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What Does a Condenser Mic Do?

This post was most recently updated on May 19th, 2024

If you are interested in becoming a part of the entertainment industry, there is one thing you will need to invest in. Whether you want to become a musician, a gameplay recorder, or you want to have some fun and record for your personal entertainment, a good microphone is a must.

Luckily for you, the music tech market is pretty big and there is no need to worry about whether you will find the right mic. Still, there are things you should consider as not every microphone is the same. Along with that, a high price doesn’t always mean high quality.

The most popular microphone type when it comes to professional recording is a condenser mic, as it is compact and able to provide an extensive frequency range. While the condenser mic may be on the pricier side compared to a basic dynamic mic, it is absolutely worth it, and you should think of it as a long-term investment.

Connecting a condenser mic and powering it through an external power supply are the two major differences between a dynamic and condenser microphone. Still, there is nothing intimidating about it, and with proper research, you will get the hold of it after just a few hours.

But how does it work and what are the benefits of investing in a condenser mic? Let’s take a look.

What is a Condenser Microphone?

As we mentioned above, a condenser mic is pricier than a dynamic mic, but it is absolutely worth it. A condenser microphone is an essential part of any recording studio as it is able to cover a wide frequency range and provide a proper transient response. All of this plays a critical role if you want to have good recording sound and come out with the best possible track.

Along with that, a condenser mic is able to provide larger sound output. How and why? Well, the main reason for it is the external power which usually comes in the form of 48V phantom power. You can invest in a vacuum tube or an electret as these are cheaper methods that still provide a relevant power supply.

Before we get into all the pros of investing in a condenser microphone it is important that you know how it works in the first place.

What Does a Condenser Mic Do - mic - microphonebasics

How Does a Condenser Microphone Work?

The design of a condenser microphone is not as simple as you might think. The main part of it is a capacitor (condenser) and it consists of two thin metal plates with one being a back metal plate and the other being a diaphragm.

Once you talk or sing into the microphone, the air pressure changes and the sound waves go from one plate to another, with the capacitor adapting according to the sound rhythm. As a result of this process, the sound waves are converted to an electric signal that is now adequate for further emission.

But the problem is a condenser mic doesn’t produce enough current for the signal to be effectively emitted, and this is a major difference comparing it to a basic dynamic microphone. Investing in a phantom power supply (48V) will provide you with a reliable and effective current source, that will allow for clean and loud sound.

While an external power supply is an additional investment, it is worth it. And unless you are investing in a small condenser mic, which usually runs on an electret or you are going for the old school method of a vacuum tube amplifying, it is your best option.

Pros of Investing in a Condenser Mic

There are a number of pros to investing in a condenser mic. Still, we are going to name just the major ones. First, you will get a mic that is able to capture a wide variety of sounds, both long and short, as it allows for effective transient response.

Along with that, the condenser mic is sensitive and keeps a flat frequency response while covering a wide audio range at any given moment. Additionally, it is compact so it will not take up a lot of space no matter the size of your studio.

Cons of Investing in a Condenser Mic

Any product has its flaws and the major con with this mic is the fact that it is quite fragile and that is the reason you don’t often see them in an outdoor environment.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing complicated about how a condenser mic works, and while its design is not as simple as in a dynamic microphone, the process is quite clear. The sound waves go back and forth between the diaphragm and the back plate to be converted into an electric signal, and emitted with the help of external power source.