In this article we’ll look at five cheap but excellent studio microphones for voice over, narration, foley or ADR recording. I’ll only be looking at microphones in the $200 to $400 (at the time of writing) range.
As explained in Recording Audio, condenser microphones, like all microphones, use a diaphragm. The larger the diaphragm, the better the low level sounds. However, the smaller the diaphragm, the louder you can go.
In a studio environment, you must have total control over room tone, noise, reverb, etc. Ideally you need a ‘dead’ environment.
Sometimes, you might need to record music instruments or some foley. There are two ways to deal with this: Either have only one microphone doing double duty, or have different microphones for different jobs.
The two kinds of microphones you’ll need are:
- Condenser microphones
- Dynamic microphones
There are no rules regarding the choices of condenser vs dynamic microphones but here are some rules of thumb:
- Condenser microphones have more ‘depth’ for recording human voices
- Dynamic microphones can withstand moisture and abuse, which make them ideal for stage recordings or foley
- Musical instruments vary greatly, and each kind of instrument might need a matching ‘mate’ when it comes to a studio microphone. This is extremely subjective, and is beyond the scope of this article.
Here are five budget studio microphones that will do the job for a small post-house or studio (no particular order):
This last microphone is a general purpose dynamic microphone, with a USB attachment. It’s not expensive, and is a tough mic to have in a tight spot.
In addition to the microphone, you might need the following accessories (some of these come with the microphone kit):
Pop Filter – like the Nady MPF-6 6-Inch Clamp On Microphone Pop Filter or Nady SSPF-4 Spider Shockmount with Integrated Pop Filter.
Shock-proof mount/holder – like the ISK SHM-9A Studio Microphone Shock Mount Clip Holder.
Portable Booths – like the The Porta-Booth Pro. If your talent is going to be unavailable for ADR, this might be a life-saver.