6. Transformer Balanced or Transformerless?
Condenser mics can be either transformer balanced or transformerless. These terms refer to the output of the internal microphone electronics. Early condenser mics invariably were transformer balanced. Transformerless technology was impractical with tube electronics, and even when tubes were replaced by transistors, many microphones were still equipped with audio transformers to balance the output signal. Today transformerless or electronically balanced microphones are a little more common than transformer balanced mics, but both technologies are still widely in use.
Some manufacturers advertise their mics as being superior because theyre either transformer balanced or transformerless, and thats why weve included this point here. As a matter of fact, transformer balanced or transformerless doesnt matter all that much. On the whole, transformerless mics sound a little more direct, neutral, and in-your-face than transformer balanced mics. Transformer balanced mics are attributed with a smoother, more vintage sound. Both output topologies sound fine, the difference in sound is slight and really a matter of preference. If youre a beginner, simply ignore the question of transformer balanced or transformerless, dont worry about it.