How Does A Condenser Microphone Work? – Key Advantages
If you are keen on improving the quality of your voice recording, you should consider using a condenser microphone.
Are you curious how does a condenser microphone work? You will learn that and more as you scroll on.
What Is A Condenser Microphone
So, what is a condenser microphone and how does it work?
The condenser microphone is one of the three most common types of microphones, along with dynamic and ribbon microphones.
The latter two convert sound signals into electric signals by means of electromagnetism. Whereas, condenser microphones operate on an electrostatic mechanism.
How A Condenser Microphone Works
The condenser microphone got its name from the capacitor or condenser inside the device. It is the part that converts sound energy into an electric signal. It can also store an electric charge.
The capacitor has two metal plates called the backplate and the diaphragm. These two are suspended very closely with each other, with a voltage across them.
The capacitor’s backplate is fixed while the diaphragm can move or is flexible. The latter detects even subtle variations in air pressure that makes up the vocal or sound recording. It is highly sensitive to sound; hence it can also pick up the other sounds in the surroundings.
When sound is captured, it vibrates between the diaphragm and the backplate. This vibration produces a tiny electric signal in the capacitor, which mimics the pattern of the original sound waves.
This signal then needs to be amplified with an external power source.
There are many different ways to boost the electric signal inside the capacitor.
In studios, they use 48-V Phantom Power. With this, 48-volt signal is transmitted from the audio interface through an XLR cable to the condenser microphone.
Another way to amplify the electric signals in a condenser mic is through a vacuum tube. It is the most traditional way; however, most performers still use it today for the quality of sound that it produces. Tube condenser microphones come with their own power supply.
Boosting can also be done through an electret. It is an ultra-thin film applied to either the backplate or diaphragm. This material is a permanently charged dielectric substance that supplies a condenser mic with continuous power through an on-board battery.
Advantages Of Using Condenser Microphones
Now that you learned the science behind how a condenser microphone works, you may ask how does it give you an advantage?
- Condenser microphones are lighter than dynamic microphones because of their diaphragm assembly. With this, it is more convenient to carry around and use.
- Condenser microphones can capture a high range of frequencies.
- Condenser microphones have a flat frequency response.
- Condenser microphones are known for their sensitivity to sound; hence it is most suitable for recording voice and instruments.
How does a condenser microphone work is more complicated than other types of microphones. It is more fragile and more expensive; however, it guarantees high-quality voice and music recording.