There are different types of microphones available today in the market.
I got the opportunity to work with a lot of different types of microphones while working in studios. Choosing a microphone can be a challenging task, especially if you are going to record for the first time. Choosing the right kind of microphone is essential if you want your audio to be sound-ready.
Here’s the ultimate list of microphone types that work best in music production. Let us look at each type of microphone having different applications. Our write up on how much microphones cost may also be of interest.
#1 Active Microphone
Nowadays, many microphones require electricity to operate and connect power through the use of cables. Most of the mics are connected to a mic cable that transfers audio signals.
If you look at active mics, it needs current to operate. They use active components like Internal preamps, FET OR JFETS, vacuum tubes, capsules, or analog to digital converters. All the condenser microphones are active, and only some dynamic mics use active components to function. Recommended: What is a condenser microphone?
Let’s look at the active components in brief.
- Internal Preamp. The internal preamps, also known as JFETs, helps convert low voltage having high impedance signal to a higher volt with low impedance. Some ribbon mics also use internal Preamp.
- Non-electret Condenser Capsule. This helps convert the sound waves to mic signals. These capsules need external power to operate. For this, it requires external voltage to get polarized and transduce energy.
- Vacuum Tubes. The vacuum tube needs electricity to amplify the tube’s cathode. This then transfers the positive change to the anode.
- Analog to Digital Converter (ADC). The ADCs require power so as to convert analog signals to digital signals.
#2 Ambient Microphone
The ambient microphone is a type of microphone used for ambient miking. There are different ambient miking techniques. You will find that the mics are placed in such a manner that the room’s sound is more prominent. It means that the diffuse sound is much more than the direct sound.
You can use single ambient mics in omnidirectional or Ambisonic mics. These mics capture ambient sound, that is, the crowd noise or distant sound. Ambient mics are ideal to use when there is a large crowd.
Application for Ambient Microphones
- Distant Room Mics. Many times, ambient mics work best in studios. It is usually far away from sound sources. It is made to capture the reverberation of the space.
- Crowd Mics. Ambient mics are known to capture the sound of the audience. Ambient mics capture the sound of the entire audience instead of capturing only the sound of specific people.
- Field Ambience. Ambient microphones capture the sound of a large crowd. You can also use it to record in a room.
- Reverb Channels. When you place an ambient mic with a closer mic having a single sound, it gives a reverb-heavy signal and a clear sound. You can create fantastic production using these two channels or more mics for some more creativity.
#3 Ambisonic Microphone
The Ambisonic mics are uniquely designed mics that capture sound from all directions that surround the microphone. Ambisonic sound effects are very flexible. You can use it in field recordings.
It includes eight or more capsules in Ambisonic sounds to create 3D mixes or an entire 360° sphere of sound. Ambisonic sounds have become popular with the increase in virtual reality and augmented reality in certain apps and games.
#4 Back Electret Condenser Microphone
An electret condenser mic works on electrostatic principles. These mics work as capacitors and need a charge. The electret material in the capsule supplies the charge. The electret material has a permanent electric charge and is used to charge electrical components like capacitors. These materials have high electric resistance and maintain a charge for a long time.
The back electret mic is a type of condenser mic that uses permanently charged capsules. It does not have an electret set on the diaphragm (front plate), increasing its accuracy. This is because the electret material is fixed to the backplate (which is stationary). The electret mic is more durable as it is stationary.
#5 Bidirectional Microphone
The bidirectional or figure of eight mic is one of the types of polar pattern. This type of microphone has an 8-figure pattern. It rejects the sound that comes from both sides. The sound it captures in front is totally different in polarity than the sound captures from the backplate. From both front and back, the sound is equally sensitive.
The bidirectional mics use a form of a pressure gradient. The pressure gradient principle has a diaphragm exposed equally to the external sound pressure from both sides. You will mostly see bidirectional mics used in ribbon mics. It is best to use this type of mic when you want to reject the sounds from the sides or if you want a maximum proximity effect.
#6 Boom Microphone
The boom microphones use a directivity pattern. Its position is at the bottom of the boom stand. This type of mic is ideal for filming to get the recording close to the sound.
The term mic boom is a boom pole that usually holds the mic from one side and is placed out of the pole during film recordings. A boom mic is generally attached to the boom. Usually, shotgun boom microphones work great during film recording or broadcasting.
