February 9, 2009

I have been considering upgrading my microphones for some time. Most of my previous recordings were done with a Chinese-made recording microphones, bereft of any identifying marks save a large ‘GA’ on one side. This microphone is not bad, but it does not produce optimal sounds, especially for my vocals, so I have been looking at an upgrade.

At Macworld last month, I spent considerable time with the Shure people looking at their product lineup. Since I run all my sound through my m-Audio Ozone MIDI controller, I already have a phantom power-enabled XLR jack,  but I have been thinking that I would like to get away from the dependence on phantom power, as I do not always have access to a phantom power-enabled jack. Therefore, I have focused my search on the dynamic cardioid microphones.

I have long been impressed with the all-around performance of the classic Shure SM-57, and while there are higher-priced microphones on the market, I determined that for my needs, the SM-57 was probably the best choice. It is a well-focused instrument microphone and also provides acceptable vocals. And as a cardioid, it does not require phantom power, enabling me to connect it directly to the computer if need be.

Thus far, my use has been restricted to recording my practice sessions, but I intend to use it for my next recording session with the MIDI controller and see how the results compare with the recording microphone I have been using. For instrumentals, I also have an Audio-Technica clip-on microphone, which works well with my brass instruments. I am hoping that now I will be able to do true stereo recording, as opposed to the mono I have been doing thus far. I shall report back once I have created my next track.