Best microphone

Hi everyone,

I’m probably in need of an upgrade from my Zoom H4n. It’s primarily for male voice, Cello and harp recording in my bedroom studio setting. what would you recommend?

Cheers! Kent

Hi Kent,

This is a very broad and subjective topic. I would first identify your budget and specifically what all of your audio recording needs are before going too far.

Is this for high-quality recordings or social media posts?
Are you recording instruments one at a time or as an ensemble?
What are the acoustics of your bedroom? Is it small and dead sounding or large and reverberates?
What are you planning to record to? Your phone, computer (sound interface), or another portable recorder?
Will you be doing basic mixing in a DAW for further processing (EQ, reverb, etc) or using the recordings as they are?

With more info, I can give a recommendation based on my experience.


Hi Brandon!
Thanks for the questions to hone in to this subject.
I need a versatile microphone to use in tandem with a DAW and interface that I could use for Low budget media composition jobs. If the budget is lager, I always can rent a better one on the day I have a studio.
So it should be good for les than ideal situations, versatile and primarily for a dead-ish space, that would just tick the box for media production.
Know that this sounds flimsy, and I have a lack of knowledge about recording gear. something I need to dive into.
Thanks in advance for your input!

Hey Kent,

Since you are recording cello, (classical?) voice, and harp, I recommend a large diaphragm condenser or a ribbon microphone. The latter typically requires a preamp with higher gain, which may be out of your budget.

Sweetwater Music has a pretty good buying guide.

For low budget, you could look at the Rode NT1-A large diaphragm condenser mic or the Audio-Technica AT2020 medium diaphragm mics. These should work well with any audio interface that has phantom power. I have not used these but perhaps others here can comment.

At a higher price point, I would suggest the Neumann TLM 102 (or even better, the TLM 103 or AKG 414). You could find these used for a better price. I have the TLM103 and it sounds great on almost everything.

Condensers will give you a clean and accurate sounding recording. Typically, the higher the price, the better the quality. Since recording in your bedroom, you likely only need a cardiod pickup pattern.

Personally, I am fond of ribbon mics for recording. They have a more natural and pleasing sound to my ears. For a similar price to a good condenser, there are excellent options from AEA. If you don’t have the budget for a separate high-quality mic-pre, get an “active” ribbon. Also, you would have to be careful to not get too much room sound with the figure 8 pickup pattern. The AEA N22 is designed to be nearfield, so should work for your bedroom. Ribbons typically take EQ well, i.e. if you want to boost the high end definition

Moving up, if you have more budget, get a really good clean mic-pre (for classical). AEA TRP (or RPQ) mic-pre is excellent.

If your room acoustics were better, I’d suggest a stereo micing approach (Mid-Side or ORTF) with two mics to get a broader pickup of your instruments. This is more budget of course as well, but would give a good product. Let me know if you want to know more about this.

There are many many great mics out there, but above are some that I would go for in your shoes.

Happy recording!

1 Like