As you may know, a microphone is an instrument for converting sound waves into electrical energy variations which may then be amplified, transmitted, or recorded. In other words, microphones are transducers that can convert one type of energy into another. A microphone converts acoustic energy into electrical energy.

In most AV installations, choosing the right microphone to install is an imperative and can make all the difference between perfect and degraded sound quality. The microphone that an AV solutions professional installs has to be powerful but unobtrusive.

This video by Biamp defines microphones and talks briefly about their different types. There are different types of microphones ranging from Carbon and Fibreoptic to Dynamic and Liquid. However, the most common microphones in the AV industry are Dynamic and Condenser microphones.

More about Dynamic and Condenser Microphones

Dynamic microphones are ideal for general-purpose use and consist of a simple design with few moving parts. They are sturdy enough to tolerate rough handling and are better suited for handling high volume levels. They do not have an internal amplifier and also do not require batteries or external power. They use the same principle as a loudspeaker, only in reverse.

Dynamic microphones are ideal for general-purpose use and consist of a simple design with few moving parts. They are sturdy enough to tolerate rough handling and are better suited for handling high volume levels. They do not have an internal amplifier and also do not require batteries or external power.

Microphones
A boardroom with microphones

The dynamic microphone uses a wire coil and magnet to create an audio signal. There is a diaphragm that is attached to the coil. When the diaphragm vibrates in response to incoming sound waves, the coil moves backwards and forwards past the magnet. This results in a current in the coil, which is then channeled from the microphone along wires. Dynamic microphones are fairly robust.

Condenser microphones are also called capacitator microphones. This microphone uses a capacitor to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. Condenser microphones require power from a battery or external source and the resulting signal is stronger than that from a dynamic microphone.

These microphones are well-suited to capturing subtle nuances in a sound. They are not ideal for high-volume work, as their sensitivity makes them prone to distorting sound. However, they can pick up softer sounds, which a dynamic microphone may not be able to.

A condenser microphone has two plates with a voltage between them. One of the plates if made of a very light material and acts as the diaphragm. This diaphragm vibrates when struck by sound waves, which changes the distance between the two plates and therefore, changes the capacitance. This results in either a charge current or a discharge current and subsequent sound.

For this to work, a voltage is required across the capacitor. This voltage is either supplied by a battery in the mic or by external phantom power.

So, now you know a bit more about the basics of microphones and their use. Do apply these basics and set up a microphone ideally suited to your situation. Here’s to happy and clear sound!

For more information on how to install and set up microphones as part of an AV solution for your business, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Content courtesy: www.biamp.com and www.mediacollege.com and Images courtesy: www.biamp.com and www.telepresenceoptions.com)

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