Sound Tip #1 – know the right tools for the right sound!

This is going to seem really basic, that is ok. I would not post this tip first if it hasn’t resinated many times as I go from client to client helping them sound as great as they really are. You have heard the term “putting a square peg in a round hole” right? It seems silly, but many do this with audio every day.

For example, you could use a flat head screw driver to tighten or loosen a phillips head (the star shape) screw… technically with enough force and frustration, it would work. However, wouldn’t it be easier to just use the right tool for the job at hand? of course, and sometimes it is even cheaper!

Microphones are very similar to this scenario. The two most common microphones used today are “Dynamic” and “Condenser”. Now, I am not going to go deep into the technical difference of the two here… this is a tip, not a lecture :) So I am going to keep this SIMPLE.

If you are recording vocals, remember this;

“In MOST cases, use condenser microphones with music vocals and use dynamic microphones with speech vocals”

This rule should really be considered when looking at voice over and broadcast vocals. I have gone to too many radio stations and have seen very expensive condenser microphones installed when a basic dynamic microphone (like a Heil PR-30 or RE-20) would be perfect. The manager at the station doesn’t understand why their vocals don’t sound like the “big stations” when they went to the local music store and bought the most expensive microphones they have. The answer is because the “big stations” have hired engineers that really know their tools.

In sound design, the right tool is more important than the “best” tool.

Does something in your audio not sound right? Are you sure you have the right tools for your trade? Don’t spend $1000 on a microphone when a $200 microphone is exactly what you need!

-Lee Kebler


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