Full List Of Microphone Types And Sub-Types (With Mic Examples)


There are so many microphones to choose from on the market today. When looking for a microphone, it’s great to know the different types of mics and what makes one microphone difference from another.

In this article we’ll discuss every type of microphone there, looking at the differentiating titles we give to our microphones.


Full List Of Microphone Types And Differentiating Factors

Here is a list of differentiating titles to better understand the types of microphones that exist:

Let’s define each of these types in the following paragraphs.


Active Microphone

What is an active microphone? Active mics require external power to function. Mics with internal preamps, FETs, vacuum tubes, or A/D converters are active. Condenser mics requiring external DC voltage to polarize their capsules are active. External power is provided by phantom power, DC-bias, a power supply, or a USB connection.

For more info on active microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Do Microphones Need Power To Function Properly?

Do Microphones Need Phantom Power To Work Properly?

Active microphone example: Neumann KM 184

Neumann KM 184

Neumann is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being an active microphone, the Neumann KM 184 is also a:

Ambient Microphone

What is an ambient microphone? An ambient microphone is purposed with capturing ambient sounds (ie: crowd noise, distant sound and reverberation, room tone, and field ambience). Single ambient mic setups often use omnidirectional or ambisonic mics. Multiple mic setups are common for capturing stereo and surround sound ambience.

Ambient microphone example: Audio-Technical AT4022

Audio-Technica AT4022

Audio-Technica is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to its application as an ambient microphone, the Audio-Technica AT4022 is also classified as a:

Ambisonic Microphone

What is an ambisonic microphone? An ambisonic microphone is a single mic designed to capture sound in a full-sphere surround sound format. Ambisonic mics often include 4-8 capsules (or more) in order to output sound for 3D ambisonic mixing with mi-specific software. Ambisonic mics are well suited for virtual reality recording.

Ambisonic microphone example: Rode NT-SF1

Rode NT-SF1

Rode is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being an ambisonic microphone, the Rode NT-SF1 is also a:

Back Electret Condenser Microphone

What is a back electret condenser microphone? A back electret microphone is a condenser mic with a permanently charge capsule due to electret material being fixed to its stationary backplate. Not having electret material fixed on the front plate (diaphragm) increases diaphragm accuracy and the electret is more durable since it’s stationary.

Back electret condenser microphone example: DPA 4006A

DPA 4006A

DPA is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being an back electret microphone, the DPA 4006A is also a:

Bidirectional Microphone (Figure-8 Mic)

What is a bidirectional/figure-8 microphone? A bidirectional microphone has a figure-8 polar/pick up pattern. It is equally sensitive to sounds from the front and back while rejecting of sounds from its sides (ring of silence). The sound captured from the front side capture of is opposite in polarity to the sound captured to the rear side.

For more info on bidirectional microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
What Is A Bidirectional/Figure-8 Microphone? (With Mic Examples)
.

Bidirectional microphone example: Royer R-10

Royer R-10

Royer is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being a bidirectional microphone, the Royer R-10 is also a:

Boom Microphone

What is a boom microphone? A boom mic has a highly directional polar pattern and is positioned at the end of a boom pole. These mics are staples in film and video. They are highly directional (pick up sound where they point to and reject off-axis sounds). Boom mics are often held by an operator, making them movable during a performance.

For more info on boom microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
What Is A Boom Microphone? (Applications + Mic Examples)

Best Boom Microphones For Film

How To Properly Hold A Boom Pole And Microphone

Boom microphone example: Sennheiser MKE 600

Sennheiser MKE 600

Sennheiser is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to its application as a boom microphone, the Sennheiser MKE 600 is also classified as a:

Boundary Microphone (Pressure Zone Microphone or PZM)

What is a boundary microphone? A boundary mic is designed to be as flush as possible with a surface. Placing a mic capsule flush to a surface allows it to capture direct sound waves along with the wave reflections with negligible delay. This yields a flat frequency response by effectively eliminating audible comb filtering.

For more info on boundary/PZM microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
The Hemispherical Boundary Microphone/PZM Polar Pattern

What Is A Floor Microphone? (Applications + Mic Examples)

Boundary microphone example: Crown PZM 30D

Crown PZM 30D

In addition to being a boundary microphone, the Crown PZM 30D is also a:

Carbon/Button Microphone

What is a carbon microphone? A carbon mic creates signal via a capsule with carbon granules pressed between two metal plates (diaphragm+backplate). A voltage across the plates causes a current through the granules. As the moving diaphragm alters the pressure and resistance of the granules, a low-quality mic signal is outputted.

Carbon microphone example: Shure 104C

Shure 104C

Shure is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being a carbon/button microphone, the Shure 104C is also a:

Cardioid Microphone (Unidirectional, Cardioid, Heart Mic)

What is a cardioid microphone? A cardioid microphone has a unidirectional cardioid polar/pick up pattern. It is most sensitive to on-axis sounds (where the mic “points”), generally 6 dB less sensitive to the sides, and has a null point to its rear. Cardioid mics are revered for their directionality and rejection of rear sounds.

For more info on cardioid microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
What Is A Cardioid Microphone? (Polar Pattern + Mic Examples)

Cardioid microphone example: Shure SM58

Shure SM58

In addition to being a cardioid microphone, the Shure SM58 is also a:

Clone Microphone

What is a microphone clone? A microphone clone is a mic that is built according to the design and performance of another, more famous or vintage, microphone. Legendary vintage mics that have been discontinued are likely candidates for cloning. Similarly, the famous Shure SM57 and SM58 have countless clones on the market.

For more info on microphone clones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Top 12 Best Vintage Microphones (And Their Best Clones)

Clone microphone example: Bock Audio 251

Bock Audio 251

Bock Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.

In addition to being a clone microphone, the Bock Audio 251 is also a:

Coloured Microphone

What is a coloured microphone? A coloured microphone does not have a flat frequency response. The term “coloured” means that a mic is more sensitive to some frequencies and less sensitive to other frequencies. Presence boosts, high-end roll-offs, and mid-frequency dips are all examples of “coloured” responses.

For more info on coloured microphones and microphone frequency response, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Complete Guide To Microphone Frequency Response (With Mic Examples)

Coloured microphone example: Shure Beta 52A

Shure Beta 52A

In addition to being a coloured microphone, the Shure Beta 52A is also a:

Condenser Microphone (Capacitor/Electrostatic)

What is a condenser microphone? A condenser microphone is a transducer with a parallel-plate capacitor capsule that requires a steady electrical charge to produce a mic signal. The front plate (diaphragm) moves according to sound waves, causing a variation in capacitance and, therefore voltage (mic signal).

Condenser microphone example: Neumann TLM 103

Neumann TLM 103

In addition to being a condenser microphone, the Neumann TLM 103 is also a:

Contact Microphone

What is a contact microphone? A contact mic is designed to pickup sound vibration through contact with solids. Contact mics are largely insensitive to sound waves in air, which is a huge distinction from typical microphones. They are usually piezoelectric mics used as acoustic leakage probes or acoustic instrument pickups.

Contact microphone example: Neewer B019TW4BZO

Neewer B019TW4BZO

In addition to being a contact microphone, the Neewer B019TW4BZO is also a:

Controlled Magnetic/Reluctance Microphone

What is a controlled magnetic microphone? The controlled magnetic microphone was a Shure trademark design and predecessor of the moving-coil dynamic microphone. It works with a ferrous rod (instead of voice coil) attached to a moving diaphragm inside a magnetic field. Electromagnetic induction produces the mic signal as the rod moves.

Controlled magnetic microphone example: Shure CR80Y

Shure CR80Y
Photo from Reverb

In addition to being a controlled magnetic/reluctance microphone, the Shure CR80Y is also a:

Differential Microphone (Double Carbon Mic)

What is a differential microphone? A differential microphone, developed by Western Electric, is an improvement on the antiquated carbon mic design that had two carbon filled button capsules instead of one. Two containers kept granules from moving around, yielding lower noise and distortion along with improved frequency response.

Differential microphone example: Lifetime Model Six

Lifetime Model Six
Photo from people.ohio.edu

https://people.ohio.edu/postr/bapix/LifetmCM.htm

In addition to being a double carbon microphone, the Lifetime Model Six is also a:

Diffuse-Field Microphone (Random Incidence Mic)

What is a diffuse-field microphone? A diffuse-field microphone is a type of measurement mic designed to respond in a uniform manner to sound arriving at its diaphragm from all angles. Diffuse-field mics work best in diffuse sound fields such as reverberation chambers or where several sound sources affect sound pressure at the mic.

Diffuse-field microphone example: Schoeps MK 2XS

Schoeps MK 2XS

Schoeps is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being a diffuse-field microphone, the Schoeps MK 2XS is also a:

Digital Microphone

What is a digital microphone? A digital microphone is defined by having a digital audio output. Digital mics are designed with internal analog-digital converters that convert the mic signal from the capsule to digital information before the mic’s output. USB mics are by far the most common digital mics.

For more info on digital microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Are Microphones Analog Or Digital Devices? (Mic Output Designs)

Digital microphone example: Neumann Solution D

Neumann Solution D

In addition to being a digital microphone, the Neumann Solution D is also a:

Directional Microphone

What is a directional microphone? A directional microphone is more sensitive in some directions than others. Polar pattern identify where directional mics are most sensitive (on-axis) and least sensitive (at the null points). Understanding the directionality of a mic leads to better mic positioning and results.

Directional microphone example: Shure SM57

Shure SM57

In addition to being a directional microphone, the Shure SM57 is also a:

Dynamic Microphone

What is a dynamic microphone? A dynamic microphone is a transducer that utilizes electromagnetic induction to convert sound energy into electrical energy. A conductive element (voice coil or ribbon) either acts as a diaphragm or is attached to a diaphragm and vibrates in a magnetic field to produce a coinciding mic signal.

Dynamic microphone example: Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice RE20

Electro-Voice is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being a dynamic microphone, the Electro-Voice RE20 is also a:

Electret Condenser Microphone

What is an electret condenser microphone? An electret condenser microphone is a condenser mic that utilizes electret material to permanently polarize its parallel-plate capacitor capsule. Electret mics make up the vast majority of cell-phone, computer, headset, and lavalier mics and are also a big part of the professional microphone market.

Electret condenser microphone example: Rode NT1-A

Rode NT1-A

In addition to being an electret condenser microphone, the Neumann TLM 103 is also a:

Electrodynamic Microphone

What is an electrodynamic microphone? An electrodynamic mic is an antiquated type of dynamic mic that utilized an electromagnet instead of a permanent magnet. An electromagnet needs current to pass through it to create a magnetic field. As permanent magnets became more powerful and available, electrodynamic mics became obsolete.

Electrodynamic microphone example: N/A

Fibre Optic Microphone

What is a fibre optic microphone? A fibre optic mic converts sound waves into electrical signals by sensing changes in light intensity on a reflective diaphragm. Fibre optic mics have superb dynamic and frequency ranges; they’re immune to electromagnetic interference; and they’re resistant to heat and humidity.

Fibre Optic microphone example: OptiMic 4122

OptiMic 4122
Photo from OptiMic

Foil Electret Condenser Microphone (Classic/Diaphragm/Middle Electret)

What is a foil electret condenser microphone? A foil electret condenser mic employs a film of electret material as its diaphragm rather than having a distinct diaphragm plate coated in electret material (like a front electret). Foil electrets are the most common but the lowest-quality electret mics since film performs poorly as a diaphragm.

Foil electret condenser microphone example: Challenge Electronics CEM-C9745JAD462P2.54R

Challenge Electronics CEM-C9745JAD462P2.54R

In addition to being a foil electret condenser microphone, the Challenge Electronics CEM-C9745JAD462P2.54R is also a:

Free-Field Microphone (Frontal Incidence Mic)

What is a free-field microphone? A free-field microphone is a type of measurement mic designed with a tailored high-frequency response that compensates for its own presence in (and disturbance to) a free-sound field. Free-field mics work best in most sound pressure level measurement situations and especially in anechoic chambers.

Free-field microphone example: Bruel & Kjaer 4189-A-021

Bruel & Kjaer 4189-A-021

In addition to being a free-field microphone, the Bruel & Kjaer 4189-A-021 is also a:

Front Electret Condenser Microphone

What is a front electret condenser microphone? A front electret condenser mic is an electret mic with no backplate. Rather, the capacitor is formed by the diaphragm and the inside surface of the mic capsule. An electret film is fixed to the inside front cover of the mic and the diaphragm is connected to the input of the FET.

Front electret condenser microphone example: N/A

God Microphone

What does the term “god microphone” mean? The term god microphone refers to an unseen performer using an unseen microphone to make announcements during live events. The voice is heard through the public address system throughout the venue but no one can see who is talking.

God microphone example: Shure SM7B

Shure SM7B

In addition to its application as a God microphone, the Shure SM7B is also classified as a:

Handheld Microphone

What is a handheld microphone? Though any practical microphone can be held in one’s hands, a handheld microphone is mic that is designed for handheld use. Handheld mics are designed for vocals and are typically top-address with either an omnidirectional or cardioid-type polar pattern.

For more info on handheld microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
How To Hold A Microphone When Public Speaking And Presenting
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How To Hold A Microphone When Singing Live
.

