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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the indie film, see Microphone (film).

"Microphones" redirects here. For the indie band, see The Microphones.
It has been suggested that Contact microphone be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed

since May 2015.

An AKG C214 condenser microphone with shock mount

A Sennheiser dynamic microphone

A microphone, colloquially mic or mike (/mak/), is an acoustic-toelectric transducer or sensor that converts sound into an electrical signal. Microphones are used in
many applications such as telephones, hearing aids,public address systems for concert halls and
public events, motion picture production, live and recorded audio engineering, two-way
radios, megaphones, radio and television broadcasting, and in computers for recording voice,speech
recognition, VoIP, and for non-acoustic purposes such as ultrasonic checking or knock sensors.

Most microphones today use electromagnetic induction (dynamic microphones), capacitance change
(condenser microphones) or piezoelectricity (piezoelectric microphones) to produce an electrical
signal from air pressure variations. Microphones typically need to be connected to
a preamplifier before the signal can be amplified with an audio power amplifier and a speaker or


1 History

1.1 Carbon microphone

1.2 Further developments

2 Components

3 Varieties

3.1 Condenser microphone

3.1.1 Electret condenser microphone

3.2 Dynamic microphone

3.3 Ribbon microphone

3.4 Carbon microphone

3.5 Piezoelectric microphone

3.6 Fiber optic microphone

3.7 Laser microphone

3.8 Liquid microphone

3.9 MEMS microphone

3.10 Speakers as microphones

4 Capsule design and directivity

5 Microphone polar patterns

5.1 Omnidirectional

5.2 Unidirectional

5.3 Cardioid

5.4 Bi-directional

5.5 Shotgun and parabolic microphones

5.6 Boundary or "PZM"

6 Application-specific designs

7 Powering

8 Connectors

8.1 Impedance-matching

8.2 Digital microphone interface

9 Measurements and specifications

10 Measurement microphones

10.1 Microphone calibration

11 Microphone array and array microphones

12 Microphone windscreens

12.1 Microphone covers

12.2 Pop filters

12.3 Blimps

13 See also

14 Notes

15 References

16 External links

In order to speak to larger groups of people, there was a desire to increase the volume of the spoken
word. The earliest known device to achieve this dates to 600 BC with the invention of masks with
specially designed mouth openings that acoustically augmented the voice in amphitheatres. In
1665, the English physicist Robert Hooke was the first to experiment with a medium other than air
with the invention of the "lovers' telephone" made of stretched wire with a cup attached at each end.


German inventor Johann Philipp Reis designed an early sound transmitter that used a metallic strip
attached to a vibrating membrane that would produce intermittent current. Better results were
achieved with the 'liquid transmitter' design in Scottish-AmericanAlexander Graham Bell's telephone
of 1876 the diaphragm was attached to a conductive rod in an acid solution. These systems,
however, gave a very poor sound quality.

Carbon microphone[edit]
Main article: Carbon microphone

David Edward Hughesinvented a carbon microphone in the 1870s.

The first microphone that enabled proper voice telephony was the (loose-contact) carbon
microphone (then called transmitter). This was independently developed by David Edward Hughes in
England and Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison in the US. Although Edison was awarded the first
patent (after a long legal dispute) in mid-1877, Hughes had demonstrated his working device in front
of many witnesses some years earlier, and most historians credit him with its invention.

Hughes' device used loosely packed carbon granules the varying pressure exerted on the granules
by the diaphragm from the acoustic waves caused the resistance of the carbon to vary
proportionally, allowing a relatively accurate electrical reproduction of the sound signal. He

demonstrated his apparatus to the Royal Society by magnifying the sound of insects scratching
through a sound box. Contrary to Edison, Hughes decided not to take out a patent; instead he gave
his invention as a gift to the world.

The carbon microphone is the direct prototype of today's microphones and was critical in the
development of telephony, broadcasting and the recording industries.

Thomas Edison refined the carbon microphone into his carbon-button transmitter of 1886. This
microphone was employed at the first ever radio broadcast, a performance at the New
York Metropolitan Opera House in 1910.