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Microphones and Acoustics

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your most commonly asked acoustics questions answered.

Section I: Definitions and Terminology
Section II: Microphone Recommendations
Section III: Calibration and Testing
Section IV: Specification Clarifications
Section V: Specialty Microphone Applications
Section VI: Maintenance and Handling

If you don’t see the answer to your question, call our 24/7 SensorLineSM 716-684-0001 to speak with an application engineer or visit Ask the Acoustics Experts.

What is the minimal sound pressure level (SPL) measurable with a microphone?What is the minimal sound pressure level (SPL) measurable with a microphone?What is TEDS?What is TEDS?What is a temperature coefficient and how is it applied?What is a temperature coefficient and how is it applied?How should I properly care for and handle my microphones?How should I properly care for and handle my microphones?When should prepolarized microphones be used for acoustic testing?When should prepolarized microphones be used for acoustic testing?When should a surface microphone be used?When should a surface microphone be used?I need to take sound pressure measurements in a confined area or a high temperature environment. Which microphone should I use?I need to take sound pressure measurements in a confined area or a high temperature environment. Which microphone should I use?In my application, I need a cost effective way to perform sound pressure mapping, beam-forming, holography or noise source location with multiple microphones. How do I do this?In my application, I need a cost effective way to perform sound pressure mapping, beam-forming, holography or noise source location with multiple microphones. How do I do this?How do I choose between a 1/4" and 1/2" measurement microphone?How do I choose between a 1/4" and 1/2" measurement microphone?How are acoustic directivity patterns used for noise source location, beamforming, holography and sound power mapping?How are acoustic directivity patterns used for noise source location, beamforming, holography and sound power mapping?What is decibel addition and how is it used to assess and reduce noise?What is decibel addition and how is it used to assess and reduce noise?What is acoustic transmission loss?What is acoustic transmission loss?Can noise floor calculations be used to discover sources of unwanted noise?Can noise floor calculations be used to discover sources of unwanted noise?What are the principles of anti-aliasing and how are they used?What are the principles of anti-aliasing and how are they used?How often should I calibrate my microphone?How often should I calibrate my microphone?What is the noise floor of a microphone?What is the noise floor of a microphone?Which microphone is recommended for low frequency measurements?Which microphone is recommended for low frequency measurements?What microphone is recommended for determining the direction or noise source location of sound?What microphone is recommended for determining the direction or noise source location of sound?What is a polar plot and how is it used?What is a polar plot and how is it used?Does the size of a microphone impact its frequency and dynamic range?Does the size of a microphone impact its frequency and dynamic range?When measuring sound with test and measurement microphones do I need to be in an anechoic chamber?When measuring sound with test and measurement microphones do I need to be in an anechoic chamber?Can a 1/4" microphone be used with the high temperature, PCB® model ½” HT426E01 or other vendors’ ½” high temperature preamplifier?Can a 1/4" microphone be used with the high temperature, PCB® model ½” HT426E01 or other vendors’ ½” high temperature preamplifier?What is the difference between PCB® model 130E22 and model 130A23?What is the difference between PCB® model 130E22 and model 130A23?What is the difference between absolute phase and relative phase for condenser microphones?What is the difference between absolute phase and relative phase for condenser microphones?Is it safe to use a microphone at its maximum rated temperature?Is it safe to use a microphone at its maximum rated temperature?What are the temperature coefficient effects of a preamplifier? Should cartridge characteristics be considered or do I need to also consider the temperature response of a preamplifier? What are the temperature coefficient effects of a preamplifier? Should cartridge characteristics be considered or do I need to also consider the temperature response of a preamplifier? Is the temperature coefficient linear beyond the IEC 61094-4 (working class microphone) required limits of -10 °C to +50 °C?Is the temperature coefficient linear beyond the IEC 61094-4 (working class microphone) required limits of -10 °C to +50 °C?What is the most cost efficient working class pressure microphone for low amplitudes for sounds up to 10 kHz? What is the most cost efficient working class pressure microphone for low amplitudes for sounds up to 10 kHz? Can calibration corrections be provided for PCB® microphones in an Excel format so software corrections can be done? Can calibration corrections be provided for PCB® microphones in an Excel format so software corrections can be done? What would cause a difference in results between a PCB® model 130E20 array microphone and a working standard PCB® model 378B02 microphone?What