A microphone, colloquially nicknamed mic or mike (/maɪk/), is a transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal. 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, sound recording, 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 sensors or knock sensors.
Several types of microphone are in use, which employ different methods to convert the air pressure variations of a sound wave to an electrical signal. The most common are the dynamic microphone, which uses a coil of wire suspended in a magnetic field; the condenser microphone, which uses the vibrating diaphragm as a capacitor plate; and the piezoelectric microphone, which uses a crystal of piezoelectric material. Microphones typically need to be connected to a preamplifier before the signal can be recorded or reproduced.
Shotgun microphones are the most highly directional of simple first-order unidirectional types. At low frequencies they have the classic polar response of a hypercardioid but at medium and higher frequencies an interference tube gives them an increased forward response. This is achieved by a process of cancellation of off-axis waves entering the longitudinal array of slots. A consequence of this technique is the presence of some rear lobes that vary in level and angle with frequency, and can cause some coloration effects. Due to the narrowness of their forward sensitivity, shotgun microphones are commonly used on television and film sets, in stadiums, and for field recording of wildlife.