Rode NTK

Building a Home Studio | Top 10 Microphones

Thinking about getting a microphone to start or build on your home recording studio? Here are 10 mics you should consider. Ranging from Dynamic to USB mics that are great for singing or podcasting.

How to start a recording studio | part 2

Now you've got your computer and interface all ready to go. It's time to pick out a microphone or two so you can start recording. There are so many options out there and the prices are all over the place. Keep your budget in mind and remember there is more gear needed to complete the studio. So be reasonable about what you can afford.

BLUE KIWI • Main Vocal Mic

At the very least, seek out a decent vocal mic. Vocals are such a big part of the music that it pays to have a clean vocal mic. If you have the budget, I highly recommend the BLUE KIWI mic as your main vocal mic. It's produces a very clean sound and has impressive detail in capturing vocals. I use this mic on a daily basis at the studio and it has been my go-to mic for years. Now, this is not an entry level mic at $1,999, so don't buy it if your budget doesn't allow this expense. There are other mics out there, so do a little research and find one that works for your setup. The RODE NTK is an excellent utility mic that can track vocals and then be used to record a kick drum. The tube in the NTK gives the signal a nice analog warmth that helps tracks sit nicely into the mix. I've used my NTK on guitar amps, acoustic guitars, vocals, drums, congas, violins, and a slew of other instruments. All the tracks sound great, so this mic is well worth the investment.

Now your budget might be tight, so not to fret, there are some great options out there for a budget studio. Blue makes a few smaller versions of their flagship mics. The REACTOR is a great mic if you can find one. They're about $500 brand new and they have the same capsule as the KIWI. The Blue Bird is another excellent option and it is another versatile mic that can be used for many different applications. Right now is offering a Blue Bird mic + a Focusrite Scarlett interface for $299. That's a good deal for getting yourself up and running.

The staple mic is the Shure SM58 and you can never go wrong with this mic. It is built like a tank and can take a beating and still provide quality audio recordings. This mic is under $100 and will give you solid recordings on almost anything you put in front of it. Now it's not designed to be used as a multipurpose mic, but I've had good results from using it as a snare mic and a vocal mic. If you want a solid instrument mic, the Shure SM57 is your new best friend. It is a universal mic for anything that needs to be recorded and it is also built like a tank. This mic is the go-to mic for many engineers for tracking snares, guitar amps, toms, and sometimes vocals. Very affordable and extremely versatile are the big bonus points for these two mics.

I could go on and on about all the different mics, but these are just some of my favorites. If you have a question about a mic or want to know what I think about a particular mic, just post a comment here and I'll respond as soon as I can. Now get back to recording!

Drum mics | Kick Drum Recording


The biggest drum seems like the easiest drum to mic, but this big fella can be tricky at times. You really have to pay attention to the music. The tone of the kick drum needs to match the tone of the music. This requires selecting and placing the right mic in the right spot to capture the tone that you need.

There are a few options I recommend. The Shure Beta 52 is a rock solid mic for any recording. It provides depth, punch, clarity, and snap that works well with virtually every recording. You can never go wrong when using this microphone to record your kick drum.

My backup mic is the AKG D112. This egg-shaped mic is versatile for many recording applications, so it's an excellent choice for those of you on a tight budget. Besides kick drum tracks, this mic works well for recording any instrument that has a lot of low-end detail. I've used this microphone to record congas, bass guitar, trumpets, horns, and vocals. So for the $199 price tag this mic carries, it's well worth the investment.

The third microphone that I recommend is a little unorthodox. The RODE NTK is a secret weapon that I like to use when I need a bit more slap in the kick drum. It's a tube-based condenser that has a magical sound when placed in just the right spot. Usually I find that spot slightly off-center in front of the drum head. The $499 price on this mic does put it in the slightly expensive category, but this mic can do it all. From vocals to acoustic guitar, this mic is excellent on almost any recording.

Hope this helps you get better kick drum recordings. Happy tracking.