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 these mics and powering them 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, condenser microphones are 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, condenser microphones are 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 48 voltage phantom power. That electrical signal is what makes these mics so powerful. 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 (also known as a capacitor microphone) it is important that you know how it works in the first place. Namely, it has a lot to do with how the electrical signal works.
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 (microphone 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 these microphones, 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 condenser microphones don’t produce enough current for the signal to be effectively emitted, and this is a major difference comparing it to basic dynamic microphones. 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 phantom power supply is an additional investment, it is worth it. And unless you are investing in small condenser microphones, which usually runs on electricity or you are going for the old school method of a vacuum tube amplifying, it is your best option.
Pros of Buying in a Condensers
There are a number of pros to investing in these type of mics. 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, these mics are sensitive and keep a flat frequency response while covering a wide audio range at any given moment. Frequency response is really the main thing to consider here, but entire books could be written just about frequency response alone. This all has to do with small diaphragm vs large diaphragm microphones, the polar pattern, and much more.
Additionally, mics like these are usually pretty compact so it will not take up a lot of space no matter the size of your studio. If you are going to mic a drum kit then you’ll need a lot of these mics at your disposal. Eventually the more you buy the better you can dial in your sound.
Cons of Purchasing Condenser Microphones
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.
Also you’ll need to figure out the phantom power issue. Most setups have everything already built in, but in some cases you’ll need more voltage to power your sound signal. This is because of how the microphone signal works with the capacitor inside. Unless you’ve got enough voltage – you’re not going to get the two plates inside these types of microphones to work.
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.