Looking to use a dynamic microphone for streaming? Here are important questions to ask and things to keep in mind before you decide.
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The term ‘streaming’ today has become incredibly popular. It’s not just about gaming, but also live performance, podcasting, and webinars. When looking for the best equipment that produces the highest quality for any live streaming situation, many people turn to dynamic microphones.
Dynamic microphones can certainly be a great option for streaming, but there are important considerations to make. First, if it’s for gaming, chatting with friends, and other basic situations, a dynamic microphone is fine.
If this is for podcasts, webinars, or other recordings, they may not offer the kind of consistency and clarity (as well as potential visual appeal when it comes to video sessions, like webinars) as the individual would prefer. If this is the case, a condenser microphone may be a better choice. Let’s take a look at the differences to help you decide which one is right for you.
Dynamic Microphones vs Condenser Microphones
There are often plenty of questions when it comes to the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones. There are plenty of differences to note and when it comes to streaming, the more you understand about these key variations, the easier it will be to make the right decision for your specific needs.
In most cases, professionals who record podcasts, webinars, live streaming workshops, and other such events will use condenser microphones. That’s because they are designed to better handle higher frequencies and faster sounds (think claps, percussive noises, taps, etc.).
In other words, condenser microphones offer better accuracy and they are also incredibly sensitive. That’s one of the key problems, though, that some people have with condenser microphones: they tend to pick up just about any and every sound possible.
Picture watching somebody doing a webinar from their desk. Every time their hand touches the desk, picks up a pen, and jot a note down on paper, or doesn’t something off-screen, a highly sensitive condenser microphone could very well pick those subtle sounds up. That can become frustrating and annoying to their audience.
Also, many condenser microphones require an external power source, commonly referred to as ‘phantom power.’ This isn’t, in itself, a major problem as some of the better condenser microphones on the market will include it, but it’s an extra expense and extra set of wires needed for setting up and connecting to the mixer or computer.
As far as dynamic microphones are concerned, there is no need for phantom power and they do offer more durability. They don’t have the same type of sensitivity, which makes them perfect for percussive instruments, electronic guitars, and even recording or for a live performance of brass and woodwind instruments.
Here is one of the best dynamic microphones for recording instruments…the Shure SM-57 It’s been a staple for bands to mic drums and amps for decades.
- Contoured frequency response for clean, instrumental reproduction and rich vocal pickup
- Professional-quality reproduction for drum, percussion, and instrument amplifier miking
- Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source while reducing background noise
- Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise
- Extremely durable under the heaviest use
Some people do use dynamic microphones for vocal work, and there are a number of podcasters who use them primarily, but it comes down to a matter of preference as far as quality and versatility are concerned.
Are Dynamic Microphones Good Enough for Streaming?
First and foremost, the quality of the dynamic microphone is one of the most important factors when it comes to whether or not these will be good for streaming purposes. There are a lot of dynamic microphones that can start from anywhere around $10 or $20, and they may have a cord already attached, but they are not going to offer much in the way of quality at all.
Some of these microphones can be picked up at your local Walmart and Target. But the quality when it comes to streaming is going to be incredibly poor.
Other microphones, like the Shure SM58, is a durable, highly responsive dynamic microphone that offers great clarity, frequency response, and can be optimal for streaming, podcasts, and other basic purposes.
- Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect^Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise^Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise^Effective built-in spherical wind and pop filter^Frequency response: 50 to 15,000 Hz
Voice Clarity While Streaming
If someone is most interested in getting the best clarity and quality for their voice or other sounds when streaming, then a dynamic microphone is not going to be optimal, at least in a relatively quiet environment.
If the quality of the vocal sound and recording is of the utmost importance, and the person streaming, putting on a webinar podcast, or doing other types of recording and has essentially a quiet environment in which to work, a condenser microphone is going to be the better option.
However, most people don’t find themselves in optimal or ideal environments for this type of work. Road noise, a dog barking in the neighbor’s yard, people in a neighboring apartment building, roommates, and other situations can create an incredible amount of noise that, even though many people don’t pay much attention to them throughout the day, can be picked up by powerful condenser microphones.
