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What is a Dynamic Microphone & Condenser Microphone? Top 18

Dynamic and condenser microphones are both essential tools to have in your arsenal, each with unique strengths and applications. 

 

One is perfect for handling high sound pressure levels and capturing loud sound sources with durability. 

 

The other excels in detailed sound reproduction and sensitivity, making it ideal for studio settings and capturing every detail of acoustic instruments.

 

As a music producer, understanding the differences, benefits, and downsides of each type is incredibly beneficial. 

 

It can help you choose the right mic for any situation and improve the quality of your recordings and performances.

 

That’s exactly why we’re breaking down:

 

  • What is a dynamic microphone ✓
  • What is a condenser microphone ✓
  • The similarities and differences between the two ✓
  • The downsides of each ✓
  • What each one is best at ✓
  • The top 9 dynamic microphones ✓
  • The top 9 condenser microphones ✓

 

By the end of this article, you’ll know everything about condenser and dynamic microphones, their uses, and their advantages/disadvantages. 

 

This way, you can make informed decisions and achieve professional-level audio quality. 

 

Plus, you’ll know the 16 best dynamic and condenser microphones available as well.

 

So, let’s dive in…

 

Table of Contents

What is a Dynamic Microphone?

 

what is a dynamic microphone

 

Dynamic microphones (aka dynamic mics) are the VIPs of the audio recording world. 

 

They operate on the principle of electromagnetic induction, where a voice coil attached to a diaphragm moves within a magnetic field.

 

It converts sound waves into an electrical signal. 

 

When sound waves hit the diaphragm, the attached voice coil moves within the magnetic field 一 creating an electrical signal. 

 

This process allows dynamic microphones to handle high sound pressure levels without distortion, which are perfect for capturing loud sound sources such as: 

 

  • Electric guitars
  • Drums
  • Etc.

 

Most dynamic microphones are known for their durability and ability to withstand rough handling, so they’re also a go-to for live performances and studio applications as well.

 

Plus, they’re less sensitive to extreme temperature and humidity changes, adding to their reliability. 

 

Whether you’re recording vocals or loud instruments, dynamic microphones deliver consistent and high-quality audio like a boss.

 

NOTE: Dynamic mics excel in environments with high ambient noise due to their cardioid polar pattern, which focuses on sound directly in front of the mic while minimizing background noise. 

 

What is a Condenser Microphone?

 

Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones - Unison

 

Condenser microphones (aka condenser mics) are hyped up for their ability to capture detailed sound reproduction with exceptional clarity, and for good reason.

 

They operate using a lightweight diaphragm suspended near a backplate.

 

When sound waves hit the diaphragm, the movement changes the electrical charge between the diaphragm and the backplate 一 creating an electrical signal.

 

This design requires an external power supply, usually provided by phantom power from an audio interface or mixing console

 

Condenser mics are highly sensitive to a wide range of frequencies, making them ideal for studio recording tasks, especially for capturing: 

 

  • Vocals
  • Acoustic instruments
  • Etc.

 

They excel in quiet environments where their sensitivity can shine without picking up unwanted ambient sounds. 

 

The wider frequency response and greater transient response of condenser microphones make them perfect for picking up the nuances of higher frequencies and subtle dynamics in a performance. 

 

NOTE: The need for phantom power and their high sensitivity to sound waves hitting the diaphragm makes condenser mics a top choice for detailed and accurate sound.

 

Dynamic Mics vs. Condenser Mics: Summing it Up

 

Dynamic vs Condenser e1719001811570 - Unison

Dynamic Microphone (right) and Condenser Microphone (left)

 

Condenser and dynamic microphones each have their unique strengths and applications, as we mentioned before.

 

A dynamic microphone operates by handling high sound pressure levels well, making them perfect for live performances and recording loud sound sources. 

 

They are less sensitive to ambient noise and changes in temperature and humidity 一 providing consistent performance in various environments. 

 

Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are known for their detailed sound reproduction and wide frequency response

 

They require external power (typically they require phantom power), and are best suited for controlled studio environments where their sensitivity can capture the full spectrum.

 

All without interference from background noise. 

 

Basically, dynamic and condenser microphones complement each other, with each type excelling in different scenarios. 

 

Understanding when to use a dynamic mic vs. a condenser mic can greatly enhance the quality of your recordings, whether you’re capturing the raw power of a live band or the intricate nuances of a solo vocalist

 

The 9 Best Dynamic Microphones

 

Now that you have a solid understanding of what is a dynamic microphone vs condenser microphone, and what they’re good for, let’s break down the best of both worlds, starting with dynamic microphones. They all stand out for their reliability, good sound quality, and versatility.

