What Is A Microphone? How Do They Work?

Microphones are essential to any audio setup, whether you’re a musician, podcaster, or just want to record a voice memo. But how do they work, and which one should you choose for your needs? In this article, we’ll explain the basics of microphones and help you decide which one is right for you.

what is a microphone
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Microphones are loved by streamers, gamers, artists, producers, and, if you’re familiar, ASMR artists too. You may ask what’s the difference between all microphones? Well, let me simplify it for you.

If you listen to music, you can hear the singer’s voice clearly, the bass of their voice, the tone, the pitch, and much more. Well, they’ve used a good microphone once you can clearly hear that. Then let’s take a look at phone-camera-taken videos; you can listen to them when they speak, but it’s not as clear and concise as those we hear in our songs. That’s because they have a cheaper microphone.

Yes, if you still don’t know it yet, there are tons of microphones out there. Not just for music, but wait until we get on the ASMR types of microphones.

What Is A Microphone?

A microphone is a device that converts sound into an electrical signal. It is often used in conjunction with a loudspeaker to make sound audible. Microphones are typically used for one of three reasons: to record audio, to pick up vocals, or to provide sound in a live setting. 

Microphones can pick up sound depending on how far the speaker is, how closed the studio is, and how great the microphone is. For example, if you are recording in a large room and the person speaking is far away from the microphone, the sound quality will not be as good as if they were closer to the microphone.

There are many different types of microphones, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some microphones are better at capturing certain kinds of sounds than others, while some are more durable or easier to use. Ultimately, it is up to the user to decide which type of microphone best suits their needs. 

How Do Microphones Work?

Microphones work by converting sound waves into electrical signals. This happens when the sound waves hit the microphone’s diaphragm, which causes it to vibrate and create an electrical current. The current is then amplified and sent to a loudspeaker, which is converted back into sound waves that we can hear. This process happens very quickly, so we can listen to the sound almost immediately after it is made.

It is why recording studios are divided into two rooms, wherein the music producer and the singer can talk to each other without the microphone picking up the producer’s voice and commands. The producer can also playback what has just been recorded and sung by the singer for them to study if the singer’s projection was good or bad.

Microphones can also be heard within the right ear only or the left ear only; this is called a binaural microphone, which means there’s two or more microphones installed in the microphone itself that can record at the same time and give you a left and/or right side of recording (usually used by ASMR artists).

Components And Parts Of A Microphone

The different parts of a microphone and what they do can confuse newcomers. We will break down the anatomy of a microphone so you can better understand how they work. Microphones are made up of several different parts, each of which serves a specific purpose.

Wind Screen

This is the part of the microphone that you will be speaking into. A microphone will often have a circular protective barrier that is constructed out of tightly woven strong metal.


This is the housing of the microphone, which is most similar to our eardrums in terms of size and shape. When sound waves go into the microphone, they concentrate on the diaphragm, which causes the diaphragm to vibrate as a result.


The coil makes dynamic mics stand out from the crowd. Because the coil is linked to the diaphragm, it will begin to vibrate in response to the movement of the diaphragm.

Magnetic Core

Another characteristic that sets a dynamic microphone apart is this. Because of the magnetic core’s ability to produce a magnetic field, the coil is able to generate an electric signal when subjected to vibrations.


The capsule is the part of every microphone that is responsible for converting sound vibrations into an electric signal. While the capsule of certain microphones need electricity in order to function properly, some microphones do not have this requirement.


It is fairly likely that the body of the microphone has very little to do with the quality of sound it produces, but it does have a significant impact on how far your microphone will continue to function.


This is the port on any microphone where a cable may be inserted to connect the microphone to an external device. You may connect it to a computer, a cell phone, or even your camera for professional use.

Microphone Manufacturers

Microphones aren’t just used for recording music, podcasts, or what else. But today, microphones are famous because they are now used for gaming and streaming. A lot of streamers and gamers use quality microphones since it is very critical in gaming with teammates. Here are some of the best microphone manufacturers today.

ShureHas the best hybrid XLR/USB microphones
BlueHas the best microphones for podcasting
HyperXHas the best budget microphones
RodeHas the microphone for entry-level content creators
ElgatoHas the best microphone for streaming and gaming
RazerHas the best small microphones
EposHas the best stylish microphones

Types Of Microphones

Technically, there are two main types of microphones. Dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. Dynamic microphones use a coil of wire that is suspended in a magnetic field. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it vibrates and causes the coil to move back and forth in the magnet’s field. This movement creates an electrical current, which is sent to an amplifier to make the sound louder. 

On the other hand, condenser microphones work on the same basic principle as dynamic microphones, but they use a different type of diaphragm. The diaphragm on a condenser microphone is made of metal foil or Mylar, which vibrates when sound waves strike. This vibration causes the electric current in the capacitor plates to change direction, creating an electronic signal that can be amplified and reproduced through speakers.

But there are different types of recording microphones. Yes, even microphones have different types. These are typically used for filming, music, and other things. But, even with filming and music recording, there are still certain types of microphones needed depending on the scene or depending on the background music the producer wants to create. Here are some of the types of microphones and their function.

OmnidirectionalCan record audio from any direction
CardioidHas a very adaptable pickup design that is ideal for general use
HypercardiodHas a directed pickup design that is excellent for audio isolation
Super cardioidThey enable users to separate audio and allow for a small background or white noises
UnidirectionalUsed for filming to pickup directional audio 
BidirectionalAudio is picked up equally from the front and rear of the mic, which typically is used for dimensional audio

How Much Does A Microphone Cost?

When it comes to microphones, there are a lot of different options to choose from. You can find them at various price points, but the average cost is around $150. Of course, you can find cheaper models for about $50 or more expensive ones that run up to $1,500.

What factors into the cost of a microphone? The main thing that affects the price is the quality of the mic. Cheaper mics will have fewer features and be less durable than more expensive ones. Another consideration is what type of mic you get. Condenser and dynamic mics both do the same job, but they have different internal construction that makes them better or worse suited for specific recording environments.

Finally, consider any extra features that may be important to you. Some mics have built-in shock mounts or windscreens to protect against noise and interference. Others have an adjustable gain or pickup patterns to help you capture sound exactly how you want it. If these are important features, you’ll need to budget accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

I have been listening to ASMR since I was fifteen years old. The ASMR world was still small back then, and all I ever wanted to do was film an ASMR video too. But I was just fifteen, and I lack resources. So I tried to film on my phone, and it was a disaster. All my quality is poor, the video, the microphone, and the content itself. 

Then I learned about low-quality videos with high-quality microphones since that is what truly matters in ASMR. And that’s when I got into microphones. I wished to be an ASMR artist before, and I still do. Hopefully, I’d be able to buy a microphone and make an ASMR video as a sideline. 

And if you need one too, I hope this quick guide helped you!

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Anna Bonilla
Anna Bonilla

Anna isn't just any ordinary Computer Hardware Expert, she's highly skilled and multi-talented. She's a graphic designer, a writer, and a social media expert. At ErrorBook, she helps her readers in understanding the purpose of different hardware components and also helps pick the best PC Parts for their money. She also loves babysitting her nephews, baking, and crafting coffee.

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