Microphone types are an essential part of audio recording, and understanding the different types can help you make better choices when selecting a microphone.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different 9 types of microphones, their purposes, and the different types of diaphragms that each uses.
We’ll also explain why small diaphragm mics are popular among audio professionals and share tips on choosing the right microphone for your needs.
How Do Microphones Work?
Microphones capture sound waves and convert them into electrical signals that can be recorded or transmitted. They come in different shapes and sizes, but they all use the same principle to create an analog or digital audio file.
A microphone diaphragm is a thin membrane that moves in reaction to external sound pressure variation. A microphone diaphragm is a key transducer component in converting acoustic energy into electrical energy. The three main diaphragm types are the moving coil, ribbon, and condenser.
Phantom power is a term used to describe the power that microphones need to function. It usually generates an amplifier or speaker stack, which is used to ensure that the microphone can pick up sound properly.
The Different 9 Types Of Microphones Explained
When it comes to microphones, there are two main types – condenser and dynamic. And overall, there are 9 types of microphones that have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know what they are before making a purchase.
Condenser microphones are better for capturing high-pitched sounds, while dynamic mics work better for low-pitched voices. Additionally, dynamic microphones are better for recording in noisy environments, while condenser microphones are better for recording in quiet environments.
When selecting which microphone is best for your needs, it’s important to consider the recording environment and goals. Let us discuss these different types of microphones.
1. Dynamic Microphones
Dynamic microphones are the gold standard. They’re great for live performances as they capture the instrument’s sound clearly and accurately.
Dynamic microphones, thus, are microphones that convert sound into an electrical signal through electromagnetism. They fall into two categories, moving coil and ribbon microphones. A moving coil capsule: At the back of the transparent membrane, you can see the wire coil, which surrounds a permanent magnet.
2. Condenser Microphones
Condenser microphones use a Moving Magnet element to capture sound, and they’re usually more expensive than dynamic microphones, but they produce better sound quality. They’re often used in professional recording studios because they can handle louder sounds with less distortion.
3. Ribbon Microphones
Ribbon microphones are the least common type and are usually only found in high-end audio equipment. They use a thin metal ribbon to capture sound instead of a moving coil or Moving Magnet element, making them special for capturing high-quality acoustic recordings.
4. Small Diaphragm Mics
A small diaphragm means it is half-inch or less in diameter. In reality, many small diaphragm condenser microphones for audio recording use slightly larger capsules. There are also some large diaphragm microphones whose diaphragm size is slightly less than one inch.
5. Medium Diaphragm Mics
Most professionals and manufacturers agree that any microphone with a diaphragm near 5/8″ to 3/4″ can characterize as a Medium Diaphragm microphone.
Generally speaking, Medium Diaphragm microphones do a decent job of accurately catching transients and high-frequency content (as a small diaphragm would) while delivering a slightly fuller, round, and potentially warmer sound (as a large diaphragm might).
6. Large Diaphragm Mics
A large diaphragm condenser microphone is a mic that has a capsule that is between 32-34 mm in diameter, but the actual membrane inside the capsule is between 22-27 mm or just under 1″.
Large-diaphragm microphones are the best type of microphone for recording vocals because they capture more detail and nuance than other microphones.
They’re also less prone to pick up undesired noise, which makes them perfect for recording vocals in noisy environments like nightclubs and concerts.
7. Cardioid Mics
A cardioid microphone has a unidirectional cardioid polar/pickup pattern. It is most sensitive to on-axis sounds (where the mic “points”).
It’s generally 6 dB less sensitive to the sides with a null point to its rear. Cardioid mics are revered for their directionality and rejection of rear sounds. Cardioid microphones are designed to pick up sound in a specific direction.
This makes them ideal for recording speeches, interviews, or anything that you want to capture only one person’s voice. They’re also good for recording acoustic guitars or other instruments that must capture in a single direction.
8. Omnidirectional Microphones
An omnidirectional microphone has an omnidirectional polar pattern and is equally sensitive to sound from every direction. Unlike their directional counterparts, Omni microphone capsules have only one side of their diaphragms open to external sound pressure.
Omnidirectional microphones are great for broadcasting or recording audio in a single direction. They are commonly used for voiceovers, podcasts, and video recordings.
When choosing an omnidirectional microphone, consider its price and type of pickup pattern (cardioid or cardioid/Omni). Once you’ve found the perfect microphone for your use case, plug it into your computer and start recording.
9. Bidirectional Microphones
Microphones are essential for recording audio for videos and voiceovers. Choosing the right microphone is important, as it can impact the quality of your audio recording and performance.
A bidirectional microphone is a versatile option that is great for various tasks. It captures both the front and back channels of your audio, which can use to mix or create surround sound effects.
Understanding The Proximity Effect Of Mic
Microphone selection can be daunting, but it’s important to understand the proximity effect. The proximity effect is a phenomenon that leads to an increase in low-frequency response as you move the mic closer to the source. The closer you get, the bigger the bass boost.
This can create problems, but simultaneously, it opens up ways to shape the sound. This means that the mic will capture your voice more accurately.
