Microphone basics |  What is a condenser mic?

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Microphone basics | What is a condenser mic?


Jan 1, 2024


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A condenser microphone is a type of microphone that utilizes an electrically charged, or polarized, diaphragm to convert sound into an electrical signal. This type of mic is often used for recording vocals and instruments because it can capture high-fidelity audio with minimal distortion. A typical condenser mic features a permanently charged (or polarized) diaphragm that is placed in front of the surface of another conductive metal plate. The charge on the diaphragm alters its distance from this second metal plate, which changes the capacitance between them and produces a change in voltage proportional to the sound pressure striking it.

This voltage is then amplified and converted into a digital audio signal by an onboard circuit.

The main advantage of condenser microphones over other types is their wide frequency response, which allows them to capture a greater range of sounds than dynamic or ribbon mics. They also tend to be more sensitive to high-frequency sounds, making them well-suited for capturing the nuances of vocals and acoustic instruments. However, they can be more prone to distortion when handling loud signals, so they’re not always ideal for use in live settings. Condenser microphones also require phantom power (48 volts) to operate, which means that they must be plugged into a power source in order to work. Some condensers come with their own built-in power supply, while others rely on an external battery or AC adapter.

That's all for now! In the next installment of our microphone basics series, we'll take a look at dynamic microphones. Stay tuned!

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