What is the best microphone?

How many forums have you read that ask the same question, ‘what is the best microphone?’ The most common response is whatever works for your voice, so can you imagine having to make the microphone selection for the Beatles?

Abbey Road in the 60’s is a far cry from today’s digital studios and was a time where preparation and knowledge was the key to a good recording.

Abbey Road Lush at the desk

Recently I spoke with one time Beatles engineer Richard Lush on the VO Radio Show about the techniques used to set up and record, and why your ears played a much bigger role back then.

Today we edit to a waveform, we see breaths, pops and mouth clicks, but back then the only visual cue was from the VU, it was all up to your ears.

The tape operator had to be on the ball, dropping in and out of record, keeping perfect time, and in some cases dropping in and out to the syllable!

When it comes to microphone selection, it hasn’t really changed that much, it’s a case of finding one that brings out the quality of the voice.

When you look at photos of the Beatles sessions, you see they mainly used U47’s and U67’s.

Sinatra in his heyday had his Telefunken U47 and the Beach Boys also used U47’s on Pet Sounds.

So if the question is ‘what’s the best microphone?’ the answer is, ask your ears.

Here is a list of some great combinations.

Richard today

You can hear the interview with Richard Lush on The VO Radio Show.

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