What is the Role of a Microphone in Recording Sound?

What is the Role of a Microphone in Recording Sound

The microphone is a wonderful thing. It lets you talk to a group of people without even raising your voice. Apart from talking to the people in the same location, you can even use this device to interact with people on the other side of the globe. But what is the role of a microphone in recording sound? Let’s have a look.

The microphone is a type of transducer which is used to convert one form of energy into another. As you speak, this device converts sound waves into electrical energy with the help of a diaphragm. This energy then goes into the loudspeaker—if you want to raise the volume of your voice, or in any other sound recording equipment.

What is the Role of a Microphone in Recording Sound?

In order to understand the microphone better, it is beneficial to have a basic know-how of a loudspeaker. Once you know the functionality of a loudspeaker, it will be easy to comprehend what is the role of a microphone in recording sound.

The loudspeaker is another type of transducer which turns electricity into sound waves. It consists of a metallic coil which is wrapped around a permanent magnet. Once you turn on the speaker, it begins to send electricity towards the coil. As the electricity fluctuates in the coil, it starts to create a magnetic field.

This magnetic field moves in an opposite direction as compared to that of the permanent magnet which eventually causes the coil to move. The coil is further connected to a diaphragm which resembles the shape of a cone. As the coil moves back and forth under the application of the magnetic field, it forces the diaphragm to move as well.

Once the diaphragm starts moving, it pushes the air molecules to move back and forth around the room. This eventually causes the sound waves to travel from one place to another area in your room, house or any other such location.

The Microphone

A microphone consists of all the components which are present in a loudspeaker. However, when the latter device uses them to convert electrical energy into sound waves, the former turns sound waves into electrical energy with the help of the aforementioned parts. Moreover, all the components work in the exact opposite way in a microphone as compared to that in the loudspeaker.

In a microphone, the diaphragm usually comes fitted inside its head. It is smaller in shape and as compared to a durable diaphragm which is typically used in the loudspeakers, the one which is used in a conventional microphone is made of flimsy plastic. The reason behind it is when it’s up to the strong electrical waves to move the diaphragm inside a loudspeaker; it comes down to the weak sound waves inside a microphone.

As you speak, the sound waves cause the diaphragm to rattle. It makes the diaphragm and the coil, which is connected to it, moves back and forth. At this point, the permanent magnet creates a strong magnetic field. As the coil moves through the magnetic field, it eventually induces a current in the metallic coil.

Afterward, the electric current produced in the coil starts to flow out of the microphone. Depending on your preference, you can either direct it to an amplifier for raising its volume, or you can also send it to a music recording equipment. If you prefer the latter option, you can store the sound of your voice for as long as you want.

What are the Types of Microphones?

Nowadays, there is a wide range of microphones which are available in today’s market. Even though every single one of them produces electrical energy from sound waves, there is a slight difference in their working mechanism. So if you want to make the most out of this purchase, it is imperative to know the basic difference between all these types. It will eventually help you in making a hassle-free acquisition.

Dynamic Microphones

If you’re looking to purchase an ordinary microphone, one which works without any kind of batteries, you should prefer the dynamic microphones. Incorporating magnets, coils, and diaphragms, they work in an exactly similar way as mentioned above.

For your convenience, the dynamic microphones require little regular maintenance provided regular care is applied to them. Furthermore, they’re highly resistant towards external environmental elements which means that you can use these products for years to come.

Condenser Microphones

The condenser microphones work in a slightly different way as compared to their dynamic counterparts. They normally use the diaphragm to rotate the capacitor which in turn produces the electric current. The capacitor is basically an electrical device which is used to store the electrical charge. Thanks to such a mechanism, this type of microphones are famous for its utmost sound clarity along with a uniform frequency response.

The condenser microphones are further categorized into two different types on the basis of their power source. One of them uses an external power source which is normally preferred for high-end applications, such as music studios.

Coming towards the second type of condenser microphones, it works without any kind of batteries or external power source. Basically, a strong electric charge is permanently impressed inside their diaphragms or any other such location. As a result, you can use this charge for the entire life of this product.

Ribbon Microphones

Another famous type of microphones, the ribbon microphone uses a thin aluminum plate between two different magnets. This plate is further connected to an output which can be an amplifier or a sound storage device. As the magnetic field generated by the two magnets causes the plate to rotate, it creates electrical energy.

The ribbon microphones are mostly used in live broadcasts where there is a total demand for a precise sound quality. However, they are not as durable as the types above.


The microphone is an essential component of the sound systems and music recording equipment. In either of these applications, it is imperative that the mic picks up the crisp quality sound without any deterioration. So regardless of your preferences, it is recommended to invest in the high-quality microphones.