Be it belting your heart out in the karaoke or recording your multi-platinum album, you will want to produce the best sound possible. To do this, you will need a good quality microphone. Not all microphones are built the same and they have different ways of functioning as well. Hence, before you run out and buy a bunch of microphones, you will need to know how you will be using them and the way they function. There are two main microphone types that are used for recording, namely Dynamic Microphones and Condenser Microphones. There is a third type known as the Ribbon Microphone too but these are less common and are typically used by professionals only.
Known for its reliability and versatility, the dynamic microphone is an all-rounded microphone which can be used for vocals and instruments. Thanks to their moving coil magnetic diaphragm, these mics can capture sound even at high sound pressure levels, making them a good option for live events such as concerts and music festivals. They also have a sturdy build so they can still be used after they are dropped. Besides that, they can take a large amount of noise before they start to they start to distort which makes them the ideal microphone for recording loud sound sources like bass and guitar amplifiers and drum kits without worrying about unwanted distortion or damage. Dynamic microphones also work quite well in quieter settings such as in recording studios.
Condenser microphones have a thin conductive diaphragm that is placed close to a metal backplate. This configuration acts like a capacitor whereby sound pressure will vibrate the diaphragm which in turn changes the capacitance to produce audio signals. As condenser microphones operate using capacitance instead of actual moving coils, they tend to be more sensitive and highly susceptible to distorting at higher levels, hence they are not ideal to record guitar amps up close. The use of capacitance also improves the fidelity and sound quality, hence making these microphones ideal for precision recording in the studio. Condenser microphones are usually fixed with a popper stopper placed in front of it when someone is recording vocals with them. The stopper prevents excess air from vibrating the microphone and affecting the vocal quality. You need to be careful when handling these mics though as they are not as sturdy and durable as dynamic mics.
Ribbon microphones are rarely used compared to the microphones mentioned above. These microphones are often used by those who want to have a vintage sounding vibe to their recording. Ribbon microphones are best for recording higher notes associated with woodwind or strings accurately and for relaying more ambient sounds. If you are looking for a mic for multi-instrument recording at manageable noise levels, then ribbon mics are the best option. This makes the microphone very popular for individuals who want to record a wide range of acoustic instruments professionally.