What Is a Dynamic Microphone, and Why Should You Be Using One?

What Is a Dynamic Microphone, and Why Should You Be Using One?

A dynamic microphone is a device used to capture sound and is the most popular type of mic in the professional audio industry. These mics are versatile, durable, and generally affordable. In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics of a dynamic microphone and various types of dynamic mics, the pros of using a dynamic microphone, and the cons of using a dynamic microphone.

Characteristics of a Dynamic Microphone

Dynamic microphones are characterized by several features that make them ideal for a variety of audio applications. They are highly durable, as they are not sensitive to wear and tear, and are built to last. Dynamic mics are also immune to feedback, able to cope with loud sound sources, and require minimal external power to operate. As a result of their low-power requirements, dynamic microphones are usually battery back-up free.

These microphones are also capable of faithfully reproducing sound with a wide frequency response. This versatility makes them ideal for a range of vocal and instrumental performances. Additionally, dynamic mics are relatively inexpensive when compared to other mic types, making them the go-to mic for budget-conscious performers and recording engineers.

Types of Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones are available in a variety of styles, such as:

Cardioid mics

When talking about microphones and sound technology, it's safe to say that the cardioid microphone takes center stage. Also known as a unidirectional microphone, cardioid mics are most commonly used in recording studios, theatres, and live sound events.

This type of microphone is aptly named because of its distinct heart-shaped polar pattern, which allows for sound to be recorded from one direction and minimized from all other directions. This feature makes cardioid mics a highly effective tool to help control ambient sound and unwanted noise. To understand why the cardioid microphone is so popular, let us observe how it works.

Every microphone’s primary job is to capture sound waves, transforming them into electrical current that passes through its circuitry. The cardioid mic's distinctive heart-shaped pattern is a result of its two most sensitive areas to sound: the front lobe and the rear-facing lobe.

The front lobes are omnidirectional, meaning that it will pick up sound equally in every direction while the rear-facing lobe only picks up sound from behind. This means that the mic is sensitive to sound from the front and minimally sensitive to sound from all other directions.

Omni-directional mics

Omni-directional microphones are an essential tool for anyone looking to capture sound in professional quality. Whether it’s recording live audio for a concert, podcast, or video, these microphones are designed to pick up sound from every direction evenly.

They are excellent for capturing rich dialogue, singing, or a full ensemble performance. The most appealing aspect of omni-directional microphones is their ability to capture sound equally from all directions.

The tiltable head and all-encompassing diaphragm allow them to easily capture a full, rich sound from all directions, creating a 360-degree field of reception. This makes them great for capturing any type of performance, including duo recordings or full ensembles.

When compared to other microphones, omni-directional mics are known for their lack of “proximity effect”, meaning that their sound is not degraded if the subject moves away or closer to the microphone. This means that the sound will remain largely consistent no matter how close or far away the subject is.

Hyper-cardioid mics

Hyper-cardioid microphones are a type of directional microphone technology that provides tremendous versatility and accuracy when recording sound. They are especially useful in recording vocals, and in live sound reinforcement. With the right microphone and setup, you can capture sound from virtually any direction, while still having a consistent sound.

A hyper-cardioid microphone is a variation on the traditional cardioid microphone. In this type of mic, the pickup pattern is similar to the cardioid, but with a tighter focus. This increased focus means that a hyper-cardioid microphone picks up a greater range of sound from a specific direction. This is why they are often used for recording vocals, as well as capturing instruments and other sound sources that are farther away from the microphone.

Compared to other types of directional microphones, the hyper-cardioid is well-suited for a number of recording situations. For one, they are very effective at recording vocals due to the increased range of sound they can pick up. They also work very well in capturing distant sound sources, such as instruments that are located farther away from the microphone.

Because of this superior sound quality, hyper-cardioid mics are often used in live sound reinforcement. In a live setting, a hyper-cardioid microphone can be used to capture a particular sound source while minimizing background noise or other sound sources in the room. This makes them particularly useful for capturing a singer’s voice while still rejecting local sounds, creating a more accurate representation of the vocal performance.

Pros of Using a Dynamic Microphone

Using a dynamic mic offers a variety of benefits. For starters, as previously mentioned, dynamic mics require minimal external power to operate and can therefore be powered by batteries if needed.

Furthermore, dynamic microphones are versatile and can be used for both vocals and instruments, making them a great choice for live performances or studio recording sessions. They are also highly durable and are able to cope with sound sources that may be too loud for condenser microphones.

Cons of Using a Dynamic Microphone

Dynamic mics also have some drawbacks. The low-powered requirement can be an issue if the signal needs to be sent a long distance, as this can attenuate the signal. Additionally, some dynamic mics may be susceptible to handling noise, as the capsule can also capture sound from the microphone body and the shockmount.

Finally, dynamic microphones also have a limited frequency range compared to condenser mics, meaning that some tones may not be recorded accurately. In conclusion, a dynamic microphone is a versatile device that can be used for a variety of applications. Though they have some drawbacks, dynamic mics are durable, require minimal external power, and capture sound with a wide frequency range. Thus, they are ideal for both vocal and instrument performances, as well as recording sessions.