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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

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Is it better to calibrate a microphone and preamplifier separately?

It depends upon whether the microphones will be used with different preamplifiers. If the microphones are stored separately from the preamps and are intended to be used with different preamps for each test, then the recommendation is to calibrate the units separately. When calibrated separately, each component is tested with a ‘reference’ component which typically is more stable and has tighter tolerances than stock ‘off the shelf’ components. This will provide a more accurate calibration for an individual microphone or preamplifier. If the microphone and preamplifier will always be used together as a mated pair, it is recommended that they be calibrated together as a ‘mated system.’ The preamplifier can affect the system sensitivity slightly and by calibrating them together, you get an accurate system calibration, for when the same pair (microphone and preamplifier) are used together. 

Is it better to calibrate a microphone and preamplifier separately?

It depends upon whether the microphones will be used with different preamplifiers. If the microphones are stored separately from the preamps and are intended to be used with different preamps for each test, then the recommendation is to calibrate the units separately. When calibrated separately, each component is tested with a ‘reference’ component which typically is more stable and has tighter tolerances than stock ‘off the shelf’ components. This will provide a more accurate calibration for an individual microphone or preamplifier. If the microphone and preamplifier will always be used together as a mated pair, it is recommended that they be calibrated together as a ‘mated system.’ The preamplifier can affect the system sensitivity slightly and by calibrating them together, you get an accurate system calibration, for when the same pair (microphone and preamplifier) are used together.