Hi all,

Welcome back to our Microphones 101 series. Here is the 2nd entry in our series – Ribbon and Carbon mics….

——————————————————————————————————————

In my last article we covered two different types of microphones – Dynamic and Condenser. In this article we will be discussing two other types, ribbon and carbon microphones. I will be presenting some basic information regarding how these microphones function, and what their respective applications center around. Before we jump into the two new types of mics, here’s a little basic refresher on how microphones work. 

Microphones, how do they work?A microphone captures sound waves with a thin, flexible piece of metal, also known as a diaphragm. When sound waves are introduced into the microphone, the waves vibrate the diaphragm. The vibrations are converted by various methods into an electrical signal that is an analog of the original sound.  

There various types of microphones, today we’ll be discussing ribbon and carbon microphones. 

  1. Ribbon Microphones

The diaphragm of a ribbon microphone is usually a corrugated piece of metal suspended in a magnetic field. This ribbon picks up sound in a bi-directional or figure 8 pattern. This directional pattern can be modified by enclosing one side of the ribbon in a baffle, or other acoustic trap. Ribbon microphones give very high quality sound reproduction, but the diaphragm is very fragile and the mics are very expensive, so they must be handled with care. They don’t require phantom power, and in fact, any voltage might damage the microphone. Ribbon microphones are very versatile, and can be used to record all instruments and vocals. 

  1. Carbon Microphones

Carbon microphones were once commonly used in telephone handsets, but are now not very widely used. This type of microphone uses carbon dust pressed between two metal plates. An electrical signal is passed between the two plates, with the carbon in between, causing the plates to vibrate. The sound waves from your voice cause changes in the vibration of the plates, which compress and decompress the carbon powder, changing the electrical resistance of the carbon. This type of microphone isn’t used very often in modern times, so most audio engineers won’t need to know too much about how a carbon microphone works. 

There are many different types of microphones with all sorts of different applications, both applicable and archaic. As an audio engineer, or even as someone who records music from their bedroom, knowledge is key. I will be wrapping up this series on microphones in my next article, so please read on. 

Jason Cole and DiskFaktory Mastering offer great professional mastering services and information regarding audio engineering and CD mastering. Get the professional mastering information you are seeking now by visiting http://diskfaktory-mastering.com/evaluation.htm

Hi everyone,

Today marks the start of our Microphones 101 article series. We will be discussing many different mics and how they work. The first article in this series concerns Dynamic and Condenser mics. Please leave comments and let us know if you found this helpful.

Thanks,

Jason Cole

DiskFaktory – Webmaster

Microphones for Musicians – Dynamic and Condenser

If you are a recording engineer, you probably already know everything there is to know about microphones. But if you are a musician who is recording from home, you might not. When it comes to recording audio, microphones are the most important piece of equipment you’ll purchase. Most experts recommend that your main microphone should cost at least 30% of the recorder you’re using. And even then, the cheapest microphone you will want to use will be at least $100.00.

How do microphones work?

Microphones capture sound waves with a thin, flexible diaphragm. When you sing into the microphone, the sound of your voice vibrates this diaphragm. The vibrations of the diaphragm element are converted by various methods into an electrical signal that is an analog of the original sound.

There are many different types of microphones, we’ll be discussing dynamic and condenser microphones today.

1. Dynamic Microphones

In a dynamic microphone a small movable induction coil, is positioned in the magnetic field of a permanent magnet and is attached to the diaphragm. When sound enters through the microphone, sound wave vibrations move the diaphragm. The diaphragm vibrates the coil. The coil moves in the magnetic field, producing a varying current through electromagnetic induction. Dynamic microphones can be used for many different applications, they are relatively inexpensive, and resistant to moisture. They are an excellent choice for singers, and recording vocalists.

2. Condenser Microphones

A condenser microphone (also known as a capacitor microphone) is essentially a capacitor, with one plate of the capacitor moving in response to sound waves. The movement changes the capacitance of the capacitor, and these changes are amplified to create a measurable signal. A capacitor is a device that stores energy in the electric field created between a pair of conductors. They usually require a power supply, and condenser microphones can be expensive, so they might not work for everyone. Although, they do produce high-quality sound signal, so they are the preferred choice in laboratory and studio recording applications.

There are many different types of microphones with all sorts of different applications. In the next few articles I write I will be discussing how each of them function, and what applications are best suited for each microphone. I hope that this article left you better educated on how dynamic and condenser microphones function.

Jason Cole and DiskFaktory Mastering offer great professional mastering services and information regarding audio engineering and CD mastering. Get the professional mastering information you are seeking now by visiting http://diskfaktory-mastering.com/evaluation.htm

If you have read my last article, “What does an audio engineer do when mastering music?”, you already know what is involved in the professional mastering process. To re-cap what that article said to all who haven’t read it, the mastering process adds polish to your songs and makes them sonically cohesive. A lot of albums are recorded and then thrown on a disc, sans mastering. While this works fine, by no means do I recommend it. There are a few reasons why I wouldn’t recommend doing this.

1. Mastering adds a professional, commercial sound to your songs or album.

All of your favorite albums and bands you hear on the radio have had their audio mastered by a professional mastering engineer before it was sent to CD manufacturing facility. This makes sure that you hear all the CD recordings low-end bass, mid-range, and highs crisply.

2. Audio mastering allows another set of ears to evaluate your audio.

Having another skilled audio technician listen to you recording is always a plus. They can bring a fresh perspective and ideas to your album production. Your recording and mixing engineers spent hours and hours listening to your music, someone who was not present and has a skilled ear can point out and help better the quality of your finished project.

Audio mastering is a vital step in the recording and CD manufacturing process. This article should help you understand why professional mastering is a step you should not leave out of your next recording project. All commercially released audio CDs utilize the CD mastering process, and you should do the same.

Jason Cole and http://www.DiskFaktory-Mastering.com offer great services and information regarding audio engineering and CD mastering. Get the professional mastering information you are seeking now by visiting http://diskfaktory-mastering.com/evaluation.htm