Many publications describe the types and principles of microphones. I don't think I'm bringing anything new with this post. Rather, I would like to sort and describe microphones according to their electromechanical principle and their internal structure.
Microphones as an element for recording the primary acoustic signal determine the quality of the transmitted or recorded acoustic signal through their properties. As an electro-acoustic converter, the microphone converts the acoustic energy into electrical energy.
The carbon microphone was invented by Thomas Alva Edison. He discovered that carbon granules compressed between metal plates have an electrical resistance that is inversely proportional to pressure. If sound waves act on one of the plates, the current flowing through the grains between the plates changes accordingly. The quality of the sound emitted is sufficient for a conversation, and such a microphone mainly acts as an electromechanical amplifier (the energy of current changes can be significantly greater than the energy of the incident sound waves).
The carbon microphone was probably the first practical microphone. Carbon dust is placed between two electrodes, one fixed and the other movable (connected to the membrane), whose resistance changes with the change in pressure. So it is a deflection converter. The structure according to figure a) is common for microphones in telephony, the arrangement according to b) was common for the Reiss microphone, which was used in the early days of radio.
This type of microphone is still widely used in telephony. The conical aluminum foil diaphragm has a gold-plated electrode in the center that continues into the dust chamber. The microphone is still made in the form of these telephone microphone inserts. It has a relatively limited frequency range (200 - 3400 Hz). However, its production is very simple and inexpensive.
The disadvantage of this microphone, in addition to the limited frequency range, is a high sensitivity to shocks, where the sputtering of carbon grains causes a lot of noise. Therefore, some types were very robust, massive and mounted on springs.
Carbon MicrophonesMicrophone inserts for telephones
ELECTRODYNAMIC (DYNAMIC) COIL MICROPHONE
The principle is that a coil moves in the magnetic field of a permanent magnet. The coil is connected to a diaphragm that causes it to vibrate mechanically. The magnetic circuit is constructed in the same way as loudspeakers. In cheap microphones the coil is wound on a paper frame, in quality microphones the coil is usually self-supporting, wound from copper or aluminum wire, or wrapped vertically with foil. Flat wrapped anodized aluminum foils are also used.
A very small air gap is selected in the magnet system. The coil is bonded to the diaphragm of a sufficiently rigid material that should not produce parasitic, unwanted vibrations. At the same time, however, the whole oscillating system must have a minimum weight due to its sensitivity and upper limit frequency.
For such an electrodynamic converter to have the required satisfactory properties, its manufacture is very expensive. Stiffness, weight and flexibility of the diaphragm must be carefully considered.
To reduce the sensitivity of this type of microphone to extraneous magnetic fields, some products provide the entire system with a custom auxiliary winding outside the magnetic circuit. The winding is connected in series with the voice coil with a polarity such that the voltages induced in both coils cancel each other out.
The microphone of this type has a limited frequency range and the directional characteristic is spherical in the low frequency range. At frequencies where the distortion of the acoustic field by the microphone body occurs (a wavelength comparable to the dimensions of the microphone), the characteristic changes to a directional one.
To extend the frequency response and turn it into a directional response, several auxiliary acoustic circuits are used:
Dynamic microphonesCzechoslovak production
ELECTRODYNAMIC TAPE MICROFOON
It is the simplest type of electrodynamic microphone, where the electromechanical transducer is a corrugated strip of aluminum placed in a magnetic field. The advantage of this type of inverter lies in its simple assembly and production as well as its excellent electrical properties.
Since the impedance of the tape is very small (0.2 to 0.3 Ω), a matching transformer is built into the microphone housing.
Ribbon microphoneCzechoslovak production
The basic version is a speed converter with a figure-eight sampling characteristic. To adjust the frequency response, the back of the system is closed off with a long ear canal (labyrinth) - an omnidirectional compression microphone - or part of the back is closed off with an ear canal - a microphone with a -B cardioid pattern, or the ear canal is equipped with an openable diaphragm - a microphone with variable recording characteristics.
