What Is A Dynamic Microphone?

(Last Updated On: February 27, 2021)

The dynamic microphone is commonly used throughout the world. It is often utilized in musicals, stage, and other applications. It is a free-standing microphone. You will often see it used for vocals onstage and musical performances. It is also referred to as the moving coil microphone.

The dynamic microphone is called a “moving coil microphone.” This is because it involves the use of a few moving parts like coils of wire and magnet. It makes use of the electromagnetic principle to create the necessary audio signal.

There are 2 types of moving-coil in dynamic mics. Large and small diaphragm types. Larger diaphragm mics like the Sennheiser MD 421 target lower frequency and are perfect for low-frequency instruments like bass, kick drums, and baritone male vocals. The other types of dynamic mics are suitable for a different range of applications.

How Does Dynamic Microphone Work?

The design of this microphone is also simple. It comes with a diaphragm that is attached to a coil. The coil, in turn, is attached to a magnet. These different parts are assembled inside a casing. The assembly allows the coil to move over the magnet to create an electric current freely.

The dynamic microphone’s design can withstand rough handling because it is sturdy. It handles high levels of volume from amplifiers and some musical instruments. Moreover, it doesn’t have an internal amplifier. It also doesn’t need external power or batteries.

One important feature of the dynamic mic is the diaphragm. If you open the casing of the dynamic microphone, you will see the diaphragm attached to the coil. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates. This causes the coil to move backwards past the magnet. This movement creates an electric current in the coil. The coil then channels the electrical current through a wire from the microphone. This electric current is then converted back to sound waves.

The diaphragm is usually made of metal parts to which attaches a coiled wire. This diaphragm vibrates and moves the coil when sound waves hit it. Inside the coil, there is a magnet. With every movement of the coil, it creates an electromagnetic field. This magnetic field then generates an electric signal. This principle is the electromagnetic induction principle.

In loudspeakers, however, the reverse process happens. Loudspeakers usually convert electrical energy back to sound waves. So, it is reasonable to say that dynamic microphones are like loudspeakers wrought in reverse forms. Thus, if you scrutinize the inside of the speaker, you’ll see the similarity in the design, although in reverse form.

Almost all dynamic microphones make use of the pattern called the “cardioid polar response.” Thus, it can filter out unwanted noise and sounds from its rear. You can use it to isolate sound sources when recording.


The Sound Pickup and Polar Patterns of Dynamic Mics

The dynamic mic is characterized by a cardioid pickup pattern. This means that its pickup pattern is shaped like a heart (cardioid). This type of mic can only pick up sounds from a specific direction. The cardioid polar pattern is different from omnidirectional mics that pick up sounds from different directions.

The cardioid pickup pattern has an obvious effect on the dynamic mics. It makes recorded sounds; specifically, those of vocals to appear with heavy bass. Hence, most dynamic mics that come with a cardioid pickup pattern are equipped with a built-in EQ Shelf to balance the enhanced lower frequencies.

The frequency range of the dynamic mic also varies from other types of mics. This mic doesn’t usually pick up certain frequencies like those under 20KHz. This means that dynamic mics can accurately capture the higher registry of sounds of some instruments like those of acoustic guitars and harmonics. So, using this type of mics, you will not miss extremely high frequencies. Yet, if you want to enhance your recording, you better consider using a different kind of mic.


Dynamic VS Condenser Mics

The primary mic that you would like to use in the studio recording is the condenser mic. The condenser mic features a stylish mic that you would often see in many professional recording studios. Condenser mics make use of a capacitor for converting sound waves into electric current. Hence, they need something like a power source to make them work. They are also more sensitive than those of dynamic mics. They also output louder signals. This sensitivity makes the condenser mic perfect for quiet studio settings, especially for recording vocals.

The larger diaphragm condenser mics also show an array of pleasing sonic qualities for vocal recording. They can create a better sound that we can usually get when recording in professional studios. They exhibit higher sensitivity to a wide array of the musical frequency range. Yet, they are more fragile than dynamic mics. Hence, they are not suited for use on the road.

The dynamic mic, on the other hand, is more rugged. It is more substantial and is ideal for capturing louder sounds. It is also an all-round solution for different situations. The dynamic mic is mostly used in speaking events, public address systems, and press conferences. This is because dynamic mic provides more versatility.

The dynamic mic can function without a power source, although some dynamic mics require a power source. Active dynamic mics, for example, require a power supply. On the other hand, the condenser mic requires a power source. This power source is needed to supply power to its impedance converter. It also needs a power source for its non-electric condensers for charging electrodes.


Advantages of Using Dynamic Mics

The dynamic mics, just like the condenser mics, come with concomitant advantages: These advantages include the following:

  1. Dynamic mics are more convenient to use. They are perfect for small setups, and they can easily integrate. This is because they require no power source.
  2. You can pump into dynamic mics high volumes of sound. You can use it for drum kits and guitar amplifier cabinets. It can cope with high volumes as compared to other types of mics.
  3. The response peak of the dynamic microphone is around 2.5KHz. It picks up, therefore, the ambient noise because the ambient noise is within this frequency. It also gives out a bright tone to its audio signals. Thus, it can enhance the sound of vocals and musical instruments.
  4. It is very rugged. It can take in high levels of sound pressure. Thus, it can handle the kick drums.
  5. The dynamic mic is also very robust. Hence, it is the most used mic throughout the world. It carries extra weight, but it isn’t heavy to carry around. Even if you accidentally drop or bang it into something, it will still work.
  6. It doesn’t necessitate a power source. This is because it picks up sound electromagnetically.
  7. This mic provides decent sound quality on whatever occasion.
  8. It is affordable.

Disadvantages

The dynamic mics also come with drawbacks.

  1. It is not ideal for use in picking up delicate sounds that come with high-frequency outputs. Hence, it is not ideal for capturing the sounds of string instruments and cymbals. The condenser mics, of course, are more suited for recording these sounds.
  2. It is also not suited for recording harmonics like that of a violin.
  3. Its assembly provides less movement because it comes with heavier wire coils and diaphragm. Thus, it has restricted transient mic response and frequency.
  4. It doesn’t reproduce transients or high frequencies. So, it is not ideal for use in recording stringed instruments.

Conclusion

This post will help you figure out whether the dynamic microphone is the ideal one for your miking needs. Being cognizant of the disadvantages and advantages of the use of dynamic mics, you can now easily decide whether to use dynamic mics.

The dynamic mics, of course, can be used during recording. If you want, for example, to reduce the sibilant sounds of the vocal recording, you can opt for the use of the dynamic mic. This is because it doesn’t emphasize the sibilant sounds. It doesn’t capture extra high frequency sound like the sibilant sounds. Thus, with its use, you don’t need a de-esser.

The dynamic mic also has a weaker signal than that of the condenser. Hence, you would sometimes need to use a preamp to have enough gain without additional noise. Lastly, if you get harsh sound from the use of a condenser mic, it may be time to try a dynamic mic.

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