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Measuring microphone
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Measuring microphone

I realize that with my renewed interest in audio recording I am posting a lot of topics. If that is tiresome, my apologies. See it as a sign of enthusiasm that will probably decrease as my previous recording opportunity slides further and further into the past (I really feel for the forum members for whom this is their livelihood).

To the topic I have a question about.

From time to time I come across the term "measuring microphone". My understanding is that these are primarily intended for scientific applications and not for recording music. Measuring room acoustics for example. From what I gather these tend to have a wide and flat frequency response.

My question is this: I have always understood that to mean that these mics are not suited to recording music. But is that correct? And if so why? Because a wide flat frequency response might be a desirable thing under certain circumstances?

Please educate me

Regards, Christine
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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stella645's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There's a very short sos article outlining the possible issues.

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-a...ecording-music
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hi Christine,

Well, you could use one of the better ones for music if you wanted, but measurement mics have a) small diaphragms (e.g. 5 or 6mm) so quite high self-noise; b) are often cheap (so electronics, handling noise, robustness etc. will all be impacted); and c) come with (hopefully individual to your mic) calibration data to achieve their linearity (so not 100% flat themselves).

Software such as REW can use that calibration data (as a text file) automatically. I've uploaded an example of the latter so you can see: this is for my (very affordable) Dayton EMM-6: this has proved very useful for measuring speakers and studio, but I haven't had any temptation to use it for recording...

Cheers,

Roland
Attached Files
File Type: txt 20376.txt (3.2 KB, 14 views)
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stella645 ➡️
There's a very short sos article outlining the possible issues.

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-a...ecording-music
Interesting. Disregarding the pattern consideration... so self-noise is an important factor. I hadn't thought of that. Thank you for the link

Regards, Christine
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
For about a year I used a measurement mic as a distant/audience mic (along with at least a closer stereo pair) for recording musicals and acoustic instrument performance. I had no omni mics at the time.
It was a very “meh” experience. The measurement mic was noisy, but with audience noise that wasn’t an issue as it would be in the studio. But the mic just didn’t sound great. That shouldn’t be surprising, as it wasn’t intended to be heard.
I think of it as putting wooden wheels on a bicycle. It would go, but it would be a clunky ride.
ADDED: I wasn’t using a high end mic. I was using a humble (but very flat) Behringer ECM 8000 measurement mic.

Last edited by Bushman; 4 weeks ago at 06:53 PM.. Reason: ADDED INFO
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My much-loved DPA 4006's trace their origin to a Bruel&Kjaer measurement microphone. When the design was repurposed for studio use, they got phantom powering and a moisture-protective coating on the metal diaphragm. But they are omni-directional, often an inconvenient thing in tight quarters, and they are about 6 dB noisier than my Neumann LDC's.

David
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Undoubtedly also depends on the quality of the measurement mic... Gefell makes SDCs listed as "measurement mics" that are also known for being great omnidirectional recording mics (like the M296, or the MK221 cap that Josephson uses).

But like Mr. Robjohns says in that informative little article, the polar pattern would inherently limit versatility as a recording tool. Particularly for musicians recording at home, cardioid patterns are going to be needed far more frequently.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Measurement capsules. I have been interested for a while in getting hold of some B&K (the 4145 is 1" diameter), perhaps with their old Falcon 2669 modular preamp, but not taken the plunge due to uncertainty of how worthwhile the effort would be. I have M296's, so it's not like I'm hurting in the LD true omni category, but I kinda wonder how close I could get to a DPA 4041.

Erik Sikkema on the old P/S/W forums went into some detail at times, years ago, on his work with some of these larger diameter capsules, with stunning results from what I remember.
Does anyone have any helpful pointers for me? Can I make a 4145 sound like an M50? Can my Ford Fiesta kit car be made to perform like a Ferrari? :--P
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Among the very best microphones I know of, many use measuring capsules: Sonodore LDM54, DPA4041, Gefell M102, Gefell M296.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Addict
 
At least for recording classical music, the main limitation of even the high quality measurement mics is the fact that they are designed for as flat a response as possible. At the distances used for classical recording, omnis need to have a rising response at the top, to compensate for air absorption (look up 'diffuse field' vs 'free field' mic response curves).

