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Condenser mics are nice in that they usually capture louder, more detailed audio. On the other hand, they require some phantom power in order to operate. Also, they are generally more delicate than dynamic mics. Their detailed output and clarity of sound though make them excellent for voice work and for picking up the subtleties in song and music.

Dynamic mics are the workhorses of the mic world. Their mechanism for moving the mic diaphragm to pick up sound pressure is more robust and allows them to take more abuse. Moreover, they don’t require an external power-source in order to operate. This makes them a bit more popular for field work or rock concerts where they might take more abuse.

Microphone Pick-up Patterns

The pick-up pattern refers to the area from which a mic picks up ambient sound. Sounds not coming from a particular area, or ‘off-axis’ sounds, are rejected to a certain degree. Sometimes they just sound muted or muffled.

The two most common pick-up patterns are cardioid and omni-directional, as mentioned above. A cardiod pick-up line is heard shaped – hence the name – so the majority of its focus is in one direction, and the opposite direction is largely rejected. Sounds from the side are partially picked-up.

There is also a hyper-cardioid, which is even more focused than a regular cardioid. This type of mic is great for detailed audio pick-up, but requires discipline to use properly. You want to maintain proper positioning in front of the mic to ensure the best, most detailed audio recording. Regular cardioid mic youtube is more forgiving. However, as mentioned earlier, these types of condenser style mics can pick-up unwanted noises like

Omnidirectional mics have no almost no off-axis rejection, so they pick-up sounds from all directions, thus making them better if you’re conducting an interview (two people) or trying to record sounds from various areas in a room. They are also less sensitive to noise caused by handling – like bumping the mic stand on your desk.

There are also bi-directional mics which are great for interviews or two-person pod-casts. Essentially, they pick up sound in front and in back of the mic.

 

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