would cause a difference in results between a PCB® model 130E20 array microphone and a working standard PCB® model 378B02 microphone?Does a windscreen affect the sound field and output of the microphone?Does a windscreen affect the sound field and output of the microphone?Are drop tests performed on PCB® 377 series microphones? Are drop tests performed on PCB® 377 series microphones? Is there a prepolarized, cost effective solution to a 1/2" externally polarized low noise microphone?Is there a prepolarized, cost effective solution to a 1/2" externally polarized low noise microphone?Why do PCB® 130E21, 130E22 and 130A23 array microphone models have different diameters than the 1/4" 378 series microphones. Why do PCB® 130E21, 130E22 and 130A23 array microphone models have different diameters than the 1/4" 378 series microphones. Will improper grounding negatively impact the noise floor of a microphone?Will improper grounding negatively impact the noise floor of a microphone?Are the PCB® model 377 series of microphones 100% tested?Are the PCB® model 377 series of microphones 100% tested?Does increased sound pressure cause a positive or negative voltage at the output terminal?Does increased sound pressure cause a positive or negative voltage at the output terminal?Which PCB® prepolarized condenser microphone offers the highest amplitude measuring capability?Which PCB® prepolarized condenser microphone offers the highest amplitude measuring capability?Why do I measure a different sensitivity in the field than what is listed on your factory calibration certification?Why do I measure a different sensitivity in the field than what is listed on your factory calibration certification?What is the anticipated impact of using a microphone at 6290 ft. above sea level?What is the anticipated impact of using a microphone at 6290 ft. above sea level?What should I do if the pad on the water resistant microphone (PCB® model 130A24) gets clogged from contamination or oil?What should I do if the pad on the water resistant microphone (PCB® model 130A24) gets clogged from contamination or oil?What is the rise time of PCB® model 377A12 microphone?What is the rise time of PCB® model 377A12 microphone?What is the rise time of a microphone?What is the rise time of a microphone?How does a preamplifier impact the dynamic range of microphone?How does a preamplifier impact the dynamic range of microphone?Can a microphone be flush mounted with the grid cap removed?Can a microphone be flush mounted with the grid cap removed?Why are there two sensitivity specifications on my PCB® microphone calibration certificate?Why are there two sensitivity specifications on my PCB® microphone calibration certificate?What is the operating temperature of PCB® model 377B02?What is the operating temperature of PCB® model 377B02?How does distance impact the results for my measurement microphone? How does distance impact the results for my measurement microphone? I have static pressure coefficient for my PCB® microphone preamplifier system but what is the static pressure limit? Can this microphone operate at 40,000 feet? I have static pressure coefficient for my PCB® microphone preamplifier system but what is the static pressure limit? Can this microphone operate at 40,000 feet? Will you get the same results (at frequencies < 1 kHz) when you use a free-field random incidence or pressure response microphone?Will you get the same results (at frequencies < 1 kHz) when you use a free-field random incidence or pressure response microphone?What is an a-weighted filter?What is an a-weighted filter?What is the recommended microphone for wind turbine testing?What is the recommended microphone for wind turbine testing?Which prepolarized microphone is recommended for qualifying an anechoic chamber?Which prepolarized microphone is recommended for qualifying an anechoic chamber?Does PCB’s model 079A02 adapter for 1/4" microphones to 1/2" preamplifiers affect microphone performance?Does PCB’s model 079A02 adapter for 1/4" microphones to 1/2" preamplifiers affect microphone performance?Which holder is recommended for the 1/4" array and 1/4" working standard for PCB® 378 series of microphones?Which holder is recommended for the 1/4" array and 1/4" working standard for PCB® 378 series of microphones?What is the importance of the vent hole position in a preamplifier?What is the importance of the vent hole position in a preamplifier?Do I need an adapter to perform a single point field calibration check on the PCB® model 130B40 surface microphone?Do I need an adapter to perform a single point field calibration check on the PCB® model 130B40 surface microphone?Can I calibrate PCB® model 378A04 low noise microphone with any handheld calibrator?Can I calibrate PCB® model 378A04 low noise microphone with any handheld calibrator?Why do the PCB® short preamplifier models, 426A07 and 426A13, have 2 vent holes in them?Why do the PCB® short preamplifier models, 426A07 and 426A13, have 2 vent holes in them?Is it better to calibrate a microphone and preamplifier separately?Is it better to calibrate a microphone and preamplifier separately?When I receive a PCB© calibration certification with my microphone, can it be used, as is, or do I need to calibrate it at my test site?When I receive a PCB© calibration certification with my microphone, can it be used, as is, or do I need to calibrate it at my test site?Can I use a PCB© microphone beyond its specified