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Girls setting Microphone in live show

Girls setting Microphone in live show

A microphone, colloquially mic or mike is an acoustic-to-electric transducer or sensor that converts sound into an electrical signal. Electromagnetic transducers facilitate the conversion of acoustic signals into electrical signals. Microphones are used in many applications such as telephones, hearing aids, public address systems for concert halls and public events, motion picture production, live and recorded audio engineering, two-way radios, megaphones, radio and television broadcasting, and in computers for recording voice, speech recognition, VoIP, and for non-acoustic purposes such as ultrasonic checking or knock sensors.

Most microphones today use electromagnetic induction (dynamic microphones), capacitance change (condenser microphones) or piezoelectricity (piezoelectric microphones) to produce an electrical signal from air pressure variations. Microphones typically need to be connected to a preamplifier before the signal can be amplified with an audio power amplifier and a speaker or recorded.


In order to speak to larger groups of people, there was a desire to increase the volume of the spoken word. The earliest known device to achieve this dates to 600 BC with the invention of masks with specially designed mouth openings that acoustically augmented the voice in amphitheatres. In 1665, the English physicist Robert Hooke was the first to experiment with a medium other than air with the invention of the “lovers’ telephone” made of stretched wire with a cup attached at each end.

German inventor Johann Philipp Reis designed an early sound transmitter that used a metallic strip attached to a vibrating membrane that would produce intermittent current. Better results were achieved with the “liquid transmitter” design in Scottish-American Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone of 1876 – the diaphragm was attached to a conductive rod in an acid solution. These systems, however, gave a very poor sound quality.
Carbon microphone
Main article: Carbon microphone
David Edward Hughes invented a carbon microphone in the 1870s.

The first microphone that enabled proper voice telephony was the (loose-contact) carbon microphone (then called transmitter). This was independently developed by David Edward Hughes in England and Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison in the US. Although Edison was awarded the first patent (after a long legal dispute) in mid-1877, Hughes had demonstrated his working device in front of many witnesses some years earlier, and most historians credit him with its invention.

Hughes’ device used loosely packed carbon granules the varying pressure exerted on the granules by the diaphragm from the acoustic waves caused the resistance of the carbon to vary proportionally, allowing a relatively accurate electrical reproduction of the sound signal. He demonstrated his apparatus to the Royal Society by magnifying the sound of insects scratching through a sound box. Contrary to Edison, Hughes decided not to take out a patent; instead he gave his invention as a gift to the world.

The carbon microphone is the direct prototype of today’s microphones and was critical in the development of telephony, broadcasting and the recording industries.

Thomas Edison refined the carbon microphone into his carbon-button transmitter of 1886. This microphone was employed at the first ever radio broadcast, a performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House in 1910.

Courtesy : Wikipedia



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