captacoustic
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Dec 14, 2003

Condenser vs Dynamic Mic re: Feedback

So, all this talk in another thread about the Heil has got me wondering about something I've never completely understood: is a condenser mic more prone to feedback than a dynamic mic?
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May 11, 2020

Re: Condenser vs Dynamic Mic re: Feedback

Hi Wayne,

This is a tricky generalization to dissect and explain.

If we are talking about hand-held stage microphones designed for live sound (and gain stageded properly) I think that condenser microphones can match gain-before-feedback that is possible from dynamic microphones. That is - they would be no more prone to feedback.

I think that the bad reputation for feedback goes way back to when condenser microphones (which can be more responsive) were used in studios were there was less possibility for feed back just because these were used under highly controlled circumstances. Condenser microphones were prized and cherished for their ability to pick up everything. Omni-directional and cardioid polar patters can be fine and even desirable in these circumstances. This can be managed with acoustic treatment of the rooms, vocal boothes, and physical isolation, and processing after the recording. If you take a microphne that was designed to be used in a studio out on to a noisy stage, then it's finest qualities become liabilities.

So back to generalizations: If a condenser microphone is well designed specifically for use on stage (live sound reinforcement) I don't think the generalization (condenser = more feedback) applies - especially when gain-staged properly and in our case, when we follow the guidelines about Microphone Feedback.

I am very confident about the practical part of this (what happens on stage) because I use condenser microphones for vocals in front of my L1®s all the time (Neumann KMS 105, AKG C535 EB, Shure Beta 87A...). I also use some dynamic microphones on the same stages (Audix OM3, Shure Beta 58...). In the hands of a performer who knows how to use them I have no more problems with condenser microphones than I do with dynamic microphones. In either case (condenser or dynamic) the polar patterns of the microphones (omni, cardioid, super-cardioid, hyper-cardioid, figure-8,...) will be a big determining factor in how likely you are to have feedback on a live stage.

Reading:

How to Buy a Microphone - Shure.com

How to read microphone specifications - DPA Microphone University


Microphones - Planet of tunes (where I got the image below)
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Re: Condenser vs Dynamic Mic re: Feedback

Joelheck
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Jul 16, 2007

Re: Condenser vs Dynamic Mic re: Feedback

Given the additional sensativity of my EV HM7 Condenser headmike, vs the Shure Dynamic WH20 headmike, there was a bit of additional tweaking required to get the desired results from the EV.
It can pick up more wind noise, but nowhere near as bad as some Countryman type ones I tried. The noise Gate seemed to help there a bit.
It took a little more adjustment of the EQ to get the sound I wanted, rolling off a bit of the highs and boosting the low end somewhat.
I initially had trouble walking past the L1 and getting possible feedback, that is now corrected.
It now has an excellent responsiveness and sounds great on live recordings through the T1 to laptop.