Handheld microphone example: Sennheiser e835

Sennheiser e835

In addition to its application as a handheld microphone, the Sennheiser e835 is also classified as a:

Headset Microphone

What is a headset microphone? A headset mic is a hands-free mic design that is held in place on a speaker’s head and has an arm or gooseneck to position the mic capsule in front of the speaker’s mouth. These mics are often part of headphone/microphone combinations. Headset mics capsules are typically omnidirectional electrets.

Headset microphone example: Shure SM35-TQG

Shure SM35-TQG

In addition to being a headset microphone, the Shure SM35-TQG is also a:

High-Impedance Microphone

What is a high-impedance microphone? A “high-impedance mic” is a mic with an output impedance typically between 10-100 kΩ. High-impedance mics are consumer-grade products with unbalanced outputs. Their signals lose most of their high-frequency content when sent through any practical length of cable, resulting in a dark, muffled sound.

For more info on microphone impedance, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Microphone Impedance: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

What Is A Good Microphone Output Impedance Rating?

High-impedance microphone example: Pyle Pro PDMIC58

Pyle Pro PDMIC58

In addition to being a high-impedance microphone, the Pyle Pro PDMIC58 is also a:

Hypercardioid Microphone

What is a hypercardioid microphone? A hypercardioid microphone has a very directional hypercardioid polar/pick up pattern. It is most sensitive to on-axis sounds (where the mic “points”) with null points at 110° and 250° and a rear lobe of sensitivity. Hypercardioid mics are popular in film due to their high directionality.

For more info on hypercardioid microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
What Is A Hypercardioid Microphone? (Polar Pattern + Mic Examples)

Hypercardioid microphone example: Neumann KM 185

Neumann KM 185

In addition to being a hypercardioid microphone, the Neumann KM 185 is also a:

Internal Microphone

What is an internal microphone? An internal microphone refers to a mic on the inside of an instrument or electric device that acts as an electric pickup. Internal mics are most often of the electret or piezoelectric varieties and provide quick and consistent miking of instruments in recording and sound reinforcement situations.

Internal microphone example: LR Baggs Lyric Acoustic Guitar Microphone

LR Baggs Lyric Acoustic Guitar Microphone

In addition to its application as an interior microphone, the LR Baggs Lyric Acoustic Guitar Microphone is also classified as a:

Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

What is a large diaphragm condenser microphone? A large-diaphragm condenser (LDC) generally has a diaphragm measuring one inch or more in diameter. Compared to small-diaphragm condensers (SDC), LDCs have lower self-noise but worse specs in areas such as transient and frequency response and polar pattern consistency. LDCs are typically side-address mics.

Large-diaphragm condenser microphone example: Neumann TLM 102

Neumann TLM 102

In addition to being a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the Neumann TLM 102 is also a:

Laser Microphone

What is a laser microphone? A laser microphone is considered a surveillance device. Laser mics utilize laser beams to detect sound vibrations in objects and surfaces. The laser beam is directed at a surface and reflects off the surface, returning to a receiver that converts the beam interferometrically into an audio signal.

Laser microphone example: Spectra Laser Microphone M+

Spectra Laser Microphone M+

Lavalier Microphone (Lapel/Body Mic)

What is a lavalier microphone? A lavalier microphone is a tiny clip-on mic designed for hands free operation in film, theatre, and similar applications. Lav mics typically have tiny electret capsule and are often wireless. They can be clipped onto collars and other clothing, attached to hair and headwear, or positioned elsewhere.

For more info on lavalier microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Do Actors Wear Microphones? (Film, Theatre, And Other Performances)

How And Where To Attach A Lavalier/Lapel Microphone

Best Lavalier Microphones For Interviews, News, And Presentations

Best Lavalier Microphones For Actors

Lavalier (lapel/body) microphone example: Sanken COS-11D

Sanken COS-11D

In addition to being a lavalier microphone, the Sanken COS-11D is also a:

Liquid Microphone

What is a liquid microphone? The liquid mic is an Alexander Graham Bell invention. A cup is filled with conductive liquid (water and sulphuric acid). A diaphragm moves according to sound waves, causing an attached needle to move in the conductive liquid. Coinciding variations in the circuit’s resistance causes an audio signal.

Liquid microphone example: replica of Bell’s liquid microphone

Replica of Bell’s liquid microphone

Low-Impedance Microphone

What is a low-impedance microphone? A low-impedance microphone typically has a nominal output impedance of less than 600Ω. Professional microphones have low output impedances and balanced outputs for optimal bridging with professional preamplifiers, which allows for appropriate voltage/mic signal transfer.

For more info on microphone impedance, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Microphone Impedance: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

What Is A Good Microphone Output Impedance Rating?

