Have you ever wondered why there are so many different types of microphones, with each used for a specific purpose? Well! The world of microphones is quite versatile.
There are numerous different types and models of microphones, each with its advantages, which are also used for various requirements. If we limit ourselves to music, a microphone is responsible for recording acoustics, the sound of vocals, or instruments. Just to say, not every vocal is necessarily appealing, but with microphones, we can tolerate the musical taste issues and abstain from scoring.
Microphones are simply neutral, even if it is clear that the more reasonable the microphone, the more perfectly the signal is removed and transmitted.
In this article, we discuss the three common types of microphones widely used by sound engineers, producers, and music personalities together with what are polar patterns;
Dynamic microphones are designed in such a way as loudspeakers. This means there is a membrane first. On their back is a wire coil made of copper wire, which is surrounded by a strong magnet. If sound waves hit the diaphragm, it is vibrated together with the rear voice coil. Every sound and every noise are composed of actual vibrations for dynamic microphones. I.e., what is set in motion by your voice or instrument is nothing more than the ambient air.
These are widely used by singers, podcasters, and voiceover artists. They are straightforward, multi-purpose, and rigged as a tank. They are the best choice for microphones for drums, electric guitars, and acoustic guitars.
The condenser microphone is constructed according to a different principle in comparison to the dynamic microphone. Two special components in particular work together here. The first is the diaphragm, which must be electrically conductive. The second protagonist is a metal disc.
The membrane of a condenser microphone is set to vibrate by the incident air pressure – the sound. Although, the further implementation is entirely different:
The constantly changing distance between the oscillating membrane and the rigid metal disc is removed and changed. Even if this signal is very precise, it is far too low to deliver reasonable results without support. It needs a little help, and it receives it in the form of a special electronic circuit. This requires an external power supply, the so-called phantom power supply.
The condenser microphone is the most recommended type for studio applications because of its detail and accuracy.
Ribbon microphones are more of the sensitive kind. They are the sound-ingenious hot showers of dynamic microphones. The principle is similar to that of the dynamic microphone, and it is about induction. However, Ribbon microphones have neither a large membrane nor a wire coil. Instead, they are equipped with a fragile aluminum ribbon. This ribbon is also the electrical conductor that swings in the magnetic gap.
You can use the ribbon microphone in front of blaring loud guitar amps to capture drum overheads, and even in front of the kick drum, so long as no air is directly hitting the ribbon.
Every microphone has a directionality or sometimes called a Polar pattern. This is essentially how the microphone will pick up sound, either more or less from different directions coming into it. Some microphones are just straight-up built-in, and can’t be changed, e.g., Dynamic microphones, ribbon microphones, and some condenser microphones. However, some condenser microphones’ polar patterns can be changed.
There are four main types of polar patterns used in microphones, i.e., Cardioid (most commonly used), Super-cardioid, Figure 8/Bi-directional, and Omni-directional.