A common question on here seems to be a recommendation for a SFX mic (mostly indoors). I too am currently mulling over this same issue.

I am planning to do several SFX libraries in the near future, and was wondering if anyone with similar experience could point me in the right direction. I need a mic for indoor SFX that I could also possibly use as a dialog mic indoors.

One question I have is in terms of mono/stereo options. Most SFX libraries are Stereo (I assume because of the ease of going from Stereo to Mono in any DAW). I have always recorded my SFX for projects in mono with my AKG c414B-XLS and have set a delay or chorus if I wanted to "beef" them up a little. That being said, I'm confused as to whether I should buy a short shotgun, hyper, matched stereo pair or single stereo mic for indoor SFX?

Some mics I have considered are:

-stereo pair of Beyerdynamic MC930s (this would allow me record in stereo indoors and possibly outdoor ambiences). Maybe even use a single mic as a backup for indoor dialog?

Sanken CSS-5 (can record in stereo or mono, possibly use it as a dialog mic for film, outdoors but may not be the best for SFX and I'll have less flexibility with the the fixed stereo positions as opposed to the MC930s.

Schoeps MK41 (seems like people use this for SFX but it would leave me with mono recordings but I've used this indoors for dialog and was really impressed)

So this is my predicament. I just got paid for a post gig that I worked very hard on and almost went crazy over so I want to make this purchase count.

Thank you for your input

3 Answers 3


Such choices are really dictated by what you are recording and where....

  • Choices of mono or stereo - is a stereo image important? it depends on what you're recording.... Dual mono/discrete stereo may be more valuable, or M/S may be (& may tie in better to also having a good dialogue mic)

  • Indoors but does room acoustic matter?

  • How loud is what you plan to record? i.e. how sensitive do the mic/s need to be? How important is self noise?

These are all questions to ask yourself but the best suggestion I can make is to rent and/or borrow the mics you are seriously considering, to audition them with your own ears - it is the only way you will know for sure ie do a test recording of a range of sounds to get a feel for how each mic responds....

  • good answer. recording fley like things, door closes, faucets, house hardware - these are fine mono. In this case a nice shotgun is great. ambiance, car bys, world stuff is best in stereo because that information is there. using a stereo XY mic is easiest and easy is good becuase it's about getting it quick and right. for ambiance, people mix MS, XY, spaced pair or ORTF. each has + and -. I like XY and spaced pair for outdoors AMB stuff. two pencil omnis for spaced pair, stereo single mic for XY (rode NT4 here)
    – mikevarela
    Jan 17, 2013 at 6:20
  • Thanks Tim + Mike, I suppose I just need to audition the Sanken and make a decision. Jan 22, 2013 at 6:53

Tim mostly answered your question, but what I would add is don't use fx. Record anything as dry as you can, even if it doesn't sound as beefy as you'd like. Delay or chorus can always be added, but it's a pain to subtract them from a recording.

  • Yes, I always record everything dry, straight into my RME Fireface800 or my partners SD702 if I'm in the field. Jan 22, 2013 at 6:42

I agree with Tim Prebble.

Because I am on budget than I use general purpose shotgun BP4029 from Audio Technica it is variable Wide/Narrow Stereo and M/S - with M/S I can always use it as mono shotgun and If its required I can mix ambience in my recordings.

With M/S you will be always mono compatible - but you will need recorder with support to monitor it (matrix). And some plugins to smooth you workflow in DAW.

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