Table of ContentsThe Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphone: How does each one Work?What are the Uses of Each Type?Dynamic MicrophoneCondenser MicrophoneWhat are the Pros and Cons of each Mic?Pros of a Dynamic MicCons of a Dynamic MicPros of a Condenser MicCons of a Condenser MicWhich one Should you Use?SettingCaptured SoundAudio OutputBudgetDynamic vs. Condenser Microphones Conclusion
Dynamic vs. condenser microphones is a commonly debated topic. Every audiophile realizes the importance of choosing the right microphone. Without the right mic, no post-production effects will be able to deliver the audio quality you’re aspiring for.
In this article, we’ll analyze the features of the dynamic and condenser microphones and explain how each one works. We’ll also discuss the best setting for using each one.
The Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphone: How does each one Work?
All microphones turn sound into energy signals. Although there are hundreds of mics, most of them are grouped into 2 different categories; dynamic and condenser mics.
Dynamic microphones are very simple and represent the oldest type of microphones. Every dynamic mic has a diaphragm that moves when the sound waves hit it.
There’s a magnet inside the microphone that creates a magnetic field around an induction coil. The sound waves enter the microphone and move the diaphragm and the coil attached to it. They generate a voltage that is then increased by a transformer. After that, the sound leaves the microphone.
Condenser microphones, also known as capacitor microphones, depend on 2 metal plates placed inside the mic with a voltage across them. One of them is called the backplate, and the other is called the diaphragm.
The sound waves hitting the diaphragm cause the voltage to change. Signals produced get its boost with phantom power, or an external power source. This can be done using a preamp or a vacuum tube.
What are the Uses of Each Type?
Before buying your next mic, you need to understand the best use for each type.
A dynamic microphone is designed to withstand high sound levels. It’s the best one to use in a live concert. Beginners and people who use a microphone in a live setting do well with a dynamic mic because these microphones are reasonably priced.
Dynamic microphones don’t need any batteries or external power sources to produce sound. The output has an excellent sound-to-noise ratio, and the mic doesn’t need much maintenance. It’s best to use a dynamic mic in the following scenarios:
- Need to capture strong signals.
- You’re working with powerful vocals.
- Live use.
A condenser microphone will be the best choice when dealing with quieter and more complex sounds that a dynamic microphone might miss. This mic will be better at handling high and low frequencies unlike a dynamic mic which accentuates it.
Unless you have access to a power source, your condenser microphone won’t work. This is why more professional users would be interested in this type. It’s best to use a condenser mic in the following scenarios:
- Dealing with delicate vocals
- Want to capture high frequencies
- Need a mic for in-studio use
What are the Pros and Cons of each Mic?
Each microphone works differently and will be at its best for a specific setting. Here are the pros and cons of both dynamic and condenser mics:
Pros of a Dynamic Mic
- Dynamic mics are relatively cheap
- Can be used for recording vocals and instruments
- Distortion is minimal
- Better at dealing with wind
- No power source required
Cons of a Dynamic Mic
- This mic won’t be able to handle high frequencies from some instruments like a violin
- The microphone is heavy
- The coil limits the movement of the mic
Pros of a Condenser Mic
- Lightweight mic
- The assembly is simple, so the mic is easier to move
- Captures high frequencies
- Easy to obtain a flat frequency response
- Small microphone
- Perfect for capturing quieter sounds
Cons of a Condenser Mic
- More fragile than dynamic ones
- Most condenser mics are more expensive than dynamic ones
- Adversely affected by factors like extreme temperature and humidity
Which one Should you Use?
With all this information about these two types of mics, you’re probably wondering about the best one to use. Here are a few factors to take into consideration:
If you’re looking for a mic to use in a live concert or any other live setting, you’ll do better with a dynamic mic. It minimizes distortion at high levels of noise and produces reasonable sound quality.
A condenser mic is your best option if you’re recording in a studio. This way, you can guarantee that you’ll have access to power to keep the mic going.
A dynamic mic is a versatile tool that can be used to capture the sounds of all instruments and vocals. It’s an excellent choice for drums and high vocals, and can also be used for guitar amplifiers.
A condenser mic is best used with studio-quality vocals and acoustic guitars. It’s a sensitive mic and shouldn’t be used when you’re dealing with high sound pressure like a kick drum.
A dynamic microphone is rugged and less sensitive. The sound produced is described as warm because the mic is designed to minimize distortion. A condenser mic produces sharp and crisp sounds. As a result, it’s usually used to capture low sounds. In addition, the high and low frequencies can’t be captured by a dynamic mic.
Generally speaking, a dynamic mic is more affordable than a condenser mic. It doesn’t need a power source and is more rugged, so it’s likely to last for a long time. However, a condenser mic is a must if you’re planning to capture a wide range of frequencies while focusing on audio details.
Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones Conclusion
Both dynamic and condenser mics are designed to deliver excellent audio quality. If you’re looking for a rugged mic that can be used in a live setting, go for a dynamic mic. A condenser mic is suitable for more sensitive signals. It’s also the better choice for in-studio recording.