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Home > What's New > Should Your Musical Instrument Microphone Design Be Dynamic Or Condenser?
  • Should Your Musical Instrument Microphone Design Be Dynamic Or Condenser?2010-08-02
  • Buying a microphone can sometimes be confusing, especially for people who know nothing more than the obvious job of a microphone. If you are one of these people, then looking at the specifications will not really help you as they are usually outlined with complicated spec sheets and unfamiliar jargon. Though product reviews can help you, it is much better to educate yourself and make your own decision.

    To make it simple, a microphone is a device or equipment used for converting sounds into electric signals that can be amplified and sent to an audio speaker or speakers. When shopping around for a microphone, there are two basic microphones to choose from: a dynamic microphone and a condenser microphone. The difference between the two is certainly not about the quality but on their appropriate applications and how the sound is converted to electrical signals.

    In both microphones, the common element is the diaphragm which vibrates when a sound is introduced. In a typical microphone that we see, the diaphragm is situated at the center of the head of the microphone. Having a deeper understanding on these microphones and knowing your needs are will help make a good buying decision.

    A dynamic microphone uses what's called electromagnetic induction. Do you remember in your science class -when you moved a magnet near a coil of wire, there was an electric current generated in the wire? When there is sound, the diaphragm which is attached to a coil vibrates. And in effect the there's back and forth movement of coil along the magnet which produces an electrical signal, which, is then transmitted to an amplifier and on to speaker(s).

    Dynamic microphones are flexible and best for general use. They come in various sizes and designs which also determine the output sound. Generally, a bigger diaphragm provides a smoother and deeper audio quality. And you can depend on the microphone's longevity and consistency of the sound. With its simple design and very few movable components, it can withstand any road torture and rough usage.

    In fact, you may find that it can last for many years. It is also a good choice if you need to channel high volume levels. The only disadvantage of this mic is its frequency range and sensitivity. It doesn't pick up the fine details as well as condenser microphones. If you want the best sound quality, then this mic is not for you.

    As for condenser microphones, it makes use of capacitor in converting the sound to electrical signals. A capacitor is basically made of two plates. In this microphone, one of the plates is made of lighter material, which is movable and acts as the diaphragm (the other plate is fixed). With introduction of sound, the diaphragm moves and the difference in the separation between the two plates in effect creates the electrical signal. This signal is relatively small and because of this, it requires a power source that will boost the signal amplification.

    A condenser microphone is more responsive and is able to capture minute differences in a sound. You will definitely find this kind of mic in all audio recording studios. The downside of this microphone is that it is not suited for high volume levels because of its sensitivity; which may result in sound distortion.

    In choosing the right microphone, you need to identify first its use. If you plan it to use it on stage, a dynamic mic is a good choice. If you want to record music, then a condenser is better choice. Conversely the condenser microphone type is better for the recording studio and computer recording. The price will often be a factor in your buying decision. Certainly a $500 mic will definitely provide a much better audio quality than one that costs $200 or less. To make a more informed decision, take some time to read reviews and compare the features and prices.
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