RCA77DX bandmicrofoonThe famous ribbon microphone with variable polar pattern
Another type of ribbon microphone:
The tape is inside the microphone housing. In operation, the microphone is positioned so that its axis is vertical - thus forming a continuation of the stand. In front of the band, to the rear of which the closed ear canal is attached, is an open ear canal, which widens towards the free end to a diameter of 1.6 cm. A suitable shape of the ear canal favorably influences the frequency response with spherical directional characteristics.
With new materials such as permanent magnets and metallized plastic foil tapes, modern ribbon microphones with interesting properties are being produced again today.
LintmicrofoonsE ELECTRONICS R1 RibbonOne of the modern products in the test report of MUSIC STORE magazine.
Repair of ribbon microphonesProduction and replacement of adhesive tape in domestic conditions.
The simplest directional wave microphone consists of a parabolic mirror and a pressure microphone placed at the focal point. However, the parabolic mirror must have the dimensions of the wave with the lowest detected frequency.A more practical design with a bundle of tubes of different lengths was devised by Masson. The surface of the tubes corresponds to the surface of the diaphragm of the pressure transducer. Such a microphone is called a line microphone. For further simplification, a single cylindrical ear canal can be used with a longitudinal slit covered with a suitable acoustic resistance. Modern microphones of this principle, instead of a single slit, have holes covered with acoustic resistances, the value of which increases towards the transducer connected to the ear canal. The holes are evenly spaced along the entire length of the ear canal.
A wavy line microphone is a very special type of microphone with a very narrow polar pattern.
CRYSTAL - PIEZOELECTRIC MICROPHONE
This type of converter uses a piezoelectric phenomenon where the deformation of the cut Seignett salt crystal creates an electrical charge on the stickers. The design can be diaphragmless, where the sound acts directly on the crystal's cut, or diaphragmless, where the vibration of the diaphragm is mechanically transferred to the crystal's cut.
Crystal microphones were mostly made in the 1950s. Production is cheap and simple. Due to their low quality, they were later replaced by other types. Today, piezoelectric wipers are used for some types of contact sensors, e.g. B. for acoustic musical instruments.
crystal microphonesCzechoslovak production
PiëzosensorContact sensor of acoustic musical instruments
An interesting variant of the piezo microphone, which does not use a ceramic cut, but a piezoelectrically active polymer in the form of a thin foil, metallized on both sides, stretched over a round cushion of polyurethane foam, which rests on the other side of the base plate locked by a sufficiently large housing cavity.
This type of transducer takes advantage of changes in the magnetic flux flowing through the armature, which induces a voltage in the fixed coil around the armature. It's a speed sensor.
Electromagnetic microphoneCzechoslovak production
This microphone is usually small in size and weight with relatively good sensitivity. However, the frequency range is very limited and is therefore mainly used for communication purposes.
ELECTROSTATIC CONDENSER MICROPHONE
This transducer, of conventional design, consists of a fixed (usually perforated) electrode in front of which is placed a movable electrode that forms a diaphragm. A DC bias voltage is applied between the electrodes. The movement of the membrane changes the capacitance between the electrodes. These converters are mainly used for measuring microphones and for microphones for the faithful transmission of acoustic signals.
The signal from the microphone is amplified by a high-impedance preamplifier, which is usually part of the microphone housing. A special class of preamplifiers are high frequency RF (radio frequency) preamplifiers, which use a high frequency oscillator instead of a DC polarizing voltage.
A condenser microphone needs a relatively high polarization voltage for its function, which in practice usually represents an external power supply that supplies this voltage and at the same time provides the power to the microphone preamplifier. The power supply can have different connections:
Microphone with variable polar patternthe plan
Classic tube preampthe plan
Tube cathode preamplifierthe plan
Tube preamp minimizedthe plan
Two-stage tube preamplifierthe plan
Tube HF preamplifierthe plan
Transistor RF Preamplifierthe plan
Preamplifier with FETthe plan
AKG C452CB preamplifierthe plan
AKG C505C preamplifierthe plan
Most modern condenser microphones have phantom power. The required polarization voltage is then generated by an internal converter.
Pressure microphones with an electrostatic transducer are characterized by a smooth frequency response without sharp interruptions and random waves. With careful manufacturing, such a microphone has excellent stability, so that it can also be used for measuring purposes.
