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Measurement Mic Choice
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Joined: 19/08/2012 22:42:19
Messages: 30

For any forum members who have deep technical knowledge do any of you feel that not buying a rational acoustics measurement mic versus any of the general ones out there will matter for a measurement mic purchase.
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Joined: 28/07/2010 18:47:25
Messages: 13464
Location: Central New Jersey

For normal use no. If you're dealing with critical situations where accuracy could mean life or death...still no. No disrespect to the RA mic but for live sound and room tuning purposes most of the measurement mics are virtually identical until you get above 10k. From there on, money talks.

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Joined: 28/06/2011 04:26:10
Messages: 53

I'm with Mono on this. Only other thing to consider is if you want a calibration file to go with the mic at some point. So I bought one of the following:

I figure it will save me the hassle and expense of having to send the mic off to get a calibration file produced, should I need it. They buy mics, have an engineer produce the calibration files, and ship it to you.

I have little to no experience with this stuff, and you can save money if you don't want the calibration files....but like Mono said the frequency response between 50Hz and 10kHz is reported to be very similar between a wide range of mics....and a calibration file will prove that. I like proof myself.....even if i never use the files for anything but verification of the (measured) frequency response of the mic.

Joined: 12/12/2011 19:02:02
Messages: 138
Location: Putnam, CT

No disrespect here! The RA mic is the same capsule as a majority of the microphones on the market - the only real benefit that you get by purchasing it from us is that you get a cool bag swag to go with it Mono is right on, it doesn't matter what mic you use.

Measurement microphone capsules are essentially all made at the same factory; the best capsules with the best tolerances go to the better more expensive mics. The rest get distributed around as needed. You would notice that the Supperlux ECM999 is the OEM product that is the same mic as the Behringer, Audix, the Cross-Spectrum low-budget offerings, and many more. Frequency response and calibration files are really a non-issue. A measurement mic is essentially flat from 20-20k, with any derivation being around 3dB upwards of 10-15k, typically closer to 1.5 dB. A concert PA system isn't even concerned with energy passed 8k. So, it really doesn't matter which mic you use as long as it powers up - at least under normal conditions.

The more expensive mics have better tolerances to sound pressure levels, and stay stable when receiving high SPL's. However, for tuning, it doesn't matter how loud the signal is as long as it is equal to or above noise floor. If you tune a PA at 80 db SPL, or 105 dB A SPL, you are going to get the same results. Reverb propagation or any room anomalies are time based, not sound level based, and any program worth its salt uses averaging and coherence to account for these issues. I purchased a mic with a calibration file, however, it was because I wanted the mic's sensitivity to use it for accurately reading SPL - correcting for frequencies above or below the range we actually work in are not needed for doing fantastic work.

If your rig consists of several different RTA mics, and you want to get them all pretty matched up, calibration files may come in handy for that - however, they are largely unnecessary. Also, unless you are viewing your measurements at the highest possible resolution you won't be able to see the difference. What's most important are consistent and repeatable results and work flow. After all, you are the one making the decisions, not the analyzer. Considering what your mic is doing or being aware of your mics frequency response and having that in your back pocket doesn't cost you anything - and will provide for you the same results in your work.

No ones ever said "you know, the energy at 16k sounds like it's 2 dB off, did you use a calibrated mic?"

FWIW, the guy that does the calibration on the Cross-Spectrum mic is the same guy that does all of ours. Until you decide to spend more $$$ then 100$ - any mic you are going to look at is the same exact thing.

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