People who enter the music industry for the first time often get confused by a list of various types of microphones. It is because every microphone is designed according to different user needs and requirements to help them record audio smoothly. However, two types of microphones that users widely use for various purposes are dynamic and condenser mics.
These microphones have different abilities, so it’s important for users to think about what each microphone can do. But there are also some things that are the same between both microphones, and this can make choosing an option difficult. To make it easier for you, we’ve written a detailed review of these microphones in this guide. We’ve also made a table that shows the differences, so you can understand them better.
Table of Contents
What Are Dynamic and Condenser Microphones
To provide a comprehensive understanding of dynamic and condenser microphones, we will start by explaining their definitions and key features in detail. To have an idea of the perfect utility of such microphones, it is important to understand the basic functionality of these devices:
1.1 Dynamic Microphone
Dynamic mics are one of those microphones that operate by converting sound waves into electrical signals with the help of electromagnetism. They are well known due to their durability and rugged design, based on which many live performers prefer to use them. Moreover, these microphones can also handle high sound pressure levels without any complication, which enhances user performance.
Another highlight of these microphones is their moving coils, which prevents the need of having any external power. This makes them highly robust and effective for live performances, in particular.
- Instrumental sound in live performances is amplified with the help of a dynamic mic.
- This microphone handles heat and humidity very effectively, improving its durability.
- Users can use it without worrying about the distortions in the surrounding environment.
1.2 Condenser Microphone
Condenser microphones are well known in the music and audio world because of their ability to capture nuances of a sound source efficiently. With this, they also have high sensitivity levels and fast transient response with a wide frequency that helps a lot in recording vocals. Besides this, acoustic instruments are also recorded with this microphone to ensure that there is clarity in the sound.
To make the sound clarity optimal, the condenser microphones also require phantom power, which is a direct current for power boost. A boost in power helps such microphones build clarity in their results.
- These microphones are wireless, which is very beneficial in various situations.
- Many studios use condenser mics due to their high-quality sound output with high sensitivity.
- This microphone manages vocals, and higher frequencies sound very well for multiple scenarios.
Working Mechanism of Condenser and Dynamic Microphone
After looking at the definition and key points of these mics, let’s focus on their structure to identify what is the major difference in the mechanism of these mics.
2.1 Dynamic Microphone Mechanism
Having three components, dynamic mic helps produce good sound quality in an open environment. It has a diaphragm, voice coil, and a permanent magnet to convert sound waves into electromagnetic waves. This phenomenon happens when sound waves vibrate the voice coil, following which a permanent magnet creates a magnetic field.
In this magnetic field, the voice coil starts its movement to convert audio signals into electrical signals, which are reproduced by the amplifier. Besides this, the frequency response of these mics is also different among the 40Hz and 15,000kHz.
2.2 Condenser Microphone Mechanism
Condenser mic has separate internal components like a diaphragm, resistor, back plate, and battery. The main difference that can be seen between these two mics is that the condenser mic uses an electrically charged backplate and diaphragm instead of a magnet and voice call. Due to this, sound is converted into electrical signals once it travels in the microphone and hits the diaphragm.
Besides this, condenser microphones require an external power source to work efficiently. Plus, the frequency of this microphone is commonly between 20Hz to 20,000kHz. Due to this, it is preferred to be used in a closed environment.
What to Consider When Choosing a Dynamic Mic vs Condenser Mic
Choosing the right microphone according to your requirements is important to ensure you can easily generate the best sound for different purposes. However, selecting the best mic can be tricky sometimes. Below, we have mentioned a few important points that you should consider before choosing a mic:
1. Microphone Cost
The first main thing that comes to mind is the average cost of an efficient microphone with all the required features. In some cases, dynamic microphones are cheaper than condenser mics, but both have some differences in their features. That is why we recommend you check whether the respective microphone meets your budget with the desired requirements before buying it.
Checking the compatibility of a mic is very important because to use the mic, you will need to plug or connect it to your required device. If the mic you select is not compatible with the recording hardware you have, you can face a lot of difficulty using it. In addition, doing a mic test on the recording software is recommended to ensure that it provides you with the desired results.
3. Frequency Response
Frequency response is a key factor that tells you a lot to understand the sound. It lets you understand which sound can be reproduced and how it performs well at a certain range. Moreover, a microphone with high-frequency response allows you to record sound from the source on different levels.
