Talk:Microphone/Archive 1

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Earphones as microphones

Do you guy think it would be appopriate to ad thhat a speaker, like a small earphone, can be used as a microphone. If so where. Dosman

I think this needs some work on how sound waves are put into it and how the inside flexes creating electrical signals.. --Cyberman 02:25, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Maybe as a parenthetical comment or an aside, but let's not lose sleep over including this in the article, because while they can be used, speakers (and other electrical-to-sound transducers) make shitty microphones. (They are used, for example, in low-quality intercoms, where the speaker also serves as the microphone, which must save the manufacturer several pennies.) ==ILike2BeAnonymous 03:45, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I've heard of respectable recording studios using loudspeakers as kick drum mics... — Omegatron 00:33, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Now that might be plausible; I could see how a woofer, placed close to a bass drum, might make a pretty good pickup. If you can find any sources for that, I'd say put it in the article. ==ILike2BeAnonymous 00:37, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
When I saw it, it was a do-it-yourself thing, but it looks like Yamaha has made a product out of it. — Omegatron 00:56, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I created a new section ("Speakers as microphones") and used your link to illustrate this use. ==ILike2BeAnonymous 01:17, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I've heard of people using studio monitor headphones (like Sony MDR 7506's) as kick drum microphones, but I'm not familiar enough with the practice to add it to the article. kmccoy (talk) 01:43, 26 May 2006 (UTC)


Your diagrams are gorgeous ;-). But it's not obvous where is the microphone. Can I suggest to add a red point ? Ericd

I updated the diagrams to SVG format. I was thinking it might be beneficial to show the polarity in each lobe, too. A source in one lobe of the bidirectional will be positive polarity, while negative in the other lobe, for instance. Is this a good idea? What's the polarity pattern for the hypercardioid and shotgun? — Omegatron 15:14, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
The red dot is good, but it is also not clear which way the mic is facing (at least not to lay people like myself). Is the body of the mic extending downward along the y axis of the picture? or is it going into/out of the screen on the z axis? My intuition tells me the body is on the y axis, going downward from the red dot, but the dot itself implies a z-oriented mic. Yeah. Kellen T 09:41, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
An omnidirectional microphone takes the sound from every direction, like a sphere. --Lenilucho 15:58, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes that one's obvious =P It's the others for which the diagram is not entirely clear. Kellen T 17:17, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Anybody? Kellen T 03:10, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
I tried to clarify the article. Better now? Han-Kwang 08:15, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes. Awesome, thanks. Kellen T 23:29, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

We need to clarify:

  • That the diagrams are a 2D slice of the 3D locus, and that it would be equivalent if you sliced anywhere along the axis of symmetry
  • That the axis of symmetry extends out the end of a handheld mic, like a Shure dynamic, and out the front of a studio condenser.

I think this could most easily be explained with two 3D pictures; one of an end mic and one of a front mic. Show the axis of symmetry as a dotted line (maybe with an arrowhead at the end?) starting at the mic element and extending out towards the direction of the performer. Show the directionality pattern as a 3D "lobe" surface for each, like these:


Like a cardioid dynamic mic and a hypercardioid condenser should cover the concept well enough for people to understand it (omni wouldn't be as good, since it wouldn't show them the directionality). — Omegatron 14:08, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Subcardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid, shotgun

Is there a standard that defines these types? I see very conflicting info online. When I originally made the SVGs, I just traced over the old PNGs, since the only info I could find was in conflict. Obviously there's a continuum between omni and bidirectional, but I'd like to make the images authoritative and accurate.

  • [5][6] says the progression is cardioid → super(125°) → hyper(110°)
  • [7] says the progression is cardioid → hyper → super (= shotgun)
  • [8] says cardioid → hyper (110°) → line (shotgun, 120°)
  • Other links [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

Any standards? — Omegatron 00:49, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

You have to realize that all pick-up patterns of small microphones can be written as (1-a)+a*cos(theta), where theta is the angle with the axis. I.e., the pattern is a superposition of a pure omni and a pure figure-8 response:
  • Omnidirectional: a=0
  • Cardioid: a=0.5
  • Figure-8: a=1.0
  • Super-,hypercardioid: a > 0.5 (the exact values don't seem to be very much standardized)
  • Subcardioid: 0<a<0.5
A shotgun mic has a completely different construction and the pick-up pattern and the number of sidelobes depend on the exact design and are frequency-dependent. Han-Kwang 12:35, 1 June 2006 (UTC) (Corrected a->a/2 Han-Kwang 15:15, 5 June 2006 (UTC))

