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Microphones - types and how they work

Author:admin   AddTime:2021-02-01

Microphones are one of the most common and important devices in the studio, standing on the front line facing the sound to be recorded, a tool that converts the sound-wave energy generated by physical vibrations into electronic signals. Here's a brief introduction to the construction and characteristics of several common microphones in the studio.

First, dynamic Dynamic

Diaphragm is the core component of the microphone, which is used to receive vibrations from sound waves and convert these physical momentums into electrical signals. Both the motion-ring microphone and the capacitive microphone's sound-receiving principle are used to receive the sound through the diaphragm. 

The diaphragm of the dynamic microphone receives sound pressure on the front, and a coil is connected on the opposite side, which is then wrapped around the magnet. When the front of the diaphragm receives sound pressure, the vibration of the diaphragm will cause the coil to move and the magnet to induce electricity, and with the sound pressure of the strong and weak diaphragm movement to induce the degree of electricity is also stronger and weaker, the microphone circuit will then sense the electricity generated by the processing of amplification. Compared with capacitive microphones, capacitive microphones need to input an additional power supply to make the microphone work, while dynamic microphones generate electromagnetic induction simply through vibration diaphragms and coils; The weight of the coil makes the diaphragm need a large sound pressure to drive, and it is more difficult because of subtle changes in sound pressure to produce induced electricity, so for the subtle sound is less easy to record, sensitivity is lower than capacitive microphones. This feature makes the dynamic microphone suitable for use in situations where many details are not required, e.g. singers with poor singing skills will show many imperfections by using capacitive microphones, but with a dynamic microphone, imperfections are less noticeable due to their low sensitivity. 

The dynamic microphone can withstand a large sound pressure, so it is often used for instruments with high sound pressure, such as: large drums, cymbals... Wait a minute. Its structure makes its frequency response less flat, so there are often microphones for specific purposes, such as the Shure Beta52, which specializes in drumming, especially for low frequencies. The most common dynamic microphone, the Shure SM57, has a particularly strong frequency response at 4k to 6kHz and performs well in small drums, electric guitar speakers and vocals. 

Second, capacitive Condenser 

One of the characteristics of capacitive microphones is the need for additional power to operate. The Capsule is made up of thicker Back Plates and thinner Front Plates, which have a very small gap between the two. Front Plate is made up of diaphragm, and when a metal diaphragm receives a vibration of sound pressure, the powered line generates a power difference due to a change in the distance between Front Plate and Back Plate, and the induced current is amplified by the circuit to obtain enough signals to take it.

The microphone diaphragm is a non-conductive film coated with another layer of metal, and the thickness and weight of the metal coating will directly affect the sensitivity of the diaphragm, such a process is also the general capacitive microphone will be more expensive than the dynamic ring microphone. In addition, the signal of the capacitive microphone is amplified by the circuit, and the thickness of the diaphragm is thinner and more fragile than that of the dynamic microphone, so it can withstand the maximum sound pressure than the dynamic microphone. Conversely, capacitive microphones are more sensitive and frequency-responsive than dynamic circles, and signal amplification circuits can be used in different ways, such as vacuum tube amplification, which makes the microphone sound warmer.

Capacitive high sensitivity allows it to be used in vocal vocals, or strings and other needs of delicate performance of the sound of the occasion. There are many classic capacitive microphones in the studio, such as the Neumann U87, which are often used in vocal recording situations. AKG C414 series of microphones, instruments, vocals and so on have a fairly good performance, can be said to be a necessary microphone in the studio. The DPA 4006 is an all-way capacitive microphone that is often used for instrument listening and more for live classical music. Manley Gold Reference is a very expensive microphone with a vacuum tube in its amplification loop, so it has a warm feature that is unique to the vacuum tube. 

Third, ribbon Ribbon 

Ribbon microphones have the same principle of receiving electricity through diaphragm vibration and magnetic field generation, with the difference between using different diaphragm materials. The diaphragm material of the ribbon microphone is mostly extremely thin aluminum, extremely fragile, if accidentally hit or power supply will damage the microphone ribbon. Because of its high production costs, not easy to save, but also less studio use, but now the ribbon microphone diaphragm material due to technological advances, there has been a great breakthrough, no longer as fragile as the early ribbon microphone diaphragm, but compared to the same as the dynamic microphone as strong.

Most ribbon microphones have an 8-character type (Figue 8) because of the way they are designed for electromagnetic induction, which refers to the legend that the ribbon diaphragm is positioned in two magnets, so both sides of the diaphragm can be received. The sensitivity of the ribbon microphone is between the dynamic and capacitive microphones, and the sound is warm and is generally used in vocal vocals or some string instruments. 


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