How is a dynamic microphone different than a condenser microphone?


You might find it difficult to shop for microphones. There is a lot of hype surrounding the microphones. You will come across some difficult and unfamiliar terms and maths in the spec, which will further add to your confusion. So, you will either have to buy based on reviews or opinions of your friends or family or can even consider taking an informed decision for yourself.

A microphone is basically a certain type of electromechanical device, called a transducer, which converts the mechanical energy into the electrical energy. The microphones are differentiated based on their operating principles, i.e., whether it is dynamic or condenser. Let us look at the basic features that differentiates a dynamic microphone from a condenser microphone.

Difference between a dynamic and condenser microphone?

Dynamic microphone

dynamic microphoneA dynamic microphone has a robust design, where a thin diaphragm of some kind of material is connected to a coil of thin copper wire. The coil is arranged around a permanent magnetic field. Thus, when the diaphragm vibrates as a result of the sound, the coil starts moving up and down, by creating a minute electrical current, which will require further strengthening. The electrical signal is linked to a connector of the microphone. You will have to plug it in and it will work.

dynamic microphonesDynamic microphones are available in various types of shapes and sizes. Some of them come with large diaphragms, while others have small ones. The size and the design of the dynamic microphones have a great influence on how it sounds. The larger diaphragm is generally known to create, a smoother and deeper sound.

Dynamic mics are quite inexpensive and require nearly no electrical power for operation. They can handle the high sound pressure levels and thus, you can use them for live applications. However, unlike the condenser types, they are not really sensitive to the higher frequencies. Moreover, the dynamic microphones almost remains unaffected by the extreme temperature and even humidity. The dynamic microphones are the most commonly used in the general sound reinforcement purposes.

Condenser microphone

Condenser microphoneCondenser microphones have a different kind of transducer. In majority of the designs, there is a fixed backplate along with a movable front plate. These plates are kept at a certain distance and are connected to an electrical charge. When the sound strikes the movable plate, it starts vibrating. This brings in a little change in the capacitance and turns it into an electrical signal.

However, the signal is quite small and thus, it requires to be strengthened, so that, it becomes suitable for connecting to the audio equipment. Generally, condenser microphones need quite a large quantity of electronic circuitry, so that, it can create recordable sound. The electronics package uses a power source, which is supplied through a power supply or some batteries.

CondenserCondenser microphones also come in various shapes and sizes. However, they are generally found to be more sensitive and exact than the dynamic microphones. These types of microphones generally are found in all the fields, where audio is used, be it for communications or even the recording studios. You will even find a small built in condenser microphone in your cell phone or car.