Posted on 14-05-2012
Filed Under (recording) by Jon Stinson

The most expensive microphone I own cost me $700. I’ve recorded a lot of things with it – lead vocals, drums, guitars, piano, saxophone, accordion – tons of things. At Nashville Studio Live, a recording studio in Nashville that regularly hires me for sessions, this is the exact same microphone we use to track vocals on every session we do. It’s a great mic, and I’ve captured a countless amount of fantastic sounding recordings with it.

However, this particular $700 microphone is probably not the one I use the most. When I’m tracking a full band, I’ll use a whole bunch of different microphones, and the bulk of them are actually relatively cheap mics. Quite often, I’ll end up using a $100 mic to record a killer sounding lead vocal.

Now, I’ve certainly recorded with microphones that are very expensive-mics that cost $2,000, and sometimes even as expensive as $8,000. But I don’t own any mics that are this expensive. If I feel that a recording could benefit from using one of these super expensive mics, I either borrow it from a friend or rent it.

So here’s the point: it’s not necessary, and many times not even ideal to use really expensive microphones to record. So before you convince yourself that you “just have to drop $2,000 on the best microphone ever,” spend some time investigating whether or not that mic really is as necessary as you think it is.

At a certain point you might find that it is in fact a huge need to own a super expensive mic, and you will justifiably need to make that purchase. But I know personally that I’m not ever going to make this kind of high end purchase a day sooner than I have to-when my business begins to suffer because of an inadequacy of the gear I own (which has only happened a couple of times in the last 10 years). As a matter of fact, this rationale goes for all the other gear out there too.

Twitter: @stsn

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