Low-impedance microphone example: Neumann M 150 Tube

Neumann M 150 Tube

In addition to being a low-impedance microphone, the Neumann M 150 Tube is also a:

Measurement/Calibration Microphone

What is a measurement microphone? A measurement microphone is intended for use with an audio analysis system. Measurement mics are excellent at gathering data about room acoustics and measuring sound pressure levels. These high-quality mics are generally used for measurements but also see use in recording and sound reinforcement.

Measurement/calibration microphone example: Earthworks M50

Earthworks M50

In addition to its application as a measurement microphone, the Earthworks M50 is also classified as a:

MEMS Microphone (Microphone Chip Or Silicon Mic)

What is a MEMS microphone? A MEMS (MicroElectrical-Mechanical System) mic is etched into a silicon wafer by MEMS processing. A MEMS mic “capsule” has a diaphragm and a fixed backplate over a cavity in the base wafer. MEMS mics are designed with integrated preamps and analog-to-digital converters and output digital audio signals.

MEMS microphone example: SiSonic S987 9265

SiSonic S987 9265

In addition to being a MEMS microphone, the SiSonic S987 9265 is also a:

Modular Microphone

What is a modular microphone? A modular microphone has multiple separate parts (often the capsule and the mic preamplifier) that connect together to make a full microphone. Modular mic systems have the flexibility of interchangeable pieces to change up the mic specifications.

Modular microphone example: Schoeps MK 4 / CMC 6

Schoeps MK 4 / CMC 6

In addition to being a MEMS microphone, the Schoeps MK 4 / CMC 6 is also a:

Moving-Coil Dynamic Microphone

What is a moving-coil dynamic microphone? Moving-coil dynamic microphones (often simply referred to as dynamic mics) work on the principle of electromagnetic induction, where a conductive voice coil is attached to a diaphragm and moves through a magnetic field in sympathy with the varying sound pressure around the mic.

For more info on moving-coil dynamic microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Moving-Coil Dynamic Microphones: The In-Depth Guide
.

Moving-coil dynamic microphone example: Sennheiser MD-421

Sennheiser MD-421

In addition to being a moving-coil dynamic microphone, the Sennheiser MD-421 is also a:

Multi-Pattern Microphone

What is a multi-pattern microphone? A multi-pattern microphone has switchable polar patterns to choose from. Multi-pattern mics accomplish their various polar patterns by combining their multiple capsules together in varying amplitudes and phases. Some multi-patten microphones even come with stereo options.

For more info on the many microphone polar patterns, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
The Complete Guide To Microphone Polar Patterns

Multi-pattern microphone example: AKG C 414 XLII

AKG C 414 XLII

AKG is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You Should Know And Use.

In addition to being a multi-pattern microphone, the AKG C 414 XLII is also a:

Noise-Cancelling Microphone

What is a noise-cancelling microphone? Noise-cancelling mics reject ambient noise while remaining sensitive to close sounds. They are pressure-gradient mics with acoustic labyrinths that cause ambient, distant, and off-axis sounds to cancel out at the diaphragm. They barely show proximity effect and only pick up close on-axis sounds.

Noise-cancelling microphone example: Sennheiser CC 510

Sennheiser CC 510

In addition to being a noise-cancelling microphone, the Sennheiser CC 510 is also a:

Omnidirectional Microphone

What is an omnidirectional microphone? An omnidirectional microphone has an omnidirectional polar pattern and is equally sensitive to sound from every direction. Unlike their directional counterparts, omni microphone capsules have only one side of their diaphragms open to external sound pressure.

For more information on omnidirectional microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
What Is An Omnidirectional Microphone? (Polar Pattern + Mic Examples)

Omnidirectional microphone example: Rode Reporter

Rode Reporter

In addition to being an omnidirectional microphone, the Rode Reporter is also a:

Overhead Microphone

What is an overhead microphone? Overhead microphones are any mics positioned some distance above a sound source and point downward to capture a wide angle of the sound source (which is often a percussion instrument). Directional overhead mic, as singles or as stereo pairs, provide a full sound of the source below them.

For more info on overhead microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Best Drum Overhead Microphones

Overhead microphone example: AKG C 414 XLS

AKG C 414 XLS

In addition to its application as an overhead microphone, the AKG C 414 XLS is also classified as a:

Parabolic Microphone

What is a parabolic microphone? A parabolic mic is used in conjunction with a parabolic disc. Although parabolic systems are highly directional and have long reaches, the best parabolic mics are omnidirectional in order to capture all the reflections within the disc. Small-diaphragm condensers and lavalier mic are most common.

