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computer mic vs. real mic

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New Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

I was hoping someone could help me out with a question I had...if i had a choice of hooking a regular mic say 100.00 one vs. a 10-30.00 computer mic which will provide a better sound. How much better etc? Thanks for clearing this up...

Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

From my experience (very limited), I'd say that the "real" mic is the way to go.  Computer mics are designed to be able to properly pick up the human voice.  Well, at least well enough that you can make out what is being said.  However, as soon as you start trying to pick up a guitar sound (from an acoustic or amp), the mic starts overloading, and a very nasty hiss is created.

That being said, if you're not looking to do anything professional, but just record for recordings sake, or to make a cheap demo for clubs, then you can get away with a computer mic.  I'd still suggest going with the "real" microphone, as they are not rediculously expensive (about $80 more than a computer mic, as you said), but are much better suited to the task of picking up music.

If you'd like to hear something that I recorded using a computer mic, I've got a couple songs up on the internet.  They're just my voice and an acoustic, but if you really listen, you can definately hear the static hiss, especially when I strum hard.  Here are the links:

People with more experience will be able to answer your question much better than I have, but I hope I've been of assistance.

Greg McNeish

Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 13

Hi Fallon22!

   Greg basically hit the reason on the head.

A standard dynamic microphone will work much better because the diaphragm has more space to move. This means that you can mike at relatively higher levels than that of a standard computer microphone. When the diaphragm - the piece of material that is moved inside of the microphone to cause it to generate the signal - when this is pushed too far by the sound's pressure (higher volume = more pressure) it bashes against the wall and causes an odd "Hiss" which, from the editing I have done, cannot be removed from the after produced setup.

This means you can play you're amp a relatively decent level in which the details of the tone are where you want it, and still probably keep the sound in the green/ from naturally clipping.

You will have to consider, possibly, getting an adapter from the XLR to something that the soundcard can handle (2.5mm, 3.5mm, or 1/4"). That way you can plug the dynamic mic into the soundcard, but I'm unsure if any impedance problems were to result from this, I'm sure Laz would have an answer to that.

Also, condensor mics work really well at miking amps and drums. I won't go into the details on how they work (if you're curious, it's much like a capicitor), but essentially all in all, the response is even better in my opinion than that of the dynamic microphones, however, you'll need some form of power to turn them on, such as 48v phantom power from mixers.

My vote is, if you can afford it, go for the Dynamic mike.

I hope this helps as well!

Rock on and good luck on your purchase!


Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

get a Shure SM-57  ;)