Back2Basics Series - Part 4 - Microphones

We have reached the fourth part of our Back2Basics series, as we have noted before we want this series to be for guidance for newbies to the industry or anyone looking on that may be looking to diversify and take on something new, it also may be a chance for industry veterans to read, take note and then give their own opinion on anything we are writing so please feel free to do that and make an addition to the series. Here is what we know about microphones in a summary; 

microphone is a device used to convert sound waves into electrical signals, which can then be processed or recorded. Microphones are used in a wide range of applications, including live performance, recording studios, broadcasting, film and video production, and teleconferencing.

There are several different types of microphones, each with its own unique characteristics and best use cases:

Dynamic microphones: these are robust and durable microphones that are commonly used for live performances or recording loud sources, such as drums or guitar amps.

Condenser microphones: these are more sensitive and accurate than dynamic microphones, making them ideal for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, or other subtle sounds. They require a power source (usually supplied through a battery or phantom power) and are more fragile than dynamic microphones.

Ribbon microphones: these use a thin metal ribbon suspended in a magnetic field to produce an electrical signal. They are known for their warm, natural sound, and are often used to capture the sound of instruments such as strings or horns.

USB microphones: these are specialized condenser microphones that can be connected directly to a computer via USB, making them popular for podcasting, voiceovers, and other applications where portability and ease of use are important.

Microphones also differ in their directional characteristics, or the way they pick up sound:

Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound equally from all directions.

Cardioid microphones are most sensitive to sound coming from the front, and less sensitive to sound coming from the sides and rear. They are commonly used for live vocals, as well as in recording studios.

Supercardioid and hypercardioid microphones are similar to cardioid microphones, but have a narrower pickup pattern and are more directional. They are often used for broadcasting or in theatre applications where unwanted noise needs to be minimized.

Overall, microphones are essential tools for capturing and recording sound, and choosing the right type and directional pattern is important for achieving the best results in any given situation.