One thing you should never take for granted as a streamer is the sound quality of your content.
The clarity of the audio is a crucial aspect of streaming because no matter how good the video quality may be, an audience may fail to understand or even listen to the content if the audio isn’t clear. So, choosing the right microphone is critical, but what type is the best for streaming?
Streamers who work in less isolated environments use dynamic mics since they provide decent quality but tend to pick up the background noise. Condenser mics generally sound better but are more sensitive to noisy environments, making them more suited for streamers with sound-treated rooms.
If you’re unsure what type of microphone to use for streaming, keep reading. This article will explain the differences between dynamic and condenser mics and tackle other factors you need to consider to help you decide which mic is best for you.
Table of Contents
- The Difference Between Dynamic and Condenser Mics
- Factors To Consider When Buying a Microphone
- The Best Dynamic and Condenser Microphone for Streaming
- Final Thoughts
The Difference Between Dynamic and Condenser Mics
Dynamic and condenser mics convert sound waves into electrical signals so that sound can be transmitted, amplified, or recorded. But despite having the same job, each mic performs its duty differently.
Dynamic microphones contain a diaphragm that uses electromagnetism to work. Sound causes the diaphragm to vibrate and move a voice coil in a dynamic microphone. Since the vibrations occur inside a magnetic field, it produces an electrical signal that can be converted back to audible sound.
Pros of Dynamic Microphones
- Less Noise but More Volume. Dynamic mics are not as sensitive as condenser mics, so they do not pick up as much background noise and are suitable for louder instruments since they can handle high sound pressure levels without distortion.
- Plug and Play. Dynamic mics will work without an external power source or phantom power.
- Durability. Generally speaking, dynamic mics are more robust and resistant to heat and humidity than condenser mics.
- Affordability. Dynamic mics are generally less expensive compared to condenser mics.
Cons of Dynamic Microphones
- Lower Audio Quality. Dynamic mics have decent sound quality, but they generally don’t sound as crisp or accurate as condenser mics since they struggle to capture low and high sound frequencies.
- Unidirectional. Dynamic mics have a cardioid polar pattern, meaning they only pick up sound from the front.
- Low Sensitivity. Dynamic mics have low sensitivity, so the sound source has to either be very close or loud to be picked up by the microphone.
Condenser microphones work with a capacitor that consists of two charged plates. The front plate, made of thin, flexible metal, vibrates when it detects sound waves and alters its distance from the back plate. As the two plates move, they mimic the sound wave and convert it into an electrical audio signal.
Pros of Condenser Microphones
- Superb Sound Quality. Condenser microphones have high sensitivity, which means they have a broader frequency response. Their ability to pick up low and high frequencies make them deliver more accurate and crisp sound.
- Multiple Polar Patterns. Unlike dynamic mics that are unidirectional, condenser mics can pick up sound from various angles. Most can even be customized to be unidirectional, omnidirectional, or bidirectional.
Cons of Condenser Microphones
- Prone to Noise and Distortion. Since condenser microphones have higher sensitivity, they are more susceptible to picking up noise. Distortion can also become an issue if the sound source is too loud.
- Requires Power. Having a capacitor means condenser mics will need batteries or phantom power to work. However, USB condenser mics can run from your PC’s USB port.
- Less Durable. Due to their delicate construction, condenser mics are more prone to damage and less resistant to heat and humidity.
- More Expensive. Condenser mics generally cost more than dynamic mics, and some require either an audio mixer or an interface.
Want to know more about the differences between dynamic and condenser mics? See which one needs more gain in my full guide. Do Dynamic Mics Need More Gain Than Condensers?
Factors To Consider When Buying a Microphone
There’s no such thing as a microphone that will cater to the needs of every streamer. No two streamers are alike in the same way that each microphone is different. Hence, there are several factors you need to consider before deciding which microphone best suits you.
Choosing between a dynamic and condenser mic isn’t just a toss between sound quality and noise reduction. A streamer’s primary consideration in choosing a microphone should be what kind of content they produce.
A dynamic mic is better suited for someone who streams live music due to its ability to capture loud music without distortion. However, due to its polar patterns, a condenser mic is more suitable for a podcaster who conducts interviews.
Another essential factor to consider is your environment. A condenser mic will work brilliantly in a sound-treated room or a quiet environment. A dynamic microphone is better if you work in a less quiet area or if you want to block sounds like your air conditioner or keyboard.
Last but not least, you also have to consider your equipment and how much you’re willing to spend. Not all condenser mics are plug-and-play, and some require an audio interface or mixer to work. Using an audio interface also means investing in a DAW to optimize performance.
There are condenser mics that can work through a computer’s USB port, but you may still have to spend on making your room soundproof to eliminate the noise your condenser mic can pick up.
Dynamic microphones do not require additional equipment and are generally more affordable. So, if you’re not willing to spend too much money on your studio, a dynamic mic is your best bet.
When buying a microphone, you should pay attention to a handful of criteria, all of which I’ve covered in my ultimate guide on choosing the right microphone. Don’t miss it. Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Microphone For You
The Best Dynamic and Condenser Microphone for Streaming
Since streamers can use either dynamic and condenser microphones depending on their content, environment, or budget, here’s the best mic from each category.
The FDUCE SL40 Dynamic Microphone (available on Amazon.com) has an XLR and USB-C output so that you can plug it into an audio interface or your computer. This mic also has voice isolation technology making it ideal for less quiet environments.
The Logitech Blue Yeti Condenser Microphone (available on Amazon.com) has multiple polar patterns, so you can feature guests on your podcasts without purchasing additional mics. It also connects via USB and can work directly from your computer without other equipment.
Some streamers use condenser microphones, while others use dynamic mics since it depends on individual needs and preferences.
Those who stream live music or work from less quiet environments may prefer dynamic mics, but a streamer who prioritizes sound quality may lean more towards a condenser mic.
If you’re in the market for a new mic, knowing the differences between a dynamic and condenser mic will help you determine which one best suits you based on your environment and the type of content you stream.
I started SoundStudioMagic to learn how to record my own audiobook at home, and now I’m addicted to all the latest techniques and gear.
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