Shock mount

Condenser mics capture unwanted mechanical vibrations from hand-holding or up through the mic stand. These vibrations are often subsonic in nature. These frequencies muddy the sound and interfere in the available preamp headroom.

A shock mount is a flexible suspension support system that helps suppress low-frequency rumble on the microphone line by absorbing and damping vibrations. If you plan to use a shock mount with your condenser mic, make sure you buy a model which is meant for the particular mic you use. The weight of the mic, the fit, all affects the effectiveness of the shock mount.

We don’t need a shock mount for dynamic mics (SM58)

Pop filter & mic stand

Pop filter is necessary for condenser mics to avoid the pop and wind sound for example when singing the consonants P B F etc.

There are two options – foam windshields and pop screen. Don’t use a foam wind shield because it degrades the quality. Always go for a large good quality pop screen.

If you really want to try some do-it-yourself pop filter, you can try wrapping stockings on a coat hanger to make your own pop screen. Just make sure that the stockings are not too thick though, because they will stop the voice and not just the pops.

Advantage of getting a company manufactured pop screen is that you can clip it directly on to the mic stand.

Cables and connectors

Mics usually need a XLR to XLR cable. Instrument cables can have TRS or RCA sockets depending on the sound card you use.

We don’t need exotic cables which are too expensive, to make good recordings. It takes a very badly engineered cable for any bad effects to show up in the quality of recording. If the manufacturer is using terms like oxygen free, multi strand etc, that may not be good enough reason to give premium prices.

A decent quality cable with good connectors, good soldering is what we should go for. The connector part of a cable is usually the weakest link. If there is a cable with better connectors, better soldering and attachment to the cable, it is worth going for it.