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Condenser Microphones - How do they work?

Condenser Microphones - How do they work?

Condenser microphones are more precise and sensitive than dynamic microphones so if you’re trying to record or pick up the finer details of a sound source then a condenser microphone is what you need. The downside of this is their inability to withstand high sound level pressures so they are certainly more delicate than a dynamic microphone.


The mechanical operation of a condenser microphone consists of a thin diaphragm stretched across and closely positioned next to a fixed metal disk. This metal disk is often referred to as the back plate. The materials used combined with the closeness of each surface create a capacitor. When the diaphragm is vibrated by sound waves the capacitance varies and causes a change in voltage which is essentially the microphone signal that gets sent to the mixer or amplifier for further processing.


Condenser microphones have additional circuitry to make them work and therefore require power; this can be supplied from a battery or from a phantom power source. In a hand-held microphone the battery is normally located in the body but with a tie clip or headset solution there may be a separate power pack with a belt clip. The general use of condenser microphones utilise something called phantom power and we’ll cover this in a separate blog entry.


So, to summarise, condenser microphones require power, they pick up much finer details of audio, but they can’t cope with high sound pressure levels. Most condenser microphone manufacturer’s will let you know the maximum amount of audio the microphone can withstand so it’s always worth a quick read of the spec sheet or, if you’d rather speak to a human, we’re always here to help.


*Thanks to Shure for the image

Created On  18 Jan 2018 10:26  -  Permalink

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