This type of microphone uses a directional pattern and captures the sound of a particular direction. It rejects the sounds from other angles.
How to hold the boom Pole properly?
There is no one way to hold the boom mic perfectly while recording.
Boom pole can be held comfortably above your head. Make sure to have minimal movement. When you hold the boom mic, keep it out of shot. Place the mic to the sound source. Try to keep handling and movement noise to a minimum. You should stand at a distance and out of the way as much as possible.
Boom mics are not wireless. It requires an XLR cable to carry the mic signal. You will find an XLR cable attached tightly around the boom pole. It mainly connects in a spiral form to the pole’s length. This is the best way to manage the XLR cable on boom mics.
#7 Pressure Zone Mics (PZMs or Boundary Microphones)
This type of microphone uses a hemispherical polar pattern. These are mostly placed on a flat surface to get a good sound effect. It helps remove the sound reflections and phase cancellation. You can use the capsule in any type of polar pattern. These capsules have an omnidirectional pattern.
Almost all PZMs have a flat surface. The capsule position is flushed to this surface to have the hemispherical polar pattern. It is great to capture in the acoustic environment when you place it on broad or wide surfaces. You won’t find any rear reflections entering the mic.
It works excellent as room mics. It is ideal to use in studios, broadcast, and stage applications.
#8 Carbon Microphone (Button Mics)
Carbon microphone consists of carbon granules and is between thin metal diaphragms. It requires the battery to create a current to flow. When the sound waves touch the carbon diaphragm, it starts vibrating. It exerts pressure into the carbon granules. And these pressure levels transude into a different level of resistance. This further varies the current to pass through the mic.
Earlier, carbon mics were used in telephones and radio as it gives high output.
#9 Cardioid Microphone (Heart Mic, Unidirectional Mic)
The cardioid mics use a unidirectional polar pattern. They usually pick sounds on the front and sides with a high gain. But it is less sensitive on the back. It captures every sound in the front and rejects unwanted sounds from the side. Recommended: What is a Cardioid Microphone?
These are great to record vocals and anything that sounds dry and close.
These microphones are great to use during live performances and when you need to reduce noise from the sides.
#10 Clone Microphone
Do you know what a clone exactly is? A clone is an organism that uses a genetic copy of the originally built mics. And clone mics are designed by looking at the characteristics of other mics.
Mostly clone mics are built as per the design and performances of other vintage mics. Now vintage mics are no longer seen in the market or may be extremely expensive. Since it is the most desired mic, its high demands cause high prices. Every recording producer will know about these vintage mics and may have even worked with one or the other vintage mics.
#11 Colored Microphone
A Colored mic has no flat frequencies. The word “Colored” means the mic may be sensitive to particular frequencies, while it may not be as sensitive to others. Colored mics usually have a roll-off at the higher end of the spectrum.
These mics usually produce a very natural sound but may have some jaggedness in frequency response.
#12 Condensers (Electrostatic/Capacitor Mic)
A condenser mic uses a transducer with a capacitor capsule. It needs power to operate. The diaphragm moves as per the sound waves. This type of mic works on an electrostatic principle that helps in converting sounds to audio signals.
#13 Contact Microphone
A contact mic is a type of microphone that can pick sound vibrations when it contacts any solid objects. This type of mic receives and converts audio signals using mechanical vibrations and not airborne sound waves.
Many times, people get confused between contact mics and PZM mics. Both of them are attached to the surface. But PZMs use airborne vibrations while contact mics do not.
#14 Controlled Magnetic or Reluctance Microphone
This microphone design is trademarked by Shure. It has a variety of dynamic elements. In controlled magnetic mics, the magnet and wire coil is stationery. The metal diaphragm moves the ferrous rod disturbing the magnetic field. As the coil moves, it produces a magnetic signal.
#15 Differential Microphone
Western Electric developed this design. It is designed looking at the old-fashioned carbon microphone design. This design has dual button capsules and not just one. These two capsules prevent the capsules from moving, thus reducing distortion and noise. It helps improve frequency response.
#16 Random Incidence Mics
Diffuse field mics are designed in such a way that it responds uniformly to any sound signal that comes on its surface. This mic works best when there is a diffuse sound like the reverberation chamber. Or even when many sources of sound affect the sound pressure of the microphone.
