What Does a Microphone Do?

A microphone amplifies sound. It does this by turning the acoustical energy of sound waves into electrical energy known as an audio signal.

Different microphones are used for different things, and specific mics are made for certain applications. Although microphones have varying parts, each one has a diaphragm, which is a piece of aluminum, plastic or paper that vibrates when sound waves hit it.

Microphones may have small amplifiers built in or be fed into an external amplifier. Ribbon microphones are the most commonly used mics in broadcasts and recording studios. Condenser mics are known for their clear sound, and dynamic mics are corded mics that are fed into an amplifier.