For more info on parabolic microphones and dishes, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Best Parabolic Microphones

Best Parabolic Microphone Dishes

Parabolc microphone dish example: Klover MiK 26″

Klover MiK 26″

Parabolc microphone example: Countryman B3

Countryman B3

In addition to its application as a parabolic microphone, the Countryman B3 is also classified as a:

Passive Microphone

What is a passive microphone? A passive microphone does not require any external power in order to function properly. Practically all moving-coil dynamic mics and most dynamic ribbon mics are passive since they work on electromagnetic induction and typically do not have internal preamplifiers.

For more info on passive microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Do Microphones Need Power To Function Properly?

Passive microphone example: Coles 4038

Coles 4038

Coles Electroacoustics is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.

In addition to being a passive microphone, the Coles 4038 is also a:

Pencil Microphone

What is a pencil microphone? The term “pencil microphone” typically refers to a thin, top-address small-diaphragm condenser, though the term could refer to any thin, cylindrical mic (that resembles a pencil). The term pencil mic is not technical, but commonly used in audio industries.

Pencil microphone example: Rode M5

Rode M5

In addition to being a pencil microphone, the Rode M5 is also a:

Piezoelectric Microphone (Crystal Mic)

What is a piezoelectric microphone? Piezo mics work with piezoelectric materials (known as crystals) that, when subjected to varying pressure (sound waves) produce an AC voltage (mic signal). They have very high output impedances and are mostly used as contact mics for acoustic instruments or to record in high-pressure environments.

Piezoelectric (crystal/contact) microphone example: Adeline AD-35

Adeline AD-35

In addition to being a piezoelectric microphone, the Adeline AD-35 is also a:

Pressure Microphone

What is a pressure microphone? A pressure microphone is any mic that has one side of its diaphragm open to external sound waves and the other side closed in a fixed pressure system. Pressure mics are omnidirectional (sound pressure is a scalar quantity), they exhibit no proximity effect and they are fairly resistant to plosives.

Pressure microphone example: Schoeps MK 2

Schoeps MK 2

In addition to being a pressure microphone, the Schoeps MK 2 is also a:

Pressure-Gradient Microphone

What is a pressure-gradient microphone? A pressure-gradient microphone has both sides of its diaphragm at least partially open to external sound waves. Pressure-gradient mics make up all the directional dynamic and condenser mics and pressure-gradient capsules even make up most of the omnidirectional patterns in multi-pattern mics.

Pressure-gradient microphone example: AEA R84

AEA R84

AEA is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.

In addition to being a pressure-gradient microphone, the AEA R84 is also a:

Pressure Response Microphone

What is a pressure response microphone? A pressure response microphone is a type of measurement mic that measures the actual sound pressure on its diaphragm. Pressure response mics work best in cavities and against surfaces, where they accurately measure the sound pressure at the boundary itself.

Pressure response microphone example: PCB 377A15

PCB 377A15

In addition to being a pressure response microphone, the PCB 377A15 is also a:

Quantum Microphone

What is a quantum microphone? A quantum microphone detects sound at the quantum mechanics level. Quantum mics do so with a single-electron transistor (SET). Sound wave, known as surface acoustic waves, oscillate atoms underneath the quantum mic on a chip surface, which allows the SET to detect very low level sound vibrations.

Quantum microphone example: N/A

RF Condenser Microphone (RF Capacitor/ RF Electrostatic)

What is an RF condenser microphone? RF condenser mics (RFCs) use a low RF voltage from a low-noise oscillator to polarize their capsules. As capsule capacitance varies, the RF voltage is modulated and a mic signal is created. RFCs have flatter frequency response, lower noise, and are better in weather than FET or tube condensers.

RF condenser microphone example: Sennheiser MKH 60

Sennheiser MKH 60

In addition to being a RF condenser microphone, the Sennheiser MKH 60 is also a:

Ribbon Microphone

What is a ribbon microphone? A ribbon microphone in a type of dynamic mic that utilizes a thin, conductive, corrugated ribbon-like diaphragm to convert sound energy to mic signals via electromagnetic induction. Ribbon mics are typically very accurate, bidirectional, low-output mics with slight high-frequency roll-off.

For more info on ribbon dynamic microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Dynamic Ribbon Microphones: The In-Depth Guide

Ribbon microphone example: Royer R-121

Royer R-121

In addition to being a ribbon microphone, the Royer R-121 is also a:

Room Microphone

What is a room microphone? A room mic is positioned to capture the full sound of a source along with the sound of the physical space. Room mics are often set up in stereo pairs in order to provide more detail in a stereo mix. Room mic positioning is often in a room’s sweet spot or at the critical distance from a sound source.

