What is a Condenser Microphone? and How Do Condenser Microphones Work?

What is a Condenser Microphone?

The word condenser actually means capacitor.

How does a Condenser Microphone Work?

A capacitor (inside the condenser microphone) is a common electrical component which stores energy in the form of an electrostatic field. The capacitor allows acoustical energy to be converted to electrical energy. The electrostatic field needs external or battery power to be created, the image below illustrates that this field is created between the two plates of the diaphragm and the back plate. As the diaphragm is moved from sound waves the change in the electrostatic field information is sent to an external recording device. the signal is then amplified as the initial voltage differences are so small.

condenser microphone

The resulting audio signal is stronger signal than that from a dynamic. A condenser microphone also tend to be more sensitive and responsive than dynamics, making them well-suited to capturing subtle nuances in a sound. They are not ideal for high-volume work, as their sensitivity makes them prone to distort at the capsule end.

The powering for a condenser microphone is with phantom power (48 volts) or the now outdated T power (12 volts). A condenser microphone requires either the voltage of 48 volts or 12 volts depending on how old it is. This very small voltage known as Mic Level is needed because the diaphragm is so small in terms of distance to the back plate.

Hopefully that answered what is a condenser microphone? adequately. Leave a comment below or share with others to see if they agree.