#17 Digital Microphone
This type of microphone consists of digital sound output. It has an internal A/D converter. This helps in converting the microphone signal from diaphragm to digital modulation and then outputs the sound. Some mics have a built-in A/D converter and output digital audio. The most commonly used digital mics are USB mics.
Microphones produce analog signals first and then convert them to digital if required. Microphones are transducers: they convert mechanical sound waves into analog audio output. They do so by using the vibrating diaphragm that moves around the sound waves. The diaphragm moves back and forth, producing AC voltage. So technically, microphones are analog first.
#18 Directional Microphone
This type of microphone picks sound from a particular area. It rejects the unwanted noise from the back. The polar pattern identifies which part is more sensitive and less sensitive. Understanding the mic’s directionality will lead to more appropriate positioning of the mic and give better results.
#19 Dynamic Microphone
This type of mic uses electromagnetic inductions and converts sound waves into electric signals. Usually, a ribbon or any conductive element helps in converting the sound waves. It may be attached to the diaphragm. This helps vibrate the magnetic field and produce current. Recommended: What is a Dynamic microphone?
#20 Electret Condenser Microphone
It is the most commonly used transducer and is used to measure audio signals. It works just the opposite of a regular speaker. That means when any sound waves are detected, it produces electrical signals. This mic consists of two plates inside like a capacitor. The distance between the two is proportional to the sound.
If you are looking for a transducer that helps in converting audio signals to electrical signals and helps detect any sound, then this is an ideal option.
It is ideal to use when you want to detect any noise or for sound recording,
#21 Electrodynamic Microphone
In dynamic mics, the sound waves touch the diaphragm attached to the coil. This helps in vibrating the coil in response to the audio signal. Dynamic mic uses an electromagnet to output signal. It requires power to move to the magnetic field.
As the permanent magnets are powerful and most popular, the demand for electrodynamic mics has decreased.
#22 Fibre-Optic Mic
The fiber-optic mics help convert sound signals into electrical signals by modulating the light on its diaphragm. These mics have a great frequency and dynamic range. They are weather resistant as well.
#23 Foil Electret Condenser Microphone (Middle or Classic)
This type of condenser mic is also known as classic or middle mics. In this type of condenser mic, the electret material is the diaphragm. It does not have a different coated diaphragm like in the front electret. These mics are of low quality and are not suitable to record films.
#24 Frontal Incidence Mic
This type of microphone is designed in such a way that it has a frequency at high level. You can measure the sound pressure from a single source at the diaphragm. It is ideal to use in open spaces that are free from hard surfaces and mainly where it absorbs sound reflections.
#25 Front Electret Microphone
In this type of condenser mic, the electret material is inside the mic and has no backplate. The diaphragm forms the capacitor and the inner surface of the microphone diaphragm. In the front part of the mic, there is an electret film and its diaphragm connects to the FET.
#26 God Microphone
It is an unseen mic and is best to use in live programs. In this type of microphone, you can hear the voice of anyone speaking in the room or open space but won’t be able to see the speaker.
#27 Handheld Microphone
Any mics can be held in hands, but this type of microphone is ideal for handheld purposes. The top-address has an omnidirectional or cardioid polar pattern. These are best to use for vocals.
One of the best ways to hold a mic during live performance is at a distance of one to three inches from the mouth. Place the front capsule slightly away from the mouth. Hold the mic from the middle part. Try to keep the grip to medium. Keep your wrist and arms relaxed and comfortable. This will help in reducing tension and perform well.
#28 Headset Microphone
This is a type of mic which you don’t need to hold. The mic is placed in the speaker’s neck. You can move freely with this mic. The capsules have omnidirectional electrets. These types of mics are a combination of headphones or a microphone. You can use this mic to make phone calls.
#29 High-Impedance Microphone
Mostly the mic signals are AC voltages. And impedance is the AC resistance of the sound signal volt. It controls the audio signal flow. If you want the mic signal to travel equally, the mic output impedance should match the input impedance.
All mics have output impedance. Any electric device that produces AC volt has output impedance.
These products have an unbalanced output. High impedance mics have output impedance between 10 to 100Ω. Most of the time, their signals lose high-frequency response when you send it over a lengthy cable, thus giving a muffled sound effect.
#30 Hypercardioid Microphone
This is a directional polar pattern and is best to use in this type of microphone. The null points occur at 110° and 250°. This type of mics is ideal to use in film recording because of its high directionality. These are best to use for instrument recordings or for camera mic. Recommended: What is a Hypercardioid microphone?
