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What is a condenser microphone?

Author:admin   AddTime:2021-02-20

Whether it’s a DAW solo artist, or recording a band record, or a cover, dubbing, audiobook recording, online K song, live broadcast use, choosing a microphone that suits you is a difficult task. In this process, You may need to learn a lot of knowledge, technical terms and technical information, which may confuse beginners. If you are in this situation, please don't worry: Yin Ge has it all here, and will let you better understand the knowledge involved in microphones.

Microphone basic knowledge: dynamic, condenser, ribbon microphone
Any qualified microphones include dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones. why? Because each type is more or less suitable for any specific situation you encounter on stage or in the studio. In the basic category (or mixed use), you will also find dedicated microphones optimized for specific sound capture tasks.

Dynamic microphone
Dynamic microphones are sturdy and durable, able to withstand high sound pressure levels (sound pressure levels), and are the microphones of choice for capturing major sound sources such as electric guitar speakers and drums. Durable and noise resistant, dynamic sound is also popular in live vocals. Of course, the current handheld condenser microphones can be said to be equally rugged, and in most cases have higher fidelity, and are better at capturing the subtleties of performance.

Condenser microphone

Condenser microphones are your choice for high-fidelity capture of nuanced sources. Traditionally, there are two types of condensers: small diaphragm and large diaphragm; there are two types of condensers. Although in the past ten years, we have seen more mid-cap condenser microphones enter the market. Generally speaking, small-diaphragm "pencil" condenser microphones tend to be fast transient sound sources, such as folk guitars, while large-diaphragm microphones are usually used for vocals. Having said that, in the words of the immortal Captain Barbosa, these are more of what you call guidelines than actual rules.



Ribbon microphone
Ribbon microphones (technically a subset of dynamic microphones) have made a comeback in the new century. Before the first condenser microphone entered the American market after World War II, ribbon was the only choice for professional applications such as music recording, broadcasting, and film. However, in addition to being bulky and awkward, old-fashioned ribbon microphones are very delicate and can be damaged by breeze, high sound pressure level (SPL) or strong air impact. Today's ribbons are of different varieties. They still provide a smooth response, making them ideal for demanding sound sources, but most are also sturdy enough for noisy electric guitar amplifiers and drums.
The directivity of a microphone determines which direction it picks up sound from, which is another important specification that you will encounter when considering any microphone (regardless of type). This is the microphone direction you should know.

Heart-shaped pointing
Cardioid is the most common (and useful) polarity pattern because it mainly picks up the sound in front of the microphone. The cardioid microphone provides reasonable side and rear side suppression, so you will not capture a lot of unwanted ambient sounds and expected sound sources.

Figure eight pointing
It's like two heart-shaped pointing back to back, picking up sounds equally from both directions. Figure 8 microphones generally have better side suppression performance than cardioid microphones, which makes them very useful in live environments (for example, amplified amps).

Omnidirectional
The omnidirectional microphone can capture sound from almost everywhere. Spaced multifunctional microphones can effectively capture the atmosphere of the room or live symphony activities, such as the performance of a symphony orchestra.

Multi-mode pointing microphone
Multi-mode condenser microphones usually provide three switchable polarity modes (cardioid, omnidirectional and type 8) for you to choose from. They have great flexibility when exploring the sound possibilities provided by different recording technologies. To further complicate matters, some microphones also offer variations for each mode, for example, supercardioid (higher directivity than cardioid, but has a rear "lobe" that may make microphone placement challenging) Or a wide heart shape. Consider the classic AKG C12 and its modern variants, which provide up to nine polar patterns! Multiple polarity modes can be used, which not only increases your flexibility in dealing with single sound sources; but it also opens the stereo microphone technology menu in exponential form such as interval pair (A/B), XY (including Blumlein), ORTF array and Middle edge (MS)


Many professional audio manufacturers often quote the frequency range of a specific product (not just a microphone) without including a reference level (for example, +/-3dB, a fairly common reference). Without this reference, the manufacturer can claim that the frequency range of a condenser microphone (or any other gear) is 20Hz to 22kHz; technically this may be correct, but at 20Hz and 20kHz, the response may actually drop by 15dB. As a consumer, you might think that the microphone's high fidelity, excellent bass and treble expandability, but the actual performance is weak. Publishing a frequency graph is even better than quoting a reference level, it can provide you with a complete picture of the frequency response, including any dips or bumps. A good example of this is condenser microphones, such as the classic Neumann U 47, which has a built-in boost in the mid-frequency range. A microphone like this is great for some singers, but for singers with a natural and sharp voice, this is certainly not our first choice.
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