What Is A Dynamic Microphone?

Angela Garner
June 10, 2021

Table Of Contents

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What is a Dynamic Microphone?

How Do Dynamic Mics Work?

Moving Coil Dynamic Microphones

Ribbon Microphones

Dynamic Microphone FAQ's

What Is A Dynamic Microphone?

The phrase “dynamic” may refer to a variety of things, particularly when it comes to sound and music. However, in this context, it has little to do with “dynamic range” or “dynamic performance.” In this case, it refers to the type of electromagnetism that occurs, for example, within your bicycle’s dynamo: an electric current is created when an electrical conductor travels in a magnetic field.

So What are Dynamic Microphones?

Simply described, a dynamic microphone transducer operates on the electromagnetic induction principle.Dynamic microphones are those which use electromagnetism to turn sound into an electrical signal. Moving coil and ribbon microphones are the two types.

When we say “dynamic microphone”, we usually mean “moving-coil dynamic microphone”, though ribbon microphones are also dynamic. Both of these microphone transducer types use electromagnetic induction to transform sound into audio, although they do it in distinct ways.

How Do Dynamic Microphones Work?

A conductive diaphragm (whether a copper coil linked to a diaphragm or an aluminium ribbon diaphragm) travels inside a magnetic field. The magnetic field changes related to the location of the conducting material as it oscillates back and forth.

Through electromagnetic induction, the changing magnetic field creates an alternating current voltage (mic signal) across the oscillating conductive material.

Moving-coil and ribbon dynamic microphones are both passive by design. These microphones do not require any external electricity to operate. However, there are also ribbon mic versions with active components to assist amplify their signals.

Moving Coil Dynamic Microphones

Moving coil microphones are arguably the easiest to comprehend since they are designed in the same way as a loudspeaker: A coil is bonded to the back of a membrane, and it is surrounded by a powerful magnet. When sound waves strike the microphone, the membrane moves to the beat of the waves, and the coil on its back moves with it. A modest signal voltage is induced in this coil by the relative movement of the coil inside its (stationary) magnetic gap. There’s your microphone, which turns sound into an electrical signal.

Moving coil mics are frequently used on stage since they are robust and do not require additional power. Engineers in the studio typically favour condenser or, in certain situations, ribbon microphones, which are less robust but provide excellent sound reproduction.

By far the most prevalent form of dynamic microphone is the moving coil microphone. Because “moving coil microphone” is such a long phrase, most sound engineers prefer to refer to them as “dynamic mics” or just “dynamics,” classifying ribbon microphones as a separate category. While this is theoretically inaccurate, it makes a lot of practical sense because ribbon microphones are pretty exotic, they sound and behave differently from moving coil dynamics.

Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon microphones operate on the same fundamental concept of electromagnetic induction as condenser microphones. A ribbon transducer, on the other hand, employs a short strip of extremely thin aluminium foil instead of a membrane and a coil. In other words, the membrane itself acts as an electrical conductor within the magnetic gap. A membrane with a coil of copper wire connected is substantially heavier than a thin length of aluminium ribbon. As a result, a ribbon transducer can track the path of sound waves more precisely than a moving coil capsule.

However, because it just uses one conductor inside the magnetic gap rather than an entire coil of wire, it provides a significantly lower power. Ribbon microphones, as a result, have a step-up transformer that doubles the output voltage of the transducer by a factor of roughly 30. Despite this, ribbon microphones have lesser sensitivity (i.e. output level at a given sound pressure level) than moving coil microphones. As a result, a ribbon microphone need a low-noise pre-amp with plenty of boost.

Ribbon microphones are bidirectional by nature, meaning they are equally responsive to sound originating from the front and sound coming from the back. However, sound waves from the sides do not cause the ribbon to move. This pickup pattern is known as a figure-8.

Ribbon microphones are extremely delicate and must be handled with extreme caution. Another disadvantage is that most ribbon microphones have a very limited treble response. Ribbon microphones are now exclusively used for specialised applications where prolonged top end is not necessary, e.g. for guitar cabinets, or is undesirable, e.g. to moderate too bright brass instruments.

Active ribbon microphones, which feature an amplifier circuit for increased output, are a relatively new discovery. Active ribbon microphones, like condenser microphones, require phantom power.

Dynamic Microphone FAQ’s:


What are the advantages of a dynamic microphone?

The following are the primary benefits of using a dynamic microphone: Rugged and able to withstand strong sound pressure levels, such as those produced by a kick drum Provide high-quality audio in all aspects of microphone performance. They do not require a power supply to function. They are reasonably priced.

What are the disadvantages of dynamic microphones?

The following are the primary drawbacks of using a dynamic microphone: The assembly’s mobility is limited by the heavy microphone diaphragm and wire coil, which limits the frequency and transient responsiveness of the microphone. In general, condenser mics are better suited for capturing instruments with higher frequencies and harmonics, such as a violin.

What are the benefits of dynamic microphones?

Dynamic microphones may be utilised for a variety of applications, produce excellent sound, and are sufficiently durable – ideal for on-the-road use.

How Do Dynamic Microphones Work?

Acoustic energy causes the diaphragm to vibrate which in turn creates voltage.

What are Large diaphragm microphones?

Large diaphragm Large diaphragm microphones have a larger, less consistent polar pattern and also have a higher sensitivity which provides a larger sound.

How do you convert sound waves into electricity?

Dynamic microphones turn sound waves into a voltage with the use of a magnet.

How do they work?

In simple terms, they work as a battery.

What are the uses of these dynamic mics?

They’re also really good studio mics for things like drums, brass instruments, pretty much anything that’s really loud.

Here are some examples of how they are commonly used:

  • Amplification for guitars Vocals that are too loud
  • Snare and tom drums
  • Digital keyboards
  • Instruments made of brass

Although condenser and dynamic mics may be used interchangeably, condenser mics are often more sensitive to signal, so while you can’t blow out the capsule, you can get a lot of distortion if your signal is too hot.

What Is A Dynamic Microphone?
The phrase “dynamic” may refer to a variety of things, particularly when it comes to sound and music. However, in this context, it has little to do with “dynamic range” or “dynamic performance.” In this case, it refers to the type of electromagnetism that occurs, for example, within your bicycle’s dynamo: an electric current is created when an electrical conductor travels in a magnetic field.

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