The majority of studio-based professional audio requires unidirectional microphones (cardioid, hypercardioid, or supercardioid). Polar patterns illustrate how a microphone reacts to sounds coming from different directions. How does it look? However, their sound quality is generally not as accurate. You just need to judge it on how it sounds to you. An omnidirectional microphone receives sound with equal sensitivity from all directions. The terms “condenser” and “dynamic” refer to two different ways microphones are built, and function; Both types of microphone have their potential pros and cons; Dynamic mics are often more durable, and can handle high volumes without distortion ; Condenser mics are often capable of recording a more crisp and detailed sound For the rest of us, there are comparable mics that offer exceptional quality. Condenser Microphones A condenser mic has a diaphragm that’s electrically charged. Condenser microphones are louder than dynamic microphones (not true) No, one microphone is not louder than another; it is just a question of sensitivity. Condenser microphones are the industry standard for voice actors. A good choice, if you're on a budget, is the Marshall MXL 603S, but if you’re looking for a much better upgrade, the Neumann KM184 does the trick. The goal was to create a microphone that was less fragile than a condenser… His audio post-production credits include The X-Files: Cold Cases, Joe Hill’s Locke and Key. Condenser microphones are generally much more expensive than dynamic microphones. Small-diaphragm microphones are the best choice when you want a solid, wide-frequency response and the best transient response, as for recording things like stringed instruments. Ultimately, you don't need to know how your mic is built. From a practical standpoint, if the microphone will be used in a severe environment such as a rock and roll club or for outdoor sound, dynamic types would be a good choice. Condenser microphones are good for most studio applications, including voice acting. However, for most vocal applications dynamic and condenser microphones are used. Condenser microphones are generally much more expensive than dynamic microphones. If you own a mic with multiple polar pattern settings, then choosing the right one for your situation can make a big difference in your audio quality. The range of frequencies that a condenser microphone can work with is much greater than a dynamic microphone, with most having a range from 80 Hz to 15 kHz. Voice actors and podcast hosts (and vocalists!) You'll find many podcasters out there who've been using the same mic for years and couldn't even tell you if it was a condenser or a dynamic. If this is all a little overwhelming, don't worry about it. With great quality microphones available across the price spectrum, cost is no longer a reliable characteristic in determining a microphone’s quality. Beyond the questions of condenser vs dynamic, polar pattern, and frequency response, here are some other factors to consider when researching and purchasing a microphone. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. But, if that's the sort of thing that does interest you, then be sure to bookmark this article. In fact, small-diaphragm mics are much better at reproducing everything evenly, including bass. • Condenser microphone is more fragile and expensive than a dynamic microphone. These cookies do not store any personal information. This hopefully means that we can give you the lowdown of each at-a-glance. So if your vocalist has the tendency to move while singing just let him enjoy it. Condenser vs. Condenser mics tend to receive audio from multiple directions and not by 1 direction (front only) like dynamic microphones. Most dynamic microphones have a limited frequency response, which makes them well-suited, along with their ability to withstand high sound pressure levels, for loud guitar amps, live vocals, and drums. Less-expensive models tend to be of poorer quality. • Condenser microphones are more sensitive in picking up sounds. You'll want a pop screen if you're using a condenser microphone for vocals; they're so sensitive to transient noises that the p and sh sounds you make will cause distortion. Whether it's advice on equipment you need, or guidance on any other aspect of podcasting, you'll find the help you need in The Podcast Host Academy. There are several polar pattern types, but our main focus for vocal microphones is on omni and cardioid polar patterns. Best Overall Microphones and Best Expensive Microphones, Joe Shambro is an audio engineer and the author of "How to Start a Home-Based Recording Studio Business. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Less-expensive models tend to be of poorer quality. It might seem odd that anyone would want to capture the sound of a bass drum with a condenser … In general, a spec of 120dB or greater is preferable. ", LiveAbout uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. In terms of voice, we are most concerned with the frequencies between 80Hz and 12kHz: the human vocal range. Condenser Vs Dynamic: At-a-glance. Finally, condenser microphones are also excellent for field recording. With a condenser mic (vs. a dynamic mic), however, you can capture more detail of the instrument, which can give you that raw, beautiful, authentic tone. If it's your first time, we've got your back with a free 7 day bootcamp. Dynamic microphones are renowned for their reliability and ruggedness. Condenser mics require the use of a power supply, generally 48-volt phantom power, and that's supplied easily by most mixing boards or external power supplies. If you're recording vocals at home, you'll want a large-diaphragm condenser microphone if you have phantom power; if not, you might want to consider a large-diaphragm dynamic microphone like the Shure SM7B.