Are you seeking to amplify your clarinet? What is the best microphone for clarinet? Read on to find out which ones they are!
Whether you are looking for a spot microphone or a recording microphone, quality and compatibility should be non-negotiable. Clarinets are very expressive instruments; thus, you need a microphone that will reproduce the sound produced by the clarinet with no color. Looking for the best microphone for your clarinet can be a difficult journey as there are very many microphones in the market. I also faced the dilemma when searching for my clarinets’ microphone a few months ago. Luckily for me, I consulted my friend, who is a clarinet master, for guidance. His help was incredibly beneficial as recording has never been the same for me since I got the microphone. I then created this article to help you decide which microphone is best for you.
The Best Microphone for Clarinet Comparison Table
|Schoeps Cardioid MK4/ CMC 6U||Unidirectional||-36.5 dB (V/Pa), 15 mV/Pa||Check Price Here|
|AKG C 414 XLII||Nine selectable polar patterns||23Mv/Pa||Check Price Here|
|AKG P120 Performance General Purpose Recording Microphone||Unidirectional||24 mV/Pa||Check Price Here|
|DPA d:dicate 4011||Unidirectional||10 mV/Pa||Check Price Here|
The best Microphones for Clarinets
Schoeps Cardioid MK4/ CMC 64 – best for spot microphone
Schoeps Cardioid MK4/CMC 6 is a mic amplifier (CMC 6) and a cardioid condenser capsule (MK 4) combination. This microphone performs exceptionally as a spot microphone in studio environments and orchestral settings when recording and reinforcing the clarinet. It is incredibly accurate and produces a clear quality sound.
- Though this microphone is best as a spot microphone, it can be used as a stereo recording microphone alongside coincident, M/S, or ORTF microphone arrangements.
- The directionality of this microphone is consistent across its frequency direction.
The Schoeps Cardioid MK4/CMC 64 is a microphone/capsule amplifier combination with the CMC 6 being the mic signal amplifier and the MK4 being the cardioid small diaphragm condenser capsule. The frequency of this microphone is rated 40Hz – 26,000 Hz, which is above the human hearing frequency response of 20Hz- 20,000 Hz.
Among the major advantages of this microphone is that its frequency results in a flat response which picks up the clarinet’s full range with pristine accuracy. Consequently, this microphone offers an excellent rear rejection with a consistent cardioid pattern. Unlike many cardioid mikes, this microphone captures the sound coming from its sides with no coloration. This makes it reproduce a more natural sound compared to many cardioid microphones on the market.
The ability of the MK4 to provide superb rejection makes it a fantastic choice when spot miking the clarinet in an orchestra. It is also suitable when recording or playing the clarinet in an environment where other instruments are being played. Consequently, due to its size, mounting this microphone is easy to stand and fit in as a spot mic or with an orchestra.
As mentioned above, the sensitivity rating of this microphone is rated as -36.5 dB (V/Pa), 15 mV/Pa. This means that this microphone will be able to produce a strong mic signal. This makes the diaphragm of this microphone react with pristine accuracy to sound pressure variations around it. The MK4 sensitivity gives this microphone a spot-on transient response and enables it to pick up on the subtle nuances of the clarinet performance.
The major disadvantage of this microphone is that it is quite pricy compared to other clarinet microphones.
- Picks up the full range of the clarinet accurately without any colorations.
- Has an excellent rear rejection with a consistent cardioid polar pattern.
- High sensitivity; hence it will output a strong mic signal.
- Mounting the Schoeps MK4/CMC 6 is easy.
- Quite expensive
This clarinet is by no doubt among the best in the market. It picks up the full range of the clarinet, thus offering an accurate capture without any colorations. A microphone with an accurate capture is perfect for orchestral instruments like the clarinet. Though this microphone is expensive, its versatility and value will be worth every penny you spend on it. So, if you are wondering whether you should purchase this microphone or not, I hope the go-ahead is clear after this review.
AKG C 414 XLII – best for studio recording
The AKG C 414 XLII is among the best multi-pattern large-diaphragm condenser microphones on the market. The versatility of this instrument is immense hence making it a top recommendation for not only the clarinet but several other musical instruments.
