A microphone is a device that turns sound waves into electric currents. It has a diaphragm that moves when sound waves hit it and a transducer that turns these movements into an electric current. The electrical current made by a microphone can be amplified and used to play back the original sound through a speaker or some other output device.

Microphones are used for many things, like recording and broadcasting music, making phone calls, and holding meetings or giving presentations. They are an important part of any sound system and are used in everything from small portable devices to large-scale sound systems.

There are many different types of microphones, and each has its own special features and best uses.

Some of the most common types of microphones are:

Dynamic microphones

Dynamic microphones are a type of microphone that uses a moving-coil diaphragm to convert sound waves into an electrical current. They are known for their durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs), making them ideal for use in live music performances and other loud environments. Dynamic microphones are also relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, making them a popular choice for beginners.

Examples of dynamic microphones include the Shure SM58, a popular choice for vocals and instruments, and the Electro-Voice RE20, a popular choice for radio and podcasting.

Condenser microphones

Condenser microphones are a type of microphone that uses a thin, metalized diaphragm to convert sound waves into an electrical current. They are known for their high sensitivity and ability to capture a wide range of frequencies, making them ideal for recording music and other audio. Condenser microphones require an external power source, either through a battery or an external phantom power supply, to operate.

Examples of condenser microphones include the Neumann U87, a popular choice for recording vocals and instruments, and the Rode NT1, a popular choice for home studios and podcasting.

Ribbon microphones

Ribbon microphones are a type of microphone that uses a thin metal ribbon to convert sound waves into an electrical current. They are known for their smooth, natural sound and are often used to record vocals and instruments in a recording studio. Ribbon microphones are generally more fragile than other types of microphones and are more sensitive to wind and handling noise, making them less suitable for use in live performances.

Examples of ribbon microphones include the Royer R-121, a popular choice for recording vocals and instruments, and the Coles 4038, a popular choice for recording brass and percussion.

Lavalier microphones

Lavalier microphones, also known as lapel microphones, are small microphones that are designed to be worn on the body. They are often used in television and film production, as well as in live stage performances, to allow actors and performers to move freely while still being heard clearly. Lavalier microphones are generally lightweight and discreet, making them easy to hide on clothing or props.

Examples of lavalier microphones include the Shure SM58-LCE, a popular choice for stage performances and interviews, and the Rode Lavalier Go, a popular choice for mobile recording and vlogging.

Shotgun microphones

Shotgun microphones are a type of microphone that is designed to capture sound from a specific direction while rejecting sound from other directions. They are often used in film and television production to capture sound from a specific subject while minimizing background noise. Shotgun microphones are generally long and narrow, with a cylindrical or conical shape, and are mounted on a boom or tripod.

Examples of shotgun microphones include the Sennheiser MKH 416, a popular choice for film and television production, and the Rode NTG3, a popular choice for recording dialogue and voiceovers.

Boundary microphones

Boundary microphones, also called PZM (Pressure Zone Microphone) microphones, are a type of microphone that is made to be mounted on a flat surface, like a table or wall. They are often used in conference rooms and other large rooms to pick up sounds from a meeting or lecture. Most boundary microphones are omnidirectional, which means they pick up sound equally well from all directions. This makes them good for picking up sounds from a large area.

The Shure MX391/O is an example of a boundary mic. This microphone is meant to be mounted on a flat surface. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sounds coming from right in front of it. It is a flexible microphone that works well in meeting rooms, places of worship, and other similar places.

The MX391/O is easy to connect to a mixer or other audio equipment because it has a built-in preamp and can run on phantom power.

USB microphones

USB microphones are a type of microphone that can be connected directly to a computer or other device using a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection. They are easy to use and convenient because they don’t need any extra hardware or cables to connect to a computer. USB microphones are often used to record audio for podcasts, streaming, or other online content, as well as for video conferencing and other online communication.

The Blue Yeti is one example of a USB mic. This microphone is popular with podcasters and streamers because it sounds good and can be used in many different ways. It has different pickup patterns, like cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-eight, so you can choose the one that works best for your needs.

The Yeti also has a built-in headphone jack and volume control, so you can listen to your music in real-time and adjust the volume as needed. It is plug-and-play, which means that you don’t need any extra drivers or software to connect it to a computer or other device.

Wireless microphones

Wireless microphones are microphones that transmit audio signals wirelessly to a receiver, allowing users to move freely while still being heard clearly. They are often used in live music performances, theater productions, and other similar settings where freedom of movement is important. Wireless microphones are convenient and easy to use, as they do not require any cables or cords to connect to a sound system.

One example of a wireless microphone is the Sennheiser EW 100 G4. This microphone is a popular choice among musicians and other performers due to its high-quality audio and reliability. It has a range of up to 330 feet and is able to transmit audio in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, making it suitable for use in a variety of environments.

The EW 100 G4 has a battery life of up to 8 hours and is easy to set up and operate, making it a convenient and reliable choice for live performances.

Headset microphones

Headset microphones are microphones that are worn on the head, with the microphone positioned near the mouth. They are often used in situations where the user needs to be hands-free, such as in stage performances or for communicating with a team in sports or other activities. Headset microphones are generally lightweight and comfortable to wear, making them suitable for use over long periods of time.

One example of a headset microphone is the Shure SM31FH. This microphone is designed for use in fitness instruction and other active environments, and it is able to withstand sweat and other moisture. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the microphone, and it has a frequency response that is tailored for use in speech.

