Microphones are the pulse of a studio. They capture the sound and deliver it to the interface. This is the first point of contact where the sound is captured and harnessed to be preserved for eternity in the digital realm. Every mic has its advantages and disadvantages. In the right situation, a good recording can be made with a handful of SM57s and one large diaphragm condenser.
That is exactly where you should start. The Shure SM57 is a tank & a workhorse. It's great for recording almost everything. This dynamic mic can take a beating and still give you great recordings. It's ideal for recording snare drums and guitar amps. Each SM57 has a different sound, so it's a good idea to have a few in your mic locker.
Focus on getting a decent vocal mic that can be universal for other applications. The RODE NTK is a great place to start and will be a handy mic to have when you start to build up your mic collection. This large-diaphragm tube mic has warmth and character that gives vocals the texture they need to fit nicely into a mix. RODE has a long lasting reputation as a microphone manufacturer and I've had my NTK for 15 years and the beast is still getting use everyday in the studio.
Sweetwater has some great reviews and a wide selection of microphones. If you're going to be recording drums, the AKG D112 is a popular mic for kick drums. The D112 is also great for recording horns and brass instruments. The Shure Beta 52A is another great mic to have in your locker for tracking kick drums. If you're going to be doing Voice Over work for TV or radio commercials, the Shure SM7B is the primary mic you should be considering. This mic has become legendary in the world of VO production. I use the SM7B to narrate all my YouTube videos.
There are so many options that it is impossible to keep this post short and still pack in all the details about microphones. If you're considering a mic for your studio, leave a comment below and we'll start up a discussion about it. Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow.