Does an expensive product mean it’s of good quality? That’s a good question to ask, especially if you’re looking to make a one-time, right, and best decision on a purchase.
When it comes to microphones, it’s no different.
If you’re involved in the sound industry or what you do largely involves sound, then the quality matters and if the price is a determinant of a high-end microphone, then what makes the price expensive?
That’s what this article is about. We’ll delve into 6 reasons why good or high-end microphones are expensive.
Reasons Why Good Microphones are Expensive
In no order of priority are the reasons listed. Each reason is equally important to why a high-end microphone is costly.
1. The Process of Manufacture
A factory manufacturing high-end microphones has certain complex stages in its making. To make quality microphones means that each part that contributes to its outcome needs to have top-notch technology.
Top-notch technology means sophisticated equipment and sophisticated equipment means it’s expensive. A good product means that every part of the process was subjected to high standards to produce quality as an outcome.
Hence the process of manufacture contributes to the reason why a product, in this case, a good microphone, is expensive.
2. Materials Used
Depending on the purpose of the microphone, the raw materials vary. For example, a dynamic microphone such as the Shure SM58 is a high-end microphone ideal for live performances.
Because its main purpose is for voice projection such as singing, the materials used in its manufacture are for the sole intention of projecting the best voice sound possible.
For this to be possible, the original raw materials needed to make them will certainly be more expensive than a regular voice projection microphone.
3. The Microphone’s Brand
Ever heard of the expression “you’re only as good as your name” or “a good name is worth much”?
This is true in the world of high-end microphones. The brand greatly impacts the price of the microphone. For instance, let’s say you own a podcast, so in your quest for a good microphone, you’ll be looking for a good studio microphone.
The first thing that will cross your mind is the leading brand names in this category e.g., Audio-Technica, Shure, Neumann, etc. And as you know, leading brands are expensive because of the reputation and dominance they hold in the market
4. Features of the Microphone
Depending on the purpose of the microphone, its features also determine its price.
For instance, microphones that have a frequency response that’s higher means that they have a greater range and the greater the range, the better the performance of the microphone.
The frequency response is denoted by the Hz or kHz sign e.g., 20Hz to 20kHz.
If the microphone’s frequency response is high, you can bet that the price will be more expensive than its usual counterparts.
5. The Purpose/Use of the Microphone
The purpose of a microphone too will determine its price.
This is because the kind of sound you want to achieve is subjective to you as the user.
In searching for a microphone that achieves the kind of sound you desire; it narrows down your choice of microphones to the ones that are custom-made to realize the kind of sound you’re looking for.
This makes the price more expensive due to the uniqueness of the microphone.
6. Craftsmanship/Labor time
Anything of value takes more time and work.
Expensive microphones have more time and specialized labor that goes into them to achieve the intended result.
To be able to afford this kind of process the costs will be higher hence the more expensive the microphone will be.
Can You Still Trust Expensive Microphones to be of Quality?
Whereas it may sound like an inferior reason for basing a microphone’s quality, the price can still be used to determine the value and worth of the microphone.
There’s no way a microphone made of cheap materials, from an unknown brand will be expensive unless the seller and manufacturer are swindlers.
Are expensive microphones worth it?
I would argue that they are. Given the reasons cited above, expensive microphones are worth it. Besides that, the end-user can attest to the worth of the microphone based on their experience. Their positive feedback acts as a witness to the statement that expensive microphones are worth it.
Do expensive microphones make a difference?
The best way to answer such a question is to test the output of two similar microphones but of different prices.
But for this article, the easiest way to tell if those expensive microphones make a difference is based on the information provided by experts in the field.
If several sound engineers support an expensive brand, then you can trust that expensive microphones make a difference.
Are Condenser microphones more expensive than Dynamic microphones?
Condenser microphones are more expensive than dynamic microphones but that doesn’t mean that dynamic microphones are of lower quality.
To know why condenser microphones are more expensive, one needs to understand the difference between the two. The price difference comes in because of the purpose of the microphone.
For example, dynamic microphones are ideal for louder spaces e.g., when performing at a live event, whereas condenser microphones are used for more intimate spaces and capturing delicate sound e.g., at a voice recording studio.
Condenser microphones make the sound more accurate and fine-tuned because they have been manufactured to achieve that purpose. So due to this, condenser microphones are more expensive.
However, dynamic microphones are just as good for the purpose for which they have been built, thus price shouldn’t be a deterrent when looking for a dynamic microphone over a condenser microphone.
I hope this article clarifies for you what expensive means in the world of microphones and sound whenever you’re out to make a purchase.
Nevertheless, should you still feel doubtful, you can always make more inquiries from different sources provided they are reliable.