- This microphone reproduces an accurate and clear capture of the clarinet’s sound hence making it suitable for any miking technique.
- This microphone has three attenuation levels; -6/ -12/ -18dB. These attenuation levels are great for close-up recording and sources of high output up to 158dB SPL.
This microphone has high-end features and was modeled after the legendary C414 microphone. The AKG 414 XLII has three high pass filters, nine selectable polar patterns, and four pads. This microphone is outstanding when it comes to versatility and can benefit nearly any clarinet miking technique.
An important feature of this microphone is that it has a flat frequency; hence it will reproduce sound with pristine clarity and accuracy. This clarinet also has nine selectable patterns, which means it will reproduce a more natural sound.
As mentioned above, the sensitivity of this microphone is rated as 23Mv/Pa, which means that it would output a strong signal when miking the clarinet. Furthermore, AKG C 414 large diaphragms are incredibly reactive to the subtle changes in sound pressure levels happening around them. This means that this microphone is highly sensitive and will capture the transient information of a clarinet with pristine clarity together with nuanced tones.
- This microphone has three different bass-cut filters that are switchable to reduce stage vibration, wind noise, and proximity effect.
- Has an overload warning alongside the audio peak, which holds the LED to detect the shortest audio peaks.
- Highly sensitive hence it will reproduce the clarinet’s sound clearly and accurately.
- The AKG C 414 XLIII is expensive
- Not easy to hide with an orchestra like other clarinet microphones like the DPA 4011 or the Schoeps MK4/CMC 6.
This microphone comes with high-end features hence a worth purchase. Despite being highly sensitive and hence able to capture sounds accurately, this microphone has three filters that reduce stage vibration, wind noise, and proximity effect. This means you can use this microphone outside or in places where other instruments are being played. This microphone is the king of versatility; hence you are assured of the quality. Though it is pricy, it is a worthy investment as it is durable.
AKG P120 Performance General Purpose Recording Microphone – best for studio recording
The AKG P120 general-purpose recording microphone is not only great for your clarinet, but for other recording purposes you may want.
- This microphone has a low-mass diaphragm that delivers a clear sound with accurate sonic vocal details, speech, and instrument recording.
- Highly sensitive with a rating of 24mV/Pa hence capturing clarinet sound with pristine clarity and accuracy.
The AKG P120 performance general purpose recording microphone is a condenser microphone that offers excellent value and outstanding performance for its price. Being general purpose, this microphone will not only be suitable for your clarinet, but you can also use it for other purposes. This is a great way of saving money.
As mentioned above, among the major advantages of this microphone is that it has a high sensitivity rating of 24Mv/Pa; hence it will output a strong signal when miking the clarinet. Furthermore, its low-mass diaphragm does not only deliver quality sound but is also incredibly reactive to subtle changes in sound pressure levels happening around them.
However, this microphone still uses wiring connectivity technology. This may cause its wires to wear and tear quickly hence making it less durable. Furthermore, it does not have enough filters like other clarinet microphones to filter out outside noises. It is therefore not suitable for noisy places or where different instruments are being played.
- Reproduces clear and accurate sound.
- Very affordable.
- Highly sensitive.
- Connectivity technology used is wired; hence the wires might get destroyed easily, making them less durable.
- Does not filter outside noises like wind noise; hence is not perfect when performing where there is noise or other instruments are being played.
If price is a major factor in your search for a clarinet microphone, then this microphone is definitely for you. The quality and sound reproduction of this microphone is great for their price. Furthermore, this clarinet is highly sensitive; hence it is able to capture the clarinet’s sound with pristine clarity and accuracy. Another major reason why you should purchase this clarinet is that it is multi-purpose; hence you can use it for other recordings other than clarinet recording. However, its inability to filter irrelevant noises makes this clarinet not best for performing but good for studio recording.
DPA d:dicate 4011 – best for clip-on miking and spot-miking occasions
That DPA d:dicate 4011 microphone is an outstandingly performing cardioid condenser microphone capsule that comes with two attachable preamps; the Compact Preamp (making it a 4011C) or the High-End Preamp (making it a 4011 A).