To use a flat response mic as a main mic for classical, it would need to have a 50mm sphere attachment (DPA calls them Acoustic Pressure Equalizers (APEs), which will give it the desired rising response, or given EQ at the board or in post; EQ would exaggerate any self-noise, but use of an APE would not.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I have made and used ¼ inch small omni microphones constructed with cheap tiny capsules which are widely used in all those inexpensive test microphones. There are some newly available such capsules that have very high output, yet very low self-noise. For general classical music concert recording usage you will not notice any noise issue. They are more than quiet enough.

Being so small, they exhibit excellent omni pattern; therefore, they have really great “reach”. They have very flat frequency response, especially off axis. The sound they deliver in certain aspects are unobtainable with any large diameter microphones. It is just the law of physics.

Attached sample was recorded with 4 such microphones, two AB, two on piano.


Best regards,

Da-Hong Seetoo
Attached Files

Joachim Romance from 3_Stucke_Op2.wav (9.76 MB, 672 views)

Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
I have made and used ¼ inch small omni microphones constructed with cheap tiny capsules which are widely used in all those inexpensive test microphones. There are some newly available such capsules that have very high output, yet very low self-noise. For general classical music concert recording usage you will not notice any noise issue. They are more than quiet enough.

Being so small, they exhibit excellent omni pattern; therefore, they have really great “reach”. They have very flat frequency response, especially off axis. The sound they deliver in certain aspects are unobtainable with any large diameter microphones. It is just the law of physics.

Attached sample was recorded with 4 such microphones, two AB, two on piano.


Best regards,

Da-Hong Seetoo
What capsules are you referring to, specifically - please share !!
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
What capsules are you referring to, specifically - please share !!

For that particular recording, I believe I used this capsule;

https://www.digikey.com/en/products/...27-32T/6561036



There are so many different ones on Digikey you can try, some have seemingly better frequency response, some have better signal to noise ratio, endless possibilities. They are very cheap so you can order dozens of different ones to play with.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
For that particular recording, I believe I used this capsule;

https://www.digikey.com/en/products/...27-32T/6561036



There are so many different ones on Digikey you can try, some have seemingly better frequency response, some have better signal to noise ratio, endless possibilities. They are very cheap so you can order dozens of different ones to play with.
Thanks
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo ➡️
For that particular recording, I believe I used this capsule;

https://www.digikey.com/en/products/...27-32T/6561036



There are so many different ones on Digikey you can try, some have seemingly better frequency response, some have better signal to noise ratio, endless possibilities. They are very cheap so you can order dozens of different ones to play with.
I believe the manufacturer of the Line Audio mics uses a similar source of lower cost/high performance capsules (Panasonic ?) and then trims the circuit to get highly consistent performance between samples. I'm guessing this involves purchase of large numbers of capsules followed by testing to discard those which fall outside of acceptable initial parameters....before commencing the construction and trimming process ?

There was a change of his preferred capsule type a while back (perhaps the capsule mfr altered specs or discontinued that item line), resulting in a slightly more cardioid CM4, compared with the preceding CM3.
A mic builder relies upon a long term consistent source of capsules to be able to offer a standardised product to the recording public...or else builds their own to tight specs, like Rode for example.

The home experimenter is freed from those constraints, but probably still needs to buy a sufficient sample size of capsules, and to employ appropriate testing...to be confident of ending up with a 'matched pair' ?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I believe the manufacturer of the Line Audio mics uses a similar source of lower cost/high performance capsules (Panasonic ?) and then trims the circuit to get highly consistent performance between samples. I'm guessing this involves purchase of large numbers of capsules followed by testing to discard those which fall outside of acceptable initial parameters....before commencing the construction and trimming process ?

There was a change of his preferred capsule type a while back (perhaps the capsule mfr altered specs or discontinued that item line), resulting in a slightly more cardioid CM4, compared with the preceding CM3.
A mic builder relies upon a long term consistent source of capsules to be able to offer a standardised product to the recording public...or else builds their own to tight specs, like Rode for example.

The home experimenter is freed from those constraints, but probably still needs to buy a sufficient sample size of capsules, and to employ appropriate testing...to be confident of ending up with a 'matched pair' ?


As far as I know, Panasonic has been out of electret capsule business for a long while. Their famous W61 capsule, although pretty flat, has very poor S/N spec. Can’t be used for any audio recording.

