A Mic for Every Occasion: Types of Mics and Where to Use Them
Microphones. They come in all shapes and sizes and are used in a wide variety of applications. Most gadgets you own nowadays probably have a microphone embedded in it somewhere--from your laptop to your phone and maybe even your alarm clock.
What are Microphones?
But first things first: let's take a look at what microphones are. They're defined as being an 'acoustic-to-electric transducer.' In other words, they're sensors that convert sound into electric signals so that they can be transmitted. They basically detect changes in the pressure waves and convert them into various electrial signals.
Now on to the fun part: what are microphones used for? As I said earlier, they're used for a lot of things. Think of the gadgets that you commonly use to communicate, like your mobile phone and intercom. Think of the gadgets you use when you're trying to address a huge crowd, like a megaphone or a dynamic microphone. Think of the gadgets that people use when they're hard of hearing, like hearing aids and the like. All of these have microphones in them which function in the same way for different end uses. Below we'll take a more in-depth look at several common (and fun) uses for microphones.
Karaoke. If you love to sing and aren't shy to let everyone know about your talent (or lack of it), then I'm sure you've frequented a few karaoke bars where you did your thing. Most mics used for karaoke and performances are dynamic microphones. These are the ones that look like a mesh ball is stuck to a narrow or cone-shaped handle.
Espionage. Think of James Bond and his hidden microphones and you've got another neat and unconventional use for these devices. Cameras have their pinhole versions, and so microphones have their button varieties. Microphones used for espionage or covert operations are small in size and made to look inconspicuous, so they can be attached with the least possible visibility.
Conference Calls. It's pretty inconvenient having to hold a mic while you're doing a conference call. That's where Crown microphones come in. These are condenser microphones that you can literally wear on your crown so you can take and make calls hands-free. These headset type of mics are often wireless, so they offer added convenience since you're free to move around and keep the conversation going at the same time.
Broadcasting. Dynamic microphones can be used for broadcasting, but there are some companies that develop specialized microphones for this purpose. An example is the H3-D, which has been dubbed as the 'world's weirdest microphone.' This mic is an ultra-portable and compact microphone that's best suited for use on the field. Many other portable mics exist, although they are typically more pricey.
These are just a few of the many uses of microphones. You might not be conscious or aware of it, but you've probably been using microphones day in and day out, thanks to the advent and popularity of mobile phones.