When you’re on the lookout for high-quality recording equipment, one of the main decisions you’ll need to make is choosing between dynamic and condenser microphones.
Basically, every microphone out there will belong to one of the two categories.
So, which one would be best for you? It’s worth noting that there’s no one-answer-fits-all in this case. Each type of microphone is suited for a designated use.
Since you cannot tell the difference by only looking at the microphone, today we will present to you a condenser vs. dynamic microphones comparison. Let’s get started!
Introducing Dynamic Microphones
Typically, dynamic microphones have a durable, sturdy construction. That makes them resistant to moisture or other abuses. In other words, they can handle a drop.
As a result, many performers prefer them for on-stage use.
On the other side, dynamic microphones tend to be less sensitive in comparison with their condenser counterparts.
Although this could be conveyed as a drawback, it could also serve as an advantage, meaning that this type of microphone will do a decent job at evening out background noise.
So, if your intention is to cut down the background and environmental noise, a dynamic mic is the way to go.
Also, dynamic mics are widely used for capturing low-frequency, forceful sounds such as bass guitar, drums, cello, and the list may go on.
Due to their innate capability of handling high volumes, dynamic microphones are, more or less, the preferred choice for live recordings, as opposed to studio recordings.
It’s worth noting that many dynamic mics add an ounce of unintentional coloration, known as warmth, to the sound. Depending on the type of music and the quality of the microphone, that effect could be decreased or increased.
Unless the accuracy of the sound is of utmost importance, it could easily go unnoticed.
- They don’t necessitate external power or batteries.
- Recommended for live/outdoor recording settings.
- They tend to be more affordable than their counterparts.
- They handle high volume instruments.
- They handle high volume instruments.
- Minimal electronic hiss
- In order to obtain outstanding results, an additional amplifier is required, most of the cases.
- The sensitivity level is subpar, meaning that the microphone won’t pick up the details of the recording. This applies especially at high frequencies.
- Depending on the designated use, the frequency response could vary.
Introducing Condenser Microphones
In general, professional studios are equipped with condenser microphones. Why is that?
They feature higher frequency and transient response. That translates into the ability to capture the natural speed of the human voice or an instrument.
Simultaneously, their sensitivity to loud sounds is greater than in the case of dynamic microphones. They also tend to be more fragile than their dynamic counterparts.
If we were to compare a dynamic vs. condenser microphone, the latter features a more complex process. That is primarily because the sound captured is smooth and natural.
At the same time, a condenser is likely to deliver excellent flat frequency response, as well as extended frequency range. On top of that, some condenser mics are portable, without minimizing their performance in any way.
- Ideal for recording vocals, both spoken and singing.
- High sensitivity results into optimal response at high frequencies.
- The recordings are accurate and rich due to the high sensitivity.
- Condenser microphones deliver strong audio signals without a preamp.
- Defined high end
- They require external/phantom power, which implies additional costs.
- The high sensitivity might cause sound distortions if the recording environment isn’t appropriate.
- They are pricier (but that is not always the case).
To sum up, choosing between a condenser vs. dynamic mic is an important decision. In our opinion, your choice should be dictated by your preferred physical setting, sound source, and reinforcement system.
In other words, we couldn’t say that there is a good or wrong answer here. The saying “use the right tool for the job” couldn’t be more accurate.
From a realistic point of view, if you plan on utilizing your mic in a somehow noisy environment, such as recording rock’n’roll outdoors, perhaps a dynamic microphone would be a better choice.
Nonetheless, in the case of a controlled recording environment, such as a studio, theatrical setting or concert hall, a condenser microphone might be the preferred option for many. Especially if you want to have optimal sound quality.
In short, it’s up to you to establish how you’ll use the microphone and decide which type you need!