Types Of Microphones And Their Uses

by : Victor Epand



The main thing behind the working of a microphone is the diaphragm. The whole technology of the microphone depends on the diaphragm because it is the only thing that captures the sound waves to create the signal. So, whatever the technology is, the functioning of the microphone is in the same way. But of course, the uses differ for different technology as every microphone has its own usage.

Technically speaking, there are five types of microphones commonly used for various purposes. Starting with the latest one, there is the wireless microphone that is very popular nowadays. They are widely used for recording and broadcasting sounds. These microphones are portable and can be connected to camera, recorder, or speaker without the cable. In this system, there are three components that work together to create and transmit a signal to the place where it is recorded and amplified.

First, there is the actual microphone which is a tiny clip fixed around the ear or in the lapel. Next is the transmitter that converts the audio signal to a signal either in the FM, VHF, or UHF bands of the radio spectrum. The last component is the antennae, which broadcasts the produced signal to a short distance. These microphones are used in different kinds of shows like television shows, stage shows or shows by bands.

The other types of microphones are as follows:

Dynamic microphones: These work with the help of electromagnetic induction. There is a magnet that induces current to flow in the wire. When the diaphragm vibrates due to sound waves , the magnet gets moved and this movement creates a small current. As the dynamic microphones are strong and resistant to moisture, they are mainly used in the stage performance by the singers or the bands.

Condenser microphones: These are also called capacitors as the diaphragm acts as one plate of a capacitor and the vibrations produce changes in the distance between the plates. And these changes are amplified to create a measurable signal. However, the condenser microphones require a small battery to provide a voltage across the capacitor. As they are capable of producing high quality sound, they are used in the laboratory and studio recordings.

Ribbon microphones: These microphones run with the help of a metal ribbon that is suspended in a magnetic field and is connected electrically to the microphone. This ribbon is moved by the sound waves that change the current flowing through it and thus electric signal is generated. The ribbon microphones are used mainly for the cymbals in drums.

Crystal microphones: In these microphones, a crystal is attached to the diaphragm that creates the signal when the diaphragm gets vibrated by the sound waves. Actually, it uses the phenomenon of piezoelectricity. It means that there are some materials like crystals that produce a voltage when subjected to pressure, to convert vibrations into electrical signals. However, crystal microphones are used with vacuum tube equipments like the domestic tape recorders. They are even used as contact microphones to amplify sound from acoustic musical instruments.

Carbon microphones: These microphones were used in telephones in the past. They basically use carbon dust that has a thin metal diaphragm on one side. And when the sound waves hit the diaphragm they compress the carbon dust that changes its resistance. This changing resistance changes the amount of current that passes through.