How does a microphone work?



Microphones are transducers – they transform a certain type of information into another. But how does a microphone work? What are the device’s technical characteristics that allow it to capture and transmit sounds?


A microphone receives sound information in the form of different air pressure patterns. The air pressure is “translated” by the microphone into electrical currents that can be further transmitted to electronic devices, such as amplifiers. Understanding how a microphone works and what are the key ingredients to producing maximum quality may help you make a good decision if you are getting ready to purchase such a device.

Microphone building techniques - How does a microphone work from a technical point of view

The question “How does a microphone work” is best answered by knowing the two main microphone types. Variable condenser microphones and magneto dynamic microphones are the most commonly used recording devices. Magneto dynamic microphones have a thin metal diaphragm that is attached to a wire. The air vibrations are intercepted by the microphone and transmitted to the metal surface, which turns them into electrical currents. The speed and motion frequency of the diaphragm are the ones that determine how the current is transmitted, so these microphones are also known as velocity sensitive.

Getting to know how microphones work involves a series of basic notion on factors such as sensitivity, overload attributes, distortion, linearity, frequency response and ambient noise pick up. Answering the question “How does a microphone work?” is not easy, but getting to know a few basic details might help you choose your future microphone so that it meets your requirements perfectly.

  • How a Microphone Works - 2
  • How a Condenser Microphone Works

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