Thinking about how to step up your audio game?
Between the two types of microphones that AVerMedia offers, do you know which one best suits your needs? In our last blog, we covered some advantages in using a dynamic microphone—there’s a lot that our AM330 can accomplish, after all—but if you’re considering other options, today’s blog will go a little bit more into the differences between our two microphones, as well as some general audio/microphone information!
If you are looking for great audio, you can’t go wrong with our AM310 or AM330 microphones; one will make it easier to jump straight into creating, while the other one will provide you with more flexibility in controlling your sound. Ultimately, there’s several factors that you should keep in mind, but above all, it can boil down to preference when you weigh the pro’s and con’s of each microphone.
The first difference and the one that might make it a decisive factor is the interface. Between USB and XLR, you might find a clear winner depending on whether you value convenience or more polished audio.
USB: As the name suggests, these types of microphones, like our AM310, are often plug and play via USB, meaning that it will be easier to set up. With no need for extra devices, you simply get to start recording, everything you need is already prepared for you.
An added benefit is that USB microphones are even easier to carry around and transport, as it’s the only audio equipment you’ll likely have to bring with you. For beginners who are just starting to familiarize themselves with equipment, terminology, and the basics of working with audio—be it on a live stream or for recording purposes—USB microphones are often the more sought out option, as it’ll provide a reliable outcome with very little tweaking.
One drawback of USB microphones is that when sound is transmitted, it must be converted from analog to digital—and for a USB microphone, that means usually having a built-in converter, as we’re eliminating the need of a traditional audio interface. A built-in converter usually doesn’t get the job done quite as well as an actual audio interface, so you might be able to spot a difference in quality.
XLR: On the other hand, the XLR interface is a more professional one that provides a more polished outcome, as you’ll actually have more control of your sound. XLR microphones, like our AM330, need to go through an audio interface (again, for converting analog to digital), and devices such as our NEXUS will fit the bill perfectly to get your microphone hooked up and ready. Additionally, audio interfaces or devices like the NEXUS will typically have some sort of EQ that will help you modify your audio settings to bump the quality up until you’re fully satisfied.
Convenience and quality are the most important trade offs between these microphones, but if you’re still on the fence, here’s another big difference to consider: Condenser vs Dynamic!
Condenser: The audio from this mic will be closer to your real voice, condenser mics are much more sensitive and also have a wider frequency to better capture all audio nuances. You will typically get better results with some sort of acoustic room treatment as well, with popular options being acoustic panels or diffusers.
Dynamic: Dynamic mics tend to be less sensitive to condenser mics, meaning they work better than condenser mics in a “live” environment or non-treated room. A notable aspect about dynamic mics is their proximity effect: the closer you are to the mic will pick up low frequencies better to get you that smooth “FM radio” voice. We’ve covered this in a bit more detail on our previous blog, so if you’re curious or need a refresher, check it out in this post.
With some tweaking and minor adjustments, you’ll find that it’s easy to reduce background noises such as typing, the fan whooshing in the background, and even eliminate the fuzzy static noise in the background when you’re talking — all “ambient” noises that you might hear occasionally otherwise.
Despite the differences, our AM310 and AM330 do share a similarity in the way they pick up audio. For pickup, or polar patterns, our featured microphones are both cardioid pattern, which ensures that they’ll pick up audio that comes directly in front of it.
Getting its name from the heart-shaped pattern in which it picks up sound, cardioid pattern microphones are perfect for vocals, instruments, and to reduce any source of background noise; you’ll notice a clear difference if you’re talking behind the microphone compared to when you’re talking directly in front of them.
One final important thing to note though, is that the off-axis rejections will feel more obvious on the AM330 because it is dynamic, which is less sensitive to other noises in the background.
And for the audio-curious, the other pattern you might come across is the omni-directional, which, as the name implies, picks up audio from all directions with similar sound volumes and clarity. As far as vocals and instrumental microphones are concerned, these two are typically the most commonly seen ones, although other polar patterns do exist.
With that in mind, let’s weigh our options!
How to choose?
Here’s a recap that might help make your final decision:
AM310 • USB • Condenser
- Best to get you started (less components needed)
- Fuller sound because it’s more sensitive
- Easier to move around
- Plug and play, simple setup for starters
The AM310 TL;DR:
USB microphones such as the AM310 are well-rounded and a solid choice for anyone who’s exploring ways to record or stream content with audio with minimal setup.
AM330 • XLR • Dynamic
- Best to take your audio to the next level
- High initial investment, but having the flexibility to find the better sound for you (EQ).
- Works great, even in an untreated room
- Will give you a more professional sound and look
The AM330 TL;DR:
XLR dynamic microphones, such as the AM330, offer a professional finish to your audio and are ideal for anyone that’s okay with investing a little bit more for an audio interface, and also happens to feel comfortable tweaking sound adjustments to find their “perfect” sound.
So…. have you decided?
Maybe it’s not that important to know the in’s and out’s of a microphone, but if it helps you with a decision, then maybe this mini-crash course is just what you need! The best rule of thumb when it comes to shopping for a microphone is finding one that you’re in tune with (pun very much intended). If it sounds good to you and your audience, then you’ve found a winner!
With your audio game in mind, it’s time to show us how you’ll use this knowledge to #boldlycreate!