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Microphones (“mics”) are TRANSDUCERS that convert physical sound energy (sound waves) into electrical sound energy using electromagnets. Microphones have “polar patterns” that show their sensitivity to sound in all directions around them. All microphones have “capsules” (or “diaphragms”) that move along with sound waves in the air. In some cases the capsule works by itself, and in other cases you may need to 48 volts of electricity along the microphone cable into the microphone so it works. The 48 volts is called “Phantom Power”. Still other microphones utilize a complete power supply (especially microphones that use tubes rather than transistors).
MIC TECHNIQUE involves choosing the best microphone and positioning to capture (and possibly enhance) a particular sound.
A TRANSDUCER is a device that converts sound from one form of energy to another. A speaker is a transducer, and so is a microphone (the sound is just going in opposite directions). In fact, I know of people that have used a simple speaker (the good ol’ Aurotone) as a mic!
Microphones can be used in pairs to capture a wide stereo image or close to individual sounds to give a tight isolated intimate feeling.
Sometimes an Engineer will use more than one microphone to capture a mono sound. Perhaps two locations need to be captured for the full sound an instrument creates. Perhaps two very different microphones are needed to exaggerate desired characteristics of the sound being captured. In such cases it is VERY important to consider phase and make sure that the microphones are adding to each other rather than subtracting.