Yes, I realize that it's a continuum, but I am wondering if there are any standard values to differentiate between hyper and super. Also, one site said that shotguns were super, but you say they are completely different. Your description makes more sense, but we need references, standards, authoritative citations. — Omegatron 14:08, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

According to

  • hypercardioid: (1-a):a = 0.3:0.7, or a=0.7
  • supercardioid: suggests that a is a bit larger
  • shotgun: is a hypercardioid in a slotted tube.

(since it is interference that creates the direction sensitivity for higher freqs in a shotgun, it must have multiple frequency-dependent lobes. So obvious it doesn't need a reference)

  • sub/hypo/wide cardioid: a=0.33
  • super: a=0.75
  • hyper: a=0.66

  • super: a=0.63
  • hyper: a=0.75

  • sub: a=0.3
  • super: a=0.63
  • hyper: a=0.75

  • sub: a=0.3
  • super: a=0.63
  • hyper: a=0.75

So I think the only reasonable NPOV way is to state it that there is no absolute consensus, although a=0.63/0.75 seem to be the most common ones for super/hyper. In real life the pick-up patterns are never as clean and frequency-independent as these equations suggest anyway to justify the distinction between a=0.3, a=0.33, and a=0.25.

Han-Kwang 15:15, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Excellent. Thank you. — Omegatron 15:49, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

A table might be good: [14]Omegatron 14:08, 26 October 2006 (UTC)


I would very like to see some information about how to understand in layman's term the various specs of a microphone. For instance right now I am trying to figure out if a -44dB mike is more sensitive than a -58dB one. I would guess so, and according to this web site, it would be twice more sensitive. But I am a little lost :-)

I have extended the Measurements and Specifications section to include descriptions of common specs, without getting too technical. I hope this helps! Robin726 15:03, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Kinds of Microphone

I think lav microphones should not be put together with condenser & dynamic (etc.) classification. The latter should make up a new section called "microphone principles". Lavaliers should go together with other KINDS of microphones such as shotgun, wireless, large diaphragm etc. --Dulldull 05:51, 11 May 2005 (UTC)


I'd like to learn exactly why pressure gradient transducer microphones pick up higher frequencies more than lower.

Hello--I can tell you that. Basically it's because lower frequencies have correspondingly longer waves, and because a pressure-gradient transducer works by measuring the difference in sound pressure at two nearly adjacent points in space (often the front and back of the capsule), which in turn depends on the phase difference from moment to moment. Given a fixed distance between the two points, the longer a sound wave is, the lower the phase difference will be between any two nearby points; thus the pressure difference will also be less. So there is a natural 6 dB/octave low-frequency rolloff in all pressure-gradient transducers--the only question is at what frequency the rolloff will begin. -- DSatz 18:39, 14 June 2006 (UTC)


Should be a mention of David Edward Hughes who invented the carbon microphone in this article.


Is a "lav microphone" really a different type of microphone (operating on a different physical principle) or just a small microphone? Does this section really belong here? If it uses a different physical principle, then the paragraph should state what that is.

I agree and have made this change. I am not completely sure if all the other mic types here operate on different principles (for example, contact mics). Maybe someone else with more technical info can make that determination? Robin726 13:53, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Lavelier microphones are condeser microphones. They have a tiny capacitor that acts pretty much in the same way like the large diafragm condeser studio microphones. The main difference is the size. I think that should be explained. lenilucho April 1st 2006
No, they aren't. There are plenty of lavalier microphones that are dynamic. [Josephson 22Sep06]
Well, may be not all, but most modern professional lavelier microphones are condenser microphones.--Lenilucho 06:46, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm, yes, parabolics need to be here as well. Will do more editing. Robin726 14:19, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
It seems a shame that there is no real discussions the capsules sizes and their benefits in recording applications --DavidP 15:06, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
It would be nice to have a discussion of capsule principles -- size really has very little to do with it. Since most people equate dual-diaphragm with "large" they make that connection. See the paper by Guy Torio a few years back on this. [Josephson]

