When shopping for microphones, you may notice that some are described as dynamic, while others are condenser microphones. So, what's the difference? Which one do you need? Well, that depends on what type of YouTube content you’re creating. Read on to see a rundown of the key differences between the two.
Dynamic microphones are generally best for recording audio in loud environments (like live concerts) because they can handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs) without distorting the audio. You can use them to record drums, guitar amps, and other instruments with high sound levels. They're also great for recording vocals for songs.
That's because they have a moving coil attached to a diaphragm. The sound waves hit the diaphragm, which then vibrates the coil. This creates an electrical signal that is amplified and then sent to your computer.
In contrast, dynamic microphones aren't the best choice for recording soft sounds, such as ASMR content or a person speaking in a quiet room, since these mics don't have a very sensitive diaphragm.
On the other hand, condenser microphones are best for recording audio in quiet environments, because they're very sensitive and can pick up a wider range of frequencies. That's why they're often used to record ASMR content.
A condenser microphone is a type of electro-acoustic transducer that converts sound waves into electrical signals. These signals are then amplified and recorded onto an external device, such as a computer or digital recorder.
One downside of condenser microphones is that they require 48V power, which most computers don't have. That's why you need an audio interface or a mic preamp to use them.
Another disadvantage is that they're more delicate than dynamic microphones and can be easily damaged by loud sound levels. So make sure to handle them with care.
Ribbon microphones are a type of dynamic microphone, but they work in a slightly different way. Instead of a moving coil, they have a thin strip of metal (the ribbon) suspended between two magnets. When sound waves hit the ribbon, it vibrates and produces an electrical signal.
Ribbon mics are often used in studios because they can produce detailed recordings with minimal handling noise. If you want to capture the most natural sounds of your instruments or even your vocals, ribbon mics are a good choice.
Ribbon microphones are either active or passive. The only difference between the two is that active ribbons have built-in electronics that require phantom power, while passive ribbons don't.
Phantom power is the voltage sent to the microphone through the XLR cable. It powers the electronics inside the microphone, so it can work properly. Because of that, active ribbons typically have more gain (volume) and can be used in a wider range of recording situations. They're also less sensitive to electromagnetic interference (EMI).