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Condenser microphone

Discussion in 'Audio Terms' started by audiokid, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    Condenser microphone: are the most common types of microphones you'll find in studios. They have a much greater frequency response and transient response - which is the ability to reproduce the "speed" of an instrument or voice. They also generally have a louder output, but are much more sensitive to loud sounds.

    They require the use of a power supply, generally 48 volt "phantom power", and that's supplied very easily by most mixing boards or external power supplies (look for a switch that says "P 48" or "48V" on the channel strip or on the back of the mixer.)

    Condenser microphone: a microphone that picks up sounds via an electrically charged, metallized diaphragm, which is separated from a conductive back plate by a thin air layer. Sound waves striking the diaphragm cause a minuscule voltage change, which is increased by a tiny amplifier circuit within the mic body. Because power is required by both the microphone capsule and the amplifier, condenser microphones must have a power source, which can be a battery inside the mic body or "phantom" power from a mixing console or external power supply.

    Condenser microphones are generally much more expensive than dynamic microphones, but keep in mind, many cheap condensers exist. The problem is that most of these mics are coming from a couple factories in China, and all sound the same -- very brittle and with little low end.

    Condenser microphones are generally used only in studios because of their sensitivity to loud sounds and the fact that they're quite a bit more fragile than their dynamic counterparts. That being said, you'll find them onstage at live music venues for use as drum overheads or for use in orchestral or choral sound reinforcement.

    With condenser microphones, you'll find two different types: small diaphragm, and large diaphragm.

    Summary: A condenser microphone is ideal for vocals because it offers a crisp sound without too much bass buildup.

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