SWAMP’s Christmas Microphone Buying Guide

Posted: 5 December 2012

Synopsis: A helpful guide to selecting a microphone as a gift for a budding musician. Whether it is for practice at home, live performance, or even home recording; we have right products and information to lead you in the right direction. Also find packages deals,

SWAMP's Christmas Microphone Buying Guide

A microphone is an excellent choice of gift for a budding musician, enabling them to practice or even record their vocal talents or instrument performance.

Q. Is the microphone for PRACTISE / PERFORMANCE or RECORDING onto a computer?

a) Practice / Performance

The Mic - If the mic is to be used for 'practice' say at home or in a jam room with band, or for 'live performance' on stage, we recommend a "dynamic microphone". This type of microphone is the common type used for speeches and vocal practice / performance.

We recommend the iSK DM-58; excellent quality, and very attractively priced.

iSK DM-58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone Mic, Live Recording

The Speaker / Amp - Some form of 'speaker' / 'amplifier' is required to amplify the sound from the microphone, so it can be heard.

A "guitar amp" can be used to amplify a microphone signal, and SWAMP specifically sells models of guitar amps that include microphone inputs.

Guitar Amplifier with Effects + Mic Input - 10W - Battery Powered
Guitar Amplifier 20W - with Amp Modeling FX + Mic + Aux Input

If more power is required, say if used for live performance or for jamming in a loud band with a drum kit, a powered PA speaker is very versatile option.

Swamp 12" Powered PA Speaker - Bi-amped - 150W + 30W RMS

The Cable / Adapter - To connect the DM-58 microphone to the guitar amplifier, you will require the below adapter, to convert the end of the XLR cable (included with the DM-58 microphone) to fit the mic input on the amp.

Audio Adapter - XLR female to 1/4" male Mono TS

If purchasing a microphone without a cable included, then we recommend the below cable which will go direct from the microphone to the amplifier, without the need for an adapter:

Swamp Balanced XLR(f) - 1/4" TRS Mic / Line Level Cable

Available Packages - Swamp has put together a range packages suited to home practice, including everything that is required to get started.

Singer Songwriter Mic and Amp Package - 20W Amplifier
Portable Microphone Package - 10W Amplifier
Kids Portable Microphone Package - 5W Battery Powered Amp

b) Computer Recording

The Mic - If the mic is to be used for recording into a computer, in a studio style sound quality, a "Condenser Microphone" is recommended. Condenser mics pick up sounds from a much wider frequency range and physical distance, resulting in a fuller, warmer sound. Think of the sound of a radio presenters voice, that is a condenser mic you are hearing.

We recommend the iSK BM-700; warm, lively sound and again great price

iSK BM-700 Uni-directional Studio Condenser Microphone

The Computer Interface - To enable the microphone to be recorded to a computer, a "computer interface" is required to connect between the microphone, and the computer. 'USB audio interfaces' are the standard style of computer interface and great for home studio's. Please note, condenser microphones require "phantom power", so ensure the computer interface outputs phantom power.

We recommend the ART USB Dual Preamp, as a full feature interface for computer recording;

ART USB Dual Preamp Audio Interface

- 2 Channels (connect 2 mics or instruments)
- Headphone Monitoring (hear yourself while recording)
- Playback Monitoring (hear pre-recorded tracks while recording)

A cheaper alternative is the Alctron XU-2;

Alctron XLR to USB Microphone Pre-amp

The Cable - To connect a condenser microphone to computer interface an XLR cable (XLR Male to XLR Female) is required. Note, that an XLR cable can transfer "phantom power", which is required by the condenser microphone to operate.

We recommend our "Pro-Line" XLR cables for recording connections, as these cables feature a "braided ground shield", giving extra protection from potential interference:

Swamp Pro-Line Balanced XLR Microphone Cable - Neutrik AG XX

Available Packages - Swamp has put together a range of DIY home studio packages, with everything included to get started with professional recordings, at home.

Studio Recording Package - BM-700 + USB Audio Interface
Studio Vocal Recording Package - BM-700
Studio Vocal Recording Package - RM8