#31 Internal Microphone
It acts as an electric pickup. Its place is inside the body of a laptop or a computer monitor. You can easily find them by looking at the hardware, and there are few small holes. In this type of microphone, a mic is placed inside the electric device. It thus provides a quick miking of any device while recording or sound reinforcements.
#32 LDC Microphone
The size of large-diaphragm mics have a diameter of 1 inch or larger. It has a lower noise performance than the small diaphragm. The large diaphragm helps in making the sound more engaging and bigger. They work much better while capturing the depth of low-frequency sounds.
It finds the variation in air pressure and is great to record vocals in studios or any instrument. As the sound waves start vibrating the diaphragm, the distance between both the plates produces voltage. This changes the capacitor. These mics are best to use as side mics.
#33 Laser Microphone
It is a type of surveillance device. It uses laser beams and detects sound waves on any surface or instrument. It uses a laser beam to direct and reflect the surface. This then returns to the receiver, converting the beam into a sound signal.
#34 Lapel Microphone (Lavalier or Body Mic)
It is a very small clip-on lavalier mic. It is best for hands-free purposes during shoots. This mic is ideal to use in theatre, film, and other similar use. The lavalier mic has a very small capsule and is wireless. You can attach it to your collar and any clothing, clip it on your hair or headwear.
#35 Liquid Microphone
Alexander Graham Bell invents the liquid mic. In this type of mic, water along with sulphuric acid fill the cup. This causes the needle that is attached to vibrate down this acid. The diaphragm then moves as per the sound waves. The coinciding variation in the circuit converts it to the audio signal.
#36 Low-Impedance Mic
This type of mic has low impedance, usually lower than 600 ohm. Most of the professional mics have low impedance, and the output is well balanced for exact bridging with preamps. It further allows transferring appropriate signals.
#37 Measurement Microphone (Calibration Mic)
This type of mic is best to use in audio analysis systems. It works great when you gather data about any room acoustics. It measures pressure of sound at different levels. These types of mics are ideal to use for sound measurements. You may even use it for recording purposes or sound reinforcement.
#38 Microphone Chip Mic (MEMS Or Silicon Mic)
These are micro-scale devices providing high fidelity acoustic sense. The mic capsule consists of a front diaphragm or capsule and a rear plate (stationery) It is mainly designed with internal preamplifiers, AD converters. It transmits digital sound signals.
It has a second semiconductor die. It works as audio preamps. The diaphragm creates a capacitor, and the sound pressure waves help move the diaphragm. This helps in changing the capacitor to an electric signal.
As these are very small, you cannot fix them in integrated electronic products. These are ideal to use in smartphones, speakers, and headsets.
#39 Modular Microphone
This type of microphone has separate parts, usually a capsule and a preamp. Both the parts get connected to create a mic. Modular mics are flexible when interchanging the parts when you want to change any specification.
#40 Moving-Coil Dynamic Microphone
It is a type of transducer that helps in converting sound waves into mic signals through the electromagnetic principle. This electromagnetic principle creates voltage around the electrical conductor close to the circuit.
Almost all moving coil mics are dynamic. But dynamic mics don’t require a moving coil.
In dynamic mics, a coil wire surrounds a magnet. It connects the diaphragm and vibrates, and responds to the incoming sound wave. When the sound touches the diaphragm, the coil swings back and forth the magnet; this generates current when creating an audio signal. The moving coil mics are much more popular than the ribbon mics.
Factors that determine the amount of voltage across the dynamic microphone:
- When you increase the number of loops in the coil, it increases the number of conductors.
- When you increase the velocity of the coil, it moves through the electric field much faster.
- When you increase the strength of the magnetic field, there is a larger magnetic flux.
#41 Multi-Pattern Mics
Multi-pattern mics have two diaphragm capsules and can even have more capsules. It is made from a cardioid condenser mic that is attached back to back.
The polar patterns are switchable. It usually has a cardioid pattern. These mics can achieve any polar pattern by joining the capsules together in different proportions. Or also through physical means such as an adjustable acoustic labyrinth. This works with a single diaphragm. You will also find some multi-pattern mics having a stereo option.
