Dynamic vs condenser microphone: differences and which one to use (2023)

What is a microphone membrane?

A microphone's diaphragm is the thin membrane found in all types of microphones (whether condenser or dynamic). The microphone diaphragm is the component that vibrates or moves when struck by sound waves. You will mention large-diaphragm and small-diaphragm condenser microphones. This is related to the difference in the size of the diaphragm and can (minimally) affect the quality of sound reproduction.

What is a dynamic microphone?

A dynamic microphone is a type of microphone that converts sound waves into electrical signals using electromagnetism.

There are two types of dynamic microphones:Moving coil microphones and ribbon microphones.Although slightly different, both contain permanent magnets that allow them to work via electromagnetic induction.

How does a dynamic microphone work?

On a moving coil microphoneA metal coil sits flush with a diaphragm within a magnetic field within the dynamic microphone. When a sound wave hits the microphone, the diaphragm (and therefore the coil) moves. The phenomenon of electromagnetism creates an electrical signal.

Aribbon microphoneIt works the same way, except instead of a coil and diaphragm, there's a "ribbon transducer." This is essentially a thin piece of aluminum foil that moves when sound waves hit it, creating an electrical signal.

Dynamic vs condenser microphone: differences and which one to use (1)

What is a condenser microphone?

Condenser microphone,Also known as "condenser" microphones, they are microphones with a small conductive diaphragm or a diaphragm attached close to a metal plate. When sound waves hit the membrane, the distance between it and the metal plate varies, reflecting the sound waves. This converts the sound into an electrical signal. Condenser microphones require phantom power to function.

What are the main differences and similarities between dynamic microphones and condenser microphones?

Ultimately, both condenser microphones and dynamic microphones perform the same function: converting sound waves into electrical signals. The biggest objective difference isWhatthey do this. And like I said, when you find a microphone that works for you, it probably doesn't matter if it's dynamic or condenser.

That said, the internal construction and processes of condenser microphones and dynamic microphones result in nuanced differences that make them more or less well-suited for specific recording environments. Also, there are clear differences in the durability or sensitivity of condenser microphones versus dynamic microphones.

Advantages and disadvantages of dynamic microphones

Now that we know how they work, let's take a look at what this means in terms of the pros and cons of using a dynamic microphone:

(Video) Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones, What's the Difference?

Note: Below we cover the differences between ribbon and moving coil microphones.

Advantages of dynamic microphones

  • Continuo.Due to their stronger construction, dynamic microphones are more robust and durable.
  • Plug.Getting started with dynamic microphones is usually very easy.
  • Noisier environments.Dynamic microphones are well-suited for noisy, high-SPL recording environments.
  • No need for external power supply.Dynamic microphones do not require phantom or external power to function.
  • Affordable.Dynamic microphones are usually cheaper than condenser microphones (although this is not the caseforeverthe case).
  • more forgiving.Dynamic microphones are more forgiving of background noise, while condenser microphones tend to pick up every detail.
  • all terrainDynamic microphones are versatile and work well in a variety of applications.

Disadvantages of dynamic microphones

  • Not so good performance on high frequency sounds.Dynamic microphones are not that good at picking up high-frequency sounds.
  • Less sensitive.Dynamic microphones also offer lower sensitivity than condenser microphones.

Ribbon Microphones vs. Moving Coil Microphones

Generally speaking, ribbon microphones offer better and more detailed sound reproduction than coil microphones.Because the tape is comparatively lighter and therefore more sensitive than a metal coil.

moving coil microphonesthey are typically used for recording on stage due to their durability.

Pros and cons of condenser microphones

Advantages of condenser microphones

  • Excellent sound quality.Given the low mass of a condenser microphone's diaphragm, it can produce high-end, nuanced sound quality.
  • It works well with voices and tones at higher frequencies.The high sensitivity of a condenser microphone means that it works very well with vocals and high-frequency sounds.

Disadvantages of condenser microphones

  • Delicate and sensitive.Due to their delicate construction, condenser microphones are not as durable as dynamic microphones.
  • Possible own noise.Some condenser microphones suffer from inherent noise that could adversely affect your recording.
  • You need an external power supply.To use a condenser microphone, you need an external power supply.
  • Work best in studio settings.While this isn't necessarily a "disadvantage," it does mean that condenser microphones are less versatile.

What should be considered when choosing a dynamic microphone or a condenser microphone?

