
This is actually one of the worst.