Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones are essential to every mic locker. They are the ideal choice for recording vocals, as they often capture a much wider frequency range than a small diaphragm condenser. They are also the most desirable mic for capturing “air” in a vocal performance, making you feel like you’re in the same room as the performer. Models such as the Neumann U87, Neumann U47, AKG 414, AKG C12, Aston Spirit, or Bock Audio 251 are a perfect place to start when adding to your collection. Paired with a great compressor, you are on the right track to recording world class vocals.
Not only for vocals, a large diaphragm condenser can be used for miking a guitar, miking orchestral instruments, as a room mic, or miking a bass guitar cabinet. When miking an acoustic guitar, try an AKG 414 on its omni polar pattern, this will capture all the small details of the performance, and provide a wide, warm sound in the mix. When miking up drums, try throwing a pair of Neumann U87s in the back of the room, this will capture the space around the drum set, and make you feel like you are in the room with the player. Throw those through a compressor like an 1176 to add excitement and attitude of the kit.
When miking an orchestral ensemble, try using a pair of AKG C12s in the room. With their silky top end, and forward presence in the mid-range, you can capture all the fine details of the orchestra, while also capturing the room they are playing in, add a little reverb and make any room sound like carnegie hall.
To get the full sound of your bass guitar, try using a Neumann U47 on the front of your cabinet. With the U47s ability to capture frequencies as low as 20 Hz, get a perfect representation of the rig you spent all that money on. Pair that with an Acme Motown DI to get that classic Motown bass sound.