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Dynamic Microphone

Comparison and Test
Dynamic Studio Microphone

Discover all the dynamic microphone tests for recording studios or live performances. Unlike condenser microphones, not all dynamic microphones require external power (phantom power). The most prestigious brands are Shure, AKG, Electro Voice, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser and Audio-Technica.

Please note: dynamic microphones are most used for recording vocals and acoustic instruments in concert (live) but also for studio recording.

What is a Dynamic Microphone? 🧐

Currently, microphones are part of our daily lives. Did you know that a microphone is also called an electroacoustic transducer? Indeed, its first function is to transform an acoustic oscillation into an electrical oscillation. This is precisely the case with the dynamic microphone.

The Operating Principle of a Dynamic Microphone 🛠

To know how a microphone works, it is important to know the different parts that make it up (or its anatomy). A dynamic microphone can be divided into three parts:

  • transducer element characterized by the physical principle involved for the energy transformation
  • The microphone housing plays an important role in one of the qualities of a microphone (notably directivity)
  • The alternating voltage generator having an internal resistance

The Classification of Microphones ✅

It is possible to classify microphones according to certain criteria:

  • Depending on their uses:
    • Service microphones
    • Sound recording microphones
    • Measuring microphones
  • Depending on the transducer conversion mode:
    • Electrodynamics
    • Electrostatic
    • Piezoelectric
    • Carbon microphone
  • Depending on their type of directivity:
    • Omnidirectional microphone
    • Bidirectional microphone
    • Unidirectional microphone
  • According to the mode of action or the mode of attack of the diaphragm by the acoustic wave:
    • Snap mics
    • Pressure gradient microphones
    • Mixed microphones

As we can see, the universe of microphones is very wide. To be much more specific, we are going to focus all our attention on electrodynamic microphones commonly called dynamic microphones.

Description and operating principles 👍

The dynamic microphone consists of a very thin diagram called a membrane. It is very light and attached to the spool. The coil is made up of copper wires with a total length of 2 to 4 meters. It must be as light as possible, because it will move in the air gap of a fixed permanent magnet whose induction is worth approximately one tesla. The principle of operation of a dynamic moving coil microphone is based on Faraday's law. To put it simply, the variation of the magnetic flux through a closed circuit causes the appearance of an electric current, called induced current.

When faced with a sound source, the diaphragm will begin to vibrate. The coil which is mechanically attached to it will also move. It is this back and forth movement which will generate an electric current within the winding. The output level is low, but can easily be amplified up to a certain level. For this, we can use a pre-amp that we will find at the input circuits of a mixing table for example.

Dimensions of the Capsule of an Electrodynamic Microphone 🎤

Non-experts may tend to think that dynamic microphones generate noise on their own because of their built-in active circuitry. But, all circuits include an electrical circuit which will produce noise. The higher the resistance, the greater the noise. Additionally, the impact of air molecules on the microphone diaphragm will generate noise.

A large diaphragm then represents a major advantage, because sound is generated from the impacts of air molecules. The wider the diaphragm, the better the result. Generally, dynamic microphones are available in omnidirectional and cardioid versions. For this type of microphone, it is impossible to use more than one diaphragm. As a result, each model is normally designed to offer only one type of directional response.

Bandwidth to Response Curve of a Dynamic Microphone 📈

The bandwidth of a microphone constitutes the ability of a microphone to reproduce the frequencies it picks up. That of dynamic microphones is much smaller compared to that of a condenser microphone. In practice, microphone manufacturers will reduce the bandwidth to adapt them to certain types of sound recording. In the case of a dynamic microphone, this band will extend between 80 Hz and 15,000 Hz. This represents the voice frequencies.

The response curve will match the character of the mic. In other words, it will increase the response of the different frequencies included in its bandwidth . It is presented in the form of a diagram which will allow you to visualize the peaks and valleys according to the frequencies picked up by the microphone. In general, the response curve of a dynamic microphone is quite linear over a frequency band between 30 Hz and 10 kHz.

Phantom Power and the Dynamic Microphone 👻

Generally, to activate the capacitor of a condenser microphone and to power the small integrated amplifier, phantom power is used. Some dynamic microphones have such an amplifier. In this case, we will speak of an active microphone. Passive dynamic microphones do not need an external power supply. But, if they receive it, it cannot harm them. There is, however, one condition: you must use a correct cable.

