Sound Advice: Microphone Types & Selection

AKG C414 XLSNow that you have a great analog or digital audio mixer, what devices, or signal sources, do you plan to interface into the mixer?  After all, that’s the main purpose of the mixer, right, to combine, or mix, two or more inputs and route them into one or more outputs?  Signal sources can be anything from microphones and instruments, to media players and CD players, and many others.  For some configurations, an audio mixer may be used to simply mix a few microphones.  In other setups, such as a medium-sized church, many different sources would be interfaced, including microphones, instruments, CD players, etc.  In this article, let’s look at the different types of microphones and when and where to use them.  We’ll look at instruments and media players in a future article.

Probably the most popular device connected into an audio mixer would be the microphone.  A microphone, or mic, for short, is a basic device that converts sound waves into electricity.  While there is no shortage in the style and number of microphones that are currently on the market, most of them will fall into one of several categories, based on how they specifically convert sound waves to electricity:  dynamic, condenser, ribbon, or piezo.  The majority of microphones used in a church service will, most likely, be either dynamic or condenser, with the occasional ribbon, and the very rare, hopefully, piezo type.

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