The Mic Site Glossary

The Mic Hoop™

A device (patent pending) created by the Mic Site to ensure that the microphones that are tested are on an equal playing field for each test.

The Mic Site Application™

The program (patent pending) allows Mic Site visitors to compare microphones, preamplifiers and other critical items in the recording chain.

A/B View

Unique feature of the Mic Site application allowing users to select two microphones and with one click quickly switch between the two audio files to allow for very accurate comparison.

Listen Blind

Unique feature of the Mic Site application allowing users to remove all the information about the microphones.  When this information is gone the listener can form opinions without and preconceived notions about a certain brand or price range.

Audition

A Mic Site session where recording chain items are auditioned against one another.

Condenser Mic

The condenser microphone will produce a high-quality audio signal are a good choice for recording studios.  It is also good practice to have several different microphones so you have “flavors” to choose from for different studio applications.  Condenser mics require power to operate and in a studio setting this is normally by phantom power from the mixing board, digital I/O device, direct box, or, in some cases, an onboard battery or a special power supply (usually included with the microphone at purchase).  Condenser mics are the go-to choice for studio vocals, voice over work, or when trying to record subjects where a lot of detail is desired.

Dynamic Mic

Dynamic microphones are normally very tough and relatively inexpensive.  For these reasons they are commonly used on stage in live situations where they may suffer a good knock or two like on a drum kit.  However that doesn’t mean that they should not be used in the studio.  If you are going to have only one mic in your closet it will probably be a dynamic if for no other reason than it should last you a lifetime.  Due to the way most are manufactured, their sound is not always as full as other types of microphones but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is not the best mic for the job.  They can handle high sound pressure levels, like on a kick drum or bass cabinet.  Dynamic mics are responsible for some of the most iconic recordings of the last 50 years.

Ribbon Mic

Ribbon microphones are relatively delicate when compared to dynamics and condenser mics and produce a smoother and often darker or less detailed sound. For the most part – THEY DO NOT LIKE PHANTOM POWER!  Just plugging a ribbon mic in where phantom power is present can result in the mic frying instantly. However more and more manufactures are offering “Active” ribbon mics such as AEA, sE and Sontronics to name a few. Note, with a lot of digital interfaces when phantom power is present at one mic input it will be there on all of them so watch out!  However there is great reward for the risk and there are a lot of less expensive ribbon mics available on the market now.  Ribbon mics are very useful for adding different colors to your recordings.  Jazz vocals and drums love being recorded via ribbon mics.