Our in-store testing station helps you compare different vocal microphones for sale.See more about our Mic Testing station
If you are unsure about the types available or what the differences between mic patterns are, please see the explanations after the list of microphones for sale.
Product listings for Microphones
Questions and Answers on microphones
Listed below are some of the common questions we are asked, and their answers:
What are the four types of microphones?
4 different types of microphone polar patterns
Understanding pickup patterns helps you choose the mic most suited for your particular requirements. Recording a choir using a couple overhead mics requires a different polar pattern than picking out a soloist at the front of a stage.
There are two types of microphone pickup pattern that can be used to minimise picking up background noise and reduce the risk of feedback between the cardioid mic and speakers.
The ambient noise and other sounds either side of the mic is referred to as off axis sound. Some manufacturers quote an "off axis sound rejection" figure.
Cardioid and Super Cardioid pickup patterns offer very good off axis sound rejection and are therefore less prone to feedback.The images below show the comparison between Cardioid and Super cardioid polar patterns.
Hyper Cardioid Pickup h6 >
I personally use the hyper cardioid (or super cardioid) pickup pattern when working with vocalists and musicians on stage. This allows greater separation of the sound sources when setting the main mix for PA or the recording mix.
An Omni directional polar pattern is equally sensitive to sound from all sides. Typically a tie clip microphone for a wireless system would be Omni Directional to aid pickup when the wearer turns there head etc.
omnidirectional mics are more likely to cause feedback when used with PA systems as the mic will pick up the amplified sound and send it round again just as easily as the voice of the person wearing the mic.
Hemisphere PickupA boundary mic uses a hemispherical pickup pattern, generally used to cover large areas. The hemisphere pickup depends on having a large flat area behind the mic.
Boundary Mic top view
Boundary Mic side view
The hemisphere pattern is very useful when you are looking at recording meetings, stage plays, or in conjunction with hearing loops.
Where it is not possible to suspend overhead mics and you need to pickup sound on a stage the a pair of boundary mics can be used on the wing walls, but care must be taken to avoid feedback.
What's the difference between condenser microphones and dynamic microphones?
These do not require any form of power to make them work, they can be used with any audio mixer. However, they are much less sensitive than condenser mics. Dynamic mics use a moving diaphragm with a coil and a magnet to produce a tiny voltage. This means that when used in conjunction with a hearing loop they can be prone to interference between the loop and mic coil.
An advantage of the dynamic mic is that they are very robust and are pretty indestructible, making them a good choice on the open air festival circuit!
These require a power supply to make them work. This can take the form of batteries or Phantom Power. Our listings will tell you which kind of power supply is required (if any). Phantom power is provided by the Audio Mixer, if you are not sure if your mixer provides this please contact us for advice.
The condenser mic capsule uses sound to alter the distance between conductive filaments, this is measured as capacitance using an electronic circuit. This makes this system much more sensitive and prevents interference from hearing loops.
Some manufacturers further enhance the capabilities of their condenser mics by incorporating circuitry to vary the base response and sensitivity.
What is a microphone used for?
To answer that question we need to know what a microphone actually does. A microphone takes the sounds that you and I hear and converts them into tiny electrical signals that can be used in electronic circuits.
so what are they used for? Some examples include:
- PA systems use them to amplify a sound and broadcast it to a large audience through loud speakers
- A recording studio will use them to record the artists voice and accoustic instruments
- Podcasters and TV Studios use them to record programs for us to listen to
- The Film industry uses them to capture all kinds of sound for use in the movie
- Your telephone uses them to transmit your voice
- Smart home hubs use them for voice control
- Medical devices for the hard of hearing use them to amplify conversations
How much is a microphone?
Our entry level microphones start from £25.82 inc VAT and are ideal as your first microphone
The vocal microphones for performers and stage use start from From £69.00 inc VAT
Studio recording microphones start from £109.00 inc VAT
Specialist microphones for specific tasks vary in price from £100 to £500
What are dynamic microphones?
Dynamic mics do not require any external form of power such as batteries or phantom power.
They work by creating tiny electrical currents as sound waves hit a moving diaphram.
The diaphram moves a coil of wire in and out of a magnetic field, this creates the signal.
This is why they get the name Dynamic Microphones, because parts move dynamically./p>
Are condenser microphones good?
If you buy your condenser from a good maker and it has not been abused then yes, very good.
This is why most studio microphones these days are condensers.
They are much more sensitive and have a better frequency range.
Which is better condenser mic or dynamic mic?
To answer that question sensibly we need to understand how the mic will be used. For example, Condesnser microphones do not like damp or humid conditions such as can be experienced if they are left out in festival marquees.
If I were mic'ing up a rock band I would use robust dynamic mic's
For Studio recording I would use condesner mic's all the time
For location recording and classical music I would use condensers mostly and dynamic mic's for drum kits and high volume sounds
Generally speaking dynamic mics are more robust and will work with any mixer, condensers have greater sensitivty, better frequency response, and they all need a power source.
Do microphones wear out?
The sort answer is yes they do. How quicky they wear out depends on the original quality and how they have been looked after.
If you buy from a good maker and it has not been abused then the life span can be measured in years.
The legendary SM58 from shure can last over 10 years if well looked after in my experience.
I have seen microphones destroyed in seconds by dropping them, Never test a mic by tapping the mic capsule as that can dammage them too.
Because a dynamic mic has moving parts they will wear out over time, a cheap mic used daily may only last a 12 months
Do microphones need batteries?
Dynamic microphones with a cable connection do not require batteries.
Dynamic wireless microphones only use batteries to power the transmitter
A condenser microphone that cannot use phantom power will require batteries
What is phantom power mic?
A phantom power mic draws its power from the mixer using the XLR mic cable connecting it to the mixer.
It is called 'Phantom' power because if you try to measure the voltage accross the positive and negative program wires you cannot detect it.
A condenser microphone that cannot use batteries will require phantom power.
Please note that not all mixers supply phantom power, and not all supply the full +48v required by some condenser microphones.
Do all condenser mics need phantom?
If your condenser mic draws its power from the mixer using the XLR mic cable connecting it to the mixer it is called 'Phantom' power and it will not work without it.
A condenser microphone that cannot use batteries will require phantom power.
Some condenser mic's can use either batteries or phantom power, but never leave batteries in place while using phantom power.
If your condenser mic draws its power from batteries and is not designed to use phantom power then it will not work without batteries.