For more info on room microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Best Room Microphones

Room microphone example: Neumann U 87 Ai

Neumann U 87 Ai

In addition to its application as a room microphone, the Neumann U 87 Ai is also classified as a:

Shotgun Microphone

What is a shotgun microphone? A shotgun microphone is highly directional and is often used as a boom mic in film production. The extreme directionality of shotgun mics is not possible in typical capsules, and so long interference tubes are utilized in order to filter out off-axis sound waves before they reach the diaphragm.

For more info on shotgun microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
The Lobar/Shotgun Microphone Polar Pattern (With Mic Examples)

Best Shotgun Microphones For A Camera

Best Boom Microphones For Film

Shotgun microphone example: Schoeps CMIT 5U

Schoeps CMIT 5U

In addition to being a shotgun microphone, the Schoeps CMIT 5U is also a:

Side-Address Microphone

What is a side-address microphone? A side-address microphone has its primary axis pointing out from its side. Most ribbon mics and large diaphragm condenser mics are side-address.

Side-address microphone example: Neumann U 87 Ai

Neumann U 87 Ai

In addition to being a side-address microphone, the Neumann U 87 Ai is also a:

Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

What is a small diaphragm condenser microphone? A small diaphragm condenser (SDC) generally has a diaphragm measuring half an inch or less in diameter. Compared to large-diaphragm condensers, SDCs have superior polar pattern consistency and transient and frequency responses but have higher self-noise. SDCs are typically top-address mics.

Small-diaphragm condenser microphone example: AKG C 451 B

AKG C 451 B

In addition to being a small-diaphragm condenser microphone, the AKG C 451 B is also a:

Squeeze Microphone

What is a squeeze microphone? A squeeze microphone refers to any mic that produces a mic signal that is later heavily compressed in a mix. Squeeze mics are often set up as room mics in a drum isolation booth. Their signals are used in parallel compression mixing techniques.

Squeeze microphone example: Microtech-Gefell M950

Microtech-Gefell M950

In addition to its application as a squeeze microphone, the Microtech-Gefell M950 is also classified as a:

Stereo Microphone

What is a stereo microphone? A stereo microphone is any mic that can output in stereo (two mono signals. Stereo mics are designed with at least two diaphragms set up as some sort of coincident pair. A stereo mic typically has a 5-pin XLR output and comes with a 5-pin to two 3-pin cable adapter for use with mic preamplifiers.

For more info on stereo microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Do Microphones Output Mono Or Stereo Signals?

Stereo microphone example: Sennheiser MKH 418-S

Sennheiser MKH 418-S

In addition to being a stereo microphone, the Sennheiser MKH 418-S is also a:

Subcardioid (Wide Cardioid) Microphone

What is a subcardioid/wide cardioid microphone? A subcardioid (aka wide cardioid) microphone has a polar pattern that resembles the midway point between an omnidirectional and cardioid pattern. It is unidirectional (most sensitive to on-axis sounds) but will also pick up sounds from every other direction with clarity (though with less amplitude).

Subcardioid microphone example: DPA 4015A

DPA 4015A

In addition to being a subcardioid microphone, the DPA 4015A is also a:

Supercardioid Microphone

What is a supercardioid microphone? A supercardioid microphone has a very directional supercardioid polar/pick up pattern. It is most sensitive to on-axis sounds (where the mic “points”) with null points at 127° and 233° and a rear lobe of sensitivity. Supercardioid mics are popular in film due to their high directionality.

Supercardioid microphone example: Sennheiser MD 441U

Sennheiser MD 441U

In addition to being a supercardioid microphone, the Sennheiser MD 441U is also a:

Talkback Microphone

What is a talkback microphone? A talkback microphone is any mic that allows for communication from the control room of a studio to the live room(s), allowing producers and engineers to speak to performers quickly without having to enter the live rooms. Talkback systems often have a mic and speaker (or headphones) in each room.

Talkback microphone example: Shure MX418DS

Shure MX418DS

In addition to its application as a talkback microphone, the Shure MX418DS is also classified as a:

Tetrahedral Microphone

What is a tetrahedral microphone? A tetrahedral microphone is a type of ambisonic mic that has 4 subcardioid capsules pointing equally divided directions. Raw tetrahedral mic recordings (B-Format) must be decoded for use in stereo, surround, or 3-D ambisonic mixes.

