Studio and PC microphone hints and tips
Using studio style or PC microphones with your transceiver
Studio mikes - dynamic or electret?
Studio style microphones can mostly be divided into two types, electret (or condenser) and dynamic (or moving-coil).
Dynamic microphones are the easiest and simplest to connect to your transceiver. They usually have no internal electronics and do not require a power supply to operate. RF feedback and similar problems are usually much less likely.
In recent years, economically priced studio style condenser microphones (for example the BM-800 & clones) have become easily available which look very attractive to radio enthusiasts, but in spite of their good looks and low price, they are not as straightforward to use.
There are two important things to consider before using studio style condenser microphones with your amateur radio equipment.
1. They require a source of power. Some have battery compartments built in, some do not. For those without, a 'Phantom Power' supply must be used in-line. These can be purchased from pro-audio suppliers. For microphones equipped with a 3.5mm jack lead designed to connect to a computer, you may be able to use our PC microphone adapter which provides a 5V DC source. Another alternative is to use a small studio mixer with phantom power available on the microphone input and a suitable cable to connect the mixer to your transceiver.
2. They are not designed to be used in a radio frequency environment. Most have no protection against RF interference. The small transistor (FET) amplifier inside the microphone often suffers very badly from RF pick-up from the transmitter and can cause horrible distortion on the transmitted signal - RF feedback.
Please bear these points in mind before choosing a microphone. Many customers have reported excellent results with condenser microphones, but others have experienced great difficulty eliminating RF feedback.
We supply cables for studio microphones for most transceivers. They are primarily designed for use with dynamic microphones.
Browse Microphone cables.
PC microphones and headsets
There is a vast range of headsets and microphones available for PC (computer) use and many of these can also be used with your transceiver. We supply PC microphone adapters for most radios. They include a PTT input for a hand or foot switch and the required DC power for the electret microphone is supplied via the adapter, from the radio's microphone socket.
Heil headsets are mostly dynamic and require a different cable to PC headsets. The exception are the 'iC' series for Icom radios which are condenser.
We supply a wide range of cables for Heil headsets, including the 'iC' series.
Browse Headset adapters.
Using a mixer between your microphone and station gives you more control over the frequency response and also can overcome the problem of supplying DC to condenser microphones. We sell cables to match mixers to most transceivers, with PTT input and an in-line attenuator to reduce higher line level output of the mixer to the lower microphone level required by the radio. This helps minimise noise and distortion.
Browse Mixer cables (audio).