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5 Best Ambient Microphones in 2020

Looking for the best ambient microphones?

Then you are in the right place, because in this article I will be showing you

  • My top 5 best ambient microphones
  • The pros and cons of each of these microphones
  • Some important buyers tip to ensure that you get the best deal
  • Frequently asked questions that people have about recording ambient music
  • And so much more

If you are in a hurry, then you should look at the table below where I presented the top 5 microphones for ambient music with their accompanying specifications and features.

I also listed my #1 top pick ambient microphone.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

My #1 Overall Rated Pick

Top 5 Best Ambient Microphones

I know you might be in a hurry, so here is an ordered list of the top 5 ambient microphones.

You can also read about their individual reviews below.

  • The Rode NT55 Microphone
  • The Zoom H4n Pro Microphone
  • Neewer 2 Pack Pencil Stick Microphone
  • Audio Technica AT875R Shotgun Microphone

Related: Check out my massive guide on the best microphones

What is an ambient microphone?

An ambient microphone is one that is specifically made for capturing the ambience or the sound waves in a room

Prior to getting ambient microphones, there is a technique called ambient miking which involves placing the microphone at such a distance that the sound is more prominent than the direct signal.

This technique is usually used to capture the audience sound or the natural reverberation of a room or concert hall.

So an ambient microphone is one that has the capacity to capture direct audio signals and also capture the natural reverberations of the hall or audience.

One advantage of ambient microphones is that they usually are multi purpose as they can be used for recording vocal signals and also recording ambience in a room.

Where should the ambience mic be placed?

To get the best out of your ambient microphone, you want to ensure that they are properly placed in your room.

This is my preferred setup – check the YouTube video below to learn more

How do you mic a stage?

To properly mic a stage you need to ensure that you get the mic placements and use the right microphones everytime.

If you use something other than boundary microphones, then I suggest you get the PG81 microphones that come with a stand

So place the microphone at mouth height and ensure that you do not use stands that only lift the microphones 1- 2 feet.

This is to ensure that you avoid comb filtering due to acoustic reflections off the stage floor.

To properly mic a stage or a congregation you need to ensure that you do not use microphones that are inferior and that you actually get the mic position right.

Also check out this article I wrote on the best microphones for Foley

What is considered Ambient Noise?

The most commonly accepted definition of ambient sound is the background noise present in a given acoustic environment. 

This definition is typically used in film but is also important to consider in any audio recording location.

So ambient microphones do not necessarily capture ambient sound, which is fairly confusing.

So what are some common applications for ambient mics and ambient miking techniques?

  • Distant room mics: ambient microphones are sometimes used in studio environments as “room mics.” These mics are positioned far from the sound sources and act to capture the reverberation in the acoustic space.
  • Crowd mics: ambient mics are often used for capturing the sound of an audience. Where closer distances will capture specific members of the audience more than others, ambient mics will effectively capture the overall sound of the audience.
  • Field ambience: ambient mics can be used to capture ambient sound in outdoor and large environments. They may also be used to record room tone.
  • Reverb channels: positioning ambient mics along with closer mics on a single sound source gives a reverb-heavy signal and a clean audio signal, respectively. Cool production can be done by mixing just these two channels and more microphones give more creative options.

Here is an article I wrote showing you the best microphones for event speaking

My Review of the Best Ambient Microphones

1. The Rode NT55 Microphone

This is without a doubt the best ambient microphone in the market today.

The Rode NT55 is a small diaphragm “true” condenser microphone. 

This pencil mic has two interchangeable capsules that provide either omnidirectional or cardioid polar patterns.

Although this microphone is intended for recording acoustic instruments, it works very effectively as an ambience microphone (both as a single mic, matched pair, or in other microphone arrays/formats). 

Its high reactivity, low self-noise, and consistent pick up pattern make it a top choice for recording ambience.

A main benefit the Rode NT55 has over the other two microphone recommendations is that its positioning in an array is flexible. 

When recording with multiple NT55s, we have the freedom to set up any type of microphone array, whether that be a spaced pair or a more involved surround sound or ambisonic miking technique.

2. The Zoom H4n Pro Microphone

This is a 4 channel microphone that has recordings up to 24 bit, 96KHz and has built in stereo x/y microphones of up to 140 dB SPL

The H4n Pro isn’t just improved, it’s superior in every way. 

With advanced X/Y microphones, incredibly natural-sounding preamps, and a super-low noise floor, you can record everything from the Indy 500 to the fluttering of a hummingbird with extraordinary realism.

Capable of handling up to 140 dB SPL, this microphone can record everything from ear-splitting heavy metal to bass-heavy EDM.

It has a brighter, easier to read, back lit LCD screen that makes it very easy for you to see your settings while recording.

It’s new locking XLR/TRS connectors ensure that your mics stay secure and properly connected

It has a new rubberized, ergonomic body that is perfect for use in the field or with a camera. 

It is Highly portable and the H4n Pro can travel anywhere for convenient mobile recording.

3. Neewer 2 Pack Pencil Stick Microphone

This is a microphone that give superior sound quality.

It adopts 16 high quality headgrille and electric circuit that ensures high sensitivity and low noise

One awesome thing about this microphone is that Includes cardioid, omni and super capsules for use in virtually most recording situations. 

You can get the sound you want, whether its subtle nuances of a studio recording or the dynamic sparkle of a live orchestra. 

It is very Easy to mount and remove

It has a clip that Fits most microphone stands with 5/8-inch thread, can firmly hold your microphone in different positions. 

Foam windscreen can minimize air interference during recording for more clarity sound

It is Made of durable aluminum, ensuring high durability. 

Foam padded inner can protect your mics and accessories from scratching. 

It is easy to transport and set up your condenser mics

4. Audio Technica AT875R Shotgun Microphone

This is one microphone that is ideal for recording ambience in a room

It has an extremely short length, usually under 7 inches which makes it ideal for hooking up to a digital camera.

It’s narrow acceptance angle makes it desirable for long distance sound pickup

It has excellent sound rejection from the sides and rear of the mic with a tailored response that ensures there is minimal camera and handling noise.

It has a professional and sleek looking design which operates on phantom power only

This is an ideal microphone for ambience and delivers excellent audio quality when used.

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