What Is A Condenser Microphone? 4 Main Features

Microphones

Gongs and the wind both generate sound waves. Microphones convert sound waves to electrical impulses. A computer turns these electrical impulses into 1’s and 0’s. Now that the computer sound wave is in a language that a computer understands, it can manipulate it (amplify, distort, e.t.c).

Microphones transduce this signal in a variety of ways depending on their kind… they all however use a diaphragm to do so, to learn more visit my dynamic microphones post. And now we move onto what exactly is a condenser microphone

A Condenser Microphone

Anatomy of a Condenser Microphone

Condenser microphones basically act as varying capacitors. The diaphragm is hit with sound waves, causing it to vibrate. The distance between the backplate and the diaphragm changes, this alters their capacitance. The change in capacitance is computed and that is where the information about the sound is stored. In order to easily measure this change, a voltage is sent into the microphone: a phantom power source (+48V) boosts the voltage which helps carry the signals created by the fluctuating diaphragm.

When To Use a Condenser Microphone

Condenser microphones are typically more sensitive, and pick up signals quicker, but are more delicate. They provide a natural sound when used in the studio, but onstage they lose some of their fidelity.

Condensers are used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Vocals
  • Bass Drums
  • Acoustic Guitars
  • Piano
what is a condenser microphone
Condenser Microphone

Take Away

As a result of their great sensitivity, condenser microphones tend to capture the sounds of acoustic instruments and voices better than dynamic mics. When dealing with strong sound pressures, such as those generated by brass instruments, they should be avoided.

Advantages
  • More Efficient Mechanism allows for Higher Frequencies to be captured
  • Small and Light
  • Higher Fidelity Sound
Disadvantages
  • Delicate, Temperature, Humidity, Loud Sounds all can damage these mics
  • More Expensive, For Better Working Models (No Electronic Artifacts)
  • Need Phantom Power for best results

Mark D.

Mark D.

Hi, I'm Mark. I've been playing instruments since I was just a little kid. I've played cello and piano for a few years, and recently picked up guitar. I've produced bad music. I also run this blog where I share interesting things I've learned. I hope you Enjoy my posts!

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