Audio Terms

diagram of a cardioid polar pattern


Cardioid microphones are most sensitive at the front of the microphone, typically about 6dB less sensitive to the sides, and around 20dB less sensitive to the rear of the microphone. Characteristics less reverb pickup than omni less room noise pickup than omni minimises off-axis pickup

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones operate by vibrating a conductive diaphragm against a charged backplate to convert acoustic energy to electrical energy. Characteristics smooth frequency response clear, detailed sound with crisper highs excellent low-frequency response not suited to extremely hot or humid environments

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones operate by suspending a coil of wire connected to a diaphragm inside a magnetic field. When sound vibrates the diaphragm, the coil vibrates and produces an electrical signal. Characteristics durable handle heat and humidity well high volumes without distortion rougher, but usable, audio signal


An omnidirectional microphone receives sound with equal sensitivity from all directions. This means that audio coming from the rear and to the sides of the microphone will be picked up with equal volume and clarity. Characteristics pick up of room reverberation extended low-frequency response lower cost


A transducer is an electronic device that converts energy from one form to another. Microphones are a form of transducer, convert energy from acoustic or kinetic energy (sound) to another electrical energy. Monitors and headphones are also tranducers, converting electrical energy to sound.