An electret microphone is a type of condenser microphone in which the polarization is not provided by an external polarizing voltage, but is formed by an electret - a non-conductive mass that remains permanently electrically charged and which forms the diaphragm. Directly inside the microphone capsule is a preamplifier with a high input resistance FET that requires a power supply on the order of volts.
The disadvantage of the electret microphone is the heavy weight of the diaphragm that carries the electret charge. Hence the so-calledbehind electreta type of microphone in which the electret charge is part of the fixed electrode.
This type of microphone is close in quality to condenser microphones with a low production cost.
 TON TECHNICUS Ing. dr. Jiří Trůneček SNTL 1958
 MICROPHONES AND TRANSMISSIONS Eng. Dr. Ales Boleslav, SNTL 1962
 GRAMOPHONE AND MICROPHONE Jiří Brda, SNTL 1969
 AMATEUR-TONTRÄGER Karel Kubát, SNTL 1977
 PRACTICAL ELECTROACOUSIVE Ing. Ctirad Smetana CSc. and collectively, SNTL 1981
 ELEKTROAKOESTIEK IN IHRER TASCHE Ing. Jiří Svoboda - Ing. Jiří Brda, SNTL 1981
 PRAXIS DER KLANGTECHNIK Václav Vlachý, Muzikus 2008
Principles of microphonesWikipedia
- Dynamic Microphones.
- Large Diaphram Condensor Microphones.
- Small Diaphram Condensor Microphones.
- Ribbon Microphones.
So, let's discuss the three main types of microphones for recording or amplifying vocals or instruments: dynamic microphones, condenser microphones, and ribbon microphones.What type of microphone is best for church choir? ›
A condenser mic with a cardioid or super-cardioid polar pattern is the microphone most often used for choir applications. Cardioid or super-cardioid patterns reject feedback, yet they have a wide sound pickup for good coverage of multiple singers.Which microphone has the best frequency response? ›
Condenser mics are typically preferred for studio settings because they are more sensitive, produce a more natural frequency response, and are better at picking up subtleties that vocalists often want in their recordings. Condenser microphones often require phantom power which can be provided by an audio interface.What is the most common type of microphone? ›
The most common are the dynamic microphone, which uses a coil of wire suspended in a magnetic field; the condenser microphone, which uses the vibrating diaphragm as a capacitor plate; and the contact microphone, which uses a crystal of piezoelectric material.What are the 2 most common microphones? ›
When we look at “professional” microphones (those dynamic, ribbon, and condenser mics used in the studio; for broadcasting; and on the stage), we find that the cardioid polar pattern is the most popular. Cardioid microphones are very popular in microphones for the following reasons: Unidirectional.What is the simplest type of microphone? ›
The oldest and simplest microphone uses carbon dust. This is the technology used in the first telephones and is still used in some telephones today. The carbon dust has a thin metal or plastic diaphragm on one side.What mics do preachers use? ›
With these mics, the pastor's hand can be free to gesture while preaching. A lavalier microphone is usually placed on the lapel of the clothes of the preacher. The placement of the lavalier microphone should be as close to the mouth as is practical.
If you're a vocalist who records in studios, a condenser mic is a smart choice. However, for anyone who performs live, a dynamic mic should be your go-to microphone.What frequency response is best? ›
The preferred frequency response for speakers is 20 Hz to 20 kHz (20000 Hz). This is because human beings have an audio frequency range of between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. Often, when audio equipment is within this frequency response range, it's known as "full-range response."
Shotgun – Lazer Focused Sound Sensitivity
Shotgun mics are commonly used in film sound to record actor dialogue. They are long, thin mics designed to be pointed at a sound source from a distance. A good example of a shotgun mic is the Zoom SSH-6.
