One of the most important steps in any recording is choosing the right mic. Every mic has different characteristics throughout the audio frequency spectrum. It is important for an engineer to understand the characteristics of each mic, such as maximum SPL (Sound Pressure Level) and frequency response. However, it is also important for an engineer to understand the “character” of a mic so they can choose the right tool to capture the tone and texture needed for a particular song. We'll help you pick the best mics to capture your sound with great quality and harmonic depth.
Blue Kiwi (right): solid-state large diaphragm condenser (LDC). The king of transient response, clarity, and fidelity. The ultimate “modern” sound. Makes any vocalist sound big, clear, and rich. Preferred by 2/3 of audio engineers over a Neumann U67. This mic is pure magic for gentle, breathy voices, and is a treasure of our studio.
Blue Cactus (left): classic tube mic with a big, warm, full sound. Amazing for full sounding, powerful voices. Think Sinatra.
Cactus/Kiwi capsule switching: one of the coolest features of our studio is the ability to swap capsules between these two mics. The Cactus “classic” capsule through the Kiwi is nice and dry and understated. The Kiwi “modern” capsule through the classic tube/transformer amp of the Cactus is pure magic. Whenever possible, we like to track vocals through both mics simultaneously so we can post-process for both big body and sweet clarity.
Shure SM81 Small Diaphragm Condenser (SDC): a studio staple since the 70s. It has all the clarity and transient response you would expect from an SDC but always keeps the sound warm and natural. These are great for drum overheads, acoustic instruments, vocals, room miking…any time a fast but smooth sound is needed.
Sennheiser MD421: the studio standard worldwide for toms and bass cabs. Big, clean, clear, and dynamic. Works well on just about anything to add zip and presence that more neutral mics do not.
Shure SM57 Dynamic: another studio staple that's been around for decades. The SM57 has a great “midfi” (medium fidelity) sound that has been on virtually every rock record ever made. The smooth, full sound sits well in a mix without flattering anything.
Audix I5: the Audix I5 competes directly with the SM57 and shines in similar applications. The Audix has a slightly higher fidelity sound but loses some of the midrange richness of the SM57.
Shure Beta 52a: kick drum mic. Also useful for bass cabs. It’s big, bassy, and beautiful.
Shure KSM27 LDC: a solid, neutral sound large diaphragm condenser. Works well on just about anything, though it will not flatter the sound, so it's less appropriate for tracks that need to sound big and lush.