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The microphone was initially introduced in 1877 by Emile Berliner who had been working with Thomas Edison.
It was a drum-like device that consisted of a carbon button microphone. During this time, many other models of microphone were being used but the carbon button microphone was the one that was generally accepted.
The microphone was also called a”loose-contact transmitter” since it included two electric contacts which are separated by a light layer of carbon. The loose contact was joined together with the diaphragm that vibrated upon getting struck by a sound wave. Berliner had originally owned the microphone but the patent was later sold to Thomas Edison for a hefty amount of $50,000.
Timeline of mic development
After the first microphone, there were many variations made to it in the 1800s and 1900s. Just a few years after the invention of the microphone, in 1878, David Edward Hughes developed the microphone into a different model which was used for a long time. In 1915, the vacuum tube amplifier was invented which increased the volume of devices such as microphones. The next year, the condensation microphone was introduced by Edward Christopher Wente of Bell Laboratories. The device is also known as a capacitor or an electrostatic microphone. He had aimed to improve the quality of audio in the microphone and to enhance it further. Soon after in 1928, the commercial production of condenser microphones began. The first dynamic microphone was invented in 1931 by Western Electric.
After the development of radio broadcasting, ribbon microphones were invented to assist in broadcasting. New designs of microphones were being produced in 1959. An electret microphone came about in 1964, invented by Bell Laboratories. It completely transformed the microphone industry as it offered greater reliability at a lower cost. In 1970s, condenser and ribbon microphones were further improved to enhance the audio quality of sound systems. They allowed for clear volume and reduced sound level sensitivity. Finally, in 1983s, the first clip-on microphones were invented which are still being used to this day. Now, microphones that are composed of higher quality microphones are being used.
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The Microphone Book: A Guide to Microphone Design and Application
By John Eargle
- Expansive microphone technology detail
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- Cases and context
A microphone is used to convert sound waves into electrical voltages which are in turn, converted back to sound waves. The sound waves are then amplified through speakers. As we know, microphones are now a source of music and entertainment for people all around the world.
Dynamic microphones are used for bass guitar, drums and amplifiers due to their high volume levels. Condenser microphones are more often used for recording purposes including vocal tracks, pianos, live strings, acoustic guitars etc. It responds more quickly than other types of microphones and can capture the smallest of sounds. A ribbon microphone is a very fragile microphone and can only be used rarely, however, it’s the ability to capture higher frequencies of sound gives it the edge when recording certain instruments that require detail in that frequency department.