How to Set Up a Studio Microphone

Updated July 20, 2017

The way you set up a studio microphone can differ depending on what type of studio microphone you are using and what you are using the microphone for. These factors will change how you should go about choosing a microphone, setting it up and placing it in the recording environment. The two most commonly used types of studio microphones are condenser microphones and dynamic microphones.

Choose a microphone that best meets your studio recording needs. Condenser microphones are widely used for capturing vocals, drum overheads and acoustic instruments because they can capture a wide frequency spectrum, which is necessary for accurately representing the high-end detail of these instruments. Dynamic microphones are often used for capturing electric guitar amps, bass and drums. This is because they can handle high sound pressure levels without distorting.

Plug the female end of an XLR cable into your microphone. Then plug the male end of your XLR cable into an input on your recording console.

Turn on phantom power when using a condenser microphone. Phantom power must be on in order for a condenser microphone to work. However, you should never turn phantom power on if the condenser microphone has an external power source (tube condenser microphones will often have their own dedicated power sources). Doing so could damage the microphone.

Place the microphone close to the sound source if you'd like to capture a close and intimate sound, eliminating as much of the sound of the room as possible. Alternatively, place the microphone a few feet away from the sound source if you'd like to capture an ambient sound, picking up more of the room reflections than the direct sound of the instrument. Experiment at distances in between these two extremes if you'd like to capture a balance of the direct and room sounds.

Things You'll Need

  • Recording Console
  • XLR Cable
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About the Author

Wesley DeBoy has been a writer since 2004. He has a variety of arts and entertainment articles published on various websites. DeBoy specializes in writing about professional audio, music and computer technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications production from Ball State University.