- This microphone has the ability to use interchangeable capsules
- High versatility and reproduces the natural sound
This microphone assures you of quality as it works best as a deadly accurate transducer in the studio and also as is incredible as a spot-mic in noisy environments. This microphone is best for clipping directly on instruments hence making it one of the best, most versatile microphones in the market today.
As mentioned above, the sensitivity of this microphone is rated as 10 Mv/Pa for both the 4011C and the 4011A. Though this rating can be considered to be on the low end of the condenser microphone sensitivity spectrum, it performs quite well in band situations and loud orchestral. This means that though this microphone will be able to output a strong signal, it will not be influenced a lot by the sound around it. The pickup of this microphone will, however, focus on the instruments it is pointing at.
However, with just a sensitivity of 10Mv/Pa, this microphone’s small condenser diaphragm still performs exceptionally. This microphone is able to pick up the nuances and transients of the clarinet’s sound accurately and effectively.
- Picks up the nuances and transients of the clarinet’s sound accurately and effectively.
- Miking this microphone is easy and is great for a consistent pickup of woodwinds.
- The sensitivity of this microphone is a bit low for condenser microphones.
- Very expensive
The pristine sound quality and versatility of this high-end small diaphragm condenser microphone make its purchase very worth it. This instrument can work extremely well on loud occasions as well as in quiet studio rooms. Though its sensitivity is low, this microphone is still able to pick up the nuances and transients of the clarinet’s sound accurately and effectively. Furthermore, this microphone is a great spot-on microphone and is able to fit a band setting or many practical positions in orchestral to capture the best sound of the clarinet. However, this microphone is very expensive and is likely out of the budget of maybe clarinet players. However, if your major factor of consideration is getting a high-quality and durable clip-on miking or spot-miking, then this microphone is your best option.
Buying a microphone for clarinet – what to look out for
There are several critical specifications that one should look out for when purchasing a clarinet microphone. The following are some of the features to look out for before purchasing a clarinet;
A clarinet is among the most sensitive woodwind instruments as it is very expressive. Therefore, when purchasing a microphone for your clarinet, it is important to go with a microphone that is able to reproduce the dynamic range of a clarinet and the nuances in tone accurately.
A perfect microphone for your clarinet is that which complements the sound quality you produce. While purchasing a microphone, you have to choose a microphone that suits your performance situations and miking techniques.
Extended/ Flat Frequency Response
This is a crucial feature to look out for when buying a microphone for your clarinet. The clarinet often finds itself in orchestral music as it has a wide variability of tone. It is therefore important to capture the sound of your clarinet as accurately and cleanly as possible. You can opt for a neutral microphone with a flat frequency response that is able to reproduce the sound of your clarinet and retain its quality without any coloration.
Though this is not a major factor, you have to choose a microphone that complements the size of your clarinet to avoid technicalities when setting up.
Affordable doesn’t always mean low quality. You can find an affordable microphone that is of great quality and reproduces the sound of your clarinet clearly and accurately.
Cardioid directional polar pattern
This is a feature to look out for when purchasing a microphone for live applications. A cardioid directional microphone works well on noisy stages and with fold—back monitors.
Microphones are the best options when you want to record with your clarinet, perform for live audiences, or you are playing your instrument where other instruments are being played. With that said, it is important you pick a microphone that assures you of credible and accurate sound reproduction. The microphone you choose should be of high frequency and sensitive enough to capture the transients and nuances of the clarinet’s sound with pristine accuracy and clarity. Additionally, when picking a microphone for your clarinet, the activity you are going to use it for is a major factor. If you want to use it for live performances, you need to go with a clarinet that is able to filter outside noises and yet capture the clarinet’s sound effectively and accurately.
Which type of microphone is the best for my clarinet?
Condenser microphones are widely known to be the most versatile studio microphones and are suitable for recording essentially any musical instrument. Condenser mics are more sonically sensitive and fragile than dynamic mics.
How many types of clarinet microphones are there in the market?
There are several clarinet microphones on the market. This include; small diaphragm condenser microphones, dynamic microphones, and larger diaphragm condenser microphones.