 

#1. Shure SM7B ($399)

 

Shure SM7B e1719001890472 - Unison

 

The Shure SM7B is a legendary dynamic microphone, known for its smooth, flat, wide-range frequency response. 

 

It’s a top choice for studio recording (especially vocals and the spoken word).

 

The SM7B’s internal air suspension shock isolation system eliminates mechanical noise transmission, and its advanced electromagnetic shielding protects against hum.

 

Like from computer monitors, electrical devices, that kind of thing.

 

This dynamic mic handles high sound pressure levels exceptionally well 一 making it versatile for both music and broadcast. 

 

Plus its rugged construction makes sure it doesn’t break down quickly, even in demanding studio settings, so it’s a super solid choice.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Microphone:

 

Shure SM7B 2 e1719001927868 - Unison

 

  • Flat, wide-range frequency response
  • Internal air suspension shock isolation
  • Advanced electro-magnetic field shielding
  • Effective built-in pop filter
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

#2. Electro-Voice RE20 ($449)

 

Electro Voice RE20 - Unison

 

The Electro-Voice RE20 is an OG in the world of studio recording and broadcasting, with its Variable-D technology minimizing proximity effect.

 

Meaning, it ensures a consistent tonal performance.

 

This mic handles high sound pressure levels with ease 一 making it ideal for capturing vocals and instruments in a variety of settings. 

 

The RE20’s large diaphragm element provides excellent low-frequency response, perfect for capturing the nuances of both voice and instruments. 

 

Its solid build and internal shock mount make it durable/reliable for professional use.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Microphone:

 

Electro Voice RE20 2 - Unison

 

  • Variable-D technology
  • Consistent tonal performance
  • High sound pressure level handling
  • Excellent low-frequency response
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

#3. Sennheiser MD 421-II ($349)

 

Sennheiser MD 421 II - Unison

 

The Sennheiser MD 421-II is known for its versatility and durability. 

 

It features a five-position bass roll-off switch, allowing for precise control over low-end frequencies, which is a great quality.

 

This dynamic mic excels in capturing a wide range of sound sources, from vocals to electric guitars and drums

 

Its cardioid polar pattern ensures good isolation of the sound source, so you won’t have to worry about any pesky background noise.

 

If we’re talking live performances or recording studio jobs, the MD 421-II is a great choice.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Microphone:

 

Sennheiser MD 421 II 2 - Unison

 

  • Five-position bass roll-off switch
  • Versatile sound capture
  • Durable construction
  • Good isolation of sound source
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to many dynamic mics

 

#4. Telefunken M80 ($267)

 

Telefunken M80 - Unison

 

The Telefunken M80 delivers crystal-clear vocals with its tight cardioid pattern. 

 

It’s designed to handle live performances with ease and provide you with excellent  feedback rejection.

 

Thanks to its high SPL handling and wide frequency response, it’s perfect for both stage and studio, with almost unmatched reliability.

 

NOTE: The M80’s lightweight membrane ensures fast transient response 一 capturing detailed sound with clarity. 

 

Its show-stopping design and high-quality components make it a favorite among singers and engineers alike.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Microphone:

 

Telefunken M80 2 - Unison

 

  • Tight cardioid pattern
  • Excellent feedback rejection
  • High SPL handling
  • Fast transient response
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

#5. sE Electronics V7 ($99)

 

sE Electronics V7 2 - Unison

 

The sE Electronics V7 features a supercardioid pattern, offering excellent isolation from background noise. 

 

One thing I find pretty cool about this mic is not only its construction, but it comes with an integrated widescreen, which is perfect for performing live.

 

It captures super detailed sound, which is why singers say the microphone’s output is:

 

  • Clear
  • Crisp
  • Nearly flawless

 

Its specialized aluminum voice coil provides a natural tone and high-frequency detail and the beveled edge design prevents the mic from rolling.

 

This just adds to its practicality for stage use and makes it a great choice (especially for its price range).

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Mic:

 

sE Electronics V7 - Unison

 

  • Supercardioid pattern
  • Excellent noise isolation
  • Rugged construction
  • Detailed sound capture
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

#6. Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB ($49)

 

Audio Technica ATR2100x USB 1 - Unison

 

The Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB combines: 

 

  • XLR connectivity
  • USB connectivity

 

This makes it great for studio and portable use, plus the price tag certainly can’t be beat.

 

It provides clean sound quality and features a cardioid polar pattern to reduce background noise 一 perfect for podcasters and home studio enthusiasts.

 

And this is, of course, thanks to its plug-and-play USB capability. 

 

The ATR2100x-USB’s durable construction ensures long-lasting performance, even with frequent use/daily use.