ITU-R 468 noise weighting

I've added a reference to 468-weighting, as I've recently created a page on this. As well as being the preferred weigting for subjective validity it makes mic measurements easier as it is much less affected by low frequency noise. Measuring mic noise, especially on omnis is normally very difficult because of the need for extraordinarily quiet surroundings, and the effect low frequency pressure variations from wind can have. I'd like to see 468-weighting used a lot more. I've made other changes, and as with previous comments I'm not sure the various categories are sorted out properly yet. Lindosland 12:40, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

abbreviated mike ([15])


This article states that "Emile Berliner invented the first microphone", but the Emile Berliner states that he "invented an improved telephone transmitter". Is this a contradiction? --Sean Brunnock 16:55, 4 March 2006 (UTC)


I don't know enough to begin to write this, but something on the history of the microphone would be good. For example, in working on the article on Udi Hrant Kenkulian I came across the fact that the electronic microphone dates from 1927. I'm sure there is a lot of other chronology that should be added to this article. - Jmabel | Talk 03:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Connection and technical electric information

I'm new here in Wikipedia so I'm not quite sure how to add the corresponding sections. I think here should be explained the technical issues about impedance on microphones, when to use a transformer, types of connections (XLR, plug, etc). And explain something about the cables. I've also created an article about wireless microphones. I think this article should mention something about them.--Lenilucho 19:09, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Is too called "mike"

You (Light current) are dead wrong when you say that "mike" is not used to describe microphones.

You could have used Google, as I did, and found:

So there. ==ILike2BeAnonymous 21:10, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe in US but not over here my friend!--Light current 21:07, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, then, always remember: TWIAVBP. ==ILike2BeAnonymous 21:10, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Are you a child? You certainly act like one!--Light current 21:16, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

LC, you know better than to make personal attacks. And yes, "mike" is a totally valid spelling, including in the UK. — Omegatron 21:24, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
WP:TWIAVBP should be a guideline of some sort... — Omegatron 00:35, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
The Oxford English Dictionary defines mike as the abbreviation for microphone. It does not define mic as any form of abbreviation. --DavidP 21:26, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I've seen "mike" used now and then, but always considered it a spelling error than standard usage. If google can be the ultimate arbiter, then note that "dynamic mike" gets 783 hits, and "dynamic mic" gets 175000 hits (use the quote marks); ditto for "condenser mike" (12500) vs. "condenser mic" (1150000). Also note that neither "dynamic mike" nor "condenser mike" return ads with the search, while "dynamic mic" (and "condensor mic") do return various ads -- suggesting that people are making real money with "mic", but not "mike". And indeed, perusing most of the "usual" microphone manufacturers (Shure, Sennheiser, Schoeps, etc), when not calling them "microphones", they all seem to use "mic", not "mike". Finally, the inhabitants of the nature recordists forum at Yahoo are apparently loathe to use "dynamic mike" (4 hits), while "dynamic mic" is much more common (114 hits) ("condenser": 26 for "mike" vs. 211 for "mic"). mdf 14:33, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, I can't prove it ("OR"—so sue me), but "mic" is just plain wrong. Every time I see it, I hear it pronounced "mick". Just like the widely-misspelled "kludge", which sounds (in my mind) like "fudge"; it should be (and once was) kluge. +ILike2BeAnonymous 18:26, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Looks just plain right to me. :-\ — Omegatron 00:18, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think there is any consensus on this. In the audio engineering community both terms are used; I've settled on "mic" for the noun and "mike" for the verb, including the gerund "miking"

Button Microphone

I'm new to writing in Wikipedia but have 20+ years as an electronics engineer. I saw a request for an article on Button microphone. I considered that on the one hand, it is already covered in the Microphone article under the Carbon microphone heading, but on the other hand, redirects can't be made to a particular heading, only the top of an article. Further, I have some content that is not included in the Microphone article. I decided to write a short Button microphone article.

