What is the difference between a dynamic, ribbon and condenser microphone?

  1. Dynamic Microphones:
    • How They Work: They use a magnet and a coil to convert sound into an electrical signal. Sound waves make the coil move in a magnetic field, generating the signal.
    • Durability: Dynamic microphones are sturdy and can handle rough handling and high sound levels, making them ideal for live performances and loud environments.
    • Applications: Commonly used on stages and for live performances due to their ruggedness and ability to handle high volumes.
  2. Condenser Microphones:
    • How They Work: They rely on a capacitor to change sound into electricity. A diaphragm vibrates near a backplate, varying the capacitance and producing the signal.
    • Power Requirement: Condenser microphones need external power, often provided through phantom power, to operate their internal electronics.
    • Sensitivity: They are more sensitive and capture more detail, making them suitable for recording studios where high-quality sound reproduction is crucial.
  3. Ribbon Microphones:
    • How They Work: Ribbon microphones use a thin strip of metal (the ribbon) suspended in a magnetic field. Sound waves make the ribbon move, generating the electrical signal.
    • Sensitivity and Durability: Ribbons are delicate like condensers but also sensitive to loud sounds like dynamics. They require careful handling but can capture nuanced sound details.
    • Applications: Typically used in recording studios for their ability to capture detailed sound, especially in instruments and vocals. They offer a smooth and natural sound characteristic.