Video: What's the difference between Dynamic mics and Condenser mics?

Video: What's the difference between Dynamic mics and Condenser mics?

In today's video Dave walks us through the different between dynamic microphones and condenser microphones.


Hey everyone, Dave from DVEStore here. And today I wanted to talk to you about microphones, and specifically the two different types of microphones. Now there's all different types of mics out there in terms of usage. You have lavalier mics, shotgun mics, large studio condenser mics, contact mics, hydrophones, small diaphragm condenser mic. There's all different kinds of microphones out there. They all fall within two different categories. There are dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. So what's the difference between these two? And that's really the meat of what I'm gonna get at today.

Dynamic microphones are used in situations that require less sensitivity and where you will have high SPL, basically really loud stuff. Situations where used dynamics are like on drums, if your recording guns, car engines, really loud things. But also you'll see them quite often for vocal mics on live performances and that sort of thing. So what's a dynamic microphone? Well, all microphones are transducers, and a transducer is something that takes one form of energy and converts it into another. So your eardrums are transducers, they convert acoustic energy or sound waves into electrical impulses that your brain then interprets as sound. A TV is actually a transducer, it takes an electrical signal and converts it into light that you then see. So a microphone is like your eardrum, it takes an acoustic signal, or sound waves, or sound pressure and then converts that into an electrical signal. So how do they do this? And this is the meat of the difference between these two, of dynamics and condensers. So the way a dynamic microphone works is there's a diaphragm in the inside. And the diaphragm is basically a thin piece of material, it could be plastic, some mics could be paper or really, really thin piece of metal that's's...think of it like a drumhead, where it's taut and it's a thin piece of material, okay? So, that is attached to a coil, a metal coil on the inside of the microphone, and that goes around a magnetic core, basically. So when sound pressure hits that diaphragm, it moves. And when that moves, it moves the coil. When the coil moves, it moves around that magnet. That creates electric energy, that's the signal that gets sent off. And there's lots of other things, we don't need to get deep into the weeds because there's a lot you need to know about electronics and how all that stuff works, but that's basically a dynamic microphone, right?

So a condenser microphone, it uses a capacitor. And a capacitor is an electronic component that stores energy and that's a really, really simplified definition. And basically what's going on on the inside of a capacitor is there's two plates, and those plates are charged, they have an electric current running to them. And the front plate of that capacitor is basically like the diaphragm from the dynamic mic. The front plate is that. And when it moves, it creates capacitance with the back plate. So when they get closer together or further away, that capacitance changes and then that's what the electrical signal is that runs off. And that requires power and that's why condenser microphones need 48 volt Phantom Power to run. You would use these in situations where you need more sensitivity. So if you're recording vocals in the recording studio, or voiceover work, or if you're doing sound effects gathering of quiet things, or you just need more sensitivity, shotgun microphones on production are typically condenser microphones. So that's really the bare-bones difference between a dynamic and a condenser microphone.

17th Jun 2017 Dave Fisk

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