• Wish list
  • Choose your store
    All countries
  • 0

Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Dynamic Microphones

4. Differences

Not all dynamic mics are created equal. Differences in design and materials contribute to each microphone’s unique sound characteristics. Some important specs include:

Sound Pressure Level

The volume a microphone can handle must be considered to determine its range of application. Putting a vintage valve condenser microphone inside a bass drum will probably result in a large repair bill; knowing the SPL rating of your microphone is usually crucial to knowing how to use it safely. Unlike some condenser microphones, most dynamics can handle a high level of sound pressure. For this reason, a dynamic microphone may be used in situations where few other mics would survive. Exceeding a dynamic mic’s maximum SPL will result in audible distortion, but is unlikely to cause permanent damage to the capsule. For this reason, some dynamic mics have a maximum SPL of ‘N/A’ - in other words, don’t worry about it.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is another important specification. Almost all microphones have a “sound” – a microphone’s frequency response imparts characteristics to the sound it captures, rather like a filter in front of a camera lens; everything seen through it may have a certain colour. A ‘perfect’ linear response is not always ideal; few microphones exhibit such a response, especially dynamic designs, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. A sound engineer may choose a mic based on the way it colours the sound. For example, a vocalist will often sound better if certain frequencies are emphasized while others are de-emphasized. Conversely, if a mic is very good at picking up low frequencies you probably wouldn’t use it for miking a triangle.

Yamaha Subkick dynamic bass drum microphone

Frequency response can also be affected by two other factors: distance and direction. If a mic is positioned very close to the sound source it may exhibit proximity effect (boosted bass frequencies). Radio DJs often choose a microphone with a pronounced proximity effect because it makes their voices sound fuller. Also, if a sound arrives to the mic from an angle that it’s insensitive to (“off axis”), the frequency response may be greatly affected.

EV RE20 large diaphragm dynamic microphone

Polar Pattern

As we have seen, a microphone’s sensitivity is not necessarily uniform in all directions. The ‘shape’ of a microphone’s response, known as its polar pattern, is another important component to evaluate when selecting a microphone. Common polar patterns include cardioid (heart-shaped), supercardioid and hypercardioid (‘pointier’ heart-shaped responses), omnidirectional, and figure-8 (bidirectional). The shape of the microphone itself will affect its polar pattern, which is why many omnidirectional measurement microphones are small; this way the body of the microphone doesn’t block sound from behind the mic as much as a larger mic. Not all frequencies will create the same shape, so the polar plots of a mic may be given for several frequency ranges. Directional microphone patterns such as cardioid, hypercardioid and supercardioid are often chosen for vocals and close miking instruments precisely because of their off-axis rejection. Omnidirectional mics are rarely used in loud live situations where feedback is a concern, though they are often excellent when used in the more controlled environment of the recording studio, for recording larger instruments such as grand piano or a wide percussion setups which might otherwise require numerous directional microphones.

Sennheiser E604 and cardioid polar pattern

Transient Response

A microphone’s transient response indicates how fast the diaphragm will respond to sudden sounds, such as the attack of a pick or the strike of a drum. Larger diameter diaphragms usually react more slowly than smaller diaphragms, which is why small diaphragm condenser microphones are often chosen for recording cymbals. Dynamic mics with their heavier diaphragms will exhibit slower transient responses than condenser mics.


Microphones can be differentiated by their impedance, a measure of their inherent electrical resistance measured in ohms (?). High impedance mics (rated 10k ohms and above) are susceptible to interference and loss of signal quality, particularly with long cables, and are usually restricted to non-professional applications. Low impedance mics (600 ohms or less) tend to be used in professional situations where microphone cables and snakes can reach 100m or more. Modern mixing desks can usually adapt to any microphone impedance.

Your Contact People
Phone: +49-9546-9223-35
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Get Your Free Copy of our Hot Deals Catalogue!

More than 7.900.000 musicians are avid readers of Thomann's Hot Deals catalogue. Get your free copy now! More than 500 current offers!

Hot Deals
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Stairville Led Bar 240/8 RGB DMX 30° worth €62.
What does the acronym VU stand for?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
One of our Fans
You guys are great! I am a huge fan of your store...Looking forward to my next purchase!
felipexxxa01@gxxx.com, 20.03.2017

Dynamic Microphones overview


Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.