CUI uses fully automated process to make these tiny capsules. The consistence of these capsules is more than surprisingly good. I rarely had to discard any samples because it is out of spec. You may not like the spec but they sure are consistent, I am talking about less than 1dB throughout the audible range from sample to sample.

Being so cheap, it sets you free to experiment with all sorts of crazy ideas, both mechanically as well as electronically. It will only cost you $1.50 if you totally destroy it. If you want to get into making cheap mics business with these capsules, I assume you can buy a couple of thousands specimen to last you a life time.

I don’t venture into cardioid world so I can’t comment on what Line Audio does with their CM3 and CM4 endeavors.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by connloyalist ➡️
From time to time I come across the term "measuring microphone". My understanding is that these are primarily intended for scientific applications and not for recording music.

I have always understood that to mean that these mics are not suited to recording music. But is that correct?
Not necessarily.

In the case of a mic like the Gefell M296 (which I own a pair of) the basic design/capsule is marketed both as a recording microphone and a measurement microphone.

---

"The M296 is designed for professional applications in radio and television broadcasting, sound studios, concert halls, theatres and for high-quality recordings of all genres."

"A special version of the M296 – the M296-S – is available for measurement applications. Its frequency response complies with DIN IEC 651 for Class 2 sound level meters."

https://www.microtechgefell.de/mikrofon?wl=267-M296

---

As you can see the stock version of the M296 has a very slight HF rise centred around 6k. I believe Gefell hand-pick and match capsules destined for the M296-S off the same production line but which display less than 1dB of variance in that department in order to qualify the mic as measurement as per the standard definition above.

The implication here being that – as other posters have alluded to – a slight compensatory HF lift is often desirable in the diffuse field in a recording situation, whereas a measurement mic might be being deployed specifically to measure an HF loss in the diffuse field and therefore any sort of lift is obviously counter-productive.

That said, a ruler flat mic is of course a highly useful recording tool in all sorts of music recording applications where any sort of dip/lift is neither wanted nor desirable - for example, there are some on this Forum using the M296-S for acoustic guitar etc with superb results.

I think nowadays Gefell would rather sell you the newer M221 which can be used straight off the production line for measurement purposes and is more ruthlessly flat than the M296 out of the box (and 50% more expensive!).

@ John Willett is one of the Forum Jedi-level experts on all things Gefell - perhaps he'll chime in.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 4 weeks ago at 10:30 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
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norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
The home experimenter is freed from those constraints, but probably still needs to buy a sufficient sample size of capsules, and to employ appropriate testing...to be confident of ending up with a 'matched pair' ?
No, there's no need to buy a stack of capsules for DIY: I have bought matched pairs of Primo omni capsules from micbooster/FEL Communications.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by k brown ➡️
At least for recording classical music, the main limitation of even the high quality measurement mics is the fact that they are designed for as flat a response as possible. At the distances used for classical recording, omnis need to have a rising response at the top, to compensate for air absorption (look up 'diffuse field' vs 'free field' mic response curves).

To use a flat response mic as a main mic for classical, it would need to have a 50mm sphere attachment (DPA calls them Acoustic Pressure Equalizers (APEs), which will give it the desired rising response, or given EQ at the board or in post; EQ would exaggerate any self-noise, but use of an APE would not.
Well have a look at the individual mic calibration data I attached (post #3 ) for a fairly typical (and affordable) measurement mic: it isn't as flat as you might think without the calibration, and certainly has an increased response for higher frequencies. Whether it is as you would want, I don't know.

It would be very interesting if others with more expensive measurement mics could post their individual mic calibration data so we can see how flat they really are (the generic frequency responses - where published for measurement mics - are obviously very smoothed).

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
Not necessarily.

In the case of a mic like the Gefell M296 (which I own a pair of) the basic design/capsule is marketed both as a recording microphone and a measurement microphone.

---

"The M296 is designed for professional applications in radio and television broadcasting, sound studios, concert halls, theatres and for high-quality recordings of all genres."

"A special version of the M296 – the M296-S – is available for measurement applications. Its frequency response complies with DIN IEC 651 for Class 2 sound level meters."

https://www.microtechgefell.de/mikrofon?wl=267-M296

---

As you can see the stock version of the M296 has a very slight HF rise centred around 6k. I believe Gefell hand-pick and match capsules destined for the M296-S off the same production line but which display less than 1dB of variance in that department in order to qualify the mic as measurement as per the standard definition above.

