Microphone is the transliteration of the English Microphone of the microphone, so it will also be abbreviated as Mic. In fact, Microphone also has a scientific name called "microphone", which very directly points out the essence of the microphone: a device that picks up and transmits sound.
1. What is the difference between an ordinary microphone and a professional microphone?
Generally speaking, ordinary microphones are cheaper and professional microphones are more expensive. But the most fundamental difference is: as long as ordinary microphones can pick up the sound and hear clearly, it’s OK. Your CS teammates won’t care whether your voice is thick in low frequencies and sweet in high frequencies. The cost of a polar microphone will not exceed a dollar, but it does not affect your life and ideals with MM. A professional microphone must not only be able to pick up the sound, but also must be complete and clear, with high requirements for sound. Therefore, it is the same reason that sound engineers pursue good microphones and photographers pursue good camera lenses.
2. What are the classifications of microphones? What is the difference?
Common microphones can be divided into dynamic microphones (dynamic Microphone), condenser microphones (Condenser Microphone) and ribbon microphones (Ribbon Microphone) according to their working principles.
Dynamic microphones are the one you see most in non-professional occasions. Basically, you use dynamic microphones when you go to KTV to sing.
The principle of dynamic microphone: the diaphragm in the microphone head drives the coil to vibrate and cut the magnetic lines of force to generate electrical signals, which are transmitted to the next level of equipment through the microphone cable.
The advantages of dynamic microphones: simple structure, strong and durable, low price, and low requirements for the use environment.
However, compared with condenser microphones, the sensitivity is not high enough (it is a disadvantage but also an advantage, as will be discussed below), the high frequency response is not enough, and the sound is not delicate enough.
Condenser microphones are the most widely used in professional recording. 99% of the songs in the album you hear are recorded by condenser microphones.
The principle of the condenser microphone: a very thin metal diaphragm is used as the first level of the capacitor, and the other very close metal back plate (about a few tenths of a millimeter) is used as the other pole, so that the vibration of the diaphragm will cause the capacitance of the capacitor. The change forms an electrical signal.
Advantages of condenser microphones: Because the diaphragm is very thin, very small sounds can make it vibrate, so condenser microphones are very sensitive.
Unlike dynamic microphones, condenser microphones require a polarization voltage, and weak signals also need a pre-amplification, which all require power supply, so all condenser microphones need phantom power to supply power. Nowadays, there is basically a phantom power supply on the mic preamp, audio interface, and mixer. Just turn on the switch to work normally.
Tracked microphones (also called ribbon microphones) are very rare nowadays, and some live tuner doesn't know that there are such things as tracked microphones.
The principle of the track microphone: It is similar to the dynamic microphone, but uses a small track as the diaphragm to generate the signal.
Features of the tracked microphone: the sound is retro and warm, and the transient response is fast and accurate. The mid-low frequency transition is natural but the high frequency response is insufficient.
Crawler microphones are very delicate and fragile, and phantom power must not be added, they will burn as soon as they are added. And it’s not strong, and it’s basically useless when you fall on the ground. Also, be careful not to spit on it (the singer says that the pear is very big)...
3. So, is the crawler microphone the worst and the condenser microphone the best?
of course not! Each type of microphone has its advantages and disadvantages, which should be selected according to the actual situation. The most important thing is the right one. Let's analyze them one by one below.
The sensitivity of a dynamic microphone is not high enough, and it cannot pick up more details than a condenser microphone, but it is also not easy to pick up environmental noise. It is very suitable for use on the stage, and it is not easy to generate feedback and howling. Another advantage of insensitivity is the high sound pressure level, which means that it can withstand very loud sounds without popping. For example, when you pick up the sound of snare drums at close range on the stage, the sound of a good drummer is very loud. If you use a condenser microphone, it will definitely pop. No matter how you adjust the amplifier gain, it is useless. A dynamic microphone is very suitable.
Although the frequency response of dynamic microphones is not as straight and wide as that of condenser microphones, many musical instruments such as guitars and basses are not full-band instruments themselves. Dynamic microphones can already pick up their sounds very well and avoid them. The trouble of crosstalk of other instruments will be much more convenient when the tuner repairs EQ.
Another great advantage of dynamic microphones is that they are sturdy and durable. It doesn't matter if you accidentally drop them on the ground, you can continue to use them when you pick them up. If it's a condenser microphone, it's hard to tell, maybe it's broken.
The biggest feature of the condenser microphone is its high sensitivity, rich details of pickup, and a flat and wide frequency response curve, so it can perform satisfactorily in a good and quiet acoustic environment in the recording studio. In a normal environment, it is easy to pick up environmental noise, such as the voice of the next door, the sound of cars downstairs, which is difficult to remove in the later stage, even if it is barely removed, it will damage the sound quality.
