Written by StreamYard
Types Of Microphones: Choosing The Right Mic For Your Sound Needs
When creating video content, the quality of your audio is as crucial as the video quality. Learning about the different types of microphones available and their underlying characteristics - helps you choose the right kind of microphone to use for your sound requirements.
In this article, we'll take a look at different types of microphones available, such as dynamic microphones, condenser microphones, and ribbon microphones. You'll gain a better understanding of these mics and what they are best used for, along with examples of each type of microphone.
Types Of Microphones - Condenser, Dynamic, And Ribbon
There are three primary types of microphones. Those include cardioid, dynamic, and ribbon microphones.
Ideally, they all work the same but are designed to capture different elements. For example, if you're a singer, you may want your microphone to capture your voice while reducing the instruments in the background.
Let's look at each of these types of microphones and what each is best for.
What Is A Condenser Microphone?
A condenser microphone uses a capacitor to convert sound into an electrical signal. These mics are typically used in studio recordings because they have a higher quality sound than dynamic microphones and are often best for vocals and higher frequencies.
Besides recording vocals, you would also use a condenser mic to record acoustic guitars, piano, orchestral instruments, etc.
Condenser microphones come in two main types: small-diaphragm and large-diaphragm. Small-diaphragm condenser microphones are more common and are generally used for recording instruments. They are also great for capturing the sound of vocals and acoustic guitars.
On the other hand, large-diaphragm condenser microphones work well for studio recordings. They have a higher quality sound than small diaphragm condenser microphones.
Types Of Condenser Mics
Here are some condenser microphones to consider:
- RØDE NT1
- MXL 990
- Audio-Technica AT2021
- Audio-Technica AT2035
- Tascam TM-80
- MXL 770
- Audio-Technica AT2010
- Samson C01
- Blue Yeti
What Is A Dynamic Microphone?
Another type of microphone to consider is a dynamic microphone. They are more rugged and can handle high volumes, making them ideal for live performances.
Some popular dynamic microphones are the Shure SM58, Shure SM7B, the Sennheiser e935, and the Audix i5.
Dynamic microphones are less sensitive than condenser microphones, meaning they can handle more sound without distorting the audio. This also makes them better for capturing louder sounds.
You would use a dynamic mic for general recording, live streaming, voice chat when streaming your gameplay, interviews, and more.
Types Of Dynamic Microphones
Here are some of the dynamic microphones you will want to consider:
What Is A Ribbon Microphone?
Ribbon microphones are less common but offer a unique sound that can be well-suited for certain genres of music. They use a ribbon of metal to convert vibrations into an electrical signal, and they typically have a figure-8 pattern.
There are a few different types of ribbon microphones available on the market.
Ribbon microphones are not as common as condenser or dynamic mics. However, they often produce a mellower sound than other microphone types, making them well-suited for certain genres of music. They can also be used for studio recordings for capturing the sound of vocals and acoustic guitars or capturing the sound of a choir or band.
Types Of Ribbon Mics
Here are types of ribbon microphones for you to consider.
- RØDE NTR
- MXL R144
- AEA R84
- Heil PR 30
- AEA RPQ2
- Beyerdynamic M160
- Royer SF-12 Stereo Ribbon Microphone
Pick The Right Microphone For Your Sound Requirements
Whether you create podcasts, live videos, or stream pre-recorded ones, your choice of microphone will determine the overall quality of your content. Remember, each mic type has a different sensitivity level and tonal characteristic, thanks to the varying diaphragms. Thus, each of them produces a different sound type.
So before you go and buy the most popular type of microphone, be sure you spend time testing them out to see how you sound.
Now that you know the different types of microphones and their use cases, pick the right one for your sound needs. It may mean acquiring multiple types of microphones.
While a small-diaphragm condenser mic is best suited for recording instruments and vocals, a large-diaphragm condenser mic is perfect for voiceovers and studio recordings. If live streaming or podcasting, pick a dynamic mic. And if working with a band or choir, a ribbon mic will be your best bet.
Which Type Of Microphone Are You Using?
Do you have any tips you used to choose the right microphone for your videos, whether they are streamed live or pre-recorded?
If you want to know what types of microphones other creators and live streamers are using, check out this list. Also, let us know which microphone you are using.