Condenser microphones are certainly the best to capture the nuances of sound and to have detailed and engaging shots.
But when we are dealing with live sound or want to micon incredibly noisy sources, dynamic microphones come to our aid.
In fact the capacitors are delicate and cannot suffer traumas due to falls or shocks, or even worse be exposed to very high levels of decibels.
Dynamic microphones are real work horses: tireless, versatile, effective, stubborn and robust.
In this article I will present a complete and definitive guide to the best dynamic microphones and their characteristics.
The sound captured by the capacitors will not always be better, in fact there are applications in which a nice dynamic place in front of a snare drum or a guitar amplifier can help us to get a sharp and perfect sound to stand out inside the mix (not in case I mentioned two of the most classic uses in rock).
What are dynamic microphones?
Dynamic microphones use an electromagnet. The iron coil and the magnet inside the microphone vibrate to create the audio signal. Given the use of this technology they can sustain a very high sound pressure.
They do not require phantom power and no other external power source to operate.
Dynamic microphones are used for a multitude of musical applications.
As for versatility they are the best type of microphones, used a lot in live contexts for voices, drums, acoustic guitars, amps, brass instruments and much more.
When working in the studio, we tend to prefer condenser microphones, especially if the performance is very controlled, say "theatrical".
On the other hand, live users tend to prefer dynamics also due to their greater directionality and repulsion of sound on the sides and back, in fact while condensers can often have problems of annoying returns in live contexts with little control, the dynamics will tend to be much more usable without too many headaches.
The Shure SM57 or 58 in recent years has become practically an absolute standard, almost synonymous with dynamic microphone.
I would like to clarify one important thing: that the 57 and 58 are practically the same microphone, the 58 only has the extra protective "ice cream" sponge capsule.
The reason why this microphone model is so famous and used (practically in every equipment of any studio in the world) is its extreme sturdiness and versatility, it can indeed be very badly treated and will continue to work as always for the first time. It is not difficult in fact to come across 57 used that from the aesthetics seem to have survived an atomic explosion but to the actual use they sound like they were just out of the box.
Dynamic microphones are also cheaper and lighter than condenser microphones.
There are some types of dynamics dedicated to use on specific instruments, such as the D112 for kicking the battery, but most of these can be used for practically any type of instrument or voice.
They connect via XLR cable and don't need anything else.
The best dynamic microphones, the Definitive Guide
Shure SM58 and SM57, so famous as to be synonymous with dynamic microphone
The SM58 and the SM57 are probably the most famous dynamic microphones in the world.
If you go for a tour of the Italian and other services that provide the sound of the stages and of the various live situations, it is the easiest microphone to meet, normally if you buy a dynamic microphone it is easy to be directed to a 58 or a 57 .
These microphones are famous for being very well built, equipped with an excellent shock system, the frequency response is 50hz – 15kHz, but it can be slightly modified through some modifications, for example by removing the transformer inside you will get an opening of the high frequencies and an increase in bass, at the expense of volume and a certain background noise.
The original unmodified version sounds very clear on the mids, which are the trademark of this microphone.
Normally we speak of the 57 and 58 as two different microphones, but if you go to consult the wiring diagram you will realize that they are practically the same identical microphone with the only difference that the 58 has the sponge to cover the capsule, making it tend to be more indicated for entries.
Sennheiser E835, the alternative to MS
- Dynamic cardioid microphone with high output level – very resistant body and metal grid – equipped with a silent on / off switch
- Balanced response with prominent vocal range – insensitive to acoustic noise
Here we are in the presence of another great microphone second to fame only to the shure, the Sennheiser E835.
Sennheiser is known as a headphone manufacturer, but over the years has created a number of excellent noteworthy microphones.
The frequency response is wider than the 57, but you won't notice much in recording. Personality is different, less average.
The construction is very solid in metal, has a very interesting feedback from noise and noise protection. It's a more controlled microphone than the shure, with a different personality.
It is more expensive than the two shure and tends to be sold at a higher price also in the used one.
Electrovoice RE-20, perfect for broadcasting
- Professional quality cardioid dynamic microphone ^ Heavy-Duty internal Pop Filter reduces proximity effects ^ Internal Element Shock Mount reduces vibration-induced noise ^ Blast and wind filters Cover every opening ^ Frequency Response: 45 Hz-18kHz
The Electrovoice RE-20 is a great dynamic microphone, perhaps one of the best ever, although here we are in a completely different price range.
