Best microphones pick up sound waves and convert those waves into an electric signal for use by audio equipment in one of two ways.
A dynamic (or moving coil) microphone operates by using a wire coil along with a magnet to generate the audio signal. The interaction in the wire coil and magnet is called electromagnetic induction and is mainly responsible for generating an output signal voltage. A diaphragm is attached to the coil, and it is mounted inside the mic so that it can move around in response to a solid wave. Once the diaphragm vibrates, the attached coil moves backwards and forwards inside the magnetic field. This motion in the field generates an electric powered current (induction), which may be converted by audio equipment into sound waves. The effectiveness of the electrical current is directly associated with the motion in the coil.
Dynamic mics are wonderful general-purpose microphones. They may have less moving parts than condenser mics, and consequently they’re typically more rugged and sturdy. Furthermore, given that they generate their own current, no external source of energy is required.
The physics behind the moving coil can play a role in limitations in frequency response. Generally speaking, dynamic microphones are less sensitive than condenser mics.
In a condenser microphone a voltage charge is applied to the diaphragm by either a battery or phantom power. The diaphragm is mounted not far from a stationary back plate. Sound waves striking the diaphragm causes it to move closer and farther away from the back plate that causes electrical charge fluctuations to take place. The interaction involving the diaphragm and back plate creates a power component called a capacitor (or condenser), and also the resulting variations in voltage may be reinterpreted as sound waves through the receiving audio equipment.
Condenser microphones are incredibly responsive and make a stronger signal than dynamic mics. This makes them a perfect option for professional settings like studio work, where it’s important to pick up vocal subtleties.
Typically Condenser Microphones get more moving parts than their dynamic counterparts and are less durable. Also, given that they usually do not generate their own current they might require an external power supply. (Battery or phantom power)
Precisely what is phantom power? Phantom power is a direct current (typically between 12 and 48 volts) that supplies microphones with power through audio cables. 48 volt phantom power is regarded as the common and it is often tihdsy by microphone preamps and audio mixers.
The pickup pattern may well be one of the most important factors in selecting a mic. The pattern determines which directions will and won’t pick-up sounds. Pickup patterns for vocal microphones typically fall under the following categories: omnidirectional, unidirectional and bidirectional.
Omnidirectional mics pick up sounds from all directions equally while a unidirectional mic was created to only pick up sound from a single direction. Bidirectional mics are rarer, and are made to pick-up from two sides – good for a two person podcast when sharing one particular mic. “Cardioid” is another term often used when describing the pickup patterns of microphones. A cardioid mic picks up sounds from your front, but there is some limited pickup from your sides. It will help to supply some tolerance for side to side movement in the speaker while recording.
Accessibility to power is another consideration for podcasting microphones. Most studio vocal microphones (condenser type) require phantom power – which means external power must be presented to the equipment. This is most often accomplished by the use of mixers and mic preamps. USB microphones on the other hand, have the ability to connect right to a pc without requiring an external source of energy. Dynamic mics are typically less sensitive but do not demand a source of energy.
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