#42 Noise-Cancelling Mics
Noise-canceling mics reject the sound from the sides and remain sensible to your voice. This type of mics uses a pressure acoustic labyrinth. This helps reject the sound at the diaphragm from the ambient and distant sounds. These mics do not show any proximity effect. Not to be confused with noise-cancelling headphones. It is more sensitive to sounds in the front.
#43 Omnidirectional Microphone
The omnidirectional mics have the simplest polar pattern. This is one of the main polar pattern types. This type of mic is sensitive to noise from any angle. It does not show any proximity effect. The proximity effect is created only in pressure gradient mics. That is those mics in which the diaphragm is open from both sides so the sound enters from all sides. This creates an omnidirectional pattern.
If the mic is at a higher frequency, it affects the sensitivity of sound waves that reach the diaphragm. This is because the wavelength is shorter at high frequency. Recommended: What is an Omnidirectional microphone?
The omnidirectional mics are best used when you want a natural recording or want to record a moving target for conference calls. You can also use it when you want to reduce the sound of the wind in the outdoor ambient recording.
How to achieve this pattern?
This type of pattern works through pressure gradient or acoustic labyrinth. It is open from only one side of the mic to its external sound pressure. The backside of the diaphragm is closed and has a fixed pressure. It is appropriate for atmospheric pressure.
When the atmospheric pressure is low at the front, it moves outward. And when the external force is more than atmospheric pressure, it moves inwards. This causes omnidirectional mics to output sound signals.
The amplitude of sound pressure makes the diaphragm move, and this is how the omnidirectional pattern encompasses the polar pattern.
#44 Overhead Microphone
This type of mics is positioned at some distance from the sound source, usually above. It is pointed at a certain distance of sound source. Usually, an overhead microphone and a single or stereo pair give full sound below them. Overhead mics work best to capture the sound of a complete drum kit.
#45 Parabolic Microphone
This type of mic uses parabolic reflectors. These reflectors target and convert sound waves onto a transducer. It usually has a wide reach. Most of the good-quality parabolic microphones have an omnidirectional pattern. It can capture reflections from all directions.
#46 Passive Microphone
Passive mics do not need external power to function correctly. All dynamic microphones are passive and operate via electromagnetic principle. This does not require power to function. Passive microphones do not use internal preamps, FET/ JFET, vacuum tubes, or polarized capsules.
In passive mics, a conductive coil is present in a cylindrical space between the magnets. The diaphragm and coil move in the magnetic field. It creates an electric signal in the coil through electromagnetic induction.
This sound signal is then transferred to the transformer and produced from the mic signals.
#47 Pencil Microphone
Pencil mics have thin SDCs and look like a pencil. Pencil is not a technical term, but it is ideal to use in audio-based industries.
#48 Crystal Microphone (Piezoelectric)
These mics use piezoelectric materials or crystals. It is subjected to varied sound waves and outputs AC volt. It usually has high output impedance. Contact mics use this type of mic in telephones, or any instrument. People also use it for different applications like for automotive sensors.
#49 Pressure Microphone
In pressure mics, usually, diaphragm is open from one end to the sound. The rear side is closed. Pressure mics do not follow any direction and are omnidirectional. This does not show any proximity effect and is plosive resistant.
#50 Pressure-Gradient Mics
In pressure gradient mics, the diaphragm is usually open to sound waves from both ends.
This type of mic responds to the pressure gradient from both sides of the diaphragm. Its directions are controlled by the number of sounds that enter from the back.
#51 Pressure Response Mics
This microphone measures the pressure response. Pressure mics respond in uniform frequency to the sound wave of their diaphragm. If you use pressure mics in an open field, mount it to 90° to direct the sound wave.
It measures the sound pressure at the boundary accurately. This type of mics is best to use in cavities and against surfaces.
#52 Quantum Microphone
In this type of microphone, you can detect the sound of small units. This mic uses a SET. The acoustic waves at the surface or the sound waves vibrate atoms under this mic. The single-electron transistor can detect sound vibrations at a low level as well.
#53 RF capacitor Microphone (RF Electrostatic)
The RFCs require a low impedance capsule from the low sound vibrator. This helps in polarizing their capsules. There is varied capsule capacitance. Because of which the RF volt is transmitted and creates the mic single. These types of mics have a low capsule polarization and a loose diaphragm tension. These types of mics have a flat frequency and low sound. This works better in the wet than the field-effect transistors.
