R/E/P > Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab

The Myth of the Accurate Microphone

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Before I responded, I wanted to make sure that you really meant what you wrote. And I can tell you that I know of very very few professional singers who are ignorant about the recording process to the point that they do not care how their voices translate in the studio.

Most of my clients are so deeply engaged in the recording process, they not only actively select the mic from teh studio's locker, but bring their own vocal mic to the sessions (like you would expect from instrumental performers at any professional level: Itzhak Perlman or Pinchas Zukerman don't go to the local rental shop before hitting the studio).

On a general note:

Internet forums allow all of us to mix it up with the big boys by pretending to be experts, without anyone checking at the door. Reading your many posts in this thread so far, I am curious what practical experience you have in the professional recording world?

What you have shared so far (a lot of wikipedia and other experts' citations) makes me wonder what you do for a living? Where can we hear your recordings? What are your achievements in the recording business? What mics do you use every day?

Expert knowledge is not required for most subjects on this forum. Novices are always welcome, and the level of accomplishments does not matter. But the discussion of accurate mics is not enriched when posting without extensive personal experience.

Mike Rivers wrote in another forum the following, which I found interesting, and which I am quoting with his permission:

Distortion is about many things, not just about harmonics of the source coming out than what went in. Most of the difference between source and mic output is a result of mechanical resonances and uneven frequency response. Generally when you see a THD measurement of a mic, it's of the electronics alone, and doesn't include the capsule.

Making high resolution acoustic measurements on a mic is quite difficult. First you need to be able to create a sound wave in air that has an order of magnitude less distortion than the mic you're trying to measure. Then there's contributions from external noise sources that must be dealt with. There's an IEC recommended test setup that a few manufacturers have built that looks a bit like a bomb with electrical connectors.

The AES working group on microphone standards has been trying for years to come up with ways to standardize measurements.


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