Sweetwater is a treasure trove of gear, with an enormous store and massive warehouses filled with musical goodies. So, we took up the challenge and decided to embark on a journey to uncover our top five microphones.
Now, selecting just five microphones from the vast array available on the market can be quite a Herculean task. The beauty of microphones lies in their diversity, catering to various sound profiles and applications. So, let’s dive into our selection process and reveal the top contenders.
Our journey begins with the revolutionary Lewitt LCT 640TS. This microphone’s claim to fame lies in its innovative design, featuring two capsules seamlessly merged together, resulting in impeccable phase coherence. What does this mean for your recordings? Well, it offers you the ability to capture stunning stereo recordings with zero phase issues.
We once placed this gem over a drum kit, panned it left and right, and were rewarded with the best-sounding stereo drum recording we’ve ever produced. The 640TS boasts remarkable versatility, allowing you to switch between various polar patterns, from omni to figure-eight. Its accuracy in capturing sound is second to none, making it a top pick for us.
Next up is the Lauten Audio Atlantis, a microphone that’s been making waves in the industry. Atlantis is a powerhouse with distinct sonic characteristics. Its ability to morph your sound is its key strength. With three selectable polar patterns (cardioid, omni, and figure-eight) and different tonal profiles, this microphone can adapt to a wide range of recording scenarios.
From delivering a classic, darker sound to an incredibly neutral profile, the Atlantis shines in various applications. Its substantial build quality adds to its allure, making it a statement piece in any studio.
No list of top microphones would be complete without the legendary Neumann U87. This microphone is synonymous with professional studio work. When you spot a U87 in a studio, it sends a message – this is a serious place for serious work.
The U87 may not be the most neutral mic, but that’s precisely what makes it special. It adds its unique color and warmth to recordings, making it a staple in the audio world. Whether you’re a studio owner or a recording enthusiast, having a U87 in your arsenal is a mark of excellence.
Moving on to a microphone that’s iconic in the world of rock and roll – the Shure SM57. This little dynamo has been the go-to choice for electric guitar and snare drum for decades. It’s utilitarian and simply gets the job done.
With its bright, mid-focused sound, the SM57 excels at capturing the aggression and character of electric guitars and snare drums. Its affordability, coupled with its undeniable sound, makes it an essential tool for any musician or engineer.
Rounding off our top five is the Royal R10. Ribbon microphones have a unique charm, and the R10 delivers it with finesse. It provides that classic ribbon sound at an accessible price point, making it an excellent choice for those looking to explore ribbon mics without breaking the bank.
With its ability to handle high sound pressure levels, the R10 can be placed in front of guitar cabinets, brass instruments, or even as drum room mics. It offers a rich, vintage tone that’s hard to resist.
Honorable Mentions: Gems Worth Exploring
While our top five microphones steal the spotlight, we can’t help but give a nod to a few honorable mentions:
- AKG C451: A classic pencil condenser microphone known for its versatility and crisp sound.
- Beyerdynamic M160: A ribbon microphone celebrated for its unique character and outstanding performance.
- Audio-Technica AT2020: An affordable yet quality condenser microphone that deserves more recognition.
- Mojave MA201s: These small diaphragm condensers are versatile workhorses with a modern sound.
And last but not least, the Chandler REDD Microphone: This beauty, while a bit pricier, offers an alternative to vintage U47s, adding a touch of luxury to your studio setup.
In conclusion, selecting the perfect microphone can be a daunting task, given the myriad of options available. Your choice should align with your sound preferences, recording needs, and budget. So, whether you’re aiming for the classics or exploring innovative options, the world of microphones has something for everyone.
What are your favorite microphones? We’d love to hear your picks and experiences. Feel free to share in the comments on the video above.