In these types of real-world situations, dynamic microphones may be better suited for streaming so as to not frustrate and annoy the person listening on the other end.
USB Dynamic Microphone vs. XLR Dynamic Microphone
How a dynamic microphone is going to be connected to the computer for streaming (possibly even to a game console) is an important consideration to make. Many game consoles have specific connections for microphones but do allow for USB connectivity. Computers also have USB ports, but most quality dynamic microphones will only have XLR connections.
These are basic microphone connections that consist of three pins and will need an interface, possibly a mixing console, that can then be transferred to USB for streaming, podcasting, and recording on a personal home computer system.
Some dynamic microphones will have built-in USB connectivity, but that doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Many people report frustration with USB-connected microphones (dynamic and condenser mics) because the computer system doesn’t produce enough volume to offer quality sound and therefore requires some other power source to run them.
USB Mics for Streaming
If you want here a couple of great USB microphones for you to consider if you wanna go this route. Admittedly it is a lot easier…
1. Audio-Technica AT2005USB
- Handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output and XLR analog output
- USB output connects to your computer for digital recording, while the XLR output connects with your sound system's conventional microphone input for use in live performance
- Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, voiceover, and on-stage use
- Built-in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor from your microphone
- Adjust headphone volume with easy-to-use controls on the bottom of the microphone
The Audio Technica AT2005USB is an expensive and simple solution for a dynamic microphone that connects to your computer via USB. There are a lot of podcasters that are using this mic nowadays instead of their fancier rigs.
2. Blue Yeti Condenser Microphone
- Custom three-capsule array: This professional USB mic produces clear, powerful, broadcast-quality sound for YouTube videos, Twitch game streaming, podcasting, Zoom meetings, music recording and more
- Blue VO!CE software: Elevate your streamings and recordings with clear broadcast vocal sound and entertain your audience with enhanced effects, advanced modulation and HD audio samples
- Four pickup patterns: Flexible cardioid, omni, bidirectional, and stereo pickup patterns allow you to record in ways that would normally require multiple mics, for vocals, instruments and podcasts
- Onboard audio controls: Headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and mic gain put you in charge of every level of the audio recording and streaming process
- Positionable design: Pivot the mic in relation to the sound source to optimize your sound quality thanks to the adjustable desktop stand and track your voice in real time with no-latency monitoring
If you want a decent condenser mic that connects to your system with a USB, check out the Blue Yeti Condenser Microphone. It’s been a favorite for quite a few years now, for good reason.
Great build quality, consistent performance, and easy to use–I’ve had mine and used it without a problem for over five years.
Do Dynamic Microphones Need Phantom Power?
Since dynamic microphones do not require phantom power, there is no need for an extra expense when it comes to setting up this type of situation for streaming. That can be beneficial for those who prefer fewer items and fewer expenses, especially when starting out streaming or podcasting.
What Type of Microphone Do the Best Streamers Use?
The most experienced podcasters and streamers today will generally prefer condenser microphones over dynamic mics when it comes to putting on their podcasts, webinars, or recording. That’s simply because of the quality that condenser microphones provide for voice in a quiet, controlled environment.
As mentioned previously, the environment surrounding the person speaking, singing, streaming, podcasting, or performing a webinar is essential. Just about any and every sound is going to be picked up by a condenser microphone, especially a high-quality one. For that specific reason, the most experienced and dedicated pod streamers have multiple options available to them for various purposes.
Some of these streamers will use dynamic microphones when there will be excessive noise beyond just their speaking voice. For example, they might be writing on a blackboard, whiteboard, or other surface and don’t want the tapping, the pen scrolling across the paper, and other noises to be picked up because they become amplified and can annoy the viewer.
In this type of situation, a dynamic microphone will likely be their preferred option for this particular episode. If they will simply be sitting there talking to their audience, they have a quiet environment in which to work already, then a condenser microphone is most likely going to be their preferred choice in those situations.