The Dynamic Microphone can be used to record one person’s voice at a close distance. They are popular in karaoke and professional performance.
But what is a dynamic microphone? You are wondering whether to choose it to use instead of other types of microphones.
This article of Hooke Audio will explain to you all you need to know about dynamic microphones to find the answers to your questions.
What is a DYNAMIC MICROPHONE?
There are many meanings to the term dynamic microphones, especially in terms of sound and music. However, the term dynamic does not refer to dynamic range nor dynamic performance.
It refers to the type of electromagnetism that occurs, for example, inside your bicycle’s Dynamo. An electric current is created when an electrical conductor moves within a magnetic field.
Dynamic microphones are microphones that convert sound to an electrical signal using electromagnetism. There are two types of dynamic microphones: ribbon and moving coil.
Moving coil microphones(Aka Dynamic Mic)
Because they can be understood as loudspeakers, moving coil microphones are the easiest to understand. A coil is attached to the back of a membrane and surrounded by a strong magnet.
The microphone’s sound waves cause the membrane to move following convert sound waves. The coil on the back follows the same rhythm.
This coil can generate a small signal voltage electromagnetic induction due to the relative movement of its coil within its (stationary magnetic field). Your microphone dynamic is a device that converts sound waves to an electrical signal.
Because they can be used on stage without external power, moving coil microphones are preferred. Engineers prefer ribbon or condenser mics in the studio. Both ribbon and condenser mics are more robust but provide superior sound reproduction.
The most common type of dynamic microphone is the moving coil microphone. Because moving coil microphones are very long-term, sound engineers prefer to refer to them as dynamic mics or dynamics, recognizing ribbon mics as an entirely different category.
Although technically incorrect, this makes sense from a practical perspective. Ribbon mics are exotic beasts that convert sound waves and behave differently to moving coil dynamic mics.
The basic principle behind ribbon microphones is electromagnetic induction. However, a ribbon transducer uses a very thin strip of aluminum foil instead of a membrane and coil.
The membrane is an electrical conductor that diaphragm moves within the magnetic field gap. A thin aluminum ribbon with a coil of wire attached is lighter than a copper coil of wire attached. The ribbon transducer can therefore follow the movement of sound waves better than a moving capsule.
Ribbon electromagnetic induction produces a much lower output because it only has one conductor in the magnetic field gap rather than a whole coil. The step-up transformer multiplies the output voltage of ribbon microphones by about 30.
Ribbon microphones have a lower sensitivity, i.e., A ribbon microphone has a lower sensitivity (i.e., output level at a given level of sound pressure) than a moving-coil microphone. A ribbon microphone requires a low noise preamp with a lot of gains.
Ribbon mics are bidirectional by nature. They are equally sensitive to sound waves from the rear and front. However, sound waves from the sides don’t set the ribbon in motion. This pattern is known as figure-8.
Ribbon mics can be fragile, so they should be handled with care. The treble response of most ribbon microphones is very limited. Ribbon mics are only used in special applications today, such as when an extended top end is unnecessary, e.g., For guitar cabinets or was not needed, e.g., To tame bright brass instruments.
Active ribbon microphones are a relatively new invention. They contain an amplifier circuit to increase their output. Like condenser microphones, active ribbon mics need phantom power.
Features of the Dynamic Microphone
Eight features make dynamic mics unique.
Simply put, frequency response refers to the mic’s response at different frequencies. Dynamic mics refer to the frequency range that the microphone can recognize and reproduce. Frequency refers to a vibration’s speed and is measured in hertz (Hz).
Let’s assume that a vibrates 50 times per second. This corresponds to 50 Hz. All models vibrate at specific frequencies, and sound waves are always precise.
Some dynamic mics models can be sensitive to lower frequencies, whereas others are more sensitive to higher frequencies.
The proximity effect occurs when the device and the sound source are within one foot of each other. This effect makes ordinary podcasters sound like Barry White.
However, if you move away, the dynamic mics pick up fewer low frequencies and produce an echo effect.
On-Axis Response & Off-Axis Response
Axis is the angle at which sound enters a microphone. There are two types of dynamic microphones.
On-axis is the sound that enters the microphone head-on. This angle produces a bright sound. If your microphone device is sensitive to high frequencies, then on-axis might give you more definition.
On-axis could make it more sensitive to highs. It could also be a problem if it is allergic to plosives.
Any sound that is not directly in front or behind the microphone is called an off-axis response. If a sound is coming from the side, it will cause an off-axis reaction. The frequency of the sound will change or distort.
To correct the harshness of high frequencies, off-axis recording may be used.
A polar pattern shows which direction a microphone will pick up sound and which direction it will ignore. Devices become less directional at lower frequencies and more directional at higher frequencies.