The implication here being that – as other posters have alluded to – a slight compensatory HF lift is often desirable in the diffuse field in a recording situation, whereas a measurement mic might be being deployed specifically to measure an HF loss in the diffuse field and therefore any sort of lift is obviously counter-productive.

That said, a ruler flat mic is of course a highly useful recording tool in all sorts of music recording applications where any sort of dip/lift is neither wanted nor desirable - for example, there are some on this Forum using the M296-S for acoustic guitar etc with superb results.

I think nowadays Gefell would rather sell you the newer M221 which can be used straight off the production line for measurement purposes and is more ruthlessly flat than the M296 out of the box (and 50% more expensive!).

@ John Willett is one of the Forum Jedi-level experts on all things Gefell - perhaps he'll chime in.
—————-
The Josephson C617 omni uses the Gefell 221 capsule but the capsules are selected for a tighter tolerance of +/- 1 dB vs +/-2 dB for the Gefell mic. They are terrific sounding mics for music recording but can also be used as measurement mics.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 ➡️
Well have a look at the individual mic calibration data I attached (post #3 ) for a fairly typical (and affordable) measurement mic: it isn't as flat as you might think without the calibration, and certainly has an increased response for higher frequencies. Whether it is as you would want, I don't know.

It would be very interesting if others with more expensive measurement mics could post their individual mic calibration data so we can see how flat they really are (the generic frequency responses - where published for measurement mics - are obviously very smoothed).

Cheers,

Roland
Here you have it. B&K 4145. Scale: One line is 0,5dB. This microphone is -0 and +0.8 dB from 1Hz to 18Khz. It drops at 20Khz because of its diameter which is 1 inch. These two 4145's are equal within 0.25dB.
Attached Thumbnails
Measuring microphone-20160221_162534.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Two examples recorded with B&K 4145 measuring microphones. For frequency plot see post above.

For example two, harpsichord, turn down listening volume.
Attached Files

15 Singing 4145.mp3 (8.74 MB, 22 views)

Harsichord 4145.mp3 (5.32 MB, 28 views)

Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
Two examples recorded with B&K 4145 measuring microphones. For frequency plot see post above.

For example two, harpsichord, turn down listening volume.
Very nice!!

How do you recommend to mount the capsules? In your experience, when are the preferable uses for this capsule? In your experience, how "pointed" is the HF sensitivity on-axis versus off?
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #24
Gear Addict
 
norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
Here you have it. B&K 4145. Scale: One line is 0,5dB. This microphone is -0 and +0.8 dB from 1Hz to 18Khz. It drops at 20Khz because of its diameter which is 1 inch. These two 4145's are equal within 0.25dB.
Many thanks. So using such high-quality and expensive measurement mics is rather different than the budget versions and their calibration data (with the latter being geared for use with software such as REW). Of course, that leaves the question as to the accuracy of the individual mic calibration of the cheaper mics? In this assessment for example (and I am not sure that the methodology is quite right) the tester concludes that the Dayton EMM-6 holds up well against the Josephson C550H (for measurement purposes) unless the EMM-6 calibration is used: https://mnaganov.github.io/2019/12/u...libration.html

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
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norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
Two examples recorded with B&K 4145 measuring microphones. For frequency plot see post above.

For example two, harpsichord, turn down listening volume.
Thanks. It hardly needs to be said, for the OP, that recording the same with Dayton EMM-6, Behringer ECM8000 or other cheap measurement mic wouldn't sound the same!!

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 ➡️
Thanks. It hardly needs to be said, for the OP, that recording the same with Dayton EMM-6, Behringer ECM8000 or other cheap measurement mic wouldn't sound the same!!

Cheers,

Roland
Sorry Roland, I have zero experience with budget "measuring microphones" so I cannot really give a meaningful response.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klimermonk ➡️
Very nice!!

How do you recommend to mount the capsules? In your experience, when are the preferable uses for this capsule? In your experience, how "pointed" is the HF sensitivity on-axis versus off?
Especially the 1 inch model 4145 is hard to place, and is putting William's SRA theory on slippery ice. The sound example with voice and lute is very widely spread over the stereo image, which was not on purpose, but the result of the strong directivity at higher midrange of the audio spectrum. They were placed on a MF bar about 65 cm apart. It was just a test recording in the first place, though the musicians liked it very much.

