Microphones for Musicians – Dynamic and Condenser

July 14, 2006

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.


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


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