Walk into any studio and you will no doubt see a condenser microphone. Large diaphragm condenser mics are used for recording vocals and thin pencil microphones can be used for cymbals and acoustic instruments. Condenser mics require phantom power, provided from XLR microphone preamps, through XLR cables.
Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones (LDM’s)
A LDM condenser microphone is almost always used for vocal recordings in a studio. With a wide frequency response and long pick up range, a large diaphragm mic will capture all sounds with true accuracy. A silent recording space is a must.
Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones (SDM’s)
SDM’s are also extremely common in studio set ups, used to record wide and high frequency acoustic instruments such as guitars, pianos and stringed instruments. Drum kit overhead microphones also often use thin pencil mics in both live performance and studio recordings. These pencil mics suit the high frequency sound of cymbals.
The wide frequency response and long pick up range allow condenser microphones to record the subtleties of any sound source. These features make them perfect for studio recording, but they can be prone to feedback and ‘bleeding’ when used on stage, especially if there are multiple sound sources.