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UGA Special Collections Library Online Exhibitions

The Dynamic Microphone

Moving Coil diagrams

Like the condenser microphone, this is also a type of pressure microphone, and responds to sound pressure. The Dynamic Microphone is based on the principle of magnetic induction, in which a wire moves across a magnetic field, inducing voltage. This type is also referred to as the electrodynamic, electromagnetic, and moving coil microphone for this reason. Shown at left is a section view of a dynamic microphone.

These microphones are known for their durability; they are less fragile than condenser microphones, and are able to take in much louder noises before they begin distorting the sound. They are often used by musicians performing live, due to both their ability to handle louder sounds and their physical durability.

Though this microphone type is not in wide-spread use today, it is the most common microphone type in the Steele Collection. The collection contains 113 Dynamic microphones, a large selection of which is shown in the galleries below. The galleries are sorted both by polar response and manufacture date, if known.

Omni-Directional Polar Response

Microphones with the Omni-directional polar response type are the most numerous of the Dynamic microphones in Mr. Steele's collection.

Cardioid Polar Response

Slightly less numerous in the Steele Collection than the Omni-directional Dynamic Microphones, the Cardioid Dynamic microphones range from 1935 to 1969. This type of microphone picks up sound from primarily one direction. The gallery below contains most models of this type found in Mr. Steele's collection.

Altec 683A

Second from Left: Altec Model 683A (date unknown)

Second from Right: Altec Model 684A (date unknown)

Right: Altec Model 685A (date unknown)

Hyper- & Super-Cardioid

These microphones pick up sound from primarily one direction, as well as some noises from behind the microphone. Below are some examples of Hyper-Cardioid and Super-Cardioid Dynamic Microphones in Mr. Steele's collection.

Gallery of Dynamic Microphones with Unknown Polar Responses

Page Sources

  • Eargle, John. The Microphone Book. Focal Press, 2001.