Frankly speaking I have not more than these two examples because the 4145 has been in the box for the last twenty-five years. Maybe I should take the time and experiment more, though I have always had some reservation using them. The harpsichord really sounds somewhat nasal, I don't know if it is the room which is dating back from around the 14 hundreds, 0.8 m thick chalked walls, stone floor and wooden ceiling. (See photo, we were on the top floor of the tower).

What do you think about the voice? No doubt this recording has a certain quality, but as all the 1 inch measuring microphones the 4145 has a phase shift (90 degrees at 11K). The question is if that is a problem for music or not. I hope this helps to make your decision easier whether to invest in those or not.
Attached Images
Measuring microphone-tower-14-hundreds.jpg 
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
What do you think about the voice? No doubt this recording has a certain quality, but as all the 1 inch measuring microphones the 4145 has a phase shift (90 degrees at 11K). The question is if that is a problem for music or not. I hope this helps to make your decision easier whether to invest in those or not.
From a musical performance point of view both the voice/lute and harpsichord sound excellent to me. I agree that the voice sounds a bit over wide. As for the 90 degree phase shift at 11K, I will have to refer to the harpsichord recording because on the voice I am not sure if the "slightly over wide" sound is a result of the mic spacing or the phase shift. But on the harpsichord, I don't hear it. Sounds fine to me. Question: might the effect of the 11K phase shift be more noticeable with a larger ensemble?

As for the nasal quality of the harpsichord, of course I wasn't in the room so I don't know what it sounded like live. It sounds great to me. And keep in mind that pretty much everybody in this forum is more knowledgeable than myself in these matters, but wouldn't the space you are recording in be the more likely cause of sound coloration as you suggest?

As you say, it would require more experimentation.

Regards, Christine
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by connloyalist ➡️
From a musical performance point of view both the voice/lute and harpsichord sound excellent to me. I agree that the voice sounds a bit over wide. As for the 90 degree phase shift at 11K, I will have to refer to the harpsichord recording because on the voice I am not sure if the "slightly over wide" sound is a result of the mic spacing or the phase shift. But on the harpsichord, I don't hear it. Sounds fine to me. Question: might the effect of the 11K phase shift be more noticeable with a larger ensemble?

As for the nasal quality of the harpsichord, of course I wasn't in the room so I don't know what it sounded like live. It sounds great to me. And keep in mind that pretty much everybody in this forum is more knowledgeable than myself in these matters, but wouldn't the space you are recording in be the more likely cause of sound coloration as you suggest?

As you say, it would require more experimentation.

Regards, Christine
Hi Christine, thank you for your comments. One can criticise the voice and theorbe are so separated, very much to the left and the right over the stereo image. That is caused by the directionality of the 4145 one inch microphone, even with a small A-B it is hard to avoid, I don't think it is caused by phase shift. Another thing that always has worried me is when the soprano is at her higher and louder notes, it hurts a bit in my ears, that could be caused by phase shift, but it seems not to bother you. Neither it is the preamp, everything was state of the art and well calibrated.

You wrote: "...... wouldn't the space you are recording in be the more likely cause of sound coloration as you suggest?" The space is very important but often adds most at 60 to 300Hz. Something goes wrong way higher up.

If you want to know more about measuring microphones for music recording go to the FB page from Daniel Andrejev at: https://www.facebook.com/danielresolabs
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orgeltonmeister ➡️
Hi Christine, thank you for your comments. One can criticise the voice and theorbe are so separated, very much to the left and the right over the stereo image. That is caused by the directionality of the 4145 one inch microphone, even with a small A-B it is hard to avoid, I don't think it is caused by phase shift. Another thing that always has worried me is when the soprano is at her higher and louder notes, it hurts a bit in my ears, that could be caused by phase shift, but it seems not to bother you. Neither it is the preamp, everything was state of the art and well calibrated.

You wrote: "...... wouldn't the space you are recording in be the more likely cause of sound coloration as you suggest?" The space is very important but often adds most at 60 to 300Hz. Something goes wrong way higher up.

If you want to know more about measuring microphones for music recording go to the FB page from Daniel Andrejev at: https://www.facebook.com/danielresolabs
Perhaps the louder and higher notes not bothering me is damage from playing the trumpet for 40 years (and counting)

Regards, Christine
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