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Crystal microphones or ceramic microphones are generally low cost units offering a high output voltage into a high impedance.
The microphones tend to be at the bottom end of the market as they do not offer a particular wide frequency response and in view of the high impedance they are not widely used these days.
The main use of crystal microphone technology is within transducers used for a variety of monitoring applications and for automotive transmitters / sensors.
The terms crystal microphone and ceramic microphone are virtually interchangeable as they describe microphones using crystal or ceramic piezoelectric technology.
Crystal microphone basics
The operation of the crystal microphone or ceramic microphone is based around the piezoelectric effect.
The piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain materials to generate an electric charge when mechanical stress is applied.