Is It Possible To Use Dynamic Microphones To Record High Quality Vocals?
- Written by Rodrigo Marques
When starting the project of a Home Studio, we always have some concern with the type of equipment that we will use to compose our recording apparatus. And a very large weight that I see beginners in Home Studio loading, is the concern about the quality of the microphone being used for capturing the vocals.
Let's now check out what artists and producers around the world think about using dynamic microphones to record high-quality vocals. Come on!
If you are completely new to the world of analog or digital audio recording, perhaps you have not yet realized or even realized, that there are several types and formats of microphone, which are used for various purposes. The two most popular types are: dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. Most people imagine a large microphone behind a blowing screen suspended by flexible wires. If you remembered that big microphone that the artists use to record in the studio, this is the "condenser microphone". The other type of microphone is the smaller one, used on stage, called a "dynamic microphone".
And the question is whether dynamic microphones are capable of recording high-quality vocals.
The answer is a powerful one, yes!
Although it sounds bizarre, many world-famous artists dispense condenser microphones (which cost real fortunes) in favor of dynamic microphones, as simple as a Shure SM58.
It seems strange, these artists with so many resources, prefer relatively cheap microphones and less detail in the capture.
Let's see now, what are the main reasons why these celebrities use dynamic microphones in their recordings.
Artist Performance Is The Most Important Factor
Yes, it may seem that the tools have a high level of importance within a production process, but the truth is that the whole process is orbiting the performance of the artist, and this is the factor that is taken into account, when producing quality audio.
There are many artists who are fully accustomed to using dynamic SM58 handheld microphones. Of course, there are also those who are extremely embarrassed to use condenser microphones, which are almost always: large, extravagant and fragile in appearance. And it is very common for artists to suffer from "REC Button Syndrome". When you're rehearsing, it's all sounding great, but when you say you're recording, their performance falls by half and that's a pretty common, more common effect than you can imagine. You're probably going to see it someday.
If the artist feels more secure using the SM58 in his hands to perform the vocals, then we can understand that his performance will be better, and in the end, that's what matters: the magic that the artist puts in his voice and the final result , when people hear all this energy from the artist.
Microphones Dynamic Work Well in Any Environment
It is no wonder that dynamic microphones are used on stage by artists of the most diverse musical genres. Because they have a cardioid pattern, these dynamic microphones are capable of working well in the home environment, which is almost always full of noises. If there is any wind coming through the window, it is unlikely that your dynamic microphone will be able to capture it unless it is a very strong wind.
This also helps to avoid more expensive acoustic treatments in the recording room. It is possible to record together with the equipments such as: computer, air conditioning, without any problem with fan noises.
Look for a Dynamic Microphone with a Minimum of Quality
It is worth remembering that dynamic microphones vary in price and quality. We can not consider microphones from karaoke machines to make recordings because these inexpensive dynamic microphones have a limited ability to capture the audio spectrum, resulting in poor quality recording.
The most common dynamic microphones are even those that use SM57 or SM58 capsules. You can find these microphones at just about any musical instrument store or in specialty stores online. On the other hand, condenser microphones are a bit harder to find because they are less popular and far more expensive than dynamic microphones.
Famous Artists Who Use Dynamic Microphones to Record High Quality Vocals
If you still doubt that famous artists use the SM57, then a good example of a musical album, which had a good part of their vocals recorded with the dynamic microphone SM7B, is called Michael Jackson's Thriller, one of the best-selling albums in the history of the phonographic industry.
Another artist who dispenses condenser microphones is none other than U2's Bono Vox, who prefers to sing with the SM58 microphone in their hands, both in the studio and live.
We can still cite a lot of the hits of international success, recorded with dynamic microphones, for example: the Californication vocal, was recorded with an SM57 microphone.
One characteristic of dynamic microphones is that they have a proximity effect, which produces a marked bass overshoot. In this case, I recommend that you always use a multi-band pass filter, to reduce some of that bass and let the audio a bit less loaded.
Where Dynamic Microphones Should Not Be Used
Male voices tend to lower frequencies, so although dynamic microphones can not capture extreme details, as a condenser microphone would do, for this kind of lower-pitched voice, there is not much to worry about when capturing these vocals.
On the other hand, if you want to use a sequence of processes on your vocals, which processes lead to loss of audio data, then it is recommended to use microphones capable of capturing more information, such as condenser microphones. Good ribbon microphones are also recommended for vocals, but those I'll leave to show up at a next opportunity.
Finally, if you are able to capture your artist's audio without harming your performance by using the fancy microphone as the condenser, the merit is all yours, since you are sure to get good results from this setup.
However, quality dynamic microphones are capable of producing high-quality vocal recordings, to the point of Vox Bono, an artist able to choose any microphone in the world to record, preferring an SM58 in their hands.
There are still a lot of other factors, especially in the mix, that you need to know, which I will show at another opportunity, and which are part of the world of producing high quality audio. Therefore, I always recommend that you keep evolving and learning more and more, because the more information you have, the more power you acquire, which leads you to have more capacity to carry out your projects, whatever they are.
An extra tip from Rodrigo: If you want to know How To Build a Home Recording Studio From Scratch And Get High Quality Audio Using a Production Process, I recommend you take a look at our kindle book right now.
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We believe that a Home Recording Studio can change the future of many entrepreneurs and artists who need to show how great their talents are. Enjoy it!