The Basics

Microphones are a kind of transducer - a device which converts energy from one form to another. Microphones transform acoustical energy (sound waves) into electrical energy (the audio signal).

You are watching: A device that converts sound waves to electric current is a

Different varieties of microphone have different ways of converting energy yet they every share one point in common: The diaphragm. This is a thin item of material (such as paper, plastic or aluminium) i beg your pardon vibrates when it is struck by sound waves. In a typical hand-held mic choose the one below, the diaphragm is located in the head that the microphone.

Location the Microphone Diaphragm


When the diaphragm vibrates, it reasons other components in the microphone to vibrate. This vibrations space converted right into an electrical present which i do not care the audio signal.

Note: in ~ the other end of the audio chain, the loudspeaker is likewise a transducer - that converts the electrical energy back into acoustical energy.

Types of Microphone

There are a variety of different species of microphone in usual use. The distinctions can be divided into 2 areas:

(1) The type of conversion modern technology they use

This refers to the technical an approach the mic supplies to transform sound into electricity. The most typical technologies are dynamic, condenser, ribbon and also crystal. Every has benefits and disadvantages, and also each is generally an ext suited to certain species of application. The adhering to pages will carry out details.

(2) The form of application they are designed for

Some mics room designed for general use and also can be used successfully in many different situations. Others are an extremely specialised and are just really useful for your intended purpose. Features to watch for include directional properties, frequency solution and impedance (more on this later).

Mic Level & line Level

The electrical current generated through a microphone is very small. Referred to as mic level, this signal is generally measured in millivolts. Before it deserve to be offered for anything major the signal demands to be amplified, generally to heat level (typically 0.5 -2V). Gift a more powerful and much more robust signal, heat level is the standard signal strength offered by audio handling equipment and common domestic equipment such together CD players, tape machines, VCRs, etc.

See more: Why Are The Pilgrims Traveling To Canterbury, In The Canterbury Tales, Why Did The Pilgrims

This amplification is achieved in one or more of the following ways:

Some microphones have actually tiny built-in amplifiers which boost the signal to a high mic level or heat level.The mic can be fed with a tiny boosting amplifier, often dubbed a heat amp.Sound mixers have little amplifiers in every channel. Attenuators deserve to accommodate mics of varying levels and adjust them all to an even line level.The audio signal is fed come a strength amplifier - a specialty amp which boosts the signal enough to it is in fed to loudspeakers.

Next Page: Dynamic Microphones