I am seeking opinions on whether it would be best to

  • Change the Button microphone article to a redirect and edit the Microphone to merge the content of the two articles
  • Leave the situation as is
  • Leave the Button microphone article as an article, but have it consist of just a short definition and a link to the correct section of the Microphone article, and merge the content of the two articles

Gerry Ashton 18:53, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Just a technical note: you can link to a heading within an article, by including the heading after "#" (for instance, [[microphone#heading goes here|text to display]]. You might want to double-check the exact syntax, as I'm remembering this off the top of my head, or just experiment when previewing. Very useful function, that.
One gotcha, though: if someone changes the heading in the target article, the link will go red. ==ILike2BeAnonymous 19:41, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
My opinion is that they should be mentioned and described, but there should be a link to the main article where it explains it in detail.--Lenilucho 19:44, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

I endorse the changes that ILike2BeAnonymous made to the Button microphone article. I have added a link to that article in the "See also" list, and alphabetized the "See also" list. Gerry Ashton 21:32, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


Please add that when connecting a microphone to the computer, it is usually connected to the pink coloured connector thingymabob.

That's covered under Sound_card#Connections. Does it belong here, too? — Omegatron 00:36, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Near-coincident recording and headphones

I have some doubts about a few remarks under 'Near-coincident recording':

Quote: The choice between one and the other depends on the recording angle of the microphone system,

It is not clear what "recording angle of the microphone system" means.

Quote: not on the distance to and the width of the sound source.

See DAT-heads digest: "the 110 degree angle was chosen because, from the recording position (as the apex) to the edges of the orchastra (as the rays) the angle was 110 degrees. from this position, the french radio network found that 18 cm produced the best sound for their purposes."

Han-Kwang 12:27, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Yikes! That isn't accurate information, unfortunately. Let's not confuse two different things: [a] the angle between the main axes of a pair of microphones and [b] the angle for the width of the orchestra, etc., that is being recorded, as "seen" from the microphones' "point of view." The so-called "stereophonic recording angle" is related closely to [b]; it will equal [a] only occasionally.
In an ORTF arrangement, angle [a] is 110 degrees but angle [b] is less--more like 95 to 100 degrees, or about +/- 50 degrees from the center line. Thus if you place an ORTF pair so that the two cardioid capsules are aimed at the edges of the orchestra or chorus, you'll actually be a little too close in; the setup can't properly render a stereophonic image that wide.
The "stereophonic recording angle" relates to what we hear when stereo recordings are played back over a pair of loudspeakers. Sounds that occurred in the center of the original sound field (an orchestra in a hall, for example) should seem to come from a spot directly between the two speakers during playback. Now if, let's say, an oboist were to stand up in the middle of the orchestra and start walking to one side or the other while continuing to play, then in the playback of the recording, the sound of the oboe would seem to move toward the corresponding loudspeaker.
But the oboist will eventually reach a point at which, even if he or she keeps walking in the same direction, the apparent source of the sound can't go any further because it is already coming from a point which is audibly located within one speaker. That point (on either side of center) is the limit which the "stereophonic recording angle" expresses: the angular limit of the apparent width of any body of sound which the microphones are picking up.
Every possible way of setting up a pair of microphones, depending on their directional pattern, their spacing and the angle between their axes, will have a corresponding SRA which can be predicted either from a mathematical formula or by looking it up in a chart. This stuff doesn't have to be entirely "hit or miss" any more. See: Michael Williams, Microphone Arrays for Stereo and Multichannel Sound Recording and also the "Image Assistant" at --best regards DSatz 18:47, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Material on stereophonic recording techniques is not really about microphones

The material on A/B, X/Y, ORTF and other techniques of recording is not really about microphones as such; it's about how to make stereo recordings, and much of it is already included in the article on Stereophonic sound. I propose to remove it from this article. Do people agree with that idea? -- DSatz 18:31, 14 June 2006 (UTC)


Maybe this article should mention, with an illustration, the three or more (?) main types of microphone jacks (esp. the male parts). - Samsara (talkcontribs) 10:05, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

They all seemed to be mentioned in the connectors section, with links to articles on each with pictures, or did you mean something else? pschemp | talk 14:10, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Mike examples

We could do with a few examples of some studio and live sound standards, photos of which I would happily take and provide. For example, under dynamic mikes, where is a photo of the Shure SM57, the podium mike of the President if the US for the last 30 years?

Added image of SM57 Iain 19:06, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

I do slightly question the use of an Oktava as an example of a condenser. This Russian firm makes some very nice mikes but there are also some unplesant Chinese copies hanging around from a manufacturing dispute. In use in professional