The SM31FH is lightweight and comfortable to wear, making it suitable for use over long periods of time. It is also resistant to wind and handling noise, making it well-suited for use in outdoor environments.

Handheld microphones

Handheld microphones are microphones that are held in the hand, with the microphone positioned near the mouth. They are often used in live music performances, public speaking, and other similar settings where the user needs to be able to move around while still being heard clearly. Handheld microphones are generally durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of frequent use.

One example of a handheld microphone is the Shure SM58. This microphone is a popular choice among musicians and other performers due to its durability and high-quality audio. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the microphone, and it has a frequency response that is tailored for use in vocals.

The SM58 is able to handle high sound pressure levels, making it well-suited for use in live music performances. It is also resistant to wind and handling noise, making it suitable for use in a variety of environments.

Stereo microphones

Stereo microphones are microphones that are designed to capture audio in stereo, meaning that they capture sound from the left and right channels, allowing the listener to perceive a sense of spatial awareness. They are often used in recording studios, for field recording, and for capturing live performances. There are several different types of stereo microphones, including coincident pair microphones, spaced pair microphones, and mid-side microphones.

One example of a stereo microphone is the Rode NT4. This microphone is a condenser microphone that is designed to capture audio in stereo. It has two cardioid capsules that are positioned at a 90-degree angle, allowing it to capture sound from a wide stereo field.

The NT4 is well-suited for use in recording studios and for field recording, and it is able to capture a wide range of frequencies, making it suitable for recording a variety of instruments and vocals. It is also able to operate on battery power or phantom power, making it versatile and convenient to use in a variety of settings.

Cardioid microphones

Cardioid microphones are microphones that are most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the microphone while rejecting sound coming from the sides and rear. They are often used in live music performances and recording studios, as well as for public speaking and other similar applications. Cardioid microphones are generally well-suited for isolating a specific sound source, such as a vocalist or instrument while minimizing background noise.

One example of a cardioid microphone is the Shure SM7B. This microphone is a popular choice among musicians and other performers due to its smooth, natural sound and ability to handle high sound pressure levels. It has a cardioid polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the microphone, and it has a frequency response that is tailored for use in vocals.

The SM7B is able to reject sound coming from the sides and rear, making it well-suited for isolating a specific sound source. It is also resistant to wind and handling noise, making it suitable for use in a variety of environments.

Omnidirectional microphones

Omnidirectional microphones are microphones that are equally sensitive to sound coming from all directions. They are often used in recording studios and for field recording, as well as for capturing the ambiance and other sounds in a wide area. Omnidirectional microphones are generally well-suited for capturing a wide range of frequencies and are able to provide a natural, realistic sound.

One example of an omnidirectional microphone is the Rode NT55. This microphone is a condenser microphone that is designed to capture audio in a wide, omnidirectional pattern. It has a frequency response that is tailored for use in recording a wide range of instruments and vocals, and it is able to capture a wide range of frequencies, making it suitable for recording a variety of sources.

The NT55 is able to operate on battery power or phantom power, making it versatile and convenient to use in a variety of settings. It is also resistant to wind and handling noise, making it suitable for use in outdoor environments.

Figure-eight microphones

Figure-eight microphones are microphones that are most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of and behind the microphone while rejecting sound coming from the sides. They are often used in recording studios and for field recording, as well as for capturing the ambiance and other sounds in a wide area. Figure-eight microphones are generally well-suited for capturing a wide range of frequencies and are able to provide a natural, realistic sound.

One example of a figure-eight microphone is the Neumann U87. This microphone is a condenser microphone that is known for its high-quality audio and versatility. It has a figure-eight polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of and behind the microphone, and it has a frequency response that is tailored for use in recording a wide range of instruments and vocals.

The U87 is able to operate on phantom power, making it easy to connect to a mixer or other audio equipment. It is also resistant to wind and handling noise, making it suitable for use in a variety of environments.

Subcardioid microphones

Subcardioid microphones are microphones that are most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the microphone while rejecting sound coming from the sides and rear to a lesser extent than cardioid microphones. They are often used in live music performances and recording studios, as well as for public speaking and other similar applications. Subcardioid microphones are generally well-suited for isolating a specific sound source, such as a vocalist or instrument while minimizing background noise.

One example of a subcardioid microphone is the AKG C414. This microphone is a popular choice among musicians and other performers due to its high-quality audio and versatility. It has a subcardioid polar pattern, which means that it is most sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the microphone, and it has a frequency response that is tailored for use in recording a wide range of instruments and vocals.

The C414 is able to reject sound coming from the sides and rear to a lesser extent than cardioid microphones, making it well-suited for isolating a specific sound source. It is also resistant to wind and handling noise, making it suitable for use in a variety of environments.

Each type of microphone has its own set of characteristics and is suited for specific applications. For example, dynamic microphones are known for their durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels, making them ideal for use in live music performances.

Condenser microphones are known for their high sensitivity and ability to capture a wide range of frequencies, making them ideal for recording music and other audio.

Lavalier microphones are small and discreet, making them ideal for use in television and film production and live stage performances. Shotgun microphones are designed to capture sound from a specific direction, making them ideal for use in film and television production.

It’s important to consider the specific needs of your application when choosing a microphone. Factors to consider include the type of sound you will be capturing, the environment in which you will be using the microphone, and your budget.

In conclusion, there are many different types of microphones available, each designed for specific purposes and environments. Whether you’re recording music in a studio, performing live on stage, or capturing audio for a film or television production, there is a microphone that is right for you.