What is a Condenser Microphone?

Beyond a simple voice amplification instrument through an electronic speaker, the microphone is a real animation tool. There are indeed different types of microphones depending on their mode of operation and the use you want to make of them. Among the types of microphones available is the condenser microphone. The condenser microphone is widely used because it has very interesting characteristics. What is a Condenser Microphone? What are its main features and how does it work?

The condenser microphone and its principle of operation

Also called electrostatic microphone , the condenser microphone is a sound amplification instrument, offering excellent sound quality. The condenser microphone, unlike the dynamic microphone, does not have a moving coil. Rather, it is equipped with a very light disc that comes in the form of a thin membrane and a back plate. The disc is most often cut from titanium, aluminum alloy, polyester or mylar.

Between the membrane and the plate is created an electric field generated by a battery or a phantom power supply. This phantom power is supplied by a microphone cable or a mixer . This whole device is called a capacitor. It is actually an electronic construction that stores a considerable amount of energy in the form of an electrostatic field. The intensity of the supplied voltage is a function of the distance between the back plate and the thin film.

Since the membrane is very thin, it floats very quickly and moves easily. When the air vibration moves the diaphragm towards the back plate, the polarity of the microphone is positive. When the diaphragm moves more in the opposite direction to the back plate, the output level of the microphone is negative.

The different types of condenser microphones

There are mainly two types of condenser microphones . These are the electret condenser microphone and the condenser microphone using an external power supply.

The electret condenser microphone

The electret is a dielectric material that can be used for permanent polarization . When using an electret in a condenser or condenser microphone, external biasing or phantom power can be dispensed with. Thus, there are two forms of use of the electret depending on the configuration. Either the electret is positioned on the fixed electrode, or it is placed at the level of the metallic membrane.

The electret condenser microphone is also called a wireless microphone because it works like a classic condenser microphone. However, it should be noted that the condenser microphone, to work well, requires a continuous power supply. Since it does not use an external power supply, it is widely used for many software and applications.

The condenser microphone using an external power supply

This form of microphone is likened to a classic condenser microphone. To work well, it requires 48 volt phantom power. The current generated will then be carried by an audio cable.

The benefits of a condenser microphone

Condenser microphones have several advantages. They are specially used in the studio or in rooms requiring specific sound recording. They are widely used to capture vocals as well as acoustic , string or wind instruments. The sound quality generated by this type of microphone is absolutely sensational.

In addition to being extremely fine, the sound produced by this type of microphone frame with all types of vocal timbres. Thanks to its very high sensitivity, it is highly appreciated by many users. It also has a perfectly extended and flat frequency response. However, it is not recommended to be used for recording percussion instruments except cymbals.

It is also not recommended to use this microphone outside without the membrane being protected by a windshield or a windbreak device.

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