As I said before, building a home recording studio is not an easy job. The brand of the product you choose is really important, especially if you plan to get one of the best condenser microphones of 2016 in order to ensure the quality of your recordings. Let’s not forget that the ultimate goal is for listeners to hear all the frequencies of the artist’s voice, at the highest quality possible.
If we are talking about live shows, the best microphones are the dynamic ones, but when it comes to building a home recording studio, the condenser microphone is definitely the optimal solution. In most cases, connecting the microphone with the rest of the equipment can be done through a classic XLR connector. The following list contains some of the best condenser microphones that you can buy in order to build a great home recording studio. Here are my top pics for 2016!
Sanken CU-44X MkII Condenser Studio Vocal Microphone
Sanken CU-44X MkII is a microphone having a specially designed capsule that has two channels: one for bass and one for high frequencies. This unique design features two titanium diaphragms, making this a condenser mic that captures sound in high quality. The titanium membranes are immune to the effects of moisture and various temperature changes, resulting in a constant response, regardless of external conditions.
SANKEN CU-55 Condenser Studio Vocal Microphone
SANKEN CU-55 incorporates the latest technology in a small design that’s easy to install and use. Dedicated to recording studios, this microphone features a cardioid pattern and it was designed to capture wide frequency ranges, thus providing a natural and transparent sound. It is ideal for a wide range of recording applications, from vocals to acoustic instruments or orchestra solos. CU-55 has a frequency response between 40Hz and 20kHz for a maximum SPL of 137dB, with a very wide dynamic range. Like all SANKEN microphones, CU-55 condenser microphone is recognized not only for its performance but also for flexibility and reliability.
As we are talking about the best recording microphones for a home recording studio, we could not miss SANKEN CO-100K, the world’s first microphone with a frequency response between 20Hz and 100kHz. SANKEN has created this device in collaboration with NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories.
Neumann U87 Condenser Studio Vocal Microphone
Neumann U87 is undoubtedly the most famous microphone in music history. Over the years, an impressive number of famous singers recorded their albums using this microphone. U87 appeared in the late 60s and soon became the company’s top of the range. It features two diaphragms and three polar patterns.
This mic includes a -10dB pad switched in that can be turned on and off according to your needs. It enables the microphone to handle sound pressure levels of up to 127dB without distortion. The low frequency response can be reduced to compensate for proximity effect.
Neumann U87 is definitely a microphone that’s ideal for recording vocals for all musical genres, but it can also be used as a main microphone for orchestra recordings (if you’re into this). This mic has proved itself over the years and I am sure that it’s still one of the best condenser microphones of 2016.
Neumann U47 Condenser Studio Vocal Microphone
Neumann U47 condenser microphones are more than classic or vintage, they are a work of art. This particular model has two versions: one with a tube and one with the FET design, adding a modern touch to it. Although comparisons can be made, both versions offer high quality sound. U47 FET includes the K47 capsule and a high SPL, allowing it to capture crystal clear sounds even if you are recording noisy guitars or drums. The vocals recorded with this microphone are described as full, warm and round.
AKG C214 Condenser Studio Vocal Microphone
AKG C214 is one of the most affordable microphones in this list. With a sound pressure level that’s particularly high (156dB), C214 manages to cope even with the noisiest vocalists that you can think of. In addition, this great condenser microphone comes with a 20dB attenuator that is replaceable, as well as a bass filter.
Audio-Technica AT5040 Cardioid Condenser Studio Vocal Microphone
AT5040 is Audio-Technica’s premier studio condenser vocal microphone and it was developed as a vocal mic but it is also suitable for acoustic instruments such as piano, guitar or saxophone. This condenser microphone activates 4 rectangular diaphragms in order to provide profound realism and depth, presence and purity of sound. It has a frequency response of 20-20000 HZ and an impedance of 50 Ohms.
The best condenser microphones of 2016. Conclusion
Even if some of these mics were included in my last year top picks, I still think that they’ll add quality value to your recordings. Don’t forget that a great condenser microphone is not the only item in your recording chain, and you definitely need to pay attention to other items like audio interface, cables, mixers or studio monitors.