I am preparing an audio recording studio at home and want to understand the traits of microphones before I get one.

I recorded with actors in a semi-professional studio with a Neumann condenser microphone (KMS 105), a Sennheiser dynamic microphone (MD 441); and I also recorded one line myself with a Samson C01U Pro (condenser) and the built-in microphone of a Macbook. The sound from the Neumann had more brightness and I preferred the Sennheiser; the Sennheiser sounds rich and deep; the sound from the Samson was less rich and picked up much background noise (which is not a problem, I can kill it in Audacity), and the sound from the Macbook microphone was more of a caricature and almost tinned.

A friend mentioned that the first one had more "body" ("corpo" in Portuguese, I couldn't find the right term so I assume it's richness) and one could see it from the spectrum plot. The first spectral plot uses text different from the other three, which all recorded the same text with the actor (Sennheiser) or me (Samon and Macbook).

Neumann microphone:

Spectrum plot of Neumman

Sennheiser microphone:

Spectrum plot of Sennheiser

Samson microphone:

Spectrum plot of Samson

Macbook microphone:

Spectrum plot of Macbook

I have these questions from analyzing the spectral plots and the result in sound:

  • why is the entry-level Samson microphone closer to the Macbook microphone both in sound and in spectrum than the Neumann or Sennheiser?

  • is the lack of richness of the Samson and Macbook equivalent to the dip between 3kHz and 6kHz, while the Neumann and Sennheiser have a smoother profile of volume as a function of frequency?

  • is that smooth profile in the 3-6 kHz region the characteristic of a very good microphone?

  • are these spectrum plots standardized and a good way to gauge the performance of a microphone and to choose one?

  • compared to the Neumann, the Sennheiser has less volume on the high frequencies; is that the meaning of "brightness" in a microphone?

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