Studio bi-directional microphone
There are a few basic categories for all microphones - Dynamic Microphones, Condenser Microphones, Ribbon Microphones and Specialty Microphones.
- Condenser Microphones work by placing the diaphragm as one half of a capacitor. When the diaphragm vibrates, the distance between the capacitor plates changes and creates a fluctuation in the current. This voltage change can be directly linked to the audible frequencies affecting it, thus producing a sound recording. A main benefit of the condenser is that a relatively weak sound wave can have enough impact on the diaphragm to produce a high quality audio recording. Most condensers will require a power source to establish the initial voltage across the capacitor.
- Dynamic Microphones work when sound enters the microphone and vibrates the diaphragm. When the diaphragm moves, the attached coils move through a magnetic field, which creates an electrical current. Dynamic microphones can use different materials to be more or less sensitive to specific sound waves - combining these signals to get a more pristine recording. Dynamic microphones are generally very durable and can perform well in most environments.
- Percussion Microphones are specifically designed to capture the wide array of sounds that can come from a hi-hat cymbal to a bass-drum (kick-drum). Additionally, these microphones will have controls to help minimize noise from other parts of the drum kit to ensure you only record the sound you want.
- Ribbon Microphones use a thin metal ribbon that vibrates inside a magnetic field to create a current. The ribbon microphone is similar to a dynamic microphone, in that it uses a suspended piece of metal in a magnetic field to create a representative electrical current of the sound waves. Most ribbon microphones are bi-directional because the ribbon is very sensitive to sound waves coming from directly in front or back of the microphone. The ribbon microphone has historically been more fragile due to the specific ribbon placement inside the housing - modern ribbon microphones have used technology to have the same sensitivity with a more durable case. Ribbon microphones work best in a studio-like environment where the sound source will not be moving too drastically.
Condenser, Dynamic, Percussion, Ribbon
Polar PatternThe polar pattern measures how sensitive a microphone is to sound waves coming from various directions. There are a few different polar patterns microphones can have; some microphones even have a control to switch between different polar patterns.
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