The importance of the microphone in the home studio can't be understated.
After all it is the gateway into your realm of home recording.
This is a good place to buy a quality, durable piece of equipment. But don't go overboard because these things can also get craaazy expensive.
Depending on what you're trying to record, there are a couple different microphone options.
To get a full overview visit the Microphone Home Page for a description of the various choices.
A high-end model will collect every nuance of your angelic voice and give wonderful sound quality.
Sounds pretty good doesn't it?? Not so fast, Sweetheart!
Without the proper acoustically treated space, equally high-end microphone preamps, cables, and other components you won't hear what the fancy mic can really do... so these are simply not for us so there's no use breaking the bank here.
For around $100 bucks you can get a quality condenser mic.
If you only have enough money for 1, then I'd recommend a condenser over a dynamic mic, but both would be useful in your home recording studio setup.
A condenser mic will give you the flexibility to do vocals and instrument recording... just make sure you have Phantom Power!
Now a word on USB mics. Even though USB Microphones are alluring because of their lower price, I would avoid them at all costs.
They are not necessarily easier to setup and can be fools gold to a blossoming home recording artist.
Combine a conventional studio microphone with a mic preamp and you will not regret it.
Basic Studio Builder Rating - $$
Spend a little extra on a good mic, but don't go nuts. Since this is not a pro-style setup you don't need to get a wide variety either. Both types have their strengths, but if you can only afford one, a good condenser is the best value.
Quicks Picks - Studio Microphones
Dynamic MicShure SM58 Vocal Microphone
Now that the mics have been chosen let's talk accessories... pop-filters and stands.
What the devil is a pop-filter anyway?!?
You may have seen these many times before and not even known it, but they are basically a screen or mesh that sits in front of the mic to prevent stray blasts of air from entering it.
This can go a long way in eliminating the frustration of a good take ruined by a single puff of breath into the mic.
Nothing can make up for terrible mic technique (like "eating the mic" or shouting directly into it), but these can give you a greater margin of error.
Pop-Filters are more commonly used with condenser mics due to their increased sensitivity.
Another thing to remember is that you'll need mic stands for your home recording studio as well.
If you buy a new microphone it will come with an adapter to mount it onto the standard mic stand fitting, although you can buy after market mounts as well.
A sturdy stand will serve you well. Don't buy the cheapest one because it will wear out quickly.
The last thing you want is a ruined take because the mic stand decided to deliver your studio mic away from you and down to the floor.
Quicks Picks - Microphones Accessories
Pop-FilterAuphonix Double Mesh Screen Pop Filter
Mic StandTripod Boom Microphone Stand
Another giant savings in your home recording studio setup is the ability to record your instruments direct... or without the use of amplifiers.
To do this you will need the services of a Direct Box.
For a more in-depth explanation on how these are used check out our Direct Box Page.
In short though, they take the signal coming from your guitar (a high impedance signal) as an input and output a balanced mic level signal which is a better match for a mic preamp.
So for example, you would be able to plug your guitar into a Direct Box then (ready for this?) put it directly into your mic preamp input on your Audio Interface (more on these next) instead of having to mic an amplifier.
I use these all over my home setup: from my electric guitar, bass, vocalist live FX pedal, and even from my digital piano.
Giving the mic preamps on your Audio Interface the signal type it is expecting will help reduce unwanted noise and make recording your instruments a breeze.
Basic Studio Builder Rating - $
A good passive DI Box will make a huge difference in your sound for a minimal investment.
Quick Pick - Direct BoxBehringer DI400P Passive Direct Box