There is a huge selection of microphones on the market today, with cardioid condenser mics being some of the most popular. Used for everything from kick drums, snares and toms to acoustic guitars, pianos and vocals, these types of condenser mics feature a cardioid polar pattern to pick up sound in front of them while rejecting anything from the sides and rear. The ability to isolate desired sound while eliminating background noise makes them ideal for multi-miking situations onstage and in the studio. Since cardioid condenser mics are so versatile and widely used by recording pros and hobbyists alike, this sections contains hundreds of examples from such brands as MXL, Audio-Technica, Rode, AKG, Earthworks, Shure and more.
Condenser mics are very responsive to the speed and nuances of sound waves, so if you're looking for perfect reproduction and pinpoint accuracy in your work, you should be able to find it here. The right mic for you likely comes down to budget and individual needs in size and range. For instance, if you're on the hunt for a complete-package mic that works well at home, onstage or in the studio, take a look at the top-rated Audio-Technica AT2035 Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone. Equipped with a switchable 80Hz high-pass filter and 10dB pad, the AT2035 easily handles high sound pressure levels and offers excellent consistency from model to model.
Another solid example of a good all-purpose mic is the best-selling Shure SM86 Cardioid Condenser Vocal Mic, which has a built-in 3-point shockmount for minimizing handling noise and a 2-stage filter for reducing breath noises and pops. However, if you spend a lot of time on the road or are outfitting a new home studio, a bundle deal may be more convenient as you won't have to make as many purchases. The top-rated Rode Microphones NT1-A Condenser Mic Bundle includes not only a large diaphragm mic, but a premium shockmount, pop filter, cable, microphone dust cover and a DVD.
With their fast response and outstanding sensitivity to sounds, cardioid condenser mics are a smart choice for recording studios and live performances. You have the talent and drive to share your music with the world, so it makes sense to invest in quality hardware to help you along the way. When you add one (or several!) of these mics to your bag of tricks, you're one step closer to making the magic happen.