#54 Ribbon Microphone
Ribbon mic is a type of dynamic mic. The diaphragm in this mic is attached to the moving coil that oscillates within the magnetic field. At the same time, ribbon mics have an extremely thin strip of metal attached to the magnetic field. Ribbon mics give the same type of sensitivity and transient response. Recommended: Guide to the Ribbon Microphone?
Ribbon mics are the natural mic that you can use to capture the sound of any device or instrument. It works great in the room ambiance as well. it
Mostly ribbon mics are passive mics having no onboard active electronics or preamplifiers. This is due to the preamp input incidence. It connects to the sound that is produced by the mic. So if there is low impedance, the frequency response will change. It changes at the bottom, and the ribbon gets damped sometimes. This results in low high-frequency output.
Active and Passive Ribbons
Active ribbon mics have become popular nowadays. But do you know its benefits?
Active ribbon mics have onboard electronics. The mic can deliver its full potential to the mic preamplifier. It produces stronger output levels than passive ribbon mics. Active mics are consistent with the preamp ranges having varied input impedance. In contrast, passive ribbon mics have an excellent sound quality when paired with a correct preamp.
Ribbon Mic Applications
Ribbon mics have a high detailing and are not too sensitive. Because of this, it can pick up the sound from close sources. It even rejects distant sounds and off-axis sounds. This is mostly there in condenser mics. The ribbon mics are best for miking guitar or large choirs where the sound level that enters from the back is lower.
All ribbon mics have a bidirectional polar pattern and have a figure-8 pattern. This allows the sound waves to enter from the side of the thin ribbon and does not move at all. This is because the pressure from both sides is similar.
Ribbon mics are great to use for radio and while hosting any talk show. This single mic can capture the sound from both sides.
#55 Room Microphone
This type of mic is placed in such a way that it captures sound fully from the source. It captures the noise of physical space as well. These mics are best to use with stereo pairs to provide the stereo mix in more detail. You can place room mics in any room’s corner. Or to a distance from the sound source.
#56 Shotgun Microphone
This type of mics has strong directivity. In most film productions, boom mic works best.
Strong directivity is not viable in a typical pole head. For this long interface, tubes are ideal for filtering sound from the back before reaching the diaphragm.
#57 Side-Address Microphone
The primary axis is pointed outwards from the sides in side-address mics. The side-address mics are present in large-diaphragm condenser mics and even ribbon microphones.
#58 SDC (Small Diaphragm Condenser) Microphone
The size of the small-diaphragm condenser mics is 1/2” or less. Sometimes while audio recording, SDCs are used with a larger capsule as well. The SDCs are slim and pencil-shaped mics having superior transient response and polar pattern. However, it has a more self-noise and is usually pointed out on top.
The advantages of SDCs are:
- It has an excellent transient response. It means it follows the sound waves accurately.
- It has a high-frequency response. It can be even beyond human hearing.
- It picks up patterns very consistently.
It provides a detailed sound image that no other mics can give. As it has a neutral sound, high-quality SDCs mics can be used for any purpose. These mics are best to use for piano, acoustic guitar, and overhead drums, and percussion. These mics respond great at a low level as well. So the SDCs are best to use when you need a pure and natural sound.
#59 Squeeze Microphone
Mics that output mic signals and can be compressed later are squeeze microphone types. It is ideal to use it as a room mic where there is a huge ceiling. Their mic signals are also suitable for parallel compression techniques.
#60 Stereo Microphone
As we know, mics convert sound waves to mic signals through capsules. Mics mostly have one capsule to produce one signal, and this makes it a mono device. Some mics use multiple capsules and produce multiple mono signals.
The stereo mics usually have two diaphragms along with some coincident pairs. These mics can output in stereo that has at least two mono signals. It uses a XLR output cable or comes with three-pin cable adapters. This is best to use in mic preamplifiers.
Stereo Miking Technique
In stereo miking, at least two mono mics are placed to capture the stereo image of the space. You can adjust the mic signals as per the stereo mix position.
The stereo miking technique is a position that is already set behind stereo miking. One mic is placed on the left and the other on the right when two mics are there.
There are usually three types of stereo pairs:
- Coincident Pair. It is made of two mics placed together to the sound waves at the same time. These mics are the coincident mic in the same mic body.
- Near-coincident Pair. This pair is placed at a distance of 6 to 12 inches. The capsules are placed in such a way that a stereo image can be created when panning the mic.
