It occurred to me yesterday that if I’m starting the marathon that is a new album, I should finally research a new microphone. I’ve had my Behringer B-1 for years, and it is a solid, well-respected mic that gets the job done. But I’ve long been trying to figure out why I so often have trouble with sibilants when I record my singing, and other artifacts on high frequencies that require frequent use of De-Esser plugins to avoid egg-frying hissing and ringing, and some research I did after recording “We Are the East” suggested the microphone was the most likely culprit.
I’ve learned some techniques that help, like not singing straight into the mic, and my recordings yesterday were really guide vocals to provide a baseline for the instrument tracks that I’ll start recording next month. Nevertheless, I spent time last night looking at detailed microphone reviews on YouTube and elsewhere. (Shout-outs to Podcastage channel, which has playlists of mics reviewed by price range, and Recording Revolution, which is very helpful, though Graham is trying to sell you online courses, so caveat emptor.) It became clear that it wasn’t necessary to get a more expensive microphone, but the B-1, while a quality budget mic, does add brightness, which can cause problems with sibilants and acoustic guitar recordings.
So I ordered an Audio Technica AT2020, which is one of the best rated microphones for vocals, and only costs $99. Amazon delivered it today (ah, the joys of oppressive tech giants), so I tried it out just now. Wow. I can sing straight into it, and it captures my vocals cleanly…and no sibilant problems. At all. This will be a great mic not only for my own vocals and for acoustic guitar, but it will be wonderful when I record female vocals (and if you know my stuff, you know how much I enjoy including those in recordings).
Meet my new best friend.