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microphone

Do you need a microphone? There are two types you’ll come across and in this article we’ll take a look at both of them and discuss which is best for your vocals – dynamic or condenser mic.

- The Difference is in the Transducer Type

Let us get you in on a little secret from the get go. The difference between dynamic and condenser microphones is not in their directional characteristics, but in the transducer principle.

Basically, as you talk into the microphone, a small membrane in your microphone responds to the air movement you created while speaking.

Both dynamic and condenser microphones have this membrane. The difference is just in how each of them transforms the membrane movement from acoustical to electrical energy.

Let’s take a look at their principles.

- Dynamic Microphone

A dynamic microphone consists of three main elements, which form an electrical, sound-driven generator:

  1. Diaphragm
  2. Magnet
  3. Voice coil

As your sound waves hit the diaphragm (which acts as a membrane), this causes it to vibrate, along with the voice col attached to its rear. A small magnet creates a magnetic field, which surrounds the voice coil and the motion of the voice coil in the magnetic field creates an electrical signal like the one the microphone picked up.

- Condenser Microphone

You’ll often see a condenser microphone used by radio and YouTube hosts. It also includes three elements:

  1. Diaphragm
  2. Diaphragm case
  3. Backplate

Here, the diaphragm is mounted in front of the backplate, allowing the microphone to store a charge/voltage and create an electric field between the two elements. The sound waves vibrate the diaphragm and the distance between the diaphragm and the backplate generates an electrical signal corresponding to your voice as it is picked up by the microphone.

In order for the electrical output to be used with the microphone input, condenser microphones have additional active circuitry, which is why they must be powered, either through a cable attached to it or via a battery inside it. As a result, this type of microphone has a maximum signal level it (the circuitry actually) can handle. This level depends on the design and model of the microphone.

- Enough About Technical Terms, Which One is better for Your Voice?

The decision between a dynamic and condenser microphone depends greatly on the setting you are going to use it in.

Dynamic microphones are better suited for outdoor use. This is why you’ll often see them used by reporters on the field. They are much less affected by temperatures and humidity as they have a more rugged construction.

Condenser microphones are more at home in a controlled environment, like a studio or a concert hall. If you need something to pick just your voice and not the surrounding noise, a condenser microphone is probably a better choice. However, keep in mind that, since they are somewhat more complicated in construction, condenser microphones can be a bit more expensive.

Do you agree? Which microphone do you prefer – dynamic or condenser and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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