The basic differences between dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. Their strengths and weaknesses and where they work best in the video production process.
Shopping for microphones is a complicated process. There's a lot of hype surrounding some mics, while others are overlooked. The spec sheets - when you can find them - are filled with confusing math and unfamiliar phrases. You could buy based on a review or the opinion of someone else, but why not make an informed decision for yourself? One of the most basic differences between microphones is their operating principle - dynamic or condenser. This month, we'll look at both, identifying their strengths, weaknesses and where they work best in the video production process.
The word dynamic sounds like something straight from an infomercial, doesn't it? While there are several definitions for the word, the one we're going with is: "of or relating to variation of intensity, as in musical sound." Microphones in general are a specific kind of electromechanical device called a transducer, converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. In the case of a dynamic microphone, a very thin diaphragm of mylar or other material is attached to a coil of hair-thin copper wire. The coil is suspended in a magnetic field and, when sound vibrates the diaphragm, the coil moves up and down, creating a very small electrical current. The electrical signal is attached to a connector on the microphone. Just plug it in and it works.
Dynamic microphones come in many shapes and sizes - some with large diaphragms, others small. The size and design of the dynamic element plays a big role in how the mic sounds. In general, the larger the diaphragm, the smoother and deeper the sound. For instance, the venerable large-diaphragm ElectroVoice RE-20 is prized for its silky smooth vocal reproduction. It is also a favorite for brass instruments and bass drums. Another iconic dynamic microphone is the Shure SM-58. Virtually unchanged since its introduction in 1966, the SM-58 is a favorite vocal mic in live sound and concert applications. Using the same dynamic element in a different package, the SM-57 has its own place in history. In addition to duty as the de facto snare drum mic, you can see the SM-57 in action every time the President of the United States speaks. His podium always sports two SM-57s complete with windscreens and a dual-mic mount.
Types of Microphones
The terms Omni-directional---uni-directional---
cardioid--& super cardiod refer to the polar pattern.
Basically--if you are looking at the microphone as it is laying on it's side,the ploar pattern shows how tight the pattern is and how much unwanted sound is rejected.
The super cardioid is the tightest and the cardioid is next.
Some of the cardioids are very close in pattern to the supercardioid mics.
If you are a vocalist and are concerned about quality,then I recommend the following mics:
1---Samson CO5 CL--Cardioid-condenser--40-16k--about $70. This is the best bang for the buck