Microphones are devices that are used to convert sound waves into electrical waves. Microphones can capture sound waves from anything which could be a musical instrument, human voice, or any other sound-producing device.
Two main types of microphones are mainly used. They are – dynamic microphones and condenser microphones.
- Dynamic microphones use a diaphragm attached to a coil in a magnetic field, while condenser microphones have a charged diaphragm parallel to a backplate.
- Condenser microphones deliver better sensitivity and frequency response, making them ideal for studio recording. In contrast, dynamic microphones excel in live performances due to their durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels.
- Dynamic microphones don’t require external power, whereas condenser microphones need phantom power.
Dynamic Microphone vs Condenser Microphone
A dynamic mic uses a voice coil that vibrates in a magnetic field to pick sound waves and convert them into electric signals. It is better for live use. A condenser mic uses an electrically charged diaphragm to generate an electrical signal from its vibrations. It is better for use in a controlled environment.
A dynamic microphone is one of the oldest and most primitive types of microphone. These types of microphones are capable of withstanding sounds that have high-pressure levels.
The design of dynamic microphones is fairly rudimentary and so the microphones are priced reasonably.
On the other hand, condenser microphone is the latest and modern type of microphone. These types of microphones are capable of standing sounds that have low-pressure levels.
The design of condenser microphones is complex and intricate and so the microphones are priced higher.
|Parameters of Comparison
|They work on the principle of converting sound waves into voltage with the help of a magnet
|They work on the principle of the variable capacitance
|Oldest and primitive type of microphone
|Latest and modern type of microphone
|Dynamic microphone is durable, inexpensive, and doesn’t even need a power source to operate
|Condenser microphone are very sensitive and they can capture sound with precision and accuracy
|Dynamic microphones are not sensitive to high-frequency sounds or cannot capture low volume and quiet sounds
|Condenser microphones are quite expensive. They are very delicate microphones and does not capture loud sounds
|Used mainly in stage use or performances with a live crowd or audience, guitar amplifiers, keyboards, loud vocals commerce snare drums, and toms, and brass instruments
|Used mainly in studio recording, vocals, piano, bass drums, acoustic guitars, ambiance (room)
What is Dynamic Microphone?
A dynamic microphone is an audio device that can convert the sound into audio through an electrically conductive diaphragm. It is a transducer that has the potential to convert mechanical wave energy into electrical energy.
The conductive diaphragm is a magnetic structure that is permanent and possesses the principle of electromagnetic induction. Electromagnetic induction produces a voltage across an electric conductor which is constantly changing in a magnetic field.
The magnetic structure in a dynamic microphone provides a magnetic field. There is a presence of conductive element which caters to electric potential difference through the lead wires.
Dynamic microphone runs on a mechanism that provides a relative movement between the magnetic field and the conductive element.
There are two basic designs in a dynamic microphone. They are moving-coil dynamic microphones and ribbon dynamic microphones.
The moving coil dynamic microphone has a transducer which is built with a non-conductive diaphragm attached with the conductive metal coil.
The metal is copper and is attached to the rear side. It also has a cylindrical cutaway for the coil to sit within.
The other type is a ribbon dynamic microphone which has a transducer like a conductive ribbon diaphragm. It is ultra-thin and is made up of corrugated aluminum.
The diaphragm perimeter is surrounded by a magnetic structure. The continuous movement of the diaphragm produces an AC voltage across the mic signal within the permanent magnetic field.
What is Condenser Microphone?
The derivation of the name of a condenser microphone is from the capacitor which is placed inside. An old term for the word capacitor is the condenser.
The capacitor inside the condenser microphone is responsible for converting the acoustic energy into an electrical signal. The capacitor which is present in a condenser microphone is made up of two metal surface plates.
The metal surface plates of the capacitor in the condenser microphone are suspended in proximity with each other. The suspension is in voltage which passes across them.
One metal plate is known as a backplate while the other metal plate is known as a diaphragm.
The backplate is made up of solid brass while the diaphragm is made up of lightweight metal and some condenser microphones that even contain gold-sputtered mylar.
The housing of the capacitor is done in a microphone capsule which can be seen when the microphone grill is removed in the condenser microphones.
The sound in the condenser microphone hits the diaphragm and moves relatively back and forth to the solid backplate.
The distance between the capacitors of the condenser microphone changes constantly. So the capacitance will change with the rhythm of the sound waves.
The nature of the capsule signal in the condenser microphone is fragile and is connected to the other pieces of the gear of the microphone.
The output voltage produced from the condenser microphone is high and does not produce any current from the condenser capsule. A very little amount of energy is stored in the capacitor of the condenser microphone.
The microphone also requires external power. The circuit which buffers between the outside world and the capsule requires an impedance converter.
Main Differences Between Dynamic Microphone and Condenser Microphone
- Dynamic microphone can effectively capture sound with lower frequencies while a condenser microphone can effectively capture sound with higher frequencies.
- Dynamic microphone does not operate on power while condenser microphone operates on power.
- Dynamic microphone is used for strong sounds while condenser microphone is used for delicate sounds.
- Dynamic microphone is used in a live setting while condenser microphones are used in a studio setting.
- Dynamic microphone is ideal for customers on a budget while condenser microphone is ideal for customers who are ready to splurge some extra bucks.
Last Updated : July 13th, 2023
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.