by William | 9:55 pm

Going through my research on microphones, I started to wonder if there were any types of microphones that are fragile and break easily. Well, any microphone will break if it is repeatedly dropped. If it is thrown against a wall in a fit of anger then you probably just lost some money. So, actually all mics can be considered fragile microphones.

But Wait … There’s More

That’s not what you really want to hear. If you abuse anything it will eventually break. From an earlier post we know there are basically two types of microphones: Dynamic and Condenser. Dynamic microphones are the more sturdy of the two, unless it is a ribbon microphone which I’ll hit on later.

Dynamic vs. Condenser

Dynamic microphones are built stout to take louder sounds. Condenser microphones are good for picking up subtle sounds. They have more complex inner workings which makes them more ‘fragile’. A simple drop or two may not damage a dynamic microphone, but one drop will probably end a condenser microphone.

Condenser Microphone

Rippin’ on Ribbons

Ribbon microphones are dynamic microphones with a thin metal conductor instead of a wire coil. The conductor vibrates from direct contact with sound waves. So, a strong blast of air from a bass drum could ruin this sensitive piece of equipment. Exposing the mic to phantom power could also destroy it. Despite being the most fragile microphones out there, they are quite expensive and favored by some musicians for their warm, detailed sound.

Ribbon Microphone

So … What’s The Verdict?

Whatever type of microphone you have try to take care of it. No matter how sturdy or well-made it is, it can still be broken. So handle all mics as fragile microphones. They will last and give you great sound for years to come. That will leave you with money to buy other studio equipment and really make that studio something special.

Comments

Sondra M

I agree with you.  I don’t want to needlessly destroy my microphone.     I would rather spend the money upgrading other pieces of equipment.   Can you explain the phantom power issue a little bit more?   I planned to have my equipment plugged into a power outlet that has a surge protector.    Will that help eliminate the risk of breaking the microphone?   Thank you in advance, 

Sep 05.2019 | 10:15 pm

    William

    Hey Sondra. Thanks for your comment. As far as the phantom power issue, mics that use it use it. Mics that don’t ignore it. Phantom power is the electrical power transmitted over the same cable as the audio signal. It is usually built into the microphone but you can purchase separate external phantom power supplies. Ribbon microphones don’t need phantom power because they have a small electrical output. A typical 9V battery is usually sufficient. But if you want to use external phantom power then make sure the power cable is not frayed or broken. Plug the mic in first then engage phantom power. Too much power can damage the thin metal conductor. What you have planned should be fine. If you are using any ribbon microphones just be extra careful. Hope that helps!

    Sep 05.2019 | 11:59 pm

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