I have a very noisy neighbor and need to record her rantings - what microphone would be good for this? Thank you!
Basically any microphone should work if your neighbor is "very noisy". If, in contrast, you are very nosy, a large diaphragm condenser (with suitable preamp/audio interface) or possibly a contact microphone on the wall/floor would do the trick.
Of course, operating non-trivial eavesdropping equipment on people not agreeing with a recording is illegal in most countries, so you might get into a whole lot of trouble by using equipment clearly intended to work for more than just recording an inordinate amount of noise.
In contrast, getting a loudness meter and recording or writing down its readings should be unproblematic. If you want to bring civil suit, this will also have more evidentiary value than a voice recording which could really be from any actual loudness, depending on the quality of your equipment.
There are 2 options for what you want to do, and ill answer from sound perspective and not legal or w/e.
1st contact mic :You can attach a contact mic (piezo etc) on a wall and record it (if it comes from the hallway attach it to the door and so on)
2nd shotgun mic :If you have "visual" with the neighbor , e.g. he's on the other side of the road and most of the sound comes from a window , you should try a shotgun mic, pointing in that direction.
all these are from inside an appartment.
I dislike the condenser or "any" microphone as they are very generic and a car passing can easily make a recording useless.