Types of Microphones

We can all agree that an effective, thriving work environment requires clear communication and collaboration between company leaders, employees, and clients. When streams of communication become muddled by a poor audio system, the entire organization begins to falter. Employees are more likely to make costly mistakes, and client satisfaction will decrease.

Recent studies from EPOS found that disruptions resulting from poor sound quality causes workers to waste 29 minutes per week, which adds up to $725 per year with the average US wage. Large companies can quickly lose millions of dollars in annual productivity due to a poor sound system.

In many cases, companies can attribute these communication mishaps to using audio equipment that is outdated or not suitable for its intended use. For instance, when considering the various components of an efficient audio system, organizations often fail to recognize the importance of choosing the proper types of microphones for each specific situation. While some microphones are best suited for company podcasts or presentations, others are most beneficial for video conferencing.

Before investing in microphones for your AV setup, familiarize yourself with different types of microphones and consider working with audiovisual integration professionals who can assess your organization’s unique needs.


The Benefits of High-Quality Audio

Curating a productive work environment requires a wide range of audiovisual equipment. While video capabilities, AV software, and adequate lighting are all important, organizations must not overlook the benefits of installing a commercial sound system. High-quality audio equipment facilitates streamlined communication and collaboration between employees, clients, and customers. 

  • Enhanced communication. Effective communication is critical to any successful organization, regardless of your industry. Some companies use intercom technology to communicate and share information. The right sound system also simplifies the process of giving presentations, sending mass messages, and hosting meetings by enabling clear communication.
  • Curated Ambiance. Audio equipment is pivotal in cultivating an inviting atmosphere for employees and clients. Audiovisual integration specialists will select equipment that creates your desired ambiance, ensuring that anyone who enters your premises feels at ease.
  • Reduces Operating Expenses. The proper use of modern audio equipment will reduce your organization’s operating expenses over time. With the right equipment, employees and clients will no longer expend precious time and energy mitigating the effects of poor communication from using outdated or inefficient audio tools. When workers have access to the best audio equipment, they are more productive, improving client satisfaction.

At the crux of any efficient sound system are high-quality microphones. When workers are plagued with spotty, unclear audio, it equates to wasted time and significant miscommunications that can make it challenging for employees to collaborate effectively.

For instance, when employees cannot clearly understand instructions or misinterpret a person’s tone, it may negatively impact the customer experience and tarnish your organization’s reputation. 20% of audio users say they’ve dealt with customer dissatisfaction directly from the low-quality sound. Furthermore, 18% of these respondents stated that they have missed critical deadlines or lost work due to poor audio quality.


The Best Use Cases for Common Types of Microphones

Qualified audiovisual integration specialists can assess the current state of your entire audio system and choose options compatible with your existing audio system and intended use.

Although many different types of microphones exist, most fall into one of the four categories below.

1. Dynamic

A dynamic microphone differs from other types of microphones because it uses a magnetic field to emit an electrical signal. When a dynamic microphone picks up on the vibrations from an individual’s voice, a small metal coil inside the microphone moves. As this metal coil vibrates within the magnetic field, it creates an electrical current that transmits the sound waves.

Dynamic microphones are the most durable option available. External stimuli such as heat and humidity have little effect on their sound quality. Since dynamic microphones are also less sensitive to surrounding noises, they can be the ideal choice for presentations and conferences. In addition, these microphones have a quick setup process, making them perfect for instances in which your team may travel for events. However, since dynamic microphones are not as sensitive as other options, they may not be able to capture small details when individuals are speaking at a low conversational level.

2. Condenser

Condenser microphones emit audio signals with the help of a capacitor. A capacitor is a device composed of two metal plates that remain suspended together as voltage passes between them. When a speaker uses a condenser microphone, the capacitor transforms the vibrations into a voltage that produces audio signals. However, a condenser microphone must be connected to a power source in order for participants to hear the sound.

Unlike a dynamic microphone, condenser microphones capture a more comprehensive range of frequencies akin to the human ear. Organizations use condenser microphones for situations in which it is necessary to pick up on small details, such as video conferencing. Some organizations also keep condenser microphones in huddle rooms or desks so that employees can use them for their convenience. Condenser microphones come in two categories, including the large-diaphragm and small diaphragm, but large-diaphragm condenser microphones offer a well-rounded frequency response that is ideal for recording voices.

3. Ribbon

Ribbon microphones are the oldest form of a microphone, and people still use them today. These microphones are unique because they have an electrically conductive ribbon-like diaphragm in the shape of a figure eight. This diaphragm functions as a transducer and converts sound waves into audio signals. In comparison to condenser or dynamic microphones, ribbon microphones are the most cost-effective choice.

Since ribbon microphones have a bidirectional pickup pattern, they must be used in environments with minimal ambient noise. As a result, organizations often use ribbon microphones during instances where only one person is speaking. Ribbon microphones are an excellent option for recording company podcasts and voiceovers for employee instructional videos. Keep in mind that ribbon microphones are the least durable microphone available, so you must store them in a safe place, free of humidity and heat.

4. Beamtracking

Given the rapid technological evolution in the modern workplace, remote work and new office layouts have increased the need for improved communication technologies. As a result, beamtracking microphones have grown in popularity.

Unlike traditional microphones, beamtracking microphones can track the movement and location of the speaker, which enables all participants to benefit from a clear, precise sound. Essentially, with multiple beams and smart switching technology, beamtracking microphones can transmit audio from several participants even if they speak at the same time in the same room.

With beamtracking microphones, organizations ensure that employees using unified communication solutions, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, can access high-quality audio while using a headset or speaker. Whether your organization requires microphones to support an expansive conference room or a small huddle room, beamtracking microphones can meet either of these needs.

Another unique advantage of beamtracking microphones is the fact that they are relatively easy to install and deploy at scale with minimal downtime. Furthermore, audiovisual integration specialists can manage IT issues remotely, which reduces the workload for your IT team.