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Difference between Dynamic/Condenser/Tube mics ?


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  • Difference between Dynamic/Condenser/Tube mics ?

    Hi guys,

    I tried to search for detailed information about the difference between these sorts of mics, but didn't find much accurate information.

    I'd like to know if any of you could explain to me what is the difference between these ?

    I know dynamic mics are usually the regular mics for recording, as the sm57 for example.

    Condenser mics reproduce a better environment for vocals and acoustic instruments. They run on higher current (phantom power? ). I guess they have internal preamps right ?

    As for tube mics, I don't know at all about them, I thought they were a synonym of the condenser ones

    any help would be appreciated !!

    thanks !

  • #2
    I have some of the same questions that you do, but here is the little bit of knowledge I have (anyone, please correct me if I'm wrong):

    Condenser mics - these usually require phantom power from a preamp, or a battery inside the mic... They are very sensitive and have a flat respone (generally), which is why they are good for vocals and acoustic spaces (cymbal overheads as well)... They are not good for close micing of drums or electric guitars because they are too sensitive for the power of these instruments.... typically, the better mic you can afford, the better the results (?)

    Dynamic mics - These are less senstive, so they are perfect for micing guitar amps and drums, but not so good for picking up the nuances of a vocal performance... also, different dynamic mics are good for different things due to characteristics of the mic (for example, frequency response)... so a $500+ dynamic mic might not be better - and may actually be worse - than a SM57 for micing a snare, since the SM57's frequency respone fits the snare like a glove (not much EQ is needed in mixing)... but you wouldn't want to mic a bass drum with an SM57...

    Tube mics - I don't know much here, but my guess would be these are very characteristic and give a warm, deep sound... One thing I do know is that they have tubes in them, unlike the above mics

    Hope that helps at least a little bit... and hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge will shine some light for both of us...


    • #3
      My 2 cents: dynamic mic's use a moving coil and magnet to create the electrical signal. They don't need power to run. They tend to roll off the high end, which is ideal for smoothing harsh sounds such as guitar cabs and male rock vocals. There is a huge range of dynamic mics for all purposes, and although they are main popular for live work, some models are outstanding in the studio. There are many artists who have used an SM57 or SM58 for main vocals, out of choice. Consider your mic to be the first and most important eq in your chain, and pick one that suits.

      Condenser mic's work on the principle of vibrating a two metal surfaces - one of them called the diaphragm. Condensers (capacitors) don't create energy, they just store and release it, so some electronics are necessary to provide the power and modulate it with the condenser action. Because it's easier to rattle a thin (usually gold plated plastic) diaphragm than it is to move a coil of wire that is resisting a magnet, condenser mics can groove with the high frequencies much better. They still have their own unique eq curve, and you still need to pick one that suits. Small diaphragms are more accurate, but most vocals don't want accurate. Large diaphragms are less accurate - usually in a flattering way.

      A tube mic is simply a condenser mic that uses vacuum tubes in the electronics. The alternative is solid state, which tends to be cleaner and quieter wheras tubes are known for warmth. Everything is relative though - so treat all mics as your first eq and pick one that suits your voice/instrument, no matter how cheap/ugly/uncool it may be.


      • #4
        thanks a lot !