Which microphone to choose: dynamic or condenser?
You don't have to be a professional in the sound industry to have a microphone, now thousands of Internet users use a microphone to record their video blogs, podcasts, audio recordings, for dubbing and for communicating online.
Therefore, the desire to purchase a microphone as a separate device is sure to come, it's only a matter of time. And if the purchase of a microphone is associated with some of your projects, work or hobbies, then the success of the entire event will largely depend on the quality and characteristics of the microphone. And that's when you come across a key question, or even several. For example, what kind of microphone do I need: dynamic or condenser? How do they differ and what are the advantages of each? Or like this: for my purposes, which microphone to take so that the result is the best?
We will try to answer these questions, and also compare the two main types of microphones: dynamic and condenser, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages.
Let's start with dynamic microphones, which is due to their availability and versatility.
The main parts of a dynamic microphone are a special membrane (diaphragm), a thin wire coil and a magnet located inside the coil, which creates a strong magnetic field. The sound wave creates a change in air pressure in the area of the diaphragm, which causes it to vibrate. The diaphragm, in turn, causes the coil to vibrate, which moves in the field of the magnet. As a result of the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction, an electric current arises in the coil, the magnitude and direction of which are determined by sound waves.
Each microphone has a specific polar pattern that tells the space in which sound can be captured by the microphone.
Most dynamic microphones are cardioid (or simply cardioid) pickup patterns, which are ideal for solo performances or single instrument recordings. Cardioid allows you to filter out any background noise, leaving only the sound that needs to be recorded.
They are less sensitive and susceptible to extraneous sounds or unwanted reflections from the walls of the room.
They can handle high SPL, making them ideal for recording loud sound sources such as bass and guitar amps.
Reliability of a design, microphones are steady against mechanical damages, and also against moisture and extreme temperatures.
The technical implementation is very simple, which is why dynamic microphones are among the cheapest on the market.
Do not require additional power.
They have a smaller frequency range than condenser microphones (80-15000 Hz).
Inferior to condenser microphones in transparency and detail of the recorded sound.
Less accurately convey the timbre and character of the sound.
Dynamic microphones are used to record loud sound sources at a short distance, such as:
loud and roaring vocals,
wind instruments that produce a loud and bright sound.
Dynamic microphones are also used in acoustically unprepared rooms or outdoors. From the properties of a dynamic microphone, it follows that it will better cope with the task of picking up sound close, while it will not capture the acoustics of the room, and neighboring sound sources. Also, the dynamic microphone is better able to handle high sound pressure and excess low frequencies.
Sounds recorded using a condenser microphone are less distorted and have more natural dynamics.
1. Operating principle
As the name implies, the design of a condenser microphone contains a capacitor, which is two plates located at a short distance from each other. By changing the distance between the plates, you can change the capacitance of the capacitor: the closer the plates are, the higher the capacitance.
When it hits the diaphragm of a microphone, the sound wave causes it to oscillate, and the distance between the capacitor plates changes periodically. Thus, the capacitance of the capacitor changes in accordance with the sound pressure and frequency of the sound affecting the microphone.
Due to the design features, such microphones can be of various shapes and sizes, which makes them attractive to buy even from an aesthetic point of view.
Compared to a dynamic microphone, condenser microphones have a higher sound sensitivity. This is due to its omnidirectional pattern, which captures every sound around the microphone, making condenser microphones ideal for recording bands or entire orchestras.
Condenser microphones are characterized by high sensitivity, high frequency response and dynamics, thanks to which they capture even the quietest sounds, details and tonal changes.
Voice recorded with a condenser microphone sounds natural and natural.
They have a wide frequency response of 20 - 20,000 Hz, which is ideal for recording vocals and acoustic instruments.
The design of condenser microphones is quite fragile, so they can not be dropped and subjected to mechanical stress.
Condenser microphones are not resistant to adverse weather conditions, so it is best not to use them in extreme temperatures or when it rains.
They require ideal acoustic conditions of the room, otherwise all extraneous sounds will fall into the path, as well as sounds reflected from the walls and ceiling.
The cost is significantly higher than that of dynamic microphones.
Studio condenser microphones require additional +48V phantom power
Condenser microphones remove sound sources from a greater distance than dynamic ones (up to a meter, and sometimes several meters), usually vocals in an acoustically ideal studio or, for example, an acoustic guitar.
A condenser mic is more delicate than a dynamic mic and is better at picking up the nuances of, for example, a quiet classical guitar in an acoustically good room. And in this case it is better to place it at a distance of about 40 cm from the instrument.
To the question "Which microphone is better?" cannot be answered immediately. It is impossible to say unequivocally that one type of microphone is better than another, each of them is good for solving a certain range of tasks.
In addition, even within the same type, there are various modifications and models that are designed to solve specific problems. For example, there are microphones that are specifically designed to record the human voice, such as during an interview. Other models are ideal for recording musical instruments. A very important role is played by the directivity of the microphone.
A dynamic microphone is more suitable for noisy environments such as clubs. A condenser microphone is best suited for more prepared environments such as a concert hall or theatre.
Most producers and artists who want the highest level of sound quality prefer condenser microphones because of their sensitivity and accurate recording of acoustic instruments.
Always remember that an instrument is bought for the task, and not vice versa, so before choosing a microphone, decide what you are going to record with it. Condenser and dynamic microphones are essential tools for sound recording. Deciding which microphone is best for your recording depends not only on the sound source or sound reinforcement system, but also on the settings of the microphone itself.
Remember that rules are there to be broken. Therefore, after reading everything that is written above, take note of it, but do not be afraid to experiment, try new things, and success in your work!