How Do You Capture Quality Sound with a Budget Microphone?

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do you capture quality sound with a budget microphone?

Many of us (myself included) work on budgets. While it would be great if we all could afford to drop $1,000 plus on a bunch of microphones, that’s just not reality.

So how do you get great results with a more inexpensive microphone? Here are 3 things to consider.

1. Your room matters more than the cost of the mic.

If you took a Neumann U 87 Ai Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone (currently costs over $3,000), and then recorded a vocal in an untreated, echoey room… guess what, it would sound AWFUL.

In fact, it would probably sound WORSE than the same recording with a cheaper mic because the U87 would pick up all the worst parts of the room.

The point is this… one of the best things you can do to get better results from a microphone at ANY price point is treat your space… or use blankets when recording… or record yourself in a closet with good acoustics.

Those things will make a bigger difference than going out and buying a more expensive mic! Click here to get a home recording cheat sheet if you’re ready to set up your room for better acoustics.

2. Your performance matters more than the cost of the mic.

Take a $3,000 mic and a $100 mic and record the same singer…

In one performance with the more expensive mic, she’s tired, hungover, and didn’t warm up before the performance.

In the other performance with the cheaper she’s well rested, warmed up, and feeling hydrated and healthy.

Guess what… the cheaper mic is going to get a better sounding recording!

3. Technique trumps gear.

Sure, you should try to build out your microphone collection when you can… but the second you start thinking “this doesn’t sound good, it must be my cheap mic,” I’d challenge you to think back… did you use good techniques?

Here’s a link to a microphone technique PDF from shure. Read it and learn it! Remember to understand concepts like the proximity effect, and how that can affect your recordings, too.

The truth is, you CAN overcome gear budget limitations and get great sound… IF you focus on “the other things” and use proven techniques! By the way, if you really want to learn proven techniques to get better sound in a home studio, click here to check out my digital course, The Art of Home Recording.

Recommended Resources

Not Sure The Best Way To Get Started?
Here are some of my best resources to help you get started FAST...

=== Watch & Listen ===

=== The Essentials (Everything You Need To Get Started) ===

Free Guides: 121 Mixing Tips 'n' Tricks | 47 EQ Tips 'n' Tricks | 47 Compression Tips 'n' Tricks | EQ Cheat Sheet | Compression Cheat Sheet | Home Recording Cheat Sheet | Mastering Cheat Sheet | Music Production Cheat Sheet | Top 20 DAWs

=== Go Even Deeper With Premium Video Courses ===

~~~ "Just Give Me Everything, Please!" ~~~

Get instant access to ALL of the video courses (plus a whole lot more) with a Free 14 Day Trial to AudioSkills. You'll be joining a private, friendly community of musicians and producers who are upping their game, just like you!

Click Here to Start a Free Trial

Personal Note: Thank you for being a member of the AudioSkills community! If there's anything you need, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me on Facebook. — Scott Hawksworth, Founder