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Transcript of Microphone Basics
The type of a microphone refers on how is built to convert acoustic energy into electrical signals, there are several types of microphones but the most commonly used are, dynamic, condenser and ribbon.
A transducer is a device that converts one type of energy into another type of energy. A microphone is one of the most common transducers used in audio, its function is to change vibrations of sound pressure into electric impulse.
A polar pattern is a circular graph that shows how sensitive a microphone is in different directions. Each “circular” division represents 5dB of sensitivity, so you can see where the microphone picks up the strongest to the weakest sounds at different points. The are different types of polar patters, the most common are:
Hi! I am Sergio Sánchez from Mexico, this is my presentation for week 1 of Introduction to Music Production at Coursera.org, and I’ll be talking about Microphone Basics.
Microphones are catalogued by three characteristics:
Is the way a microphone is built to transduce the sound.
Is the microphone response to sound over a range of frequencies.
Is the microphone sensitivity to sound from different directions.
Are a very common type of microphones, they are economical and rugged, they don't need to be powered, and can handle high sound pressure levels so they are a good choice to be used on stage as in the recording studio.
Dynamic Microphones are based on the principle of electromagnetism, they use a diaphragm, a coil and a magnet. The coil is attached to the rear of the diaphragm and when the sound waves move the diaphragm the motion of the coil surrounded by a magnetic field generates the electric signal corresponding to the picked up sound.
All condenser microphones need to be powered, usually +48 volts known as phantom power, they are more expensive than dynamic microphones, but also are more sensitive and provide a smoother and more natural sound so they are most commonly used in recording studios for voice and instruments.
A capacitor is a component that stores energy as long as electricity is applied. This type of microphones are based on an electrically-charged diaphragm/backplate assembly, when the diaphragm is set in motion through sound, the space between the diaphragm and the backplate is changing, and therefore the capacity of the capacitor, this variation in spacing produces electrical signal.
Ribbon are high quality microphones but delicate and expensive.
Uses a thin electrically conducting ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet, by being in a magnetic field, vibrations produced by sound waves generates an electric signal.
The way a microphone responds to different frequencies, A microphone's frequency response pattern is shown using a chart and referred to as a frequency response curve. The x axis shows frequency in Hertz, the y axis shows response in decibels. A higher value means that frequency will be exaggerated, a lower value means the frequency is attenuated.
All audible frequencies have the same output level(or little variations). Most suitable where the sound source has to be reproduced without changing or "coloring" the original sound.
Flat Frequency Response
Is usually designed to enhance a sound source in a particular application, for example a vocal microphone may have a peak in the 2 - 8 kHz rage to increase intelligibility.
Tailored Frequency Response
Picks up sound from all directions, are ideal for natural, ambient recordings and for lavalier and headset microphones.
A cardioid microphone has the most sensitivity at the front and is least sensitive an the back. They help to reduce feedback and can be used to capture a particular sound in a loud environment. They are affected by wind noise, “proximity” effect and are susceptible to popping caused by “plosives”.
Also called bi-directional microphones picks up the sound from in front of the microphone and from the rear, but not the side(90 degree angle). they are used for their natural sound quality in some headsets, studio and broadcast microphones.
It's important for all of us to know and understand the characteristics of microphones, choosing the right mic for our needs can save us time, money and can make the difference between a good and a bad recording.
I hope I approached this lesson in an easy way to understand, and sorry if you find some grammar mistakes or misspellings, I'm looking forward to your comments.