Tetrahedral microphone example: Core Sound TetraMic

Core Sound TetraMic

In addition to being a tetrahedral microphone, the Core Sound TetraMic is also a:

Top-Address Microphone

What is a top-address microphone? A top-address microphone has an on-axis line pointing out of its top. Top-address mics have capsules at the top or end of their bodies and a most sensitive (if directional) in the direction they point in. Pencil mics and most handheld mics are top-address.

Top-address microphone example: Shure SM58

Shure SM58

In addition to being a top-address microphone, the Shure SM58 is also a:

Transformerless Microphone

What is a transformerless microphone? A transformerless microphone is simply any microphone that does not have a transformer-coupled output. Rather, these mics simply output the signal directly from their capsules, or more commonly, they have a solid-state output circuitry to properly process the signal before the output.

For more information on microphone transformers and transformerless microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:

Do All Microphones Have Transformers And Transistors? (+ Mic Examples).

Transformerless microphone example: Mojave Audio MA50

Mojave Audio MA50

Mojave Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Microphone Brands You’ve Likely Never Heard Of.

In addition to being a transformerless microphone, the Mojave Audio MA50 is also a:

True Condenser Microphone

What is a true condenser microphone? True condenser mics came before electrets and are distinguishable from electrets by the fact that they require an external voltage to polarize their capsules. True condensers draw DC voltage from phantom power or power supplies to properly polarize their capsules and power their circuitry.

True condenser microphone example: Neumann U 67 Reissue

Neumann U 67 Reissue

In addition to being a true condenser microphone, the Neumann U 67 Reissue is also a:

Tube Microphone

What is a tube microphone? A tube mic is an active mic that utilizes vacuum tubes (valves) rather than a transistor circuit to amplify its signal internally. The warm “tube sound” characterized by saturation and gentle high-frequency roll-off makes vintage tube mics highly sought after by tube and mic enthusiasts.

Tube microphone example: Telefunken Ela M 251E

Telefunken Ela M 251E

In addition to being a tube microphone, the Telefunken Ela M 251E is also a:

USB Microphone

What is a USB microphone? A USB microphone outputs its mic signal digitally via a USB cable. USB mics have internal analog-digital converters that essentially act as audio interfaces. USB mics are often plug-and-play for use with computers, making them a very popular choice in our digital world.

For more info on USB microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Are Microphones Analog Or Digital Devices? (Mic Output Designs)
How Do USB Microphones Work And How To Use Them
Best USB Microphones For Recording Podcasts

USB microphone example: Blue Yeti

Blue Yeti

In addition to being a USB microphone, the Blue Yeti is also a:

Velocity Microphone

What is a velocity microphone? A velocity mic is a theoretical mic that reacts to the velocity of individual air molecules hitting its diaphragm. To achieve this, the diaphragm would be infinitely light (to respond instantaneously) and infinitely thin (for equal pressure on the two sides). Ribbon mics are closest to this ideal.

Velocity microphone example: Rode NTR

Rode NTR

In addition to being a (theoretical) velocity microphone, the Rode NTR is also a:

Vintage Microphone

What is a vintage microphone? A vintage microphone is an older mic that typically has gone up in value over time. Vintage mics are sought after by audiophiles, musicians, and engineers for their fame and characteristic sounds. Many vintage mics are either high-quality ribbons or tube condensers that have stood the tests of time.

For more info on vintage microphones, check out the following My New Microphone article:
Top 12 Best Vintage Microphones (And Their Best Clones)

Vintage Microphone example: RCA 44-BX

RCA 44-BX

In addition to being classified as a vintage microphone, the RCA 44-BX is also a:

Wireless Microphone

What is a wireless microphone? A wireless microphone is any mic that has its signal transmitted wirelessly. Wireless mics attach to various types of transmitters including handheld and body pack versions, that encoded the mic signal and send it wirelessly via radio frequencies (VHF or UHF) to matching receivers.

For more info on wireless microphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
How Do Wireless Microphones Work?

How To Connect A Wireless Microphone To A Computer (+ Bluetooth Mics)

Wireless microphone example: Shure PGXD24SM58-X8

Shure PGXD24SM58-X8

In addition to its application as a wireless microphone, the Shure PGXD24SM58-X8 microphone is also classified as a:


What type of microphone is best for live performances? In live performances that require sound reinforcement, directional microphones are the best (for gain-before-feedback). These mics are most often moving-coil dynamics, but can be ribbon or condensers as well.

What is the most common type of microphone? The electret condenser microphone is the most common mic type in the world. Electret mic capsules are not only found in high-end studio, film, and broadcast mics, but also make up the vast majority of microphones in electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, hearing aids, etc.).

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