 

Plus, its built-in headphone jack allows for real-time monitoring, making it user-friendly for beginners.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Mic:

 

Audio Technica ATR2100x USB - Unison

 

  • XLR and USB connectivity
  • Clean sound quality
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Built-in headphone jack
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

#7. Shure MV7+ ($249)

 

Shure MV7 - Unison

 

Inspired by the SM7B (the number one on our list), the Shure MV7+ offers hybrid connectivity with both XLR and USB outputs. 

 

It includes touch panel controls for real-time adjustments and integrates with the ShurePlus MOTIV app for automatic level setting

 

This dynamic mic is excellent for those who need flexibility and high-quality sound, like:

 

  • Content creators
  • Musicians
  • Podcasters

 

The MV7’s built-in headphone jack provides direct monitoring 一 enhancing the entire audio recording experience as a whole.

 

Its build and clear sound makes it a top choice for both studio and field recording.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Mic:

 

Shure MV7 2 - Unison

 

  • Hybrid XLR and USB connectivity
  • Touch panel controls
  • ShurePlus MOTIV app integration
  • Built-in headphone jack
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

#8. Behringer XM8500 ($25)

 

Behringer XM8500 - Unison

 

At only $25, the Behringer XM8500 is an extremely  affordable dynamic microphone that delivers impressive sound quality. 

 

I actually got a chance to check this out firsthand, and I have to say, not bad at all.

 

It features a cardioid polar pattern to minimize background noise and a built-in pop filter to reduce plosives

 

This mic is ideal for live performances and studio recording on a budget, and its solid construction ensures reliability (yes, even with rough handling).

 

The XM8500 offers a frequency response that can record vocals and percussive instruments with clarity and detail 一 making it an overall great pick.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Dynamic Microphone:

 

Behringer XM8500 2 e1719002234938 - Unison

 

  • Affordable price
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Built-in pop filter
  • Durable construction
  • One of the best dynamic microphones around compared to other dynamic mics

 

The 9 Best Condenser Microphones

 

Now that we covered the best dynamic options, let’s break down the best condenser microphones, known for their sensitivity and detailed sound reproduction.

 

#1. Neumann U87 Ai (~ $3,000)

 

Neumann U87 Ai - Unison

 

The Neumann U87 Ai is a gold standard in studio recording (if you can’t tell by the price tag), renowned for its exceptional clarity and detailed sound reproduction. 

 

This condenser microphone features three selectable polar patterns:

 

  • Omnidirectional
  • Cardioid
  • Figure-8

 

This makes it super versatile for various recording purposes, and handles high sound pressure with ease.

 

From vocals to orchestral instruments, the U87 Ai is top-notch, no doubt about it.

 

Plus, it has a wide frequency response and a slight presence boost, which enhances vocal clarity and detail

 

Overall, it’s one of the best condenser mics around.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Mic:

 

Neumann U87 Ai 2 - Unison

 

  • Three selectable polar patterns
  • Handles high sound pressure levels
  • Wide frequency response
  • Slight presence boost for vocal clarity
  • One of the best condenser microphones around when compared to other condenser mics

 

#2. Warm Audio WA-87 R2 ($699)

 

Warm Audio WA 87 - Unison

 

The Warm Audio WA-87 R2 is a modern reimagining of the classic WA-87, but with enhanced features and improved performance.

 

It features three selectable polar patterns:

 

  • Cardioid
  • Omnidirectional
  • Figure-8

 

The WA-87 R2 has a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz 一 ensuring detailed and accurate sound reproduction across the entire audio spectrum. 

 

The rugged build and vintage-style design make it a reliable and aesthetically pleasing addition to any studio setup.

 

Plus it has the warm sound characteristic of vintage microphones to match.

 

NOTE: Its ability to handle high sound pressure levels up to 125 dB makes it suitable for recording everything from vocals to loud instruments. 

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Mic:

 

Warm Audio WA 87 2 1 - Unison

 

  • Three selectable polar patterns
  • Frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Handles high sound pressure levels up to 125 dB
  • Vintage-style design
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

#3. AKG C414 ($1,099)

 

AKG C414 - Unison

 

The AKG C414 offers nine polar patterns and high SPL handling, making it ideal for a wide range of recording scenarios. 

 

Its versatility and precision make it a favorite for capturing everything from vocals to orchestras, and some of the world’s top engineers consider it “super solid.”

 

Plus, its dual-diaphragm design provides detailed sound reproduction and a wide frequency response. 