- Spaced Pair. These are two similar mics placed at a distance. It is set at one-third or one-half the width of the sound space. The mic is pointed at the sound source directly. They give a wide stereo image but poor mono compatibility.
#61 Subcardioid Microphone
This mic uses a pattern that looks like the point between cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns. This type of mic is more sensitive on the front but can pick sound from all directional with clarity. Unlike other unidirectional patterns, this does not have any null points.
How to achieve this pattern?
It works through pressure gradient acoustic. Both the sides of the microphone are open to the external sound pressure. The front part of the diaphragm is open to the sound waves. The backside is covered with an acoustic labyrinth. It stops the sound waves from reaching the diaphragm.
This is the reason subcardioid mics are more sensitive to sounds at the front. Null points are not there in this polar pattern. Subcardioid mic and omnidirectional mic are similar in this way. At higher frequencies, the omnidirectional mics have a subcardioid pattern.
The subcardioid polar pattern in multi-pattern mics
Most of the multi-pattern mic uses two capsules having back-to-back cardioid capsules. The different polar patterns are possible by combining signals of two diaphragms. This depends on varied phases and amplitude. These diaphragms combine the cardioid pattern in the same polarity. It has more amplitude at the front mic signal than at the back.
So the Subcardioid mics are best used when
- You need an omnidirectional mic.
- To directly capture the sound source and also from the outdoor environment.
- When you need to reject sounds from the back and capture them naturally at the front.
#62 Supercardioid Microphone
This type of mic has a super-cardioid polar pattern. It is more sensitive to the area where the mic points. It has null points at 127° and 233°. These mics are most famous for filming. This is because of their high directionality. Recommended: What is a Supercardioid microphone?
#63 Talkback Microphone
With this type of microphone, you can communicate from the operation room of any studio to the telecast room. It means engineers and musicians can speak to the performers without being present in the room. This type of talkback system has a speaker with a mic in every room.
#64 Tetrahedral Microphone
It is a type of audio mic having around four Subcardioid capsules that point equally in different directions. A B-format or raw tetrahedral record first decodes so as to be used in 3D Ambisonic mixes or stereo.
#65 Top-Address Mics
In this, the capsule points out from the front in top-address microphones. This type of mic has capsules at the upper part or bottom of the mic. It is more sensitive to the area they are pointed in. Most of the handheld mics and pencil mics are top-address.
#66 Transformerless Microphone
This type of mic does not use a transformer. The capsules directly transmit the mic signal. Mostly they have a circuit output that helps transfer the signal properly before producing the signal.
Mics don’t need to have a transformer and transistors. To have a transformer or transistor depends on the microphone design. Let us have a look at some mics that may or may not have transformers.
- All passive mics do not have transistors. It includes a moving-coil dynamic mic and a passive ribbon mic.
- Any tube mics do not have transistors.
- Any passive ribbon mics will always have a transformer.
- Transformers are significant also. Most of the miniature mics do not have transformers. It may not even fit into the microphone design.
- Most of the electret condenser mics do not have transformers. An electret condenser, the amplifier, impedance, and balancing all occur within the mics’ circuit board.
Does a moving-coil dynamic mic have transformers?
It is not necessary that a moving coil mic will have transformers. It may have or may not. Some mics have transformers at the output part.
The electric signal is transferred from the moving coil diaphragm having low voltage and impedance. A transformer helps booth the AC volt to the mic level signal. It does not boost the impedance to the levels not in use.
A good quality moving coil mic having a transformer may be more expensive than other mics. If you want a cheap mic, look for a moving-coil dynamic mic without a transformer.
#67 True Condenser Mic
“True condenser” means mics without tube and electret. In other words, it has polarized capsules and has transistors. It needs external volts to charge its capsules. It does not have vacuum tubes. The mic capsules help in converting the signals with high impedance to the low impedance at the output. The output transformer of this mic has step-down transformers.
The DC volt comes from the phantom power. The power is produced, so the capsules are properly polarized and charge their circuitry.
#68 Tube Microphone
This type of mic is an active mic that is a large-diaphragm condenser. It uses vacuum tubes for the impedance converter. It does not use a transistor circuit to amplify the internal signals. The capsule signals flow through the tube or other components before outputting the signal.