4. Polar Patterns
The polar patterns of a mic deal with the sensitivity of the sound that is coming from multiple directions. This includes bi-directional, omnidirectional, and a few more types of patterns. The omnidirectional pattern works well in a controlled settings environment for recording various instrumental sounds with a microphone. It makes the process of capturing various people’s sounds at once with the help of a mic.
What are the Key Differences of Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones
Many people cannot identify the difference between various types of microphones except for their design. However, those with in-depth knowledge of microphones know very well about even the smallest detail between several models. So, if you are not familiar with their key differences, below, we have made a comparison table for you to help you understand the differences clearly:
|Aspect||Dynamic Microphones||Condenser Microphones|
|Design Principle||Rugged Workhorse||Precision Transducer|
|Durability||Built for Tough Environments||Sensitive to Physical Handling|
|Sensitivity||Robust and Resilient||Nuanced and Captures Subtle Details|
|Sound Pressure Level||Louder Voice is Better||Versatile but May Require Attenuation|
|Sound Quality||Character Over Precision||Crystal Clear and True to Source|
|Power Requirement||Self-Powered||External Phantom Power (48V) Required|
|Common Uses||Live Performances, High Energy||Studio Recording, Delicate Artistry|
|Example Applications||Rock Concerts, Guitar Stacks||Vocal Recording, Acoustic Instruments|
With the help of this comparison table, it is easier to understand what microphone fulfills the need for creating a good quality sound based on the surrounding environment condition. So, this will help you choose the best mic that greatly fulfills your requirements.
Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones for Gaming and Streaming
Moving on, after looking at the key differences between dynamic and condenser microphones, it let us understand which one is better for gaming. Many YouTubers and online streamers require quality microphones to produce high-end sound for their visual content. That is why, to answer which one is better, we can say that both are best in their own places.
However, if we focus on dynamic and condenser mics, then we can say that their comparison depends on the use case. Suppose you want to do streaming or gaming in an environment that has minimal background noise, then a condenser mic like XCM-50 is a good option. This means that if you are chatting with friends in a game, your sound quality can be enhanced significantly with a condenser mic.
Besides this, if you have a recording space that has background noise that is not soundproofed, then using a dynamic microphone like XDM-100 is the best option. It is because, as we have mentioned above, this microphone deals with high sound pressure levels in open environments. That is why using this microphone for live performances is recommended.
Common Misunderstandings Between Condenser and Dynamic Microphones
In addition to all the working mechanisms and features of these two types of mics, there are some common misunderstandings about them as well. We have discussed the most common ones below in detail to help you avoid any further confusion.
- No Power Supply in Dynamic Mics: Many people think that they can use dynamic microphones without a power supply, which is not true. This is because some dynamic mics are plug-and-play, which can be managed without a power supply, which is not the case for active mics.
- Condenser Mics are Louder: This is a misconception that a specific condenser mic is louder than a dynamic one. However, this is not the case because the loudness of audio depends on the sensitivity based on its application.
- Dynamic Mics Can Handle Sound Pressure: It is unnecessary to assume that dynamic mic can only handle sound pressure. Both dynamic and condenser mics have the capability to handle sound pressure in different environments.
- Fragile Condenser Mics: Every mic is designed very carefully to ensure that it does not break down easily. In case a mic is used for top-notch musical touring purposes, there is a possibility that it won’t be able to manage the rough handling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Which one is better? Condenser or Dynamic Microphone?
Both microphones have their own importance and capabilities according to different situations. If you need a mic for live performances, a dynamic mic is a good option. Whereas, for sensitive environments where you need to do recording, a condenser mic is a good option.
Q2. Why are dynamic mics less sensitive than condenser microphones?
The sensitivity of dynamic microphones is lesser than that of condenser microphones because they rely on a diaphragm within a magnetic field for generating electrical signals. Whereas condenser mics have different components and an external source for generating electrical signals, due to which their sensitivity is higher.
Q3. What is the main disadvantage of dynamic mics?
The main disadvantage of dynamic mics is that they only capture a limited amount of high-frequency detail, due to which they can’t handle recording harmonics. To record harmonics, you will need to get closer to the diaphragm to receive loud and clear signals.
Q4. Can we use condenser mics for singing?
For users who want higher levels of detail and accurate representation of voice, using a condenser mic is the best option for them. With the help of this mic, they can record sound efficiently in the studio with enhanced vocal sound.
Knowing about different types of microphones is important for a voice artist or a musician to ensure that his vocals and instruments’ sound is recorded without distortion. Besides this, we hope that the comparison between dynamic and condenser microphones in this detailed guide has helped you identify the ideal microphone to fulfill your requirements.