How does a Microphone work?

An explanation into how dynamic microphones work

Explanation on the process a dynamic microphone uses to convert the wave vibrations of sound, using transducer technology, to translate the sound into an electrical signal that can stored or transmitted elsewhere.

Episode #10-12 released on October 27, 2019

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This is a question asked on an old episode on how keyboards work, and today, prepare to learn about microphones, a device that works in the complete opposite of headphones and speakers.

Now, I've already mentioned that asking the right question is important but learning to ask the right question helps refine the solution even further. For this topic, we need to ask a better question than just how does a microphone work, we need to ask how does a microphone convert analog pressure waves that we know to be sound into an electrical signal that can be stored or transmitted?

First, sound is transmitted through a fluid medium, usually air. Sound itself is transmitted as a wave vibration. The sound is interrupted by our ears using a variety of factors including the length of the wave, the pitch of the wave, the duration, the volume, etc.

Now collecting all those data points from the sound wave would seem complicated, but the most common method uses the relationship between electricity and magnetism, seeing as how sound waves have a specific value per unit measurement of time. The shorter the timeframe the more bits of information we can collect from audio. To achieve this calculation, we use a device commonly known as a transducer, and the most common microphone, a dynamic microphone, uses a coil of wire suspended around a magnet. Using the magnetic field the coil can manipulate the electrical signal with the aid of the diaphragm to act as a mechanical means of moving the coil of wire around the magnet within the magnetic field changing the electrical signal's characteristics allowing it to be recorded as a digital signal to be transmitted or stored for later use.

Because of the way a microphone works, and because of how similar headphones are, you can plug some into the microphone input of any device and record audio like a microphone. This works best with analog headphones because you need to use the aux jack to be able to connect to the microphone in of your device. Also, the sound will be really low because headphone and speaker transducers are tuned to turn an electrical signal into sound by manipulating the magnetic field making the diaphragm of the speaker vibrate the air directly in front of it.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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