Widely used in radio broadcasting and to record voices in general, adored by professional sound engineers.
It is also used by podcasters and gamers on youtube.
It has a variable-D to minimize the proximity effect, which would be the sometimes unwanted effect you get when you approach the microphone less than 5cm from it, you will have a bass explosion, try it .
The pattern is cardioid and the sound quality is amazing, with a precise personality.
If you have the right budget and want to get serious, this is the microphone to buy without a doubt.
Probably the best dynamic in the world, budget permitting.
The Sennheiser MD-421 is another dynamic cardioid microphone of excellent quality.
Sturdy and with an incredible sound.
It is excellent for recording instruments or amplifiers, holding very high sound pressures which makes it ideal for batteries.
It has excellent feedback rejection and unparalleled sound clarity.
Great on battery tom or snare, it also makes it good on bass cabinets.
Shure PG58, cheap but excellent live
Another famous model of the shure, a relative of the MS, but cheaper.
It is a less refined and accurate version of the two older brothers, recommended for those who do not want to spend too much but take home a nice microphone with shure quality and a great semi-professional sound.
I have seen so many PG58s in live service contexts, they are usually those microphones used as worthy substitutes for MS, if you may need several dynamics to microphone a large number of elements you could make a big purchase of PG58 without spending capital and going on sure.
He manages to isolate the sound coming from the sides by focusing on the one in front. Great for live use.
Shure SM7B, legendary for the voices
Here is another great cardioid microphone famous in the rock field, an industry standard for recording studio vocals.
Many vocal performances of your favorite rock albums have been recorded with the SM7B.
For example, Michael Jackson recorded the vocal part of Thriller.
It has a roll-off switch, a mid-boost switch and an invaluable internal anti-pop filter, thus avoiding the use of a special external one.
Even this microphone is used in radio and broadcasting contexts for the profound and faithful rendering of the voices.
Famous for its very warm tone in contrast with the more clinical and cold style of condenser microphones, in particular the modern ones.
Recommended for a semi-professional homerecording studio combined with an excellent condenser microphone to have a valid alternative depending on the voice we are facing, in fact that extra "heat" is not always desirable, it depends on the singer.
Sennheiser MD 441U, the king of dynamics
A microphone less famous than the others but not for this less valid, indeed by many (including myself!) Is considered the best dynamic microphone ever produced in history.
The Sennheiser MD 441U was introduced to the market in 1966, a magical year in the history of music, and continues to be produced today following the same electrical scheme, in Germany.
It is very expensive, in fact I recommend buying only those who really want to get serious and rely on a single superlative dynamic microphone.
The most reliable, accurate and versatile dynamic microphone that exists. Equipped with an impeccable super-cardioid pattern, a 5-position switch for low frequencies and another 2 for high frequencies, excellent internal shock suspension and a bucking coil.
Perfect for voices and virtually any type of acoustic instrument.
Sounds like God, period.
You don't need to know anything else.
If you have the money, buy it immediately and you will thank me for eternity.
Extremely quiet, it has excellent sound insulation, the tone is clear on the mids and warm on the bass, very balanced on the whole spectrum.
If you are looking for a super transparent microphone stay away from this, it has a very specific color, in my opinion but fabulous, it has an incredible sonic signature.
I normally use it flat without using the many switches it is equipped with. Sounds lighter with all filters bypassed.
Extremely well built, an engineering masterpiece, except for a flaw on the clip's design, which in my opinion could have been better built, but it is known these imperfections make an object even more legendary.
The MD 441 is perfect on wind instruments, live or in the studio, superb on vocals, one of the few microphones that can take the banjo well (and whoever has had to deal with this instrument perhaps knows what I'm talking about).
Excellent as a microphone under the snare, in case you find yourself using it.
If you finish on the famous desert island and you have a budget that allows it, here is the only definitive dynamic to have.
Click here instead for the Definitive Guide to Condenser Microphones.
OTHER ESSENTIAL GUIDES:
Best Condenser Microphone
Best USB Condenser Microphone
Best Wireless Microphone
Best Iphone Ipod Microphones
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