When it comes to recording sound effects, the devil is in the detail. This means having a quality microphone, and we’ve listed some of the best for the job!
It can be great fun creating your own sound effects (SFX). You can take to fruit and vegetables with a baseball bat, and call it being productive. If you manage to get a decent port-Foley-o (I’m really, truly sorry) together, you could even earn money with SFX.
But, there is a little more to it than just heading to the voice recorder on your phone and stomping through some leaves. In order for SFX to fit seamlessly into a production, they need to be crisp, clear and high quality. This all starts with the microphone.
There are different microphones for recording your voice, and things like polar patterns to consider. Mics perform in a variety of ways, and some are better suited to situations than others. It stands to reason that a microphone that is ideal for amplifying raucous, rock band vocals isn’t going to be perfect for capturing the delicate breathing of a sleeping kitten.
So, what then are the best mics for recording sound effects?
If you’re unfamiliar with polar patterns, check out our article linked above.
A hyper-cardioid microphone has a much tighter directionality at the front. This makes it great for capturing specific sounds and honing in on a focus area.
A fantastic example of a hyper-cardioid microphone is the Oktava MK-012-01. This condenser mic can record sharply and precisely. It also comes with a variety of capsules, making it incredibly versatile.
Shot Gun Mics
Whilst a hyper-cardioid microphone has a focussed directionality, a shot gun mic can go even tighter. Usually long and narrow, like the barrel of a shot gun, you can think of them as almost telescopic. If you’re looking to record a very specific sound, this is your best bet.
A great example of a shot gun mic is the Audio-Technica AT875R. It’s reasonably compact, at 7 inches long, making it great for getting in close when recording sound effects.
Not all sound effects are scrunching paper or chewing food. Ambient and background noise is important and sought after as well. This is when a field recording device is a good shout.
Being out and about is the nature of taking field recordings, so a specifically designed, pocketable microphone is what you need. The Zoom H1n Handy Recorder is a perfect example of this. It packs loads of useful features, all while being simple to use with one-touch button functions.