Before we delve into condenser microphones and dynamic microphones, here are some key jargon terms:


If you're a beginner just starting out, you may have a lower budget, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise on quality. You can still find a pretty good microphone at an affordable price. In general, dynamic microphones are cheaper, but this is not always the case. We recommend researching what you need first, and then finding out what you can afford based on your recording needs.

frequent response

A microphone's frequency response indicates what audio frequency it can reproduce and how it behaves in that range. Your microphone's frequency response tells you a lot about how it sounds.

polar pattern

The polar pattern of your microphone tells you how sensitive your microphone is to sounds coming from different directions. Here are some common patterns you might consider when choosing a condenser or dynamic microphone:


A bidirectional microphone picks up sound from two directions, usually from the front and rear of the microphone. This type of microphone is well-suited for interview setups, for example, since you and your interviewer can sit across from each other and still be able to record clear sound.


Omnidirectional microphones are sensitive to sounds coming from all directions. They pick up sounds wherever they are around the microphone. These are not ideal when it comes to capturing a sound source in a noisy environment. In a more controlled environment, these might work well when trying to capture different instruments from one microphone, or when trying to capture multiple people from one microphone at once.


Cardioid microphones get their name from their "heart" shape. Cardioid microphones are more sensitive to audio coming from the front of the microphone, rejecting any noise coming from the rear or sides. These, along with supercardioid microphones, are a good choice for capturing vocals or noise from a source. They are also less likely to pick up background noise in noisy environments.


Supercardioid microphones are comparable to cardioid microphones, but have a much narrower pickup angle and focus much more on sounds coming from the front, and greater rejection of all other sounds coming from the rear or sides. .

(Video) Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones | What's The Difference?

For more information on other considerations, see our guide toChoosing a podcast microphone.

recording environment

Your shooting environment is important as it will help you determine some factors to consider. It will help you choose the correct polar pattern and microphone sensitivity, and it will also help you determine how your microphone should be powered. You should also think about the type of sound you are recording.

As we mentioned before, condenser microphones are more sensitive compared to dynamic microphones and can pick up higher frequencies. Condensers also require an external power supply, making them better suited for quiet, controlled studio environments.

On the other hand, if you're recording on the go, dynamic microphones are usually plug-and-play, meaning they don't need phantom power. They're also a bit more flexible when it comes to noisier environments. However, you should be aware that other factors, such as polar pattern and frequency response, affect how well your microphone picks up sound.

Read our recommendations on dynamic vs. condenser microphones for streaming and gaming, vocals, and more.

Condenser microphone or dynamic microphone: when which?

As we have seen, the bottom line is that both condenser and dynamic microphones have clear advantages and disadvantages. There is no clearly "best" choice, just better suitability for different applications. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what works for you and what your setup looks like. Also, the tradeoff between dynamics and condenser is not the only factor to consider. When choosing your microphone, pay attention to factors such as budget, polar pattern, frequency response, and much more.

For more information on other considerations, see our guide toChoosing a podcast microphone.

Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones for Recording in Noisy Environments

In noisy environments, dynamic microphones are often better when considering condenser microphones or dynamic microphones. As mentioned above, dynamic microphones are typically less sensitive, making them more forgiving in loud environments. If you're recording in a loud environment with vocals and instrumental pieces like drums, check out the Shure SM7B Dynamic Microphone.

Shure SM7B

  • Preis:$399,00
  • Type:Dynamic
  • cardioid characteristic:Kidneys
  • Frequent response:50 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forsongs and instruments at full volume. The Shure SM7B is a large-diaphragm microphone, which means it can handle loud environments without being overly affected by background noise.

Dynamic Microphones vs. Condenser Microphones for Field Recording

A condenser microphone capable of capturing excellent, detailed audio recordings, even in the most demanding environments, is exactly what you need for field recordings:

Audio Technica AT4021

  • Preis:$349,00
  • Type:condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:Kidneys
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forField recording for its ability to capture delicate, calm and nuanced soundscapes.

Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3

  • Preis:$999,00
  • Type:condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:supercardioide
  • Frequent response:40Hz a 20kHz

Good forField recording for its impeccable sensitivity and low inherent noise.

(Video) Dynamic vs Condenser Microphones | What's the Difference?

Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones for Podcasting and Vocals

When it comes to singing, there are so many options and each singer has their own personal preferences. As we've already seen, dynamic microphones offer great versatility and are well suited for general vocal needs such as podcasting. Condenser microphones, by contrast, produce clear, high-quality sound that would suit professional broadcasters, or just content creators who are true advocates of quality.

Neumann U87

  • Preis:$3.650,00
  • Type:condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:Cardioid, omnidirectional and figure-of-eight polar pattern
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forIndustry professionals on a serious budget. With the sound quality of the Neumann U87 truly unbeatable, it's not hard to see why this microphone is an industry favorite.

Rode PodMic

  • Preis:$99,00
  • Type:Dynamic
  • cardioid characteristic:Kidneys
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forPodcasters, live streamers, and anyone who wants to record good quality vocals without breaking the bank.

Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones for Instruments

Whether you're recording guitar amps, vocals, or acoustics, you need a microphone capable of picking up the nuances of your chosen instrument.

