condenser

From http://www.rane.com/par-c.html:
[Also called capacitor microphone but more properly, the correct name is electrostatic microphone.] Invented by Wente in 1916, a microphone design where a condenser (the original name for capacitor) is created by stretching a thin diaphragm in front of a metal disc (the backplate). By positioning the two surfaces very close together an electrical capacitor is created whose capacitance varies as a function of sound pressure. Any change in sound pressure causes the diaphragm to move, which changes the distance between the two surfaces. If the capacitor is first given an electrical charge (polarized) then this movement changes the capacitance, and if the charge is fixed, then the backplate voltage varies proportionally to the sound pressure. In order to create the fixed charge, condenser microphones require external voltage (polarizing voltage) to operate. This is normally supplied in the form of phantom power from the microphone preamp or the mixing console.

See also dynamic.

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