Large-diaphragm condenser mics are indispensable tools in any audio facility that records vocal tracks. Possessing diaphragms that measure 1-inch or greater, LDCs were specifically designed to capture the human voice. Traditionally, engineers prefer them for vocal recording over mics with small capsules because of the greater sensitivity, low self-noise and deference for presence in the vocal range.
And, of course, in addition to vocals, LDCs are highly versatile transducers that are well suited for numerous acoustical instrument and room miking applications.
As LDCs continue to evolve with new models released on a regular basis, Mix felt it was time once again to survey manufacturers for their newest offerings. The mics in this roundup come in tube and solid-state versions, each having their own distinctive personality, giving users a range of options when trying to match a mic to a particular vocalist. The prices given are all retail prices, so be sure to shop comparatively online and in brick-and-mortar retail outlets.
With a broad range of products and expanded feature sets available at a variety of price points, now more than ever, it’s possible to find the best mic suited for a given application. In the chart available as a pdf (see Online Extras box at right), Mix presents specifications for LDCs that began shipping during last fall’s AES show (November 5 to 7, 2010), up through mid-July 2011.