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A transducer in which sound waves are converted into corresponding variations in an electrical signal for amplification, transmission to a distant point, or recording. Various types of device are used. In the dynamic microphone the sound waves impinge on a conductor of low mass supported in a magnetic field and cause it to oscillate at the frequency of the sound waves. These movements induce an e.m.f. in the conductor that is proportional to its velocity. The moving conductor consists of a metal ribbon, a wire, or a coil of wire. In the moving-iron microphone, sound waves cause a light armature to oscillate so that it varies the reluctance of a magnetic circuit. In a coil surrounding this path the varying reluctance is experienced as a variation in the magnetic flux within it, which induces a corresponding e.m.f. In the carbon microphone, widely used in telephones, a diaphragm constitutes a movable electrode in contact with carbon granules, which are also in contact with a fixed electrode. The movement of the diaphragm, in response to the sound waves, varies the resistance of the path through the granules to the fixed electrode. See also capacitor microphone; crystal microphone.

Subjects: Physics.

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