Dynamic vs. Ribbon vs. Condenser

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Microphones are the first step of the signal to a recording and choosing the type of microphone you use has a really big effect on how the recording will sound. There are three types of microphones: Dynamic, Ribbon & Condenser.


Dynamic microphones are the most used and most durable when it comes to recording.

Dynamic Microphone coil sound audio diaphragm

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Though they are mostly used for live sound, they have a great sound in the studio. They work on an electromagnetic principle, and they feature a stiff, thick diaphragm wrapped in a coil of wire. Contained in a magnetic structure causes the coil to vibrate by the changes in the sound pressure. Dynamic microphones are mainly used to record kick drums, snares, guitar amps and bass amps because they can withstand loud sound sources. Popular Dynamic microphones are: Shure SM 57/58, AKG D-12, Sennheiser MD421.


Ribbon Microphone mic audio sound

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Ribbon microphones are the most sensitive of all microphones. They feature a very thin aluminum diaphragm that is placed between two magnets, which causes it to be fragile. The acoustic pressure from the front or back causes vibrations based on the acoustic waveform. Unlike the Condenser microphone, Ribbon does not require any Phantom Power and unlike the Dynamic microphone, it will blow if phantom power is added. Ribbon microphones are said to pick up smooth and warm sounds, which is why they are mainly used for guitar amps, strings, and drum room mics. Popular Ribbon microphones are: Royer 122 V, Beyerdynamic M260


Condenser microphones are more sensitive than Dynamic but less than the Ribbon.

Condenser Microphone recording  audio

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They use an electrostatic capsule meaning there are two plates involved. One happens to be stationary while the other reacts to changes in the sound pressure. In order for a Condenser microphone to properly work, +48v must be added also known as “Phantom Power.” Condenser microphones respond well to acoustic instruments, drum overheads and vocals. Their sound has been described as warm, full & bright. Popular Condenser microphones are: Neumann U87, AKG 414, KSM 141.

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Juan García

Critical Recording Studio





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