For most of us, the microphones in our smartphones and our laptops are more than enough to get by. However, there are reasons why you might want to invest in something a little better and more professional. Whether you’re just getting started live streaming or you use messaging boards as you work from home, it’s important that you present yourself well rather than using low quality audio. Maybe you’re a budding musician trying to get your recorded work out to potential fans. Most people want a crisper, more professional recording. That’s when you’ll need a quality microphone. If you’re at that point, then you need to learn the difference between condenser microphones and dynamic microphones. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. We’re going to take a look at the differences between condenser vs dynamic podcasts, and condenser vs dynamic for vocals to help you decide which one is the right kind for you.
A condenser is an old term for capacitor, which is a device used to store energy in an electric field. A condenser microphone from Buydig.com could really be called a capacitor microphone, but for whatever reasons the term “condenser” won out. The capacitor inside the microphone has two plates: a fixed back plate, and a thinner flexible front plate. When sound waves hit the front plate, they cause it to vibrate. Because the back plate and front plate are at a fixed distance from each other, the vibrations cause the plates to get closer, creating a change in capacitance. This change is converted into electrical signals, which are then amplified and transported to the pre-amp or mixing table. In order for the capacitor to register the change in capacitance, there needs to be a charge across it, which is why condenser mics require phantom power: a constant +48 volts. This phantom power can be provided by the mixing desk or pre-amp, but can be provided by a battery within the microphone itself. This studio microphone is ideal for use in recording vocals, either singing or spoken. Unlike dynamic mics, the electronics mean that these capacitor microphones are available in many different form factors, from large mics to small sensitive microphones worn on the lapel.
Dynamic, or moving-coil microphones, work by electromagnetic induction. Inside the microphone there is a diaphragm which has an induction coil attached. This coil is positioned within the magnetic field of a permanent magnet. When sound waves enter the microphone, they cause vibrations in the diaphragm. These movements cause the coil to move within the magnetic field creating a varying current and transducing the sound into electrical energy. The electrical signal can then be amplified by your microphone pre-amp or mixing desk. Dynamic microphones from Buydig.com are relatively cheap microphones due to the low cost of internal mechanisms. This moving coil microphone is also durable and rugged. Dynamic Microphones are ideal for recording louder sounds and instrumentation, such as drums or amplified guitars. Their low sensitivity means they’re unable to pick up distant sounds, making them better suited as live vocal microphones.
What is the Best Microphone?
Which one is right for you? Condenser mics give better sound quality over all frequencies whereas dynamic mics are more durable and better for cutting out background noise. If you have an indoor, sound-proof recording environment, a condenser is the best studio microphone. If you want a live sound recording, or if you want to record loud instruments like amplified guitars or drums, a dynamic is the best microphone for live vocals. That’s the general rule of thumb, anyway. As you get more professional, more nuances emerge.