A few microphone brands we carry in-store
A microphone is a device that captures audio by converting sound waves received into an electrical signal. This signal can be amplified as an analog signal or may be converted to a digital signal, which is then processed by a digital audio device like a computer.
While all microphones serve the same basic function, they capture audio in several different ways.
The three most common types are described below.
- Dynamic – Dynamic microphones are the most popular microphones. They have a simple design that includes a magnet wrapped by a metal coil. A thin sheet called a diaphragm is placed on the front end of the magnet and transmits vibrations from sound waves to the coil. The coil then transfers these vibrations to electrical wires that transmit the sound as an electrical signal. Since dynamic microphones use a simple design, they are typically very durable and do not require electrical power.
- Condenser – Condenser microphones are commonly used for audio recording purposes. They are known for their sensitivity and flat frequency response. Each condenser microphone includes a front plate (the diaphragm) and a back plate that is parallel to the front plate. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates and alters the distance between the two plates. This change is transmitted as an electrical signal. Unlike dynamic microphones, condensers require electrical power. This current may be provided by an internal battery, but is most often provided as 48 volt “phantom power” from an external pre-amp or mixing console.
- Ribbon – Ribbon microphones are known for their high fidelity. They contain a thin ribbon made of a aluminum which is suspended in a magnetic field. Incoming sound waves make the ribbon vibrate, generating voltage , this voltage is transmitted as an electrical signal. This allows it to pickup the velocity of the air and not just air displacement. While these mics are no longer as popular, Ribbon mics were once very successful particularly in the radio industry. They have improved sensitivity to higher frequencies, capturing higher notes without the harshness while retaining a warm vintage voicing.
Not only do microphones come in several different types, but also different polar patterns. Polar patterns describe how microphones pick up sound, showing specifically where mics ‘listen’ spatially and which positions are blocked. Some microphones are designed with a single “polar pattern,” while others have switches to select the appropriate pattern for a specific recording purpose. Some of the most common patterns include:
- Cardioid – capture everything in front and block everything else. This front-focused pattern will let you point the mic to a sound source and isolate it from unwanted ambient sound, making it ideal for live performance and other situations where noise reduction and feedback suppression are needed. This is the most popular polar pattern. They also get used for miking up loud instruments like drums etc.
- Bidirectional – a figure 8 pattern that captures audio from two separate directions ( no sides ) This front and back sensitivity makes them ideal for stereo recording and for capturing two or more instruments.
- Omnidirectional – a circular pattern that captures audio from all directions; often used to capture groups of vocalists or ambient sounds like in bigger halls.
- Microphone stands
- Mic Clips
- Isolation Shields
A microphone isolation shield is a filter that reduces unwanted noise, ambiance, and sound wave reflection. It also improves the sound quality of recordings by isolating the microphone from the surrounding environment.
- Foam Shields
- Microphone Shock Mounts