With more and more people shooting video and creating content for YouTube, microphones are more ubiquitous than they used to be. But when you want to go for one that’s a little more serious, they come with all kinds of tech data. The question most of us want to know the answer to, though, is simply “How good does it sound?”
But the answer is a little more complicated than we might think. Each of those specs means something, and it’ll affect the sound in a certain way. And which is “best” depends on what you’re trying to record. This video from Podcastage looks through 10 of the most important microphone specs and breaks down their meaning in simple terms.
It’s a great breakdown that should make your buying decisions much easier. Here’s a breakdown of the video, if you’re looking for information on a particular specification.
- 00:00 – Intro
- 00:30 – Part 1: Microphone Type
- 01:10 – Part 2: Frequency Response
- 01:45 – Part 3: Polar Pattern
- 02:37 – Part 4: Self Noise (Equivalent Noise Level)
- 03:02 – Part 5: Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)
- 03:19 – Part 6: Sensitivity
- 03:53 – Part 7: Max SPL (Sound Pressure Level)
- 04:48 – Part 8: Dynamic Range
- 05:11 – Part 9.0: Output Impedance
- 05:46 – Part 9.5: Load Impedance
- 06:17 – Part 10: Power Requirements
- 06:38 – Part 11: What you should look be looking for?
- 07:58 – Outro
As I mentioned above, each microphone has its quirks that make it more useful for one task over another. Personally, my favourite mics are the Sennheiser K6/ME66 and Rode NT1a. But I also own and like the Rode NTG1, Rode VideoMicro, Rode smartLav+, and Saramonic UwMic9 dual wireless lav kit. Each has their own purpose and offers advantages for recording different things.
Which will be best for you will depend on your own needs and standards. At least now, though, you’ll be able to figure out what you want, armed with a little more information about what you’re getting.