Microphones are essential for streaming as your voice needs to be as clear as possible with minimum background noise. Furthermore, your microphone should be handy, easy to set up, and not hindered when playing or recording. So, which microphone fits these requirements?
Condenser mics are better than dynamic mics because they allow you to stream clear audio while reducing disturbance and background noise. However, these mics cost significantly more than dynamic ones.
In this article, you will learn more about each type of mic and what the pros and cons of dynamic and condenser types are. You’ll also find out which one is right for your specific situation. Read on so you can make an informed decision for your streaming needs.
What Is a Dynamic Microphone?
First, let’s take a look at how this works. A dynamic microphone is designed to block out as much background noise as possible except your voice’s incoming signal. It is built in the cardioid polar pattern, which essentially focuses on picking up your voice from the front while canceling out as much noise from the back.
In the case of a dynamic microphone, it will pick up audio from the top. Getting into the mechanics very briefly, a dynamic microphone has an induction coil inside, which is placed within the magnetic field. When you speak into the microphone, it vibrates the diaphragm suspending tiny electrical currents, which are then amplified with the help of a preamp or mixer.
The voice’s smoothness and clarity depend on the diaphragm; the larger it is, the better. The audio quality also comes down to the mixer or interface you use, meaning this additional piece of equipment needs to be powerful enough to pick up and convert the electrical signals.
Check out my guide to connecting an audio interface to Discord.
Pros of a Dynamic Microphone
While dynamic mics may not be the number one choice of those with significant disposable income, they hold substantial advantages for the new streamers.
- Blocks out additional noise: As a streamer, your audio is prone to the sound of keyboard clicks, the whirring of your computer’s fans, or even a fan or air conditioner in the background. Dynamic microphones are built to block out all and any additional noise from their surroundings except for your voice at the top, so if your environment is on the noisier side, this microphone will fit your situation.
- Does not require any phantom power: Power source-dependence can be an obstacle in streamers’ versatility. But with dynamic mics, this is not an issue since these microphones do not require any additional power source, only a preamp to amplify your voice signals.
- Lower cost: A dynamic microphone is generally cheaper than a condenser microphone. It does not require a power source to turn on, plus the built is sturdier, requiring fewer replacements of delicate parts or maintenance.
- Durable: You often see dynamic microphones being carried on stage by singers. This is because these microphones can tolerate more wear and tear. Its lesser complicated features are reliable in picking up sound consistently regardless of the environment. Even while being subject to any form of torture, it will last longer.
Cons of a Dynamic Microphone
As mentioned earlier, dynamic mics aren’t the go-to option for those who can acquire better mics. Here are the disadvantages that contribute to hesitation among seasoned streamers:
- Limited features: A dynamic microphone only picks up sound from the top. That is pretty much all it does. It has no additional features or polar patterns, so what you see is what you get, so if you ever want a guest over for a joint streaming session, you will need an additional microphone for them.
- Lower frequency and sensitivity: Sensitivity comes down to preferences. Streamer A may want a microphone that is clear and with a broader frequency range, while streamer B would want low to none distortions. Either way, when speaking into a dynamic microphone, you will need to prop it up very close to your mouth; if you move even a little further, your voice will start to sound distant.
- Audio quality: Compared to a condenser microphone, a dynamic microphone will not meet the quality mark. The microphone is generally less sensitive, and while it is perfect for picking up your voice when podcasting or streaming, it cannot be used for anything else.
For more information, check out whether you can plug a dynamic microphone into phantom power.
What Is a Condenser Microphone?
A condenser microphone is more commonly seen nowadays when used by singers on YouTube, making it an ideal choice to keep in mind audio accuracy and quality. Inside a condenser microphone, there is a backplate that is a fixed and a moveable front plate. This creates a capacitor charged when signals (your voice) hits the moveable front plate that vibrates to generate electric signals.
For this charge to reach a preamp or a mixer, it needs some type of electrical charge – typically a constant +48v input. Meaning, you will need phantom power when it comes to a condenser microphone. However, recent improvements feature batteries inside, which function as phantom power. This type of microphone captures sound from all over instead of a fixed place.
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Pros of a Condenser Microphone
Below are the advantages that make condenser mics popular among professionals.
- Ideal for vocals: the mechanism of the front moving, more delicate front plate ensures better accuracy in capturing sound waves and signals, creating a clearer and cleaner audio result.
- Frequency range: a condenser microphone has a frequency range of 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz. This is another testament to the audio quality of the microphone. This comprehensive frequency range plus a wide vocal presence boost makes it a pretty satisfying microphone.
- Added features: most condenser microphones now feature more than one polar pattern, which is not found in a dynamic one. Condenser USB microphones such as the Blue Yeti or the AmazonBasics have four different polar patterns to pick up and block out sound according to your settings and environment, giving you more control of what is to be recorded and what is not.
Check out which condenser microphone is better between AmazonBasics USB Condenser Microphone vs. Blue Yeti here!
Check out my picklist for the Best Condenser Mics for Under $200.
Cons of a Condenser Microphone
Here are the disadvantages that keep condenser mics from becoming the universal option for all streaming purposes:
- Not suitable for untreated environments: condenser microphones are too sensitive; hence they work best if your room or studio is treated, meaning that it is as quiet as possible with no other loud external sounds present. A condenser microphone will easily pick up extra sounds, although this matter can be resolved thanks to the different polar patterns.
- Expensive: a condenser microphone is generally pricier than a dynamic microphone. It is also less durable with more delicate mechanisms, making it more prone to damages.
- Requires phantom power: condenser microphones do need an additional source of power. It needs some type of charge for the capacitor to function, which is not found in a dynamic microphone. This power supply will typically come from an audio mixer or interface.
Check out which condenser microphone is better between AT2020 vs. Blue Yeti here!
Which One Should I Use?
It is clear that condenser microphones are crowned as the more popular choice, and you should use them if you can afford them. Nowadays, they are seen being used more and more by podcasters and streamers who enjoy sharper audio. With newer models, sensitivity is also easily controllable through gain buttons as well for a better experience.
However, if you’re just starting your podcast or streaming channel and can’t afford a condenser mic, please do not put off the beginning of your journey while you save up for a condenser mic. A dynamic mic is good enough to start streaming, and as your channel picks up, you can always switch to better audio.
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For more information, check out which mic is better for streaming: XLR or USB.
Preference is a crucial factor when deciding between the two. If you are going for a higher frequency range and clearer vocals, we recommend a condenser microphone.
Still, if your wallet is not being too friendly, a dynamic microphone will work perfectly. Although, when placed side by side in terms of quality and added features, a condenser microphone easily wins.