Thursday, 10 February 2022

What is a Condenser Microphone?

Willing to know what is a condenser microphone? When it comes to studio recording applications, you should choose condenser mics mostly for their sensitivity and fidelity. Generally, compared to dynamic mics, a condenser microphone is capable of offering a wider frequency response range. But it has a lower input sensitivity. This indicates that these are capable of picking up the input signal more quickly. In this article, we will let you know about them in detail.

What is a Microphone?

A microphone is called a mic colloquially. It works as a transducer that helps to convert sound into an electrical signal. People use these in PCs to record voice, speech recognition, VoIP, etc. Besides, it is used for non-acoustic purposes like ultrasonic or knock sensors.

What are the different types of mic?

The various types of mic are as follows:

  • Liquid Microphone. 
  • Carbon Microphone. 
  • Fiber Optic Microphone. 
  • Dynamic Microphone. 
  • Electret Microphone. 
  • Ribbon Microphone. 
  • Laser Microphone. 
  • Condenser Microphone. 
  • Microelectromechanical Microphone 
  • Crystal Microphone 

What is a condenser microphone?

The name condenser comes from the “capacitor”. It is a term used previously for “capacitor”. A condenser microphone helps to convert acoustic energy into an electrical signal through diaphragm movement in a fixed-charge capacitor-based capsule and electrostatic principles.

How it differs from other types:

Before choosing the better one, you should know for which purpose you want to use the mic. Whether you are looking for a live performance mic or a studio mic, you should take a while to select. In this case, you are required to determine first if you need an instrument mic, a drum mic, or a vocal mic.

Condenser Microphones:

These are especially useful for capturing vocals and high frequencies. In most cases, people prefer to use these for studio applications. These capacitor mics are used in studios for their detail and accuracy. The mics consist of a lightweight diaphragm suspended by a fixed plate. Hence, the sound waves create pressure against the diaphragm that enables it to move.

As these come with a thin diaphragm and increased sensitivity, people prefer to use them to pick up delicate sounds. These require a source of power. You can get this available in the form of phantom power due to which you may use a 9v battery.

These are ideal to use to capture acoustic guitars, drum overheads, or vocals. People don't like to use these for louder sounds like a guitar or bass amplifier. In such cases, a dynamic microphone is an ideal choice.

Dynamic Microphones:

This type of microphone is perfect to use to boom sounds or louder environments. People prefer to use microphones for live use as it is capable of handling loud sounds and decreased sensitivity.

In this case, a wire coil is used for amplifying a signal that is picked up by the diaphragm. It is the reason why the output of a condenser microphone is greater than a dynamic mic.

Dynamic ones are ideal for live sound because they are incredibly tough. In case you drop your dynamic mic mistakenly, the probability of damaging the mic is lower compared to a condenser mic.

This type of mics doesn't require batteries or phantom power. Besides, the cost of a dynamic mic is less compared to condenser mics. A dynamic mic needs very much low maint. Whether you practice a reasonable level of care, it can maintain the performance.

Pros and Cons of Condenser microphone:


The advantages of condenser microphone are:

  • This is available in a small size. 
  • The mic comes with a flat frequency response. 
  • The weight of the mic is lower than the dynamic mic for lighter diaphragm assembly. 
  • It is compatible with a high range of frequencies for a quick-moving diaphragm. 
  • This type of mic is perfect to capture sounds of audio instruments and vocals. 
  • The microphone provides high sensitivity.


The disadvantages of a condenser microphone are:

  • These need the power of voltage to operate. 
  • It is capable of handling certain maximum input signal levels. 
  • This mic is harder to use than a dynamic microphone. 
  • These are more affected by extreme temperature and humidity conditions than dynamic mics. 
  • The cost of this mic is much more than a dynamic microphone. 
  • The cheaper ones create a small magnitude of noise.


The applications of the condenser mic are as follows:

  • Studio and voiceover vocal mics, I.e. large-diaphragm FET and tube mics. 
  • Instrument mics 
  • Wireless lavalier mics that are mainly for the miniature pre-polarized FET mics. 
  • Consumer devices requiring mics 
  • Shotgun mics in film and video

Side Address v. Front Address:

A lot of large-diaphragm mics are there that are designed especially to pick up sound ( one or both sides of the mic) instead of picking only one end of the mic.

There are multiple small-diaphragm mics that come with a pencil shape. These are capable of picking up sound from the end, not from the side. As a result, these are “end-address,” rather than being “side-address.” Mics of both types are handy. If you know the location of the focal point for your mic, it helps to visualize the polar pattern in a better way. It allows you to aim at the audio source more precisely.

Polar Patterns:

It is the three-dimensional space that you can see around the mic capsule. Here, the capsule is very sensitive to sound. Cardioid is the type of microphone polar pattern used most commonly.

There are a few polar patterns available in condenser microphones:


This type of microphone is more directional compared to cardioid microphones. The reason is that these are less sensitive at the pick-up pattern sides despite them picking up a little audio from the rear.


Compared to the previous hypercardioid ones, these mics are a little less directional. However, this type of mic has the capability of providing a slightly smaller rear lobe.


This type of microphone can pick up audio in all directions. Thus, the pattern becomes perfect to measure mics.


This kind of mics is also called “figure-eight.” These Mics are capable of picking up audio from both fronts as well as back.


In this article, we have let you know what is a condenser microphone. It is available at a different range of prices. If you are looking for top-quality condenser mics to use, then you are required to invest thousands of dollars. The essential thing that you should remember is that you should know your recording needs. If you use this properly, then you can experience its various uses. Thus, it can easily offer high-quality results without doing any effort.

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