The most straightforward polar pattern is found in cardioid or unidirectional microphones. This pattern is known as cardioid due to its heart-shaped shape. A cardioid microphone only picks wavelengths directly in front of it. It can pick up any sound to its side or behind.
This is why you must speak or sing into the voice side. Otherwise, your sound may not be picked up at all.
These microphones can be used for general purposes and regulate feedback. This microphone type is known for its proximity effect.
Directional/Hypercardioid and Supercardioid Pattern
These mics are available in Supercardioid or Hypercardioid Polar patterns. They have a smaller heart-shaped design and can pick up sounds from the sides and front. However, they cannot pick up sounds from the back 150 degrees. These mics help record audio at a location with minimal ambient noise.
These microphones are capable of generating the proximity effect.
Bidirectional microphones can pick up the electrical signal in two opposite directions. Their polar pattern is similar to figure 8, and they are thus named. When two people are facing each other, bidirectional microphones can be helpful.
These microphones can also be feedback-resistant and have a proximity effect.
Omnidirectional Polar PatternOmnidirectional mics pick up sounds coming from virtually any direction and don’t cancel out anything. They can pick up unwanted sounds. In situations where a stationary microphone is combined with a moving audio source, Omnidirectional Mics can be instrumental.
Omnidirectional mics do not have the proximity effect.
The most challenging aspect of getting a good microphone sound is the transients. Transients can be described as sudden, dramatic noise spikes. These can occur when acoustic guitar strings or drums are first pounded or when a singer suddenly sings consonants like t.
Because transients can occur at any time, they are hard to predict or control. Transients can also be problematic due to controlling how much force is used to sing or play an instrument.
Dynamic mics, however, react slower than condenser microphones and may not be able to keep up with fast transients. The microphone is too slow.
The dynamic microphone can be a benefit when recording specific instruments or vocals.
Sensitivity is the ability of a mic to convert acoustic pressure into an electrical voltage. When two devices are exposed to equivalent sound levels, and one produces higher voltage, superior sensitivity is achieved.
Higher sensitivity microphones require less amplifying to make their output usable when it reaches the mixer. More amplification is needed for models with lower sensitivity.
This doesn’t mean that a microphone with higher sensitivity is necessarily better than one with a lower sensitivity.
SPL (Sound Pressure Level)
The sound pressure level (or SPL) indicates how loud a microphone can handle before it distorts. Dynamic microphones excel at handling loud sounds without causing distortion.
This threshold is known as Max SPL or maximum SPL. Some devices can be equipped with controls that allow them to withstand louder instruments like electric guitars.
The signal that a microphone generates without sound, or self-noise, is also known as equivalent noise level. Self-noise is a feature of all devices. It can often be described as a slight hiss or white noise.
A current running causes Self-noise through an active mic’s circuitry (technically called Poisson noise or shot sound). Thermal noise, also known as Johnson-Nyquist sound and temperature noise, is another culprit. This means that self-noise increases with increasing temperatures.
Random air molecules can also cause noise by pelting the diaphragm with air molecules, preamp gain, and mic cable disturbance. This phenomenon is known technically as Brownian motion.
Self-noise doesn’t have to be wrong. Self-noise can be helpful in some situations. A microphone’s self-noise helps to reject louder sounds in noisy environments.
Advantages & Disadvantages Dynamic Microphones
- These sound great in applications that require a warm tone, such as voiceovers.
- Dynamic mics do not require phantom power. They are highly versatile and easy to use in many situations.
- They can withstand loud volumes.
- They are rugged and can withstand all kinds of abuse.
- They are versatile and can be used in many applications.
- They are water-resistant.
- They can handle plosives.
- Dynamic mics are simple and can be affordable.
- These are not the best for recording delicate sounds.
- They only capture high-frequency detail.
- They are unable to record harmonics.
- A less detailed sound.
- To receive a clear signal, you will need to be near the diaphragm.
- The versatile equipment of dynamic microphones can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
- Dynamic mics, like any other piece of equipment, have pros and cons.
How does a dynamic microphone work?
Although a dynamic microphone device has only a few components, they are all essential to creating a world-famous mic!
The windscreen is located beneath the metal grille-like portion of the device. The windscreen is a foam lining that protects the mic’s diaphragm against wind interference. It also prevents dust and other debris from getting into the microphone.
Windscreens can also be used to reduce disruptive plosives. Plosives are caused by a mic being overloaded with air blasts from words containing the consonants b, ‘p, ‘d, ‘t, & g. These sounds can cause annoying popping or hissing.
A pop filter can help if a microphone’s windscreen isn’t able to eliminate plosives effectively. Pop filters, also known as pop shields or pop screens, are devices in the studio that eliminate these irritating sounds before they reach your mic.
For outdoor situations, windscreens are vital. They are also useful in the studio.
