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Condenser Microphone VS Dynamic for Streaming: Pros and Cons

A great microphone is instrumental for a successful content creator, but there are many microphones out there. Let's go over the main two types in order to discern which one is fitting for a content creator and streamer or even an avid Discord user.

When it comes to audio recording, selecting the right microphone is essential for capturing pristine sound and making a pleasurable experience for your listeners, whether that’s live on Twitch or via YouTube content. Among the numerous options available, you will find they are typically divided into two categories, Condenser or Dynamic. Let's dive into their differences.

What is a Condenser Microphone?

Condenser Mic SteelSeries.

A condenser microphone is a type of microphone that uses a thin diaphragm, a conductive plate, and a backplate to create a capacitor, which acts as the microphone capsule. This design allows for high sensitivity and the ability to capture a wide range of frequencies, including high-frequency details that add clarity and realism to recordings. Condenser mics are often preferred in studio settings for their natural and nuanced sound capture of vocals and acoustic instruments.

A condenser microphone is a preferred choice for those recording and streaming content for platforms like Twitch, YouTube, podcasts, and more. A 1" capsule cardioid pattern with a condenser mic is the best setup for streamers and voiceover professionals alike.

What is a Dynamic Microphone?

A dynamic microphone, on the other hand, is constructed with a diaphragm attached to a moving coil within a magnetic field. This design makes dynamic mics more durable and resistant to rough handling. They are known for their ability to handle high sound pressure levels, making them suitable for live performances and capturing powerful sound sources like drums and guitar amplifiers.

Differences: Condenser vs. Dynamic Microphones

Sensitivity and Frequency Response

One of the significant distinctions between condenser and dynamic microphones lies in their sensitivity and frequency response. Condenser microphones are highly sensitive and excel at capturing a broad range of frequencies, especially in the high-frequency spectrum. They require less amplification, which could introduce some noise. This makes them ideal for recording detailed and nuanced sound sources such as vocals, acoustic guitars, and orchestral instruments.

Dynamic microphones, while generally less sensitive, require a lot more amplification, so you might be in over your head with one unless you have a strong microphone preamp. These are designed to handle high sound pressure levels and are more suited for capturing louder sources such as drums and electric guitar amplifiers. This is what you see at concerts!

Background Noise and Polar Patterns

Cardioid pattern microphone

Another crucial difference between condenser and dynamic microphones is their performance in different environments. Condenser microphones will capture some background noise due to their high sensitivity, depending on your environment. However, worry not! This is when the Sonar Software’s ClearCast AI Noise Cancellation comes in. As your voice gets captured in high resolution, AI algorithms isolate your voice. It works wonders.

That’s not everything, though. Polar patterns allow for precise control over the sound capture area, which is why Alias’s cardioid pattern is especially good for streamers and content creators. More you, less of the other stuff. With Sonar, it’s an unbeatable combo.

Dynamic microphones, with their less sensitive nature, exhibit superior noise rejection, making them suitable for live performances and environments with high ambient noise levels.

Power Requirements

Powering microphones is an important consideration. Condenser microphones require external power, known as phantom power (usually 48v), typically supplied by audio interfaces or mixers. This additional power enables the condenser microphone's electronic components to function. On the other hand, dynamic microphones operate based on the coil moving on the magnet; power is not being supplied. This makes dynamic microphones more convenient for on-the-go recording or situations where phantom power is not available.

Stream with SteelSeries

SteelSeries gaming microphone

For streaming, the choice between condenser and dynamic microphones depends on your specific circumstances. If you have a controlled and quiet streaming environment, a condenser microphone can offer superior sound quality, capturing the subtle details of your voice.

Here’s what’s really important, though: our condenser microphones, both Alias and Alias Pro, are able to pick up your voice without it being right there against your mouth. This means two things: you don’t have to cover your face while talking or streaming, and you can move around while getting hype. A condenser mic will pick up your voice.

Since condenser mics are more sensitive and may pick up background noise, so it's crucial to have a quiet space or use noise reduction tools like SteelSeries Sonar AI Noise Cancelling. In fact, you've got a complete suite of tools with Sonar for Streamers if you plan on going live on Twitch or other platforms.

The right mic for streaming isn’t easy to find, but with the latest addition to our lineup, we have an easy solution for you. Pick between all-you-need USB Alias or go all out with the USB-powered Alias Pro which uses an XLR connection with the Stream Mixer.

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