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Having a great voice is one thing. Translating it to a computer clearly and crisply is a whole other monster. This is why picking the right microphone for recording vocals on computer is an important part of the process.
It doesn’t matter how great you sound (or think you sound). If you can’t share your vocals with the world in an accurate way that captures the true essence of your voice, then it is all pretty subjective from the listener’s point of view.
Microphones are not created equal. They vary in their functionality and price. Mics for recording vocals, for instance, may not be ideal for capturing the sound of instruments, and vice versa.
So, you need to figure out what you want to achieve to get studio-quality recordings on your device.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting the right microphone for recording vocals on your computer.
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Choosing the Right Microphone for Recording Vocals on Computer
Two main types of microphones exist. Technically, there are more. But those come with a hefty price tag attached to them (in the realm of $1,000 and up).
For now, we’ll explore the two main ones you’re likely to come across.
1. Dynamic Mics
These are the mics that come to mind when you picture your favorite stand-up comedian or performing artist up on stage. Dynamic microphones are ideal for use in noisy environments.
They come in handy when you want to record a live performer on stage, or if you’re interviewing someone in a noisy street or café. They are also excellent for recording musical instruments like drums or guitars.
Dynamic mics tend to be more rugged and durable compared to other types of microphones. So, they can take a beating before they get destroyed.
They are also versatile, which makes them a top choice for many. So, whether you’re recording out on a busy street or at your desk at home, a dynamic mic can do it all.
A great dynamic mic worth exploring is no doubt the Shure SM58-LC. It is versatile with a frequency response designed for vocals. The fact that it is super affordable is just one of its endearing qualities.
If you’re looking for something higher up on the food chain, the Electro-Voice RE320 is one of the best low-noise dynamic microphones in the market right now.
It delivers a tremendous amount of detail with minimal off-axis tonal shifts, making it the perfect accessory for recording vocals on computers, particularly if you’re in a noisy environment.
2. Condenser Microphone
These work somewhat differently from conventional dynamic mics since they use capacitors in place of coils. They are more sensitive to soundwave vibrations compared to dynamic microphones.
So, they are more likely to pick up ambient sounds when vocal recording in a non-insulated environment. While it is perfectly okay to record musical instruments using dynamic mics, you can’t say the same for a condenser microphone.
Nonetheless, they are perfect for capturing the subtleties in individual voices, which is important when recording podcasts or YouTube videos.
As far as durability goes, condenser mics aren’t as tough as dynamic mics. This has everything to do with the fact that they use capacitor plates. These are more prone to getting damaged compared to coils.
The ZINGYOU BM-800 is a powerful condenser mic. It has a thin diaphragm for sensitive capture and records vocals with high accuracy and minimal noise for less distortion. This is why it is a popular choice for musicians and podcasters alike and a choice for recording vocals on your computer.
Another great option worth checking out is the Audio-Technica AT2020 cardioid condenser XLR microphone. It has a wide dynamic range and a cardioid polar pickup pattern that improves the isolation of the desired vocal sound. It is arguably one of the most versatile condenser mics around.
Keep in mind that condenser mics require a lot of power to run. They need a power source, which is usually in the form of Phantom power.
“Phantom power” means that you’ll need to plug it into something (like your computer or audio interface) that’s capable of supplying +48V worth of power to the mic through its cable.
USB vs. XLR Microphones – What’s the Difference?
Speaking of cables, you’re likely torn between picking a USB mic or XLR mic. So, what’s the difference between them?
It has everything to do with the connectors. XLR mics have XLR connectors for the XLR-to-audio interface. USB mics, on the other hand, have USB connectors for the interface.
Each connector has its distinct pros and cons. On the one hand, XLR mics are known to produce higher quality audio than their USB cable counterparts, since they use different channels for the incoming and outgoing signals.
This minimizes the risk of distortion and interference. On the flip side, XLR mics tend to cost substantially more than their USB counterparts.
The TONOR BM-700 is a great XLR mic that outperforms others in its category. Simply connect it to your computer’s audio input and start recording.
USB mics, on the other hand, offer more convenience and flexibility since they are Plug and Play. Moreover, they are compatible with a wide range of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, PCs, and Macs.
This makes it easy to record vocals, instruments, and podcasts directly to your device. They are also low-cost, which makes them ideal for anyone who’s just dipping their toe into the recording pool. But, keep in mind that they may not deliver the same superior sound quality you get from XLR mics.
A great USB mic worth checking out is the ZINGYOU PC condenser mic. It comes with a USB 2.0 Plug and Play interface and doesn’t require any software, driver, phantom power, or sound card to run. Its wide frequency response range delivers a rich, high-fidelity, and crisp sound experience.
Pick One; Pick Them All
The choice of one type of microphone for recording vocals on computer over the other ultimately boils down to what your intended use for it is. If you plan to record in noisy environments, then you’re better off with a dynamic mic.
If, on the other hand, you’re recording a song, video, or podcast in a relatively insulated setting, and want to highlight the subtleties of your voice, then a condenser mic is your best bet. We hope that helps!
In the meantime, check out our blog to learn about some of the benefits of getting modern studio equipment for your sound projects.
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