The diaphragm, a membrane made of Mylar (biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate), is two-sided and the diaphragm moves when sound enters it. The diaphragm is a tiny five micronphones thick and extremely sensitive to vibrations from the air.
The microphone’s diaphragm can often be the most important component in its sound quality.
Copper can be used for many reasons. It produces powerful audio signals. It maximizes electromagnetic induction.
The coil-diaphragm dual is more responsive than heavier substances due to its lightweight.
The coil is moved when the diaphragm vibrates due to fluctuations in air pressure. The coil vibrates in a magnetic field and transforms sound into an electric signal carried to the speakers.
The coil’s magnetic core creates a magnetic field that allows the coil to vibrate, creating an electrical signal.
The capsule acts as a transducer by the diaphragm. A transducer (also known as an element) transforms sound waves into electrical energy (audio electrical signal). A microphone’s sound waves are made up of the capsule.
The area where you plug in the cable is called the output. An XLR cable is a three-pronged cord used to transport stereo signals. Most microphone outputs can accommodate one.
Some mics with lower-end features have an attached cable.
There are differences in the operation of different mic types. This article will discuss the features of wireless microphones.
The essential features of dynamic mics make them an integral part of presentations, performances, and studios.
Passive And Active Dynamic Microphones
We have already covered that electromagnetic induction, magnetic field converts sound into audio, is a passive process and does not require electricity. The essential component of a dynamic microphone’s transducer is therefore passive.
Another confusing fact we have to mention is that dynamic microphones can be active (they require electricity). What’s the deal?
Let me start by saying that dynamic moving-coil microphones are passive. In the history of microphones, there has never been a need to add an amplifier to a dynamic microphone. The market doesn’t require an active dynamic microphone.
A good microphone preamplifier can bring the output sensitivity of a dynamic moving-coil mic up to line level, which is a plus for professional equipment.
Active models are available only for ribbon microphones. Active internal circuitry is what a ribbon microphone needs.
Ribbon microphones have low output sensitivities, which is the main reason. A conductive ribbon can induce a voltage by electromagnetic induction much more effectively than a coil.
Active ribbon microphones are equipped with internal preamps. These preamps work primarily to increase the output level of active mics to a more healthy level.
Mic manufacturers also consider other factors when optimizing the internal preamp to match ribbon elements.
The first is that the output impedance of a microphone becomes more consistent. First, the output impedance of microphones is frequency-dependent.
This means that depending on the mic preamp’s input impedance, the response of passive ribbon mics could be affected (often to the detriment). A ribbon mic’s active preamp helps to optimize the mic for all preamps by adjusting the impedance.
These active mics have additional benefits, including lower noise due to the optimized gain stage and the fact that they will need phantom electricity (so the phantom power source won’t damage your ribbon mic – this is a common concern).
What are Dynamic Mics Most Commonly Used For?
- Singing, especially with others
- Studio recording
- Recording amps and drums
- Some situations require a mic that is water-resistant, impact-resistant, and can withstand shock.
Differences Between Dynamic And Condenser Microphones
In the opening of this article, I stated that microphones are often separated into two major groups: dynamics and condensers. The primary difference between dynamic and condenser mics is the transducer principle.
Dynamic microphones, as we’ve been discussing, convert sound into audio via electromagnetic induction. Condenser microphones, conversely, convert sound into audio via electrostatic principles.
This major distinction comes with other general differences. A major contrast is that the condenser transducer is active (they require power) while the dynamic transducer is passive (though some ribbon mics are active due to their internal amplifying circuitry).
Dynamic microphones are generally more durable and are sold at lower prices. Condenser microphones typically benefit from better sensitivity and accuracy (in transient and frequency response).
All the major general differences between dynamic and condenser mics are listed below:
- Transducer Principle: Electromagnetic induction
- Active/Passive: Passive
- Frequency Response: Coloured
- Transient Response: Slow
- Polar Pattern: All but bidirectional
- Sensitivity: Low
- Self-Noise: No
- Maximum SPL: Often too high to measure
- Durability: Very durable
- Price: Inexpensive to moderate
- Transducer Principle: Electrostatic principles
- Active/Passive: Active
- Frequency Response: Flat/extended
- Transient Response: Fast
- Polar Pattern: All (especially with dual-diaphragm capsule)
- Sensitivity: High
- Self-Noise: Yes
- Maximum SPL: Often within practical limits
- Durability: Somewhat durable
- Price: Cheap to very expensive
A dynamic microphone that has a compact, simple design but produces powerful sound. This microphone can be used to record high-intensity instruments like drums and trumpets. This dynamic microphone model can also be used in a variety of environments.
Try dynamic microphones for the best evaluation. This article should help you choose the right mic for your needs and preferences.
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