In addition to the requirements for the sound environment, condenser microphones are also more delicate, and light handling is a must. It is best to put them away when not in use, and put a few packets of desiccant next to them, because moisture will affect the sound quality of condenser microphones. So generally high-end recording studios will buy a special constant temperature and humidity drying box to store the microphone, after all, it is a tool for making money.
Tracked microphones are more delicate and harder to serve. The tracked microphone is a bit between the dynamic and the condenser, the sensitivity is not as good as the condenser, but better than the dynamic. The frequency response is worse than the moving coil, but not as broad as the capacitor. Although the performance is not good enough, and the temper is difficult to serve, but "one trick to eat fresh all over the sky", with its warm retro tone and fast transient response, it has become the favorite of many sound engineers.
And with the development of technology, many manufacturers are improving the shortcomings of tracked microphones. For example, Blue Woodpecker tracked microphones can be powered by 48V phantom power, which improves the high frequency response, wider frequency response, and stronger signal output. Worried about turning on the phantom power supply and burning the microphone. Beyerdynamic's RM510 tracked microphone head can even adapt to the complex environment of live performances. It is believed that the application range of crawler microphones will become more and more extensive.
4. What is a large diaphragm?
The larger diaphragm is the larger diaphragm... (nonsense!)
In fact, there are no particularly strict regulations. Generally speaking, a large diaphragm can be called a large diaphragm with a diameter larger than three-quarters of an inch. Common large diaphragm microphones are about 1 inch. There are no strict size regulations for the so-called middle diaphragm and small diaphragm, depending on how the manufacturer calls them or distinguishes them by experience.
Let’s talk about why we should choose a large diaphragm:
First of all, the low-frequency pickup capability of the large diaphragm is much stronger than that of the small diaphragm. The sound is relatively warm and wide, and the sensitivity is higher. These are very suitable for recording human voices. The small diaphragm is characterized by bright high-frequency and fast response, but its low-frequency pickup ability is poor. It is suitable for recording some high-frequency musical instruments, such as cymbals and violin.
5. What about the heart-shaped pointing?
Directivity refers to the direction in which the microphone picks up the sound. For example, Omnidirectional is to pick up sounds from all directions, impartially. But in many cases, we only need to pick up a certain point of sound. For example, if you sing on stage, you certainly don't want to pick up the voice of the audience on the other side.
The characteristic of Cardioid is that it can pick up the sound from the front to the greatest extent, and suppress the sound on the back and side well. It is very suitable for recording point sound sources. So when you record and sing, you must use a heart-shaped microphone.
In addition, there are Figure-8 microphones, which pick up sounds directly in front and behind, and are not sensitive to sounds on both sides. They can be used in some situations, or they can be combined with cardioid microphones to form an MS. Stereo pickup.
There are also Supercardioid and Hypercardioid for long-distance pickup.
Finally, there are many microphones that have multiple directivity adjustments. For example, U87, you can choose between cardioid, figure 8 and omnidirectional. But for low-priced microphones, it is not recommended to have too many functions, because it is possible that everything is good but everything is not precise. It is better to just point the cardioid to the reality.
6. What is the difference between a transistor and an electron tube?
Many people confuse tube microphones with condenser microphones, thinking that condenser microphones are tube microphones. This is wrong.
Condenser microphones are divided into two types: transistors and electron tubes: transistors are used in transistor microphones, and electron tubes are used in tube microphones. (What a long nonsense!)
Due to the characteristics of the tube itself, the tube microphone must be equipped with a power supply (it will be included when you buy the microphone). When using it, you must take a few minutes to warm up to the best condition. You must also pay attention to maintenance because the tube has a long life. Although troublesome, the sound of the tube microphone is warmer than that of the transistor microphone, and it is loved by many singers and sound engineers. But some people feel that it is not clean enough, and it varies from person to person, and the tone is inherently very subjective.
Generally, tube microphones are more expensive, and there are no too cheap tube microphones. So if the budget is limited, it is better to buy an excellent transistor microphone than to pursue a tube microphone that is just getting started.
7. USB microphone
USB microphones are essentially no different from ordinary microphones, except that the function of digital-to-analog conversion (AD) is added. The analog signal is directly converted into a digital signal, and the signal can be easily recorded into the computer through the USB interface. In this way, only a USB microphone and a computer can be used for recording. It doesn't matter if there is no sound card and speech amplifier, even the microphone cable is saved.
Although convenient, there are advantages and disadvantages. Affected by price positioning and cost, USB microphones are generally not too expensive, and the sound quality is definitely not comparable to expensive professional microphones. The built-in AD circuit cannot be compared with professional mic amplifiers and audio interfaces. Comparable, can only be said to be enough.
In addition, the USB microphone cannot be shared with the onboard sound card or professional audio interface, monitoring and playback are problems, and it is difficult to listen to the accompaniment recording and singing. In order to solve this problem, manufacturers began to upgrade their technology, adding a headphone jack to the USB microphone, making the USB microphone a combination of the microphone and the USB sound card.