Buying Your First Mic: The 4 Step Guide

Last Updated on April 10th, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Finally, you put together the basics of your home recording studio. You have your audio interface, your headphones or monitors, and your DAW.

Unless you are creating your music exclusively with sample packs or VST synths, you will need one more factor to get sounds into your DAW: a microphone.

Buying your first mic is an enormous moment. It is your first step into the world of capturing sound. However, there’s a big range of microphones out there, and a lot to find out about mic’ing.

What are the best microphones? What are the main microphone kinds? How do you select the right mic to get began with?

Ask yourself these 4 essential questions and you will be able to narrow your choices down a lot and discover the suitable mic for your sound–and most importantly, keep away from buying something you don’t need…

So to help you discover the mic you will like when buying our first mic, here’s everything you should make the right mic selection.

1. Decide on your budget

Your microphone budget is an enormous issue when it comes to buying your first mic.

Figure out your budget before you get too far into buying. That method you will get the most for your money.

In this guide, I will provide beginners with suggestions, intermediate and pro budgets. Now that you have figured out your budget, let’s get began!

2. Figure out what you’ll be recording most often

Decide what you want to record. You should take advantage of the strengths of the first mic you add to your collection and ensure it fits all your needs.

So think about what you are planning to record the most. The great news is that there are some common microphone choices for certain studio tasks.

Here are some go-to mic choices for common recording situations:

Electric guitar

Electric guitarists are lucky in terms of recording. One of the all-time classics for mic’ing up amps is the essential Shure SM57  We’ve said a lot about this mic before, however, it’s worth repeating that it’s a perfect choice for electric guitar.

While you could certainly spend a lot more money on guitar amp mics, do not think for a second that the SM57 is not a pro choice—you may find it’s all you need!

Acoustic instruments

When you are trying to make realistic recordings of acoustic instruments or a live band playing, small diaphragm condenser microphones could be the right choice.

It’s bending the rules a tiny bit, however, small diaphragm condensers are sometimes sold in matched pairs particularly meant for stereo recording.

A pair of small diaphragm condensers is ideal for capturing a realistic sense of space and intimate acoustic performances.


If you must select one mic to cover multiple duties there are a few microphones known for their potential to handle multiple sources successfully.

They are mainly large diaphragm condensers with selectable polar patterns. Having access to different polar patterns makes a mic much more adaptable to different recording situations.

Of course, an enormous number of musicians are mainly looking to record vocalsThat is where things get a bit trickier…

3. Match your mic to your singing style

It might seem obvious, however, not all mics work well for metal screamers as they do for jazz singers. Different kinds of singing sometimes require different types of microphone.

Unluckily, there’s no method to recommend the perfect mic for a particular singer without some experimentation.

To give you some ideas, listed here are some microphone characteristics related to common vocal styles:

  • Breathy female vocal: A mic with a smooth top end that does not get sibilant
  • Baritone male vocal: A mic that may capture warm low mids clearly
  • Screaming or aggressive vocal styles: A mic that could handle the high SPL and intense transients of a screamed performance
  • Rapping: A mic that isn’t too sensitive to loud plosives from spoken syllables

4. Think about your recording environment

Any seasoned engineer will tell you that the environment where you record is just as essential as your gear—if not more!

Where you plan to record makes a large impact on what type of mic you need to select.

Listed here are a few of the kinds of recording environments that may affect your mic choice.

Untreated room

When you are working in a less than ideal environment, selecting a mic that minimizes the effects of a bad sounding room could help you out a lot—particularly when you are tracking vocals.

The best choices to downplay the impact of bad rooms are dynamic mics.  And you could still get great outcomes on vocals with mics like the Shure SM7B or Electrovoice RE20.

DIY vocal booth

You have got slightly more leeway in a DIY vocal booth—even if it’s just a closet with towels on the walls.

Right here you could get all of the detail of a condenser mic without having to worry too much about reflections from the room.

Which means you could take a look at the classic choices for vocal large diaphragm condensers.

Nice Sounding Acoustic Space

Not all spaces needed to be treated to sound good.

When you occur to have a room that naturally sounds great, you will be able to benefit from it and do some distance micing!

Break out a pair of small diaphragm condensers or a nice ribbon in case you’re recording live instruments like drums or acoustic guitar.

First-Mic Aid

Buying your first mic needs to be an exciting occasion—not something to stress over.

When you take the time to ask yourself the questions in these 4 steps, you will know the way to take your first step into recording with microphones.

So now that you have some choices, go out there and get interested in buying your first mic —it probably will not be your last!

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