The General Characteristics of a Dynamic Microphone 🤙

A dynamic microphone is omnidirectional. It has a fairly low sensitivity and will therefore require the use of a pre-amp. It can handle sound pressure up to approximately 180 dB SPL. Its response curve is more or less linear over a frequency band between 30 Hz and 10 kHz. However, it is much less precise than the condenser microphone.

The dynamic microphone is not very sensitive to wind, unlike vibrations. This is explained by its high inertia due to the mass of the coil. Manual use can therefore be difficult unless the microphone is equipped with a shock filter. Otherwise, it is recommended to use a pole or tripod. In addition, it is a stable and very robust microphone. It is not very sensitive to humidity which makes it the ultimate weapon for external use.

When to use a Dynamic Microphone? 🧐

There are no rules when it comes to choosing a studio microphone . It all depends on the sound you want to obtain. It is based on this criterion that we will guide the choice of a microphone.

However, dynamic microphones are capable of handling very high sound volumes. This is why they are used to record for a bass drum, or snare drum. They can also be applied for sound recording of wind instruments such as saxophone, trumpet or clarinet. It's also the ideal recording equipment for jamming guitar amps at high volume. They easily find their place whether on stage or in a recording studio.

They can also be used for voice recording. The sound will not be as detailed as when used on an instrument, but it will still be acceptable. On the other hand, if you record metal or rock, the result will surprise you.

However, as with ribbon microphones, the output level of dynamic microphones is quite low. They therefore require the use of a good amplifier. In certain cases, the microphone requires significant gain to function correctly.

On the market, we can see dynamic microphones that need around 60 dB of gain to obtain optimal results. This is a value higher than what is usually found on a mixing desk and on entry and mid-range audio interfaces.

In this case, it is recommended to use a Cloudlifter . This is a preamp equipped with a particularly efficient circuit allowing you to add up to +25 dB to your signal. With this hardware, you will get exceptional sound quality. It goes without saying that this is not essential equipment for all dynamic microphones.

To improve sound quality, you can also use a pop filter, or a windshield to limit plosives.

The advantages and disadvantages of a Dynamic Microphone 👊

Dynamic microphones have many advantages over their counterparts. They offer exceptional value for money. Not only are these very robust microphones, but they are also relatively inexpensive. Its resistance gives it a certain versatility. Indeed, this type of microphone will always find a place whether on stage or in the studio. They can also handle significant sound pressure levels.

However, they also have certain disadvantages. Microphone sensitivity is one of them. The coil, which has a fairly large mass, is attached to the diaphragm. The movement of the latter will then be limited by the weight of the coil. This will cause a loss of sensitivity, especially in the treble range. Typically, a dynamic microphone is designed to operate effectively up to 16 kHz. Beyond this frequency, the sensitivity of the microphone will drop considerably.

Thanks to technological advances, new materials have been used to design dynamic microphones. As an example, we can cite the use of neodymium for the magnetic structure. It provides a much more intense magnetic field. It also allows the use of a much smaller spool. This will then allow the diaphragm to move more quickly in high frequencies. This is what has allowed certain manufacturers to provide their microphones with a frequency response of up to 20 kHz.

The output level of the dynamic microphone is also among its weaknesses. Indeed, dynamic microphones require significant amplification. If the sounds that we are going to capture are loud and close to the microphone, this is not a problem. However, if the sounds are faint and/or distant, this will require amplification. The result will then become too noisy. This is one of the reasons why dynamic mics are not used for recording instruments like acoustic guitar.

The Dynamic Microphone in a few words 📝

The dynamic microphone like the EV RE20 represents the best quality/price ratio. Indeed, in its category, you can find high-performance and versatile microphones at an unbeatable price. Usually, its frequency response curve is good, giving it good sensitivity and clear, crisp sound. It is a professional microphone for recording vocals and capturing various types of instruments. Very robust, this type of microphone can withstand fairly violent shocks without affecting its performance.

Our selection of Dynamic Microphones ❤️

For a reference, we have made a selection from the best microphones on the market. It is still important to note that before buying a microphone, consider trying it. Let's not forget that each microphone produces a unique sound.