Audio Technica AT2020

  • Preis:$99,00
  • Type:condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:Kidneys
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forinstrumental musicians in general and musicians who want to make precise and reliable recordings.

sE Electronics sE X1R Ribbon Microphone

  • Preis:$229,00
  • Type:Dynamic ribbon microphone
  • cardioid characteristic:Figure 8
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 16 kHz

Good forRecord with guitars, drum overheads, brass, woodwinds, strings, and more.

Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones for Streaming and Gaming

If you areLive broadcastYou want a plug-and-play microphone that's easy to use without sacrificing good sound quality.

HyperX Quadcast S

  • Preis:159,99 $
  • Type:USB, Condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Bidirectional
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forLive streamers and gamers looking for a microphone that combines good sound with stylish aesthetics. The HyperX Quadcast features unique integrated RGB lighting that you can customize to fit your recording space. Additionally, the 4 different polar patterns make this a highly adaptable microphone.

Elgato Welle 3

  • Preis:145,09 $
  • Type:USB, Condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:one way
  • Frequent response:70Hz a 20kHz

Good forLive streamers looking for a simple plug and play microphone designed specifically for content creators.

Dynamic microphones vs. condenser microphones for more versatility

yeti azul

  • Preis:129,99 $
  • Type:USB, Condenser
  • cardioid characteristic:Cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, stereo
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forRecord directly from your computer, whether you're streaming live, recording a podcast, or recording a voiceover.

after MV7

  • Preis:$249,00
  • Type:USB/XLR dynamic microphones
  • cardioid characteristic:one way
  • Frequent response:50 Hz a 16 kHz

Good fora Application The Shure MV7 is designed as a high-quality broadcast microphone and offers you a high degree of flexibility.USByXLRconnectivity.

(Video) What is the difference between a dynamic and condenser microphone

Dynamic microphones versus condenser microphones for beginners

Rode NT-USB-Mini

  • Preis:$99,00
  • Type:USB condenser microphone
  • cardioid characteristic:Kidneys
  • Frequent response:20 Hz a 20 kHz

Good forBeginners looking for a plug and play microphone that offers excellent audio quality.

frequent questions

How to make a dynamic microphone sound like a condenser?

First, dynamic and condenser microphones work in fundamentally different ways. Additionally, each individual microphone produces a unique sound quality and landscape. Because of this, it's wise to focus on finding a microphone that produces sound quality that meets your expectations, rather than getting bogged down comparing dynamic vs. condenser microphones.

How does a dynamic microphone record noise?

A dynamic microphone uses electromagnetism to convert sound into electrical signals. Read above for a more detailed explanation.

Why do singers put their mouths on the microphone?

Some singers place their mouth over the microphone to increase the volume of their voice picked up by the microphone. Also, if you're recording live, as there's usually a lot of background noise, make sure they're as close to the mic as possible to mitigate competing noises around you.

Are the microphones tuned automatically?

Autotune isn't actually an integral part of a microphone. Instead, there is what is called an auto-tune microphone controller. This is an added feature of some microphones, which automatically tunes your voice when you speak or sing into the microphone.

Do dynamic microphones require power?

Unlike condenser microphones, dynamic microphones do not require an external power source to function. For this reason, they are often referred to as "plug-and-play" microphones.

Are shotgun microphones dynamic or condenser?

Shotgun microphones can be dynamic or condenser.

Does a condenser microphone sound better?

The answer to this question will always be quite subjective. It depends on what kind of sound quality you are looking for and whatnetoof the sound you are recording.

Are dynamic microphones good for recording?

Yes, depending on your specific recording needs and environment. Dynamic microphones offer incredible versatility and flexibility, as well as high-quality sound.

What are the three types of microphones?

You will mostly hear about dynamic microphones versus condenser microphones. As we have seen, dynamic microphones can be divided into ribbon and moving coil microphones. However, there are many other ways to differentiate microphones. For example, you may see some people comparing microphones based on polar patterns.


Should I use condenser mic or dynamic mic for vocals? ›

Condenser or Dynamic? Condenser Microphones are better for recording vocals than dynamic microphones as they can pick up much more detail and are the most linear type of microphone. Condenser microphones are, therefore, ideal for the recording studio environment.

When should I use a condenser microphone? ›

Condenser microphones are best used to capture vocals and high frequencies. They are also the preferred type of microphone for most studio applications. Also known as capacitor microphones, condenser mics are mainly used in studios because of their detail and accuracy.

What are dynamic microphones best for? ›

Generally speaking, dynamic mics are best for loud environments and live concerts. But don't let that deceive you; they're also an excellent option for recording vocals in a professional studio or home studio.

