The Different Types of Microphones for Bands – Part 2

We continue our look into the different types of microphones that live bands and other performers use with the strangely named Shotgun Microphone. These types of microphones can also be called Gradient and Line. They are actually designed to be even more directional than hyper cardioid mics, and there is an interference tube inside the mic that eliminates any external sounds. These sorts of mics are great for drummers to mic up things like cymbals but can also be used for overhead applications also.

Switchable Microphones

These are very versatile microphones that can alternate between different polar patterns. They are particularly common in condenser microphones, giving the facility to switch to multiple different patterns by just flicking a switch. The advantages of these types of microphones is fairly obvious, they can be used for a multitude of applications.   

Types of Microphones a Band Uses

There are a variety of microphones that can be used in the music field, from Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon and later on in this blog we can see what they are used for. A dynamic microphone is often preferred as it is highly reliable.

Dynamic

A dynamic microphone is really good at picking up sounds as it has a moving coil and a magnetic diaphragm and can work at really high levels of pressure. They are great for loud sources of sound such as bass guitar amplifiers and drum kits.

Condenser

Condenser mics work differently to dynamic ones as they have a conductive diaphragm located by a metal backplate. This configuration works in a similar way that a capacitor does, as it picks up sound waves which vibrate the diaphragm, turning the sound waves into an audio signal. These types of mics are excellent for sound quality that is why you can see them in recording studios, but they are a lot more fragile than dynamic microphones.

Ribbon

These microphones are not as common as they once were but are highly effective at what they are designed to do. The casing of the body has light metal ribbon construction that is designed so it picks up velocity of air as well as displacement. This makes the mic more sensitive to higher frequencies, so it can pick up higher notes.

Microphone Applications

For any live gigs on stage where feedback is a major consideration then most sound engineers would opt for a cardioid microphone. Whereas when you want to record a voice and capture its nuances then a large diaphragm condenser microphone is the best.

Drums can be a bit of a problem when it comes to microphones as they are naturally loud, the best mics to opt for in this application for snare, bass and tom tom drums are dynamic cardioid mics. Then for cymbals and hi-hat small diaphragm mics can be used.

Acoustic guitars have a wonderful soft and rich sound with many nuances such as octave changes. To use a microphone for these instruments it has to be one that can handle this and usually a Figure-8 mic or a cardioid condenser microphone is the best.