April 13, 2024

3 Different Types of Microphones and Their Applications

Microphones are something we all take for granted. Many of us assume that microphones are all the same. We use them to record our voices or music, speak to people over the telephone, and so on. However, the design and structure of microphones are not all the same. There are at least 3 different types of microphones and each one serves a unique purpose.

3 Types Microphones

Below are the 3 main types of microphones and their applications.

1) Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones are the cheapest and most basic microphones you can purchase. These are types of microphones that your average person will purchase for their home computer or personal music studio.

A dynamic microphone consists of a motion coil magnetic diaphragm. When you speak into the microphone, the coil vibrates from the pressure of the sound waves. This is what’s called acoustic energy. As the coil vibrates, the acoustic energy is converted into electric energy. This is the type of energy that can be recorded.

If you want to record the sounds of loud instruments, such as drums, bass, or electric guitar, then a dynamic microphone would work well.

2) Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are sometimes referred to as capacitors. They consist of a conductive diaphragm on a metal backplate. This is basically a capacitor plate that keeps electrical energy stored. When you speak into the microphone, it causes the diaphragm to vibrate so that an audio signal can be generated and recorded. Rather than moving coils, condenser microphones utilize capacitance to produce audio signals that can be recorded.

The sound quality of a condenser microphone is far better than the sound quality of a dynamic microphone. That is why condenser microphones are more expensive. The sounds are very clear and detailed, which is perfect if you’re going to record narrations, vocals, lyrics, or acoustic instruments.

Read also: Top 5 Best Microphones for Gaming and Streaming

The best part is that condenser microphones have a mechanical design, so you don’t need to connect an external power source to them. A condenser microphone simply needs +48 V phantom power, which the audio interface will supply. You’ll have the ability to turn it on and off with the flick of a switch.

3) Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon microphones get their name from the thin metal ribbon inside of them. A magnetic field is used to suspend the ribbon and create the sound. The output of the microphone is linked to the ribbon. When you speak into the microphone, the sound of your voice vibrates the ribbon. As a result, the magnetic field produces an electrical signal that you can record.

This kind of magnetic induction can be seen in both ribbon microphones and dynamic microphones. But the magnetic induction of a ribbon microphone is far more sensitive in comparison to that of a dynamic microphone. There was a point when ribbon microphones were very popular, but they have slowly faded away from the mainstream.

The best thing about ribbon microphones is their ability to absorb high notes. Most recording studios will use ribbon microphones for this reason. Novices and beginners are not advised to start out with a ribbon microphone because it is a bit more advanced to learn and use.

Conclusion

All three microphones are great. But if you had to single out one type of microphone as the best, then condenser microphones would win. They have a fabulous ability to capture music and vocals with great clarity. In fact, a lot of home studio users are starting to ditch their dynamic microphones and purchase the more expensive condenser microphones.

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We could break down microphones even further by studying the size of their diaphragms and the type of polar patterns they have. For instance, if you want to purchase a microphone for singing, then an unidirectional polar pattern microphone is suitable for it.

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