If you’re wondering how to pick the best microphone for miking a trumpet, it can seem really daunting.
There is so much information out there to sift through, and then you have to consider your budget and the distance between you and the sound source.
I’ve taken all of these factors into consideration in this article.
I’ll show you some great options for getting the best microphone for trumpet recording.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Position A Microphone for Trumpet
- 2 How to Choose a Mic to Record Trumpet
- 3 6 Best Microphones For Miking & Recording Trumpet
- 4 FAQs
How To Position A Microphone for Trumpet
An ideal trumpet microphone requires the microphone to be placed 1/4 inch away from the bell of the trumpet.
This position yields an even response and can “capture” the trumpet’s natural tone.
For the sake of clarity, I won’t be talking about microphones for vocals as part of this article.
I usually recommend one of two ways to mike trumpet depending on budget and distance between you and the sound source (more on this later).
GooseNeck Mics as an Option
If you have a high budget that allows for the best of the best, you can look at gooseneck microphones. They allow you to get as close as possible to the trumpet without actually touching it, and they are usually freestanding. They are also relatively easy to move around, and they are very sturdy.
For those on a budget, I recommend a short condenser microphone such as a Rode NT1 or Samson C01.
They are lightweight and have a shorter 9′ cable than the gooseneck models. It also allows you to get shorter distances between you and the trumpet sound source (up to 4 feet away). They are not as sturdy or as flexible as gooseneck mikes, but they aren’t necessarily inferior either.
As far as placement of microphones: I recommend placing them where possible on the front of the trumpet, specifically with the mouthpiece facing away from you. This will allow for the best quality sound you can have with the least amount of bleed.
In my opinion, you want to get as close to the trumpet without actually touching it when miking a trumpet. For this reason, I recommend using gooseneck mikes with 9-foot cables.
When getting a gooseneck mic, make sure that your mic clip isn’t too large. You don’t want to touch it and inadvertently pluck or dent the bell of the trumpet.
You can also pick up some windscreens to help reduce breathing/wind noise.
How to Choose a Mic to Record Trumpet
The ideal trumpet microphone is one that is able to provide a woody and warm sound.
It also needs to be able to provide a full-bodied sound with shimmer and shine.
It should have a very high-frequency response while retaining its proximity effect while also being energetic enough to provide the trumpet’s pop and punch.
There are three things you’ll need to look for when choosing a microphone.
These are impedance, frequency response, and character.
Impedance, in this case, refers to the wattage of the microphone. The trumpet requires a very loud microphone that can be heard over the band and other instruments.
Frequency response is the sensitivity of the microphone in its ability to pick up certain aspects of sound. The trumpet is a brass instrument that has a bright tone and is able to produce very high frequencies when using its upper register notes.
Character refers to the tonal quality of a microphone. A trumpet microphone should have the high-frequency response and low frequency response with a long decay while maintaining its brightness.
There are two main types of microphone patterns. The omnidirectional pattern is good for sources of sound that are spread out over a wide area. The cardioid pattern is good for sources of sound that are concentrated in one small spot.
6 Best Microphones For Miking & Recording Trumpet
1. Rode NT-USB
The Rode NT-USB is the most popular option for many people. It’s the microphone that everyone picks up, and it’s the one that is linked to the most positive reviews.
The USB version doesn’t require an adapter — you can simply plug it into your computer and use it. It has a 3-Pin XLR connector to connect to a mixer, which is why this is also used by many of the professional recording studios when recording from live music.
2. Audio-Technica PRO 35
The Audio-Technica PRO 35 offers a much more “natural” sound compared to the NT-USB. It has the following features:
Cardioid pickup pattern for isolating your instrument of choice from external sounds and noise. It features an integrated stand mount and a built-in tripod table stand for enhanced stability.
A shock mount to reduce any handling noise or vibrations coming from the mic stand you’ve set it on. The shock mount is included with every microphone, so this is included for free. There’s no need to go out and buy a separate one.
A limited switch power supply in 120VAC 60Hz (US/Canada)
3. Electro-Voice RE20
The Electro-Voice RE20 is a legendary vintage microphone that many people have used when recording high-quality audio. This microphone is used by many prominent artists and producers because it’s been around for decades, and it provides a great sound.
One of the reasons why this mic is so popular is because it’s so well-known. Many people have used them, and it was featured in an episode of The Office (season 3, episode 14). The RE20 can be purchased for $250 to $400 on Amazon (depending on whether or not you buy new or used).
It’s ideal for trumpet recording as it is capable of offering a warm and clear sound. This microphone is also known for being very durable, and it’s shock-mounted to reduce handling noise, which helps when recording loud brass instruments.
4. Amazon Basics Professional
The Amazon Basics Pro USB Mic is a very affordable microphone that’s widely used for recording trumpets. It offers the following features:
The Amazon Basics Microphone features an equalizing feature to allow you to control the amount of bass in your recordings (it even has some presets there).
In addition, it has an “attenuator” feature that allows you to reduce the volume of your recordings by up to 50 decibels (ideal for reducing the volume of loud brass instruments).
It comes with a wire mesh screen to protect the capsule from dust and moisture, and a carrying case is included as well.
5. AKG Pro Audio Lyra Ultra-HD
The AKG Pro Audio Lyra Ultra-HD is perfect for trumpet recording as it has the following features:
The Lyra is a “telecaster” microphone, which basically means that it’s shaped like a guitar pick. There are two capsules used in this microphone and one that picks up the low frequencies and one that picks up the high frequencies. This provides you with a pretty clear sound with a great bass response.
This microphone can be clipped to your belt or simply can be set on your mic stand.
It also comes with a “one-touch” pop filter for reducing the number of plosives that get into your recordings.
6. MXL R144 HE Heritage Edition
The MXL MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone is best suited for trumpet recording thanks to its “ribbon” design, which provides rich, warm sound. It also has a built-in super-cardioid capsule that helps prevent extra noise from getting into your recordings (and reducing unwanted background noises). This can be used with miking live performances as well as vocals.
The MXL R144 is a great microphone for a beginner to start off with because it’s inexpensive and perfect for keeping your costs down when starting out.
In addition, it also comes with a replacement pad that covers the ribbon, and it has a headphone jack as well.
Is a condenser mic good for trumpet?
Yes, as types of microphones are able to reject sounds coming from behind the microphone, but they still pick up sounds in front of them.
What microphone is good for recording brass instruments
Ribbon microphones are ideal for recording brass instruments.
Which type of microphone is the most fragile?
The large-diaphragm condenser mic is the most fragile because it uses the lightest diaphragm material.
The dynamic mic is the most durable because it uses a sheet of metal.