Whether live streaming, video production podcasting, or giving an online lesson, audio quality may make or break the finished output. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned content creator, selecting the correct microphone is critical for producing professional-sounding audio.
In this post, we’ll look at the many types of microphones available for live streaming and video creation, as well as the variables to consider before purchasing one.
Types of Microphones
There are numerous types of microphones on the market, each with its own distinct properties and applications. Dynamic, condenser, lapel (lavalier), and shotgun microphones are the most used.
Dynamic microphones are tough and long-lasting. They are often utilized for live performances and can withstand high sound pressure levels (SPLs) without causing audio distortion.
Furthermore, dynamic microphones have a natural roll-off at high and low frequencies, which can assist in eliminating unwanted noise in a live streaming or video production scenario, such as room reflections and background noise.
This also indicates they are less sensitive to feedback loops, which is a typical issue in live events, as well as dealing with plosives and sibilance.
Condenser mics record a wider range of frequencies than dynamic microphones and are often more sensitive and accurate. They are commonly used for studio recording, podcasting, and other circumstances requiring clarity and precision.
Furthermore, condenser mics have a flatter frequency response than dynamic microphones, allowing them to capture a wider range of frequencies without amplifying or reducing specific frequencies. This helps them sound more natural and is ideal for capturing accurate, detailed audio during live streaming or video production.
Condenser mics additionally require external power (phantom power), which can be supplied by the microphone preamp or an audio interface. This extra power enables them to handle softer noises and pick up more delicate nuances in sound, making these mics perfect for ASMR recording.
Lapel microphones are compact and easy to conceal. They are often worn on clothing and are great for use during interviews, presentations, and other circumstances where the speaker moves around.
Shotgun microphones are often positioned on a boom or a tripod and are long and thin. They are great for collecting audio in one direction, making them ideal for outdoor recordings, interviews, and other on-location projects.
When selecting a microphone for Discord, live streaming, video production, or giving an online presentation, you must evaluate your project’s specific needs and the area in which you’ll be recording. A lapel microphone, for example, would be a better choice than a shotgun microphone if you intend to do a lot of on-location interviews.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Microphone
When selecting a microphone for live streaming, podcasting, ASMR, or video production, there are various variables to consider. The most significant characteristics include its polar pattern, sensitivity, and frequency response.
Polar patterns describe how a microphone catches sound from various directions. Cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional polar patterns are all common.
A cardioid microphone picks up audio from the microphone’s front while rejecting sounds from the sides and back. A bidirectional microphone captures audio from the front and back of the microphone, whereas an omnidirectional microphone captures audio from all directions.
A cardioid polar pattern can assist in reducing ambient noise and echo during a live feed, making it simpler to capture clear audio of the person speaking. A cardioid polar pattern is especially suitable for recording ASMR noises, which are typically quiet and delicate and easily drowned out by background noise.
The ability of a microphone to capture and convert sound energy into electrical energy is measured in millivolts per pascal (mV/Pa) at 1 kilohertz (kHz).
A higher-sensitivity microphone will capture more sound, while a lower-sensitivity microphone will record less. A microphone with less than 5 mV/PA is considered low sensitivity, whereas one with more than 10 mV/PA is called high sensitivity.
For a live stream, utilize low-sensitivity microphones because you don’t want the microphone to pick up on background noise in the room. High-sensitivity microphones are ideal for picking up faint and quiet sounds in ASMR.
The frequency response of a microphone refers to the range of frequencies that it can catch; most microphones have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. A wide-frequency response microphone can catch a wide variety of frequencies.
Aside from frequency range, a microphone can have either a flat or colored frequency response. A microphone with a flat frequency response (usually condenser mics) is almost equally sensitive across its frequency range and sounds more ‘natural, whereas a microphone with a colored frequency response (usually dynamic or ribbon mics) is more sensitive in certain frequencies, making them sound ‘permanently EQed.’