However, if the mic is too close to your mouth, your speech will be distorted and difficult to understand. Try out several mics before making a purchase to find the right balance. Once you find the one that is right for you, please keep it safe so you can use it whenever you need it.
Understanding The Polar Patterns
A polar pattern defines how much of the signal will be picked up by the microphone from different directions. Selecting the right pattern can prevent unwanted sound sources from bleeding into your signal, adjust the mix between dry and room sound, change the frequency response, and influence the proximity effect.
Microphone types can be a bit of a mystery for first-time users. That’s why we’re here to break it down for you. There are three main types of microphones – condenser, dynamic, and omnidirectional.
Each has its unique features and benefits, so it’s important to select the right one for your needs. You must know what sound you’re trying to capture. After that, it’s just a matter of reading the user manual carefully to get the most out of your microphone.
How To Pick The Right Type Of Microphone For Your Needs
If you’re ever in doubt about the right microphone for the job, feel free to consult the buyer’s guide provided by the microphone manufacturer.
This document will help you identify the types of microphones available, the features they offer, and the compatibility of the microphone with your audio equipment. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pick out the right types of microphones for your recordings.
1. Consider Your Genre
When choosing the right microphone, the genre of music you will be recording is a big factor to consider. For instance, a condenser mic will be ideal if you are doing interviews or podcasting, as it captures more sound details and doesn’t pick up ambient noise as much.
A dynamic mic is better for live performances as it captures more live sounds in the mix. On the other hand, if you are recording vocals or acoustic guitars with an omnidirectional mic- which picks up all sound equally well from all directions- your audio quality will be better than with a cardioid microphone that records only sound coming from directly in front of the microphone.
2. Think About Your Use Case
Think About Your Use Case You should also consider your proposed use case for your microphone.
Since human vocal cords are such a dynamic instrument, you could utilize any microphone type to capture their sound. In most instances, vocal recordings are captured using condenser microphones.
Instruments like strings, guitars, and live keys can have a bright, sometimes percussive sound that may be too aggressive for sensitive, a large diaphragm condenser microphone or a ribbon microphone.
You might opt for a small diaphragm condenser microphone for louder, mid-range frequency sounds.
Instruments on the lower end of the frequency spectrum can be particularly difficult to capture. In these instances, you might use a low-end dynamic microphone as your kick mic or bass mic since these microphones are sturdy and can still pick up low range.
Ribbon mics can pick up low-end sounds well, but they could be better for loud sound sources since they’re so delicate.
3. Test Out Different Microphone Models
When choosing the right microphone, it is important to think about your needs. This will help you determine which type of microphone is best for you. There are different types of microphones.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages that need to consider before making a purchase. For example, condenser microphones are great for recording vocals because they have a good low-end response but are more expensive than dynamic or electret mics.
They’re also better at handling loud sound levels as well as high frequencies; however, they can become unreliable in extreme conditions such as rain or windy weather.
It is also important to consider the environment in which you will be using the microphone – for example, whether it will be indoors or outdoors. Some microphones work well in both environments, while others are designed specifically for one type of setting over another.
4. Record, Rinse, And Repeat
Microphone types: shotgun mic, lapel mic, voice memo recorder test the microphone before recording: make sure it’s compatible with your device and audio quality is good. Don’t be afraid to rinse and repeat if needed.
Microphone types can be quite confusing, but don’t worry. This blog has outlined the different 9 types of microphones and explained their function.
Additionally, we have explained the different diaphragms and small diaphragm mics, so you can decide which microphone is right for your needs. Have any questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading.
Frequently Asked Questions
1.What Are The Main Types Of Microphones?
Ans: The three main microphones are Cardioid microphones, omnidirectional microphones, and stereo microphones.
2.Which One Is Best? Different Microphones In Different Space
Ans: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each microphone type has its advantages and disadvantages regarding recording audio.
However, a dynamic microphone is usually the best option for home recordings as it captures more sound. If you plan to record a live performance or interview, an omnidirectional microphone will be the most suitable option, as it captures audio from all directions.
Remember that microphones come in different shapes and sizes – choose one that suits your needs and can be easily transported.
3.What’s A Good Microphone For Pop Vocal Recording?
Ans: For pop vocal recording, a condenser microphone is often the best option. These microphones capture more sound details, resulting in a clearer and more lifelike recording of your voice.
Other microphones used for vocal recording include a dynamic mic and a hyper-cardioid microphone. However, hyper-cardioid mics provide less detail when it comes to capturing the nuances of your voice. So if you’re looking for a good all-rounder, go with a condenser microphone.
4.When To Use What Microphone Type?
Ans: If you only plan on using your microphone for voice recordings, then a condenser mic is likely best suited. However, if you also want to use it for recording music and vocals simultaneously, an omnidirectional mic may be more suitable.
5.What Are The Recommended Hyper Cardioid Microphones For?
Ans: The recommended hyper cardioid microphones for audio recording are condenser microphones. They’re great for podcasts, voiceover work, live streaming, and recording in loud environments.