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Dynamic Microphones

September 14th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Dynamic Microphones
Why do musicians record with condenser microphones and play live with dynamic microphones?

for vocals. I wouldn't think the reason would be possible feedback or durability issues. Help me discover the answer!

Your question is one that is quite hard to answer actually, and there is no clear-cut reply. However, I can tell you this: Condenser mics, generally speaking, are much more sensitive, and as such, the risk of feed-back in anything less than a superb live setting goes up drastically. Additionally, condenser mics use something called phantom power which boosts the signal to an audible and usable level. In a live setting, this is better to avoid because running 48 volts through your snake is just not too great in terms of buzz, crackle, etc. However, it should also be known that certain condenser mics are used in almost every live show you have ever seen. for example, 'pencil' mics are almost always used for drum overheads and sometimes large diaphragm condensers are used on guitar cabs, or even as drum overheads as well.
Now, the reason that studio's use condenser mics: In a studio setting, there is a lot more emphasis put on initial sound quality. generally speaking, condensers have a much higher sound quality. ribbon mics are also great for this reason, and as such, both of these are often the main mics employed in studios. in a studio environment, often times the sound of the room is used as much as the sound of the instrument, and as such, condensers are preferred. additionally, feedback is almost never an issue in a studio, so there is no draw back to using condensers. Dynamic mics are also employed in the studio however, as they can capture things that condensers cannot (such as crisp sound on guitar cabs at close range without the use of a pad (-10db) ) or simply because of the nature of the recording. For example, on Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' a Shure dynamic mic was used for his vocals rather than the more common Neumann condenser.
sorry for the super long response. Hope this cleared some things up for you...

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