It’s bigger than the Coke and Pepsi debate. The condenser versus dynamic microphone is raging amongst podcast creators. There are so many types of microphones and considerations when buying a microphone. The Condenser vs Dynamic Mics debate is one of many decisions you will need to make regarding microphones.
For those who want a quick answer on which to pick between the two – buy a dynamic mic.
The best dynamic mics depending on your budget and level are:
I always like to do more research and have a deeper understanding of the different things I’m using and getting into. There are some technical issues to consider in the condenser versus dynamic microphone decision.
There are multiple considerations when looking to buy a mic:
- Cardioid pattern to reduce noise from the sides and back of the microphone
- Adding a pop filter to reduce plosive sounds from consonants like P’s
- A mic boom arm stand and shock mount to reduce desk vibrations
- Egg carton foam to reduce echoes and voices bouncing all around you
One additional aspect of the condenser versus dynamic microphone decision is that they have different functions and benefits. We’ll break it down for you.
Table of Contents
What Does Dynamic and Condenser Mean?
Condenser and Dynamic refer to the technology inside of a microphone. Microphones use a device called a transducer to record sound waves and convert them into electrical signals from kinetic energy.
The transducer is a device that changes the energy from one form to another. There are actually three types of transducers in a microphone: Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon.
Microphones with a Dynamic and Condenser transducer are mostly used for recording sound. The Ribbon transducer microphones are very expensive and only used by audio engineering professionals. Basically, it takes your voice and turns it into something that computers can understand.
Condenser Versus Dynamic Microphone
For the majority of beginner podcasters, understanding the technical aspects of a condenser mic vs. a dynamic mic isn’t as important, but it’s also not all that complicated – unless you plan to make a mic yourself.
You also don’t need to be a sound engineer or an audio professional to understand the tech. If you stick with me till the end, I hope that I’ll be able to break things down in a way that’s easy to understand.
Condenser microphones are constructed using a backplate or diaphragm that is electrically charged, creating a sound-sensitive capacitor.
A condenser mic captures vibrations to the diaphragm that are created by the sound waves. This system then converts the acoustic energy to electrical signals that are readable by devices like computers, phones, tablets, and other digital audio recording devices.
The diaphragm is generally constructed with a metal coated-plastic or thin metal, and it is placed in front of a charged backplate that is also made with rigid metal. This whole system is called a capacitor, which is capable of storing voltage or electrical charges. The capacitor system takes electrical energy from the picked-up sound and creates audio.
You need a battery or source of power known as phantom power, to make a condenser microphone work because without electricity the diaphragm and the backplate of the condenser mic won’t be active. Based on the microphone brand, the range of electricity is from 9V to 48V.
To record high frequencies and individual vocals, condenser mics are best. When compared to dynamic mics, condenser mics are capable of picking up lower sounds with better accuracy.
When it comes to sound sensitivity condenser mics have higher sensitivity compared to dynamic microphones. So, if you don’t have a noise-free place to record sound, then a condenser mic can catch any type of background noise as it is highly sensitive to frequencies.
Most studios use condenser microphones for recording audio because most of the studios are almost noise-free. Because condenser mics pick up wider frequency ranges, the high and low frequencies, they’re more sensitive to random sounds from air conditioner hums, random lip and mouth sounds, and any other odd noises.
For its wide range, the sounds from a condenser mic sound crisp and detailed. That’s why professional sound studios use condenser mics and are very particular when setting up their sound booths.
The Best Condenser Mic for Podcasting
The construction of dynamic microphones is very simple compared to condenser microphones. The mechanism is very simple, it only consists of three major components – one voice coil, one diaphragm, and a magnet. These three components create great sound quality, leading to dynamic mics being very popular for podcasting.
Dynamic mics are best for capturing strong signals that come from loud sounds. These mics work by a suspending wire of coil that is attached in the back of a thin diaphragm. When sound or audio frequencies hit the diaphragm, it creates a vibration on the coil which produces the sound.
Unlike condenser microphones, dynamic microphones are also cheaper in price. Yes, there are still a few high-quality professional-grade dynamic microphones that are quite expensive. But generally, dynamic mics are less expensive.
Another major difference between a condenser mic and a dynamic mic is that dynamic mics don’t need any external power like batteries to function. \When it comes to durability, dynamic mics are also more durable than condenser mics.
If you’re going to record a podcast from your home then you should go with a dynamic mic rather than a condenser mic. As dynamic mics respond to low frequencies, there is much less of a chance to pick up background noises. So, if you don’t have a very quiet place to record then a dynamic mic is the one you should choose.
Co-hosts and guests can also sometimes get loud, so you might also opt for dynamic mics when setting up multiple person podcast setups.
The best dynamic mics (same ones mentioned above):
By now, you should know which type of microphone will meet your needs and the environment set up for recording. This guide on condenser vs dynamic mic will surely help you to pick up the best type of microphone for your podcast.
If you’re going to record at home with less control of sounds, then you should go with dynamic microphones. When you have a professional studio and you can ensure no or minimal background noises, go with condenser microphones.
If you’re just starting a podcast and have a tight budget, I’d recommend you go with a dynamic microphone as they’re traditionally cheaper than a condenser microphone.