Microphone Choice and Microphone Techniques

There are three types of microphones: Ribbon microphones,Condenser microphones and Dynamic microphones

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Ribbon Microphones

A thin aluminium ribbon is suspended between the two poles of a permanent magnet. As sound waves cause the ribbon to move, the induced current in the ribbon is proportional to the particle velocity in the sound wave. This process is called electromagnetic induction. The ribbon essentially dances to the music. These microphones are silky smooth and seem to replicate what the human ear hears. They have a reputation for being delicate and indeed some are. There are newer brands that are tougher, some specifically designed, to use on large (loud) guitar rigs. 



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Dynamic Microphones


In a dynamic microphone, a plastic diaphragm is attached to a light moveable coil that generates a voltage as it moves back and forth between the poles of a permanent magnet. The interesting thing is that the dynamic microphone has quite a slow response making it a gutsy, tough, little microphone. Able to withstand high sound pressure levels they are the mainstay of the rock and live sound world.





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Condenser Microphones

 This the most modern of the microphone family. In a condenser microphone, the diaphragm (a gold sputtered Mylar membrane) acts as one plate of a capacitor (condenser) and sound vibrations produce changes in the distance between it and a stationary back-plate. A ‘phantom‘ power supply  (+48 V DC) biases the plates with a fixed charge. As the capacitance changes, due to the change in distance between the plates, this produces an almost instantaneous change in the voltage across the capacitor, which is then amplified. Because of their very light diaphragms, condenser microphones respond extremely accurately to transients within the entire audio bandwidth, making them the microphone of choice for vocals, strings, acoustic guitars and percussion.


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Microphone Placement

Microphone placement is a wonderful art .  Here's a tip for multiple mic's. It's called the 3 to 1 rule

The 3-to-1  Rule When recording with multiple microphones, try to space them 3 times as far away from each other, as they are to the source they are recording. This creates isolation, spatial ambience and reduces cross-talk. Al these elements help in creating accurate and detailed mixes.


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