Microphones to sound designers are what paintbrushes are to artists. They are an essential tool in our creative arsenal, and as audio post professionals its crucial that we have a wide understanding of different microphones, particular those so heavily favoured by the industry.
In this article, we share with you 5 tried-and-tested microphones that have stood the test of time and earned "classic" status.
First up on this list we have the NeumannKM184. Billed as "The universal microphone for studio and stage applications", the KM184 is revered for its transparent sound, compact design and most importantly its modest price tag.
This mic is beloved by sound designers and Foley artists for its full-frequency response, lack of colouration and for its reputation of punching above its weight for its price class. The KM184 is also a staple in the world of film music, becoming one of the "go-to" spot microphones for orchestral recording.
A pair of KM184s and their storage case.
There have been several re-issues of this mic over the years, and by spending some time searching online you can pick up one of these second hand for a very good price indeed! https://en-de.neumann.com/km-184
The Schoeps CMIT stands out from the crowd thanks to its blue colour.
Schoeps have made a name for themselves by consistently delivering premium recording equipment that pushes the envelope in terms of engineering and build quality. The CMIT product series is no exception. With truly stellar tech specs combined with an eye-catching blue paint job, this mic stands out from the pack and its clear to see why it is coveted by so many. This compact, directional condenser mic has all of the qualities you would desire in a premium microphone. Its inherent transparency and low noise that makes it perfect for Foley applications and all of this comes neatly jammed inside of a lightweight 78 gram build.
The much-loved Shure SM57.
Our next microphone on this list surely needs no introduction. The Shure SM57 is a bonafide legend, and is perhaps the most recognisable microphone in the world next to its older brother the SM58. Sonically this dynamic mic does its job quite nicely, delivering solid and dependable performance over a wide range of situations. Whilst you wont get the clarity and crispness of a condenser mic, the SM57 excels at handling high SPL levels making it perfect for capturing explosive sounds. The main attraction for the SM57 is its robust design and low cost. Its not always the most expensive or flashy mic that is the best tool for the job. Sometimes its good to have some budget mics available, ones that don't mind taking a few knocks and scratches here and there.
A 344 Audio Favourite: The Sennheiser MKH50.
Anyone who has spent any time at all in the world of audio will know the name Sennheiser. These German giants are no stranger to making supreme pieces of kit whether its their headphones, mics or wireless systems, and so we had high hopes for the MKH50. With a sound that is rounded, full-bodied yet naturalistic, coupled with its transparency and low noise make the MKH50 the apex in the world of Foley microphones. The MKH50 is beautifully designed both inside and out, and whilst aesthetics may seem like low priority when it comes to microphones, the MKH50 just looks so damn cool that we cant not mention it. We can personally vouch for the MKH50, having picked one up a few months ago it has become a favourite of the team here at 344 Audio and has featured on pretty much every project we have touched in that time.
The NTG4 Stereo from RODE microphones.
RODE NT4 Stereo
The RODE NT4 is a mid-tier stereo condenser microphone that clocks in at around the £350 price mark, making it one of the most affordable mics in its class with no comprises on sonic quality. What's great about the rode is that its truly plug-in-and-go. You only have to connect one microphone input and you are off and away. There's no messing around with multiple XLRs, stereo bars, phase alignment and measuring tapes, this mic simply does the job straight out of the box and gives you stereo recording capabilities with no fuss, perfect for busy sound designers. Whilst there are other mic models that also offer this, what makes the NT4 a classic is RODE's design quality. RODE have a rich pedigree when it comes to designing microphones for film and media purposes, and so you know that when you pick up an NT4 you are getting the real deal.
https://rode.com/en/microphones/studio-condenser/nt4 That wraps things up for this article. We hope you enjoyed checking our our list of 5 classic microphones of sound design and Foley. Please consider subscribing for more articles like this!
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
Check out our work:
Check out our Pro Tools templates and SFX on the store!
Follow our socials!