The vacuum tubes are the impedance converters. It helps in amplifying the mic signal. The condenser capsules present in this mic produce low amplitude sound signals and have high impedance levels. It boosts the signal effectively and helps lower the impedance level. This way, the signal travels around the mic’s circuitry and output connection.
Vacuum tubes need power to function and are active electric devices. That is why these mics are also active. Vacuum tubes require a lot of power. Because of this, tube mics have an external power supply unit to supply more power.
A tube condenser mics are designed with:
- Condenser Capsule. A condenser capsule usually has one or two diaphragms. It converts sound pressure placed at the diaphragm to audio signals. It converts signals through electrostatic principles.
A condenser capsule is like a parallel plate capacitor. In this, the backplate is stationery, and the front plate is moveable. To function correctly, it needs a charge. In tube mics, the capsules are polarized externally. The volt comes from the power supply.
- Vacuum Tube. The vacuum tube used in tube mics needs to have three electrodes. It acts effectively as an impedance converter and amplifier. The vacuum tube grid can give a high impedance signal. This signal has the ability to control high-quality signals. This way, the mic functions properly.
- Power Supply Unit. Vacuum tubes need electric energy to function correctly. It needs more power than phantom power. So, it needs an external power supply unit. The active components present require a power supply. The power supply unit even polarized the condenser capsules.
- Internal Circuitry. Tubes mics may have other electrical components present. It may be made of passive or active components. This allows the electricity to flow properly and provide protection.
- Output Transformer. Mostly step-down transformers help in reducing the impedance level of the mic. These transformers balance the mic signal. It even protects the mic from DC volt.
#69 USB Microphone
This mic transmits the mic signal through the cable. USB microphones use internal A/D converters. This acts as an audio interface. USB mics work best to put in and simply play in laptops or computers. It is one of the most popular choices in the digital world. It is pretty easy to make high-quality recordings on a computer using USB mics. It is easy to set up and use.
This mic is very cost-effective and gives you a decent recording on your computer, laptop, or any other device. It has all the wiring already set. You just need to connect the mic to the USB port and start recording.
Let us look at the steps on connecting the USB mic to the computer device.
- Plug the USB mic into the laptop or computer. Use the correct USB cable.
- You may need to download proper drivers. This will allow communicating digitally between USB mic and computer. Your computer may even have drivers installed already. So it will start automatically.
- Now open the computer’s sound setting. You need to choose the USB mic to be the computer’s audio device.
- If the mic is on mute mode, unmute it.
- You can increase the volume of the mic.
#70 Velocity Microphone
Some ribbon microphones are also known as velocity mics. This is because the input voltage is proportional to the ribbon’s velocity. The mic acts to the individual air molecules that hit the capsule or diaphragm. These mics have a light and flexible diaphragm. It means it responds instantly and with equal pressure from both ends.
#71 Vintage Microphone
Vintage mics are the oldest mics, and there is an increase in value. Those who work in the music industry may have got a chance to work with vintage mics. Many producers and musicians look for vintage mics for their design and top-quality sound. Most of the vintage mics have ribbons or tube condensers. Vintage mics are rarely available nowadays.
Wireless mics transmit signals wirelessly. You can attach it to different types of transmitters. It includes most of the handheld and bodypack versions of mics. It encodes a microphone signal and transfers wirelessly. It is usually transferred through radio frequencies or built-in transmitters that match the receivers. The receiver then decodes the mic signal and connects the mic input. It is pretty easy to set up wireless mics. It works great as well.
Wireless mics work similarly to the wired mics. There is one difference in both the mics. The wired mic has male XLR output and needs a cable to carry the mic signal to the input.
In contrast, a wireless mic transmits signals through a radio transmitter. This helps convert the output signal to the receiver before sending it to the mic input.
It is pretty easy to connect wireless mics to a computer. It connects similarly to the wired microphone. The wireless mic produces a signal. The transmitter converts the signal into a radio signal. The receiver receives the signals. This then turns the radio signal back to the audio signal.
The receiver’s audio signal is analog. It needs an AD converter to work digitally with a computer system. Once the mic signal gets connected to the digital audio, the wireless mic is connected.
Microphones are one of the important things in any audio recording. Microphones come in different shapes and sizes. Different types of microphones work best for different purposes. To get a good quality recording, you need to select the right mic. You can choose the right microphone from the above list of microphone types as per your use and application.