Why you (probably) don’t need a better microphone


Phones, computers, cameras, cars, watches… Technology’s always improving and there’s always something new and shiny to tempt us from our cash. Same applies to sound gear, especially microphones. But do we really need an upgrade?

When I was a kid I was a pretty serious golfer. I had hardly any money so my clubs were cheap and very basic. I noticed how most of the other members had better gear than me, sometimes it was really expensive professional level stuff. But I also noticed how it never seemed to make them any better. They just had more money to spend (or waste). When Bobby Jones was breaking gold records in the 1930s he wasn’t using carbon fibre shafts and range finders.

Same applies to the microphones that most of us use. People used to tell me how I need this or that particular mic to compliment my type of voice. They’d tell me about frequencies and… well, I’d stopped listening by then. Does it really matter. I think for most of us, in most situations, it does not. I remember singing live on a TV show years ago. I was curious to see what fancy mic the BBC tech would give me. It was the very standard and very reliable SM58. And it sounded great. Only last year, I recorded an album, at home, in lockdown with a cheap Yeti Blue mic that I’d bought for podcasting. It also sounded great. When I started recording interviews with people for my podcasts I spent ages researching the perfect mic (or mics) until a friend from the BBC told me just to use my iPhone. Simple, convenient and sounds great.

I know audiophiles will tell me a thousand reasons why I’m wrong but at the end of the day, my ears can’t tell the difference. Can yours?

Don’t worry about the tech. Spend your time learning songs, improving your voice and enjoying music.

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  1. Dear Gary
    I note you mentioned you were in your youth a serious golfer.
    Have you seen the film "the phantom of the open"….it is doing the rounds of the cinemas at the moment. based on a true story. … maybe you already know the story of Maurice Flitcroft. He had to cheapest of equipment but still made it to "The Open"…Best wishes Geoff jackson

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