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Cardioid microphone vs condenser, are they a good combination? You might have already come across a huge variety of microphones in 2023. Honestly, the comparison between cardioid and condenser mic is quite invalid as cardioid is basically a type of ‘Polar pattern’ where condenser mics are a type of microphone.
There are many microphones available in the market which are condenser and cardioid at the same time. Condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic ones & feature a solid metal along with a thin conductive plate. The cardioid design lets the mic pick sound only from the front.
In this article, we have highlighted the cardioid & condenser type microphones in detail. You can entrust our team to clear up all of your doubts. So, go through our content and be ready to purchase the best type of microphone for your studio right away!
What Are The Basic Types of Microphones?
Depending on ‘How a microphone converts acoustic energy into electric energy, the microphones are of 3 types:
Dynamic mics are widely known to convert acoustic energy into recordable electric signals in studios. Musicians prefer them to record guitar & bass amps. As they feature a magnetic coil diaphragm, they are pretty reliable & rugged yet affordable. You can also invest in it if you are up for voiceovers & broadcasts. Thus, you won’t face any trouble in handling loud sound levels.
The diaphragm of the Condenser mic is based on a thin conductive & solid metal plate. Whenever the acoustic sound energy hits the diaphragm, a fluctuation between the capacitor plates results in the generation of the electric signal. It indeed offers a better sensitivity as the sound wave can easily vibrate the thin plate but not the dense coil.
Be aware that, unlike dynamic microphones, condenser mics require around +48V phantom power. Engineers prefer condenser mics to record vocals, acoustic instruments as well as room ambiance. However, you can’t expect good results if your studio isn’t acoustically treated. In fact, we would specifically suggest it if you aim to capture detailed & crispy sounds.
Ribbon microphones feature a thin metal ribbon to convert sound into electrical energy. Even though its mechanism is quite similar to dynamic ones, ribbon microphones are super expensive, sensitive & yet fragile. That’s why musicians prefer condenser or dynamic mics more than ribbon ones.
However, their sound quality is quite premium, vintage as well as smooth. That’s why; modern brands like Royer have dedicated themselves to improving the durability & performance of the ribbon mics.
What Is The Difference Between Dynamic Microphone & Condenser Microphone?
|Dynamic Microphone||Condenser Microphone|
|Dynamic mics feature a magnetic coil diaphragm.||The condenser mic’s diaphragm is composed of solid metal & thin conductive plate.|
|They are the least sensitive||They are more sensitive|
|It doesn’t require phantom power.||It requires phantom power.|
|It would be best to use dynamic mics to record loud vocals or drums, even in a live setting.||You can use condenser mics to record delicate sounds.|
|It won’t pick up noises and is easily usable in home studios.||As it can pick up even the most minor details, you can use it only in an acoustically treated studio.|
Are Condenser Mics Better Than Dynamic Ones?
Will you go for the condenser or the dynamic microphone? Which one is better for you? Basically, this choice will totally depend on your purposes. If you are up for recording loud sounds in a live set, go for dynamic ones. On the contrary, condenser mics are preferred if you want to capture delicate audio of high frequency. Thus, both of them are quite unique, effective, and handy in their own way. Obviously, the room type & placement can play a vital role in this context.
We would specifically suggest dynamic microphones for recording-
- Loud vocals.
- Guitar amp.
- Brass instruments.
Thus, you can go for it to record loud audio as it has less sensitivity & superior gain.
Due to the high sensitivity of condenser microphones, we will prefer to use them in studios. It will assist in recording the most detailed natural tone. Using them in live situations can cause severe distortion. Thus, use this one to capture –
- Room ambiance.
- Bass drums.
- Acoustic guitar & piano.
Cardioid Mic Vs. Condenser Mic
As we have previously mentioned, the topic of Cardioid Mic Vs. Condenser Mic is pretty invalid as cardioid is not a microphone type but a polar pattern.
The major types of polar patterns are – Cardioid, Supercardioid, hyper-cardioid, Bi-directional, shotgun & omnidirectional.
Among them, the cardioid microphone picks up sound only from the front of the mic. If you talk from the sides of the mic, the sound will be low or diminished. At the angle of 180° (behind the mic), the mic won’t pick up any sound. So, the mic won’t pick up noises from adjacent devices or monitor speakers. Nowadays, cardioid microphones are quite popular and widespread used in recording vocals.
Super-Cardioid and hyper cardioids are a subtype of cardioids featuring a tighter pick-up pattern. Supercardioid offers the lowest sensitivity at the 120° angle. However, you will notice a sound pick-up lobe at the 180° angle. Bidirectional mics are sensitive on the opposite ends but least sensitive on the sides. Omnidirectional mics show equal sensitivity on each & every side of the microphone.
On the other hand, condenser microphones are super sensitive and designed to capture even the slightest detail. However, you will definitely find condenser mics with cardioid, bidirectional, and even omnidirectional polar patterns. You will also find high-end models with switchable & different polar patterns. So, a microphone can be cardioid & condenser at the same time. So, the comparison between the cardioids & condensers is pretty unfair.
What Are The Best Cardioid Microphones In 2023?
- Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone.
- HyperX SoloCast – USB Cardioid Condenser.
- Shure PGA48-XLR Cardioid Dynamic Microphone.
What is the difference between cardioid & condenser microphones?
Cardioid and condenser microphones are mutually non-exclusive as a mic can be cardioid & condenser at the same time. Remember, cardioid is not a microphone type but a type of polar pattern. Condenser mics are super sensitive & utilize superior frequency to capture the most accurate sounds.
What are cardioid mics used for?
Go for cardioid ones if you need to capture sounds, especially from the front & sides. It is totally insensitive at the rear. You can go for a cardioid microphone if you want to record a singer from the front and the instruments from the side.
Do condenser mics sound better?
Due to high sensitivity, wide frequency response & large dynamic range, condenser mics are indeed better, especially for voice recording. Be aware as the studio should be acoustically treated.
Why is the condenser mic the best?
In this modern market, condenser microphones are considered best for their lightweight design & thin metallic diaphragm. Thus, they can offer superior sound quality, details & accuracy.
Who should use a condenser microphone?
Condenser mics should be used to record high frequency, detailed & accurate audio signals in an acoustically treated venue.
How to set up a cardioid microphone?
- Cup one ear and plug another to find the sweet spot.
- Now direct the sweet spot pointed towards the sound source.
- The capsule should be placed perpendicular to the palm.
Cardioid microphone vs. condenser, which one to choose? Honestly, you can’t really choose one in between these two as they are mutually non-exclusive. There are many microphones out there that are condenser & cardioid at once. There are even many condensers available with switchable polar patterns. Condenser mics are highly sensitive and can capture background noises along with the details of your tone. I believe by now; you have already prepared your mind about whether you will go for a dynamic or condenser microphone. Be sure about the polar pattern requirements as well. So, pick the best one according to your needs and astonish everyone with your outstanding performance!