In order to pick up audio signals of instruments and voices in a recording situation, condenser microphones are the first choice. They require phantom power that can be provided by a standalone microphone preamp or a mixer console. For recordings in a professional or home studio, large diaphragm and small diaphragm condenser microphones are used. These types differ in directional and sound characteristics as well as responding qualities.
Microphones are not neutral transformers, they noticeably influence the sound of a recording and therefore have to be chosen according to the field of application and personal preferences. Condenser microphones that are based on vacuum tube technology create a smooth and warm sound, whereas solid state technology has a straight transmission behaviour.
An important criteria of condenser microphones is inherent noise. This can be countered by certain process steps like dynamic compression and is especially relevant when recording fairly quiet audio signals.