Can I Use a Dynamic Microphone for Streaming

Can I Use a Dynamic Microphone for Streaming?

The term ‘streaming’ today has become incredibly popular. It’s not just about gaming, but also live performance, podcasting, and webinars. When looking for the best equipment that produces the highest quality for any live streaming situation, many people turn to dynamic microphones.

Dynamic microphones can certainly be a great option for streaming, but there are important considerations to make. First, if it’s for gaming, chatting with friends, and other basic situations, a dynamic microphone is fine.

If this is for podcasts, webinars, or other recordings, they may not offer the kind of consistency and clarity (as well as potential visual appeal when it comes to video sessions, like webinars) as the individual would prefer.

Key Differences Between Dynamic and Condenser Mics

There are often plenty of questions when it comes to the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones. There are plenty of differences to note and when it comes to streaming, the more you understand about these key variations, the easier it will be to make the right decision for your specific needs.

In most cases, professionals who record podcasts, webinars, live streaming workshops, and other such events will use condenser microphones. That’s because they are designed to better handle higher frequencies and faster sounds (think claps, percussive noises, taps, etc.).

In other words, condenser microphones offer better accuracy and they are also incredibly sensitive. That’s one of the key problems, though, that some people have with condenser microphones: they tend to pick up just about any and every sound possible.

Picture watching somebody doing a webinar from their desk. Every time their hand touches the desk, picks up a pen and jot a note down on paper, or doesn’t something off-screen, a highly sensitive condenser microphone could very well pick those subtle sounds up. That can become frustrating and annoying to their audience.

Also, many condenser microphones require an external power source, commonly referred to as ‘phantom power.’ This isn’t, in itself, a major problem as some of the better condenser microphones on the market will include it, but it’s an extra expense and extra set of wires needed for setting up and connecting to the mixer or computer.

As far as dynamic microphones are concerned, there is no need for phantom power and they do offer more durability. They don’t have the same type of sensitivity, which makes them perfect for percussive instruments, electronic guitars, and even recording or for a live performance of brass and woodwind instruments.

Here is one of the best dynamic microphones for recording instruments…the Shure SM-57  It’s been a staple for bands to mic drums and amps for decades.

Some people do use dynamic microphones for vocal work, and there are a number of podcasters who use them primarily, but it comes down to a matter of preference as far as quality and versatility are concerned.

What Makes Dynamic Mics Good Enough for Streaming?

First and foremost, the quality of the dynamic microphone is one of the most important factors when it comes to whether or not these will be good for streaming purposes. There are a lot of dynamic microphones that can start from anywhere around $10 or $20, and they may have a cord already attached, but they are not going to offer much in the way of quality at all.

Some of these microphones can be picked up at your local Walmart and Target. But the quality when it comes to streaming is going to be incredibly poor.

Other microphones, like the Shure SM58, which runs about $100, is a durable, highly responsive dynamic microphone that offers great clarity, frequency response, and can be optimal for streaming, podcasts, and other basic purposes.

For Quality, Dynamic Microphones Don’t Offer the Best Clarity for Voice

If someone is most interested in getting the best clarity and quality for their voice or other sounds when streaming, then a dynamic microphone is not going to be optimal, at least in a relatively quiet environment.

If the quality of the vocal sound and recording is of the utmost importance, and the person streaming, putting on a webinar podcast, or doing other types of recording and has essentially a quiet environment in which to work, a condenser microphone is going to be the better option.

However, most people don’t find themselves in optimal or ideal environments for this type of work. Road noise, a dog barking in the neighbor’s yard, people in a neighboring apartment building, roommates, and other situations can create an incredible amount of noise that, even though many people don’t pay much attention to them throughout the day, can be picked up by powerful condenser microphones.

In these types of real-world situations, dynamic microphones may be better suited for streaming so as to not frustrate and annoy the person listening on the other end.

Consider the Connections: USB vs. XLR

How a dynamic microphone is going to be connected to the computer for streaming (possibly even to a game console) is an important consideration to make. Many game consoles have specific connections for microphones but do allow for USB connectivity. Computers also have USB ports, but most quality dynamic microphones will only have XLR connections.

These are basic microphone connections that consist of three pins and will need an interface, possibly a mixing console, that can then be transferred to USB for streaming, podcasting, and recording on a personal home computer system.

Some dynamic microphones will have built-in USB connectivity, but that doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Many people report frustration with USB connected microphones (dynamic and condenser mics) because the computer system doesn’t produce enough volume to offer quality sound and therefore requires some other power source to run them.

But if you want here a couple of great USB microphones for you to consider if you wanna go this route. Admittedly it is a lot easier…

1. The Audio Technica AT2005USB is an expensive and simple solution for a dynamic microphone that connects to your computer via USB. There are a lot of podcasters that are using this mic nowadays instead of their fancier rigs.

2. If you want a decent condenser mic that connects to your system with USB, check out the Blue Yeti Condenser Microphone. It’s been a favorite for quite a few years now, for good reason. Great build quality, consistent performance and easy to use–I’ve had mine and used it without a problem for over give years.

Phantom Power is a Consideration, Too

Since dynamic microphones do not require phantom power, there is no need for an extra expense when it comes to setting up this type of situation for streaming. That can be beneficial for those who prefer fewer items and fewer expenses, especially when starting out streaming or podcasting.

What Type of Microphone Do the Best Streamers Use?

The most experienced podcasters and streamers today will generally prefer condenser microphones over dynamic mics when it comes to putting on their podcasts, webinars, or for recording. That’s simply because of the quality that condenser microphones provide for voice in a quiet, controlled environment.

As mentioned previously, the environment surrounding the person speaking, singing, streaming, podcasting, or performing a webinar is essential. Just about any and every sound is going to be picked up by a condenser microphone, especially a high-quality one. For that specific reason, the most experienced and dedicated pod streamers have multiple options available to them for various purposes.

Some of these streamers will use dynamic microphones when there will be excessive noise beyond just their speaking voice. For example, they might be writing on a blackboard, whiteboard, or other surface and don’t want the tapping, the pen scrolling across paper, and other noises to be picked up because they become amplified and can annoy the viewer.

In this type of situation, a dynamic microphone will likely be their preferred option for this particular episode. If they will simply be sitting there talking to their audience, they have a quiet environment in which to work already, then a condenser microphone is most likely going to be their preferred choice in those situations.