Microphones / Camera Microphones


Microphones convert sound vibrations in the air into electrical signals. There are several types and models of microphone that are used with PA systems. This section will describe microphones and help you choose the right type for your specific needs.

The two main types of Microphones:

(1) Dynamic microphones – best for high-volume recording
(2) Condenser microphones – reacts best to more subtle sounds, PA systems in cases   where a wide band of frequencies, ranging from low to high, is to be picked up for     choir vocals, acoustic pianos, hi-hat cymbals (which are known for their sensitive and high frequency), or for use "overhead" to pick up sounds from the entire drum set.

Microphone Directionality

The directionality of microphones indicates which direction they pick up sound best. 

(1) Unidirectional - PA systems for vocals, instruments, etc. In the diagram
(2) Bidirectional - used to record audio between two people who are face to face, such as during radio interviews.
(3) Omnidirectional - used to pick up all or wide range audio. For example, they are used for choirs, when many instruments are played at once, or to pick up all audio on the stage.

Two other types of Microphones:

(1) Wireless microphones
(2) Headsets and lapel microphones

Camera Microphones

An on-camera microphone is a special kind of mic that’s been designed to work well with a camcorder or a video-enabled DSLR camera. These digital camera microphones are typically lightweight (to help keep the overall weight of the camera low), and often features the ability to mount to the shoe of a camera. External on-camera microphones are designed to sonically outperform the built-in microphones.

In video there are two starkly different shooting scenarios: recording dialog and recording ambient environmental sound. If you’re trying to record ambient sound, you should look for “stereo” on-camera microphones. If you’re shooting people who are speaking in front of the camera, you’re going to need a “shotgun” microphone.

Shotguns microphone are designed to ‘cover’ a greater area than other kinds of microphones, and they far exceed other mics at picking up the frequencies that human voices produce.

A stereo microphone picks up sound similarly to the way human beings do―with two ears.

Stereo microphones excel at capturing environmental sound, but fall short when it comes to recording on-camera dialog. If you’re shooting video of nature scenes without dialog, you would be much better off with a stereo microphone, as opposed to a shotgun. Stereo microphones are effective at immersing the viewer in an environment.