12th Apr 2007

About Microphones

Microphones, wireless microphone, are a variety of microphones out there, but there are two common types – dynamic and condensers. Ultimately you’ll need to decide on a microphone that is designed to pick up the specific sound you are working with.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones are commonly used to record loud instruments such as drums and electric guitars. The reason for this is because they can cope with very loud noise levels. They are also used to record some types of singers.

They have a number of attributes that make them stand out from the condenser type, including:

  • Being extremely durable.
  • They can endure great temperature ranges and can withstand lots of abuse.
  • Price-wise they’re reasonable, ranging from around ?35 up to a few hundred pounds, and normally not much more.
  • A dynamic microphone doesn’t need any external power and can plug in directly without a need for batteries or other form of power supply.

A microphone of this type will have a fixed magnet and a diaphragm which moves when sound hits it. A coil is normally attached to the diaphragm, resulting in a change in the magnetic field when the diaphragm moves, generating a voltage through the microphone.

The disadvantage of the dynamic microphone is that it is less accurate at reproducing the sound than condenser type microphones.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are used to record both acoustic instruments such as the guitar as well as for softer vocals. Sometimes these are also used as an overhead microphone for drums.

Their main attribute is that they can reproduce true sound, making it ideal for professional work.

The condenser (sometimes called capacitor) microphone has a capacitor that can hold an electrical charge. This is made up of one fixed and one moving plate set parallel and separated by a small space. As a sound wave hits the moving plate, the vibration caused means a change in the amount of voltage in the capacitor. The change is then sent down the wires to be recorded or amplified.

Disadvantages of the condenser microphone include their delicate state and the fact that they can range up to several thousand pounds each. Other than that the condenser-type microphones require an additional power supply. This means you’ll need to use either batteries or an external power source.

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