Nowadays, microphones are mainly connected with the music and entertainment fields, but in the 1600s, scientists started to search out how they could magnify the sound.
1665: Until the 19th century, the word microphone was not used. English physicist and Robert Hooke were considered as a pioneer in the field of broadcasting sound across distance, as they developed the acoustic cup and string phone.
1827: Charles Wheatstone was the first person who played a vital role in developing the microphone. Wheatstone was the popular English physicist and creator, who was the best inventor for the telegraph. Basically, he had an interest in various fields and gave some of his time to study acoustics in the 1820s. Wheatstone was one of the first scientists to recognize that sound can be transmitted by waves with the help of mediums. This finding made him curious to find out different ways of transmitting sounds from one place to another over long distances. He worked to develop a device, which could amplify low sounds and named this device a microphone.
1876: Emile Berliner may be considered as the inventor of the first modern microphone. He was best known for inventing the Gramophone and its records. When Berliner saw a demonstration of the Bell company at U.S. Centennial presentation, he was inspired to explore ways to enhance the features of the recently invented telephone. The management of Bell company was impressed with the device he launched with telephone voice transmitter, and Alexander Graham Bell invented the liquid microphone.
1878: After inventing the microphone by Berliner and Edison, a British-American music professor David Edward Hughes introduced the first carbon microphone. It was used as a prototype for many carbon microphones, which are still in use.
1915: Vacuum tube ampli?er was developed to enhance the volume of many devices, including the microphone.
1916: E.C. Wente invented the condenser microphone at Bell Laboratories, which was also known as a capacitor or an electrostatic microphone. Although he had an assignment to improve the sound quality for telephones, his innovations also affected the microphone.
1920s: When radio became the first source in the field of news and entertainment all over the world, the demand for the best quality microphone grew up. Then, the first ribbon microphone, the PB-31/PB-17, for radio was introduced by RCA Company.
1928: Georg Neumann and Corporation was established in Germany and instantly became famous for its microphone. The first commercial condenser microphone was developed by Georg Neumann. It was also known as ‘bottle’ due to its shape.
1931: In this year, Western Electric marketed its ?rst dynamic microphone, 618 Electrodynamic.
1957: Raymond A Litke was an electrical engineer of San Jose State College and Educational Media Resources. He invented the first wireless microphone that was designed for multimedia applications as well as the radio, television, and higher education. He also applied patent for this microphone in this year.
1959: The first unidirectional device, Unidyne III microphone, was invented to pick up the sound from the top of the microphone, instead of sides. Additionally, this new enhancement specified the modern design for microphones in the future.
1964: James West and Gerhard Sessler received patent number 3,118,022 for an electret microphone, which provided better reliability and greater precision with a lower price and small in size. It changed the microphone field by manufacturing approximately one billion units on every year.
1970s: In this decade, both dynamic and condenser mics were improved more. They offered a clearer sound recording and a lower sound level sensitivity. Furthermore, a large number of mics were also introduced in the 1970s.
1983: In this year, the first clip-on microphone was introduced by Sennheiser, which was designed for the studio (MKE 2), and it was a directional mic (MK# 40). These types of devices are still in use.
1990s: Neumann released a designed condenser model, KMS 105, for live performances that offered a new standard for better quality.
2000s: In this decade, MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) microphones were becoming more popular with portable devices as well as headsets, laptops, and cell phones. Also, the trend for small size mics was growing up with applications like automobile technology, wearable devices, smart homes, etc.
2010: The Eigenmike was introduced in year 2010, which comprised various types of high-quality microphones. These microphones designed to arrange on the surface of a strong sphere that enables it to pick up the sound from different directions.
Present: Microphone technology is developing continuously.
The available user-friendly microphones in present days are given below:
- Ribbon microphones
- Condenser microphones with large and small diaphragms
- Dynamic mics