For speakers, headphones and microphones, ± 2 or 3dB is considered very good. Amplifiers, CD/DVD players and other 'strictly electronic' devices should be within ± 0.5 or 1dB at the most.What is the rule of 3 microphones? ›
This rule deals with minimizing the audible phasing problems when summing several microphones to mono. The rule states that the source-to-microphone distance of numerous microphones should be three times the distance between the sound source and the nearest microphone.Which microphone creates high quality and consistent sound? ›
A condenser microphone such as the Shure SM7B or Neumann TLM103 are great options for achieving professional sound quality. Both of these mics have an extended frequency response which allows them to pick up more detail than dynamic mics.What is the highest frequency mic? ›
The frequency range of a microphone is defined as the interval between its upper limiting frequency and its lower limiting frequency. With today's microphones you can cover a frequency range starting from around 1Hz and reaching up to 140 kHz.What is the most universal microphone? ›
Condenser microphones are considered the most versatile studio microphones and can be used to record essentially any instrument. They are somewhat more fragile and sonically sensitive than dynamic mics, and they require a small electrical current to operate, so they are less popular in the live setting.What is the most bought microphone? ›
1. Shure SM7B Dynamic Microphone. Since its release, the Shure SM7b has become an industry-standard vocal microphone for nearly every genre. While it first found popularity as a broadcast mic, the SM7b can be heard on thousands of classic tracks, from pop and rock to hip hop and R&B.How much is a good microphone? ›
For a small studio, a good microphone will cost $250-$500. This is the price of premium materials, precise build, and longevity. Sound professionals choose mics above $500.What is the most famous vocal mic? ›
Certainly one of the first microphones known for delivering present, up-front vocals, original Neumann U47s are a known favorite of Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, David Bowie, Chris Cornell, and St. Vincent.
Because there is no heavy coil on the back of a condenser mic's diaphragm is can follow the sound waves' pressure variations much more closely than a dynamic mic can, making it the most accurate kind of microphone.
A lavalier microphone, also known as a lapel mic, lav, clip mic, body mic, collar mic and neck mic, is a miniature microphone, most often placed somewhere on the talent's body as a bodyworn mic. They allow the talent to move freely while they are performing.What is 48V phantom power supply? ›
Phantom power, commonly designated as +48V or P48, was designed to power microphones without using bulky external power supplies such as the ones required for tube microphones. It's a way of sending the DC electrical current required through a balanced XLR cable.What is a super cardioid microphone used for? ›
Due to their nature, supercardioid mics are often used on the live stage – both during concerts as well as spoken-word events, to capture the focused sound of an instrument or voice. The narrow angle of sensitivity helps to minimize the bleed from other sounds on a busy stage.What are the 3 types of microphone pickup patterns? ›
Before we get into some specific benefits for the stage and studio, let's review the basic polar (or pickup) patterns. There are three basic types: omnidirectional, unidirectional and bidirectional (also called figure-of-eight).Which type of microphone is the most fragile? ›
Ribbon microphones are known for being the most fragile of the three types of microphones. They were originally used in the “golden age” of radio and are now making a comeback due to their rich, vintage tone. They use a thin aluminum ribbon between two magnetic poles to operate.Which mic picks up less background noise? ›
These mics are best used to block out unwanted background noise. They are less sensitive than condenser mics, so that they won't pick up as much background noise. A Dynamic mic is perfect for live performances and speech capture.
Also known as a radio microphone, it has a small, battery-powered radio transmitter in the microphone body, which transmits the audio signal from the microphone by radio waves to a nearby receiver unit, which recovers the audio.What vocal sound is used in church? ›
A cappella music was originally used in religious music, especially church music as well as anasheed and zemirot.What is a God microphone? ›
god mic (plural god mics) (theater) A microphone typically kept backstage or in the control booth for speaking to the audience from offstage.What mics do Hillsong use? ›
Radio Mics are Shure UHFR-B58s for Vocals, and KSM9s for the MC/Preacher. PSM600 wired IEM for Drums and Bass. PSM1000 wireless IEM for everyone else.
A microphone with a frequency response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz would make a good choice for a vocal mic.Does microphone quality matter for singing? ›
The right mic makes mixing easy
In fact, a well recorded vocal will let the natural sound of your voice speak in the mix—all you should do during vocal mixing is help it along. Try to imagine how you want your vocals to sound, and what qualities you might need to emphasize in your mix.