frequency range?Can I use a PCB© microphone beyond its specified frequency range?What are the advantages and disadvantages of a traditional 200V microphone set-up, as compared to the more modern prepolarized design?What are the advantages and disadvantages of a traditional 200V microphone set-up, as compared to the more modern prepolarized design?What is A-weighting and what is the best way to implement it?What is A-weighting and what is the best way to implement it?I want to flush mount a microphone in a pipe. I understand that problems can arise from improper venting. What consideration should be given to venting and what can be done to prevent improper venting?I want to flush mount a microphone in a pipe. I understand that problems can arise from improper venting. What consideration should be given to venting and what can be done to prevent improper venting?We previously used low cost vocal music microphones and are looking at upgrading to test and measurement microphones. What are the basic differences and advantages?We previously used low cost vocal music microphones and are looking at upgrading to test and measurement microphones. What are the basic differences and advantages?What is NAH and its relationship to ’array’ microphones?What is NAH and its relationship to ’array’ microphones?What is the difference between a PCB® array microphone and PCB’s 377B02 microphone? Both models 130E20 & 377B02 appear to be free-field ICP® microphones with BNC connectors.What is the difference between a PCB® array microphone and PCB’s 377B02 microphone? Both models 130E20 & 377B02 appear to be free-field ICP® microphones with BNC connectors.What is the maximum SPL limit of a microphone? How is it specified?What is the maximum SPL limit of a microphone? How is it specified?What is the difference between a condenser microphone and a piezoelectric pressure sensor?What is the difference between a condenser microphone and a piezoelectric pressure sensor?What is the maximum temperature that microphone and preamplifier system can withstand and how does the heat affect the application?What is the maximum temperature that microphone and preamplifier system can withstand and how does the heat affect the application?What is the difference between the LEMO® type and the coaxial cables used with test and measurement microphones? What is the difference between the LEMO® type and the coaxial cables used with test and measurement microphones? Will a preamplifier change the sensitivity of a microphone?Will a preamplifier change the sensitivity of a microphone?How does distance affect the sound pressure level?How does distance affect the sound pressure level?What is the maximum cable length I can use for a PCB® model 377B02 microphone and model 426E01 preamplifier?What is the maximum cable length I can use for a PCB® model 377B02 microphone and model 426E01 preamplifier?What is ICP®?What is ICP®?Can a prepolarized ICP® microphone be used with an externally polarized preamplifier and power supply?Can a prepolarized ICP® microphone be used with an externally polarized preamplifier and power supply?When should I use a windscreen, and what is the material used?When should I use a windscreen, and what is the material used?When can I remove the microphone grid cap?When can I remove the microphone grid cap?How do I clean a microphone?How do I clean a microphone?Where can I view all the PCB® microphone videos?Where can I view all the PCB® microphone videos?Where can I view all the PCB® microphone videos?Where can I view all the PCB® microphone videos?Where can I view all the PCB® microphone videos?Where can I view all the PCB® microphone videos?What are the black protective rubber caps on PCB® microphone/preamplifier systems used for?What are the black protective rubber caps on PCB® microphone/preamplifier systems used for?What is the minimum sound pressure level that a PCB® microphone can measure?What is the minimum sound pressure level that a PCB® microphone can measure?Can I use a microphone designed for one response field, within a different field? And how do I correct for it manually?Can I use a microphone designed for one response field, within a different field? And how do I correct for it manually?How do I obtain enough constant current for a low noise microphone, if my Data Acquisition System limit is 2 mA?How do I obtain enough constant current for a low noise microphone, if my Data Acquisition System limit is 2 mA?How do I obtain enough constant current for a low noise microphone, if my Data Acquisition System limit is 2 mA?When performing acoustic measurements in a tube, why is it recommended that the wavelength of sound be bigger than the diameter of the open end of the tube?What does it mean for two or more sound sources to be coherent?What does it mean for two or more sound sources to be incoherent?If I add two sound sources together, for example 2 Pa each, what is the net effect on the sound pressure level in decibels?If two sound waves are equal in amplitude but opposite in phase what is the net effect?What does the phase specification for a microphone represent and how is it used in acoustics applications?What does the phase specification for a microphone represent and how is it used in acoustics applications?How do I estimate what my output voltage will be so that I can set my resolution on my DAQ?How do I estimate what my output voltage will be so that I can set my resolution on my DAQ?