Editor's Note: A Mic for All Seasons

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Microphones are an important tool of creativity. Whether in concert or in the studio, they are the “ears” through which we communicate. They are also filters through which our ideas pass, sometimes in a linear fashion, sometimes non-linearly. Knowing when to reach for a non-linear filter—that special mic that colors the sound to your liking—is a skill you develop as you gain experience with different types and models of transducers.

Thankfully, there is a microphone for every occasion (and for every budget). Often that means finding the right balance of our aesthetic needs and fiscal capabilities.

And while it’s easy to dismiss a low-cost condenser as something designed solely for beginning engineers or amateur musicians, there are situations when experienced professionals will grab a couple cheap transducers; perhaps for use in a classroom or a public event where they don’t want to risk damaging one of their expensive mics.

If you think about it, two of the most popular microphones in the world—the Shure SM57 and SM58—cost less than $100 each, are well-made and, if properly cared for, will outlive us.

That’s why, in this month’s roundup, we’ve assembled a collection of microphones that cover a spectrum of applications and prices—from low-cost USB models designed for podcasting, game audio and casual multimedia projects to top-drawer products for engineers with discerning tastes (and the budget to satisfy them).

So, whether you’re in the market for new sounds or just curious about recent technologies, check out the 16 recently released mics in our roundup. And I hope you enjoy the rest of the issue as well.

As always, feel free send us your comments—your feedback is always welcome.