Dynamic Microphone

Dynamic microphones operate on an electromagnetic principle using a diaphragm that is attached to a coil of wire.

Shure SM58 dynamic vocalist microphone
Figure 1 - Typical vocal dynamic microphone; Shure SM58

In a dynamic microphone sound waves hit a thin metallic diaphragm that is attached to a coil of wire. The diaphragm vibrates the coil in response to the sound wave. A magnet that is positioned inside the coil produces a magnetic field. It is the motion of the coil in the magnetic field which generates the electrical signal corresponding to the sound picked up.

The principles of the dynamic microphone are the same as those used to generate electricity electromagnetic induction

The motion of the diaphragm within the microphone produces a current. The amount of current is determined by the speed of the motion. For this reason, dynamic microphones are known as being velocity-sensitive.

Inner workings of a dynamic microphone
Figure 2 - Inner workings of a dynamic microphone 

The most common type of microphone is the dynamic due to it being an all-round solution for many recording situations.

The sound produced from a dynamic microphone can be described as being mellow and well rounded.

Virtually all dynamic microphones have a cardioid polar response pattern. With a cardioid pattern, the microphone filters out noise from its rear, helping to isolate the sound source for the recording.


Key advantages to a dynamic microphone:

  • Rugged and able to handle high sound pressure levels, like those delivered by a kick drum
  • Provide good sound quality in all areas of microphone performance
  • They do not require a power source to run
  • They are relatively cheap


Key disadvantages to a dynamic microphone:

  • Heavy microphone diaphragm and wire coil limits the movement of the assembly, which in turn restricts the frequency and transient response of the microphone
  • Generally not as suitable as condenser microphones for recording instruments with higher frequencies and harmonics, such as a violin


Dynamic microphones can be used for many applications, produce an excellent sound and are suitably rugged - great for traveling on the road. They are best avoided when recording high-frequency content on an important recording.

For reliable, everyday tasks you will not find a more multifaceted, trustworthy device than a good quality dynamic microphone

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