Measured in hertz (Hz), a healthy ear can hear a wide range of frequencies, from very low (20 Hz) to very high (20,000 Hz).Is higher or lower frequency response better? ›
Below 20 Hz bass frequencies can be felt more so than heard, treble frequencies over 20,000 Hz are not always audible. Some ratings include a plus/minus deviation (ie ±3 dB). This indicates how far the sound deviates from a neutral or "flat" response; the lower the number the better.What is the best frequency for audio? ›
To recap, a good pair of headphones should easily produce audio frequencies between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Extended frequency responses may improve the sound quality of the headphones via our sense of feeling.Should the mic be above or below your mouth? ›
Your mic should be as close to your mouth as possible in order to only pick up the sound of you voice, and not the other sounds of the room. A good rule of thumb is to have the mic positioned about 6-12 inches away from your mouth.Which microphone type is the most versatile for most situations? ›
If you're looking for something reliable and versatile, then start with dynamic mics. Dynamic mics capture sound at high sound pressure levels. This is because of their moving coil magnetic diaphragm design. You can use dynamic microphones on loud sound sources like bass and guitar amplifiers.
Condenser mics are known for their high sensitivity and ability to pick up more natural, detailed sounds. These can be beneficial when you want to record a quiet voice, musical instruments, or ambient sounds – or just don't want to hold a microphone too close to your face.
Summing up, a higher frequency does allow more accurate chronograph readings, but it is limited by gearing and markings on the dial (and then there is the matter of human reaction time, which pretty much absorbs the extra accuracy!).How important is frequency response in microphone? ›
Frequency response defines the range of sound that a microphone can reproduce and how its output varies within that range. The frequency response is the most significant factor in determining the sound signature of a microphone.
Each of the three primary types of microphones—dynamic microphones, condenser microphones, and ribbon microphones—has a different method for converting sound into electrical signals.Which microphone is better dynamic or condenser? ›
Dynamic mics can handle sound pressures better than condenser mics: If a mike preamp can handle all the juice coming out of the mic, a condenser mic can handle high sound pressure just as well as any microphone. Condenser mics feed more easily than dynamic mics: It boils down to selecting the right microphone.Which microphone is best for recording? ›
- Best Overall: Rode NT1. It was a close run thing whether to go for the Rode NT1 or its slightly cheaper sibling the NT-1A. ...
- Recommended: Aston Origin. Aston Microphones is unique in this list because they're a British manufacturer. ...
- Best on a Budget: Audio Technica AT 2035. ...
- Neumann TLM102. ...
- Rode NTK. ...
- Shure SM57.
If you're a vocalist who records in studios, a condenser mic is a smart choice. However, for anyone who performs live, a dynamic mic should be your go-to microphone.What mics do professionals use? ›
- MAONO. A04.
- Shure. SM58S.
- Shure. SM7B.
- Kimyah. KY-8208.
- Shure. GLXD14R/MX53-Z2.
- HyperX. HX-MICQC-BK.
- Logitech for Creators. 988-000100.
- RØDE. Microphones NT-1A.
- Make sure your microphone is connected to your PC.
- Select Start > Settings > System > Sound.
- In Sound settings, go to Input and in the Choose your input device list, select the microphone or recording device you want to use.
Ribbon microphones can be used to record almost anything, including guitars, drum overheads, brass, strings, and room ambience. Although they can record vocals (and sound great doing so), they must be used under partially-controlled circumstances to protect the ribbon.What are condenser microphones used for? ›
Condenser microphones are considered the most versatile recording studio microphones and can be used to record essentially any instrument. They are somewhat more fragile and sonically sensitive than dynamic mics, making them great for recording vocals and acoustic instruments.What type of microphones is extensively used for production sound? ›
Condenser microphones are mainly used in recording studios. A condenser microphone is essentially a capacitor, with one plate of the capacitor moving in response to sound waves. The movement changes the voltage of the capacitor, and these changes are amplified to create a measurable signal.Who should use condenser microphone? ›
Condenser mics are best for the studio recording of vocals and acoustic instruments.
So, to say it again, condensers are incredibly, wildly, exceptionally sensitive. This means that if there is background noise, you should expect the microphone to pick up on it. Some condensers often sport a cardioid polar pattern, which can definitely help, but it's not in your best interest to rely on this.