Recording music at home may require us to surmount many obstacles. To obtain professional results regardless of these inconveniences, we need to use the best microphone for home recording. We’re working in an unpredictable environment, so we need to control the situation. As you may know, there are THREE microphone types that are used in recording studios… condensers, dynamic (ribbon) and dynamic (moving-coil). However, there’s only ONE of these that can get the job done. Can you guess which one?
The AKG P5 S is a high-performance dynamic microphone, but it’s also the best microphone for home recording. Dynamic microphones are rugged, affordable and provide maximum isolation of any given sound source. But why did I choose the AKG P5S over a Shure SM58 or a Shure SM57? Let’s find out!
- How I found the best microphone for home recording
- Super-cardioid microphones VS traditional cardioid microphones
- Professional sounding recording with the AKG Perception P5S
- The best microphone for both studio and live recordings
- Recording music at home using a dynamic microphone
How I found the best microphone for home recording
I had just purchased a “talk box” guitar pedal and needed a microphone to complete the setup. The AKG P5 seemed to be the most affordable option, so I decided to try it out.
It has actually been discontinued and replaced by the AKG P5S which now includes an ON/OFF switch…
Anyway, I hadn’t used the “talk box” for quite some time, so the microphone was retired as well. BUT, after reading a review on Gearslutz, I immediately took it out of its case. It sounded AMAZING on vocals and even better on a guitar cabinet.
Little did I know, I had stumbled upon “the killer dynamic [microphone] no one [knew] about”. The author of the review also claimed that it performed better than both his Shure SM58 and SM57.
When the SM58 was having feedback problems, the P5S was able to eliminate it altogether. In other words, I had in my possession a microphone that sounded better, performed better and cost less than a Shure SM58.
To this day, I am still using this microphone on ALL my recordings.
Super-cardioid microphones VS traditional cardioid microphones
If you’re familiar with polar patterns, you may have noticed that super-cardioid microphones are typically used for “live” vocals. So why would the AKG P5S be suitable for home recording?
First of all, let’s put into perspective that dynamic microphones are the LEAST sensitive.
Your sound source needs to be in close proximity in order to get a strong signal. This is ideal if you’re dealing with a lot of “ambient noise”. Basically, your microphone will have difficulty capturing sounds below a certain threshold.
If you were to compare a guitar track that had been recorded with a condenser and dynamic microphone… You’d most likely agree that the dynamic microphone provided MORE clarity.
Here’s what you’d be eliminating from your recordings…
- Electrical Appliances
- Room Acoustics
- Noisy Neighbours
- Computer Fans
- Outdoor Traffic
And basically any other “noise” that you’d otherwise need to put up with. Now, why would a super-cardioid microphone perform better than a simple cardioid?
Although super-cardioids can capture a little bit of sound from the rear, it will never become a problem (unless you had something really loud right behind your microphone).
The real advantage is that they actually have a NARROWER pickup range than cardioid microphones. 100 – 110 degrees compared to 120 – 130 degrees.
What this means is that your AKG P5S will actually reject more ambient noise than a Shure SM57.
Professional sounding recordings with the AKG Perception P5S
When we consider the AKG P5S’s price range, it’s difficult to imagine that it’d be competing with the industry standard. The best part is that this microphone can do MUCH more than advertised.
AKG has designed the P5S for “live” vocals, but it works great with guitar cabinets and drum kits.
That’s right, this microphone sounds great on snare drums and toms as it isolates them a lot better than the Shure SM57. Think about it… Using a super-cardioid polar pattern is bound to result in less “microphone bleed”.
The fact that it has a frequency response of 40 – 20,000 Hz explains why it sounds good on all these instruments. The Shure SM58 has a frequency response of 50 – 15,000 Hz in comparison.
AKG has even plated the P5S’s XLR connector using 24-carat gold, which is not typical of any “low-end” microphone.
And although dynamic microphones (this one included) tend to produce more “self-noise” than condenser microphones… It will be less of an issue.
Why? The AKG P5S has a “hotter” output than most dynamic microphones, but you’ll obtain a better signal-to-noise-ratio.
You could improve it even more by using an inline microphone preamp.
The best microphone for both studio and live recording
Did you know that the AKG P5 S includes an internal windscreen? This is really useful for an outdoor performance on a windy day.
In the recording studio, it even replaces the need for a pop-filter.
And to be honest, I’ve taken this microphone out on field recordings and it performed incredibly well. The Zoom H4n Pro’s integrated microphones are quite sensitive to wind, so the P5S was my solution.
In terms of precision, I feel like the super-cardioid polar pattern fits nicely between a dynamic and shotgun microphone. As I mentioned earlier, the feedback suppression on this microphone is extraordinary. It does a better job than the Shure SM58.
Honestly, you could probably track EVERY instrument during a live performance using one of these and it would sound FANTASTIC.
I don’t think AKG’s marketing strategy has been effective for this microphone and it’s a shame.
It’s all about VALUE when it comes to the Perception P5 S. You’re not going to find another microphone in this price range (or in a higher one) than can compete.
Recording music at home using a dynamic microphone
If you were just starting out, there’s no doubt in my mind that the AKG Perception P5 S would be your best option. It’s rugged, affordable and provides maximum isolation from “ambient noise”.
The best microphone for home recording is definitely a dynamic microphone.
More specifically, you’ll be even more satisfied if its polar pattern is super-cardioid, rather than the traditional cardioid. Music producers at home have difficulty obtaining professional sounding recordings because of inferior isolation. Condenser and ribbon microphones sound excellent, but you need to provide the proper conditions.
The versatility of a dynamic microphone is unsurpassable. It will allow you to record even in the most inconvenient environments.
They are the easiest type of microphone to use and every professional recording studio uses them. You can always pair one with a condenser and/or ribbon microphone to create a sense of space in your mix.
I hope you’re as thrilled about the AKG Perception P5S as I am. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me using the comments or by email. Thanks for reading!