What is a microphone, and what types of microphones are there?

In their most basic form, microphones convert audio into an electrical signal that can then be used in analog or digital formats. Here are the most common microphone types:

  • Condenser Microphones

Also known as capacitor microphones, condenser mics are highly sensitive and ideal for capturing nuanced and dynamic audio sources such as a vocal performance.

  • Dynamic Microphones

Widely used for miking guitar amp cabinets, broadcasting, podcasting, and more, dynamic microphones often have great off-axis noise rejection for capturing only what is in front of the mic.

While dynamic microphones require a preamp and lots of gain, their low-level signal makes them ideal for use with exceptionally loud audio sources.

  • Ribbon Microphones

This is a type of dynamic mic also known as a velocity microphone. Ribbon mics have a thin strip of metal – a ribbon – that is suspended in a magnetic field to convert audio into an electrical signal.

The ribbon acts as both a diaphragm and a transducer element, yielding a condenser-like sensitivity and a transient response that is ideal for capturing a wide range of audio sources.

  • USB ​Microphones

Similar to a condenser, a USB microphone is highly sensitive but will convert audio directly to digital. This technology removes the need for phantom power or otherwise, making USB mics a popular option for plug-and-play setups.

  • Lavaliere ​Microphones

Widely renowned for use in television or interviews, a lavaliere mic is a clip-on option that’s small enough to be hidden from view in a video shot while still picking up a clean audio source.

  • Shotgun ​Microphones

A favorite among videographers and voice-over artists, a shotgun mic is a highly directional microphone that allows for capturing precise audio sources in outdoor or ever-changing environments.

Whether you’re doing field recording or you need an overhead miking solution for your film, shotgun mics are the way to go.

What is a microphone polar pattern?
  • A microphone’s polar pattern is the sensitivity of sound being picked up from different directions surrounding its diaphragm.
  • This ultimately affects the sonic characteristics of a microphone, in addition to how much sound is picked up.
  • In general, there are three main polar patterns that you’ll come across when shopping microphones – with variants of the following:
Omnidirectional
  • The microphone picks up sound equally from all angles.
Figure-8
  • The microphone picks up sound in a bidirectional pattern, rejecting sound from the sides.
Cardioid
  • The microphone picks up sound mostly in the front, rejecting sound from the rear and sides.
What should I consider when choosing a microphone?
Application

Different microphone types serve different needs, some working better than others depending on the instrument, environment, or vocal type – especially when it comes to studio recording versus live performance. While there’s no hard rule regarding what you can use a microphone for, starting with the best one for your application will ensure positive results across all of your recordings.

Budget

While some applications certainly benefit from using a world-class mic like a Neumann U 87 Ai, studio recording technology has come a long way to empower all musicians to achieve professional audio recordings.

For help picking the right microphone for your budget, see our guides on the best budget recording microphones and best vocal mics under Kshs 10000.

Why shop microphones at GrandHub Technologies?

With a massive selection of microphones, free shipping, a free 2-year warranty, 24/7 access to award-winning support – and more – GrandHub gives you more than any other retailer! Shop microphones today or give your personal Sales Engineer a call at +254 705126957

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Boya BY-M3 Digital Lavalier Mic

KSh 5,500.00
Sound quality. Easy to use. Value for money. Noise cancellation.

JBL Dual Wireless Microphone

KSh 15,499.00
  • JBL Dual Wireless Microphone System in Kenya
  • For use with JBL Partybox speakers
 

JBL PBM100 Wired Microphone

KSh 6,499.00
  • Buy JBL PBM100 Wired Microphone in Kenya
  • Easy plug-n-play setup lets you instantly sing along to your favorite tunes.
  • Compatible with most partybox speakers.

Rode Lavalier GO Wearable Microphone

Original price was: KSh 12,000.00.Current price is: KSh 9,999.00.
  • Buy Rode Lavalier GO Wearable Microphone at the best price in Kenya
  • 1 year warranty

Sony ICD-BX140 Voice Recorder

KSh 7,499.00
  • Sony ICD-BX140 Voice Recorder
  • Record clear audio in versatile MP3 format
  • Maximum battery life of 45 hours (MP3)
  • 30 hours (HVXC 2kbps)
  • 4GB of memory lets you store up to 1043hrs
  • Powered by 2x AAA batteries

Sony ICD-PX470 Voice Recorder

KSh 10,499.00
  • Sony ICD-PX470 Voice Recorder in Kenya
  • Built-In USB Connector
  • Battery Life up to 55 Hours
  • Internal 4GB Memory
  • microSD Expansion
  • Up to 1,073 Hours of Recording Time
  • 3.5mm Stereo Mic-In & Headphone Jack
  • Included AAA Battery

Sony ICD-UX560 Voice Recorder

KSh 14,999.00
  • Sony  ICD-UX560 Voice Recorder in Nairobi
  • 4GB of Internal Memory
  • MP3, AAC, WMA, or WAV Formats
  • More than 1,000 Hours of Recording Time
  • USB Port and MicroSD Card Slot
  • 3-Minute Quick Charge for 1 Hour of Recording

Sony ICD-UX570 Voice Recorder

KSh 14,950.00
  • Sony UX570 Voice Recorder price in Kenya
  • Built-In USB Connector
  • Internal 4GB Memory
  • microSD Expansion
  • up to 59 hours of MP3