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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 are the advantages and disadvantages of a traditional 200V microphone set-up, as compared to the more modern prepolarized design?

For most applications both will provide the same test results. An externally polarized (200V) microphone is better for high temperatures, up to 150o C but at a higher cost due to the required 200V power supply and the 7-pin cabling and may be limited to the temperature rating of the preamplifier required. A prepolarized system uses an electret, where the charge is embedded. When operating at temperatures above 120o C, the charge may escape the electret material causing a loss of sensitivity. Prepolarized microphones are better for humid applications, which can short the 200V designs.  Prepolarized designs use low cost constant current supplies, which makes them convenient for portable applications and for use with Sound Level Meters. They are interchangeable with most accelerometer set-ups and other sensors using 2-20 mA constant current power supplies. This provides savings in set-up costs. This design has become increasingly popular by using standard coaxial cables and low cost power supplies.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a traditional 200V microphone set-up, as compared to the more modern prepolarized design?

For most applications both will provide the same test results. An externally polarized (200V) microphone is better for high temperatures, up to 150o C but at a higher cost due to the required 200V power supply and the 7-pin cabling and may be limited to the temperature rating of the preamplifier required. A prepolarized system uses an electret, where the charge is embedded. When operating at temperatures above 120o C, the charge may escape the electret material causing a loss of sensitivity. Prepolarized microphones are better for humid applications, which can short the 200V designs.  Prepolarized designs use low cost constant current supplies, which makes them convenient for portable applications and for use with Sound Level Meters. They are interchangeable with most accelerometer set-ups and other sensors using 2-20 mA constant current power supplies. This provides savings in set-up costs. This design has become increasingly popular by using standard coaxial cables and low cost power supplies.