What are the advantages of a condenser microphone over a dynamic microphone? ›

Condenser microphones are good for studio recording because they capture a wider range of frequencies than dynamic microphones. They're also more sensitive to subtle nuances in sound, making them ideal for reproducing the true character of a singer's voice or an acoustic guitar.

Do I want a condenser or dynamic mic? ›

They use both depending on the situation. For live use a dynamic microphone is more robust and perfect for the dynamic range of a PA system. Whereas a condenser microphone is more sensitive and great for when you're in a quite and controlled recording environment.

What are 3 advantages to using condenser microphones? ›

Benefits of condenser mics are their high-audio quality, ability to capture nuanced and high-frequency sounds, and their performance in studio-environments.

Are dynamic mics good for singing? ›

Dynamic mics are excellent for recording vocals – everything from podcasting to voiceovers to singing – and work especially well when you're recording multiple people in the same room. Like our similar article on the best condenser microphones, there are a variety of different models at different price points.

Where are dynamic microphones used? ›

Dynamic mics will often be used for scenarios like a live performance where there is a loud sound source. They are mainly considered best-fit for loud, live vocals. They are also good for brass instruments, keyboards, drums and guitar amplifiers.

What is the main disadvantage of dynamic microphones? ›

Disadvantages of Dynamic Microphones:

They capture a limited amount of high-frequency detail. They can't handle recording harmonics. Less detailed sound. You'll need to be close to the diaphragm to receive a clear signal.

Which microphone is best for singing? ›

Best Microphones
  • Best Microphones. Dec 20, 2022. ...
  • Best Overall. Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone (with On/Off Switch) ...
  • Economical. AKG P120 High-Performance General Purpose Recording Microphone. ...
  • Editor's Choice. Sennheiser XS-1 Dynamic Cardioid Microphone for Solo Vocals & Karaoke Singing, Speech and Choir miking. ...
  • Easy to Use.

Do dynamic mics pick up background noise? ›

Dynamic microphones don't magically reject room noise. A dynamic microphone is absolutely the right choice for a podcaster, and it will cut down on the room noise - but only if you're using it right.

Why do people use dynamic mics? ›

Dynamic microphones can take a lot of signal without being damaged due to their low sensitivity and higher gain threshold, so you'll see these used in many live situations. They're also really good studio mics for things like drums, brass instruments, pretty much anything that's really loud.

Should I get a dynamic or condenser microphone for streaming? ›

Dynamic mics are an excellent option for streamers without a studio-style space to live stream from. Dynamic Microphones produce good audio quality but are not as sensitive as condenser mics. They're also more durable, robust, and more affordable. Condenser Microphones are more sensitive and accurate than dynamic mics.

Is Blue Yeti condenser or dynamic? ›

Yeti is a side-address condenser microphone, so you can capture the best sound by going face-to-face with it.

Can I use a dynamic mic for recording? ›

Dynamic microphones are a helpful tool for recording. Considering the low price to get your hands on the popular examples, having one in your studio is worth it. If you're looking to record vocals on a budget or capture a loud amp or drum, a dynamic mic could be your best bet.

Is a dynamic mic better for home studio? ›

If you're just starting out in recording, dynamic microphones often provide the best value. They're sturdy and don't require extra power. They don't produce as “textured” a sound as condenser and ribbon microphones, but they're still ideal for many applications.

Why are condenser mics better for vocals? ›

Condenser mics are more sensitive than dynamic mics due to the diaphragm. This means they capture a lot of the subtleties and nuances of your vocal performance or acoustic instrument – more so than a dynamic mic would.

Are dynamic mics better for vocals? ›

Dynamic mics are excellent for recording vocals – everything from podcasting to voiceovers to singing – and work especially well when you're recording multiple people in the same room. Like our similar article on the best condenser microphones, there are a variety of different models at different price points.

What type of mic is better for vocals? ›

If you're a vocalist who records in studios, a condenser mic is a smart choice. However, for anyone who performs live, a dynamic mic should be your go-to microphone.

Why dynamic mics are better for vocals? ›

Just like with the harmonics, a dynamic microphone can roll off some of that high end – not getting rid of it, just reducing its presence in your vocal track. The end result is a smoother top end on a vocal recording that sounds clear and even.

Which mic is best for recording vocals? ›

These are the best studio vocal microphones you can buy:
  • Neumann U87 Ai.
  • Shure SM7B.
  • Electro-Voice RE20.
  • Audio-Technica AT2020.
  • AKG C414 XLII.
  • Rode NT1-A.
  • MXL 990.
Aug 17, 2022

Can you use a condenser mic for live vocals? ›

Yes, they are. Condensers are perfect for singers with a wide frequency range. The frequency response is tailored to live vocals, commonly around 50 Hz – 20 kHz – which means you won't get the low-end boom and proximity effect when singing up close.

Which mic does Billie Eilish use? ›

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone.


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