 

This condenser mic is ideal for professional studio settings where flexibility is key.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Microphone:

 

AKG C414 2 e1719002406651 - Unison

 

  • Nine polar patterns
  • High SPL handling
  • Dual-diaphragm design
  • Wide frequency response
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

#4. Audio-Technica AT2020 ($99)

 

Audio Technica AT2020 - Unison

 

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is celebrated for its affordability and high performance, making it a favorite among home studio enthusiasts. 

 

It features a cardioid polar pattern that effectively isolates the sound source while minimizing background noise. 

 

With a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, it captures a wide range of audio details 一 so clear and natural sound reproduction is all but guaranteed.

 

The AT2020 can handle high sound pressure levels up to 144 dB, while its pivoting, threaded stand mount offers secure and precise positioning.

 

Overall, I’d have to say it’s an amazing choice, especially for the price.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Mic:

 

Audio Technica AT2020 2 - Unison

 

  • Affordable price and live sound reinforcement
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Handles high sound pressure levels up to 144 dB
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

#5. Rode NT1-A ($300)

 

Rode NT1 A 2 - Unison

 

The Rode NT1-A is a renowned studio condenser mic, known for its low self-noise and clear sound quality. 

 

It captures vocals and acoustic instruments (and even brass instruments) with remarkable detail, and is a go-to for studio recording 一 offering a natural tone and high sensitivity. 

 

The NT1-A’s cardioid polar pattern ensures excellent isolation of the sound source and its durable build and included shock mount make it a reliable choice for professional use.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Microphone:

 

Rode NT1 A - Unison

 

  • Low self-noise
  • Clear sound quality
  • High sensitivity
  • Natural tone
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

#6. Shure KSM32 ($649)

 

Shure KSM32 - Unison

 

The Shure KSM32 is super versatile and precise, featuring a cardioid polar pattern that provides excellent isolation of the sound source.

 

All while rejecting unwanted background noise like a boss. 

 

With a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, it captures a wide range of audio details with clarity and accuracy. 

 

Also, the KSM32 can handle high sound pressure levels up to 139 dB 一 making it ideal for recording loud instruments and vocals. 

 

Its durable construction and internal shock mount system reduce handling noise, ensuring reliable performance even in the most demanding environments.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Mic:

 

Shure KSM32 2 - Unison

 

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Handles high sound pressure levels up to 139 dB
  • Internal shock mount system
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

#7. sE Electronics sE2200 ($299)

 

sE Electronics sE2200 - Unison

 

The sE Electronics sE2200 is known for its detailed sound and cardioid polar pattern. It’s perfect for capturing vocals and instruments with clarity. 

 

The sE2200’s super solid build ensures longevity, making it a reliable choice for studio recording. 

 

It’s perfect for various recording environments thanks to its:

 

  • Low self-noise
  • High SPL handling

 

This condenser mic offers a natural and warm tone, which is why its an undisputed favorite among recording engineers everywhere.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Microphone:

 

sE Electronics sE2200 2 - Unison

 

  • Detailed sound
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Low self-noise
  • High SPL handling
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

#8. Aston Origin

 

Aston Origin 2 - Unison

 

The Aston Origin is a large-diaphragm condenser mic that features a cardioid polar pattern, which effectively isolates the sound source while reducing background noise. 

 

It’s really on point when it comes to clear, transparent sounds.

 

Its frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz ensures it captures the full spectrum of sound with exceptional clarity and detail. 

 

The Origin’s unique design includes a built-in mesh-knit pop filter, which minimizes plosives and enhances vocal recordings. 

 

Additionally, its rugged stainless steel body not only provides durability but also adds a distinctive aesthetic appeal to any studio setup.

 

Overall, even though it’s last on our list, it’s still a worthy competitor and a solid option for any artist or producer.

 

Standout Features/Functions of This Condenser Mic:

 

Aston Origin - Unison

 

  • Natural, transparent sound
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Built-in mesh-knit pop filter
  • One of the best condenser microphones around

 

What is a Dynamic Microphone vs Condenser Microphone: Final Thoughts

 

So there you have it.

 

Not only do you know the answer to what is a dynamic microphone vs condenser microphone, but you know the best of what this year has to offer.

 

Whether you’re recording in a professional studio or a home setup, these mics provide the quality and reliability needed to capture the perfect sound.

 

Now, since we kept talking about vocals, vocals, vocals, you’ve got to check out the very best FREE Vocal Sample Pack in the game.

 

These 20 free vocal samples are the missing piece to your beats, trust me.

 

Plus, since they were all created by expert vocalists and producers, you never have to worry about quality.

 

Remember, choosing the right microphone, whether it’s a dynamic or condenser mic, it’s all about quality, budget, and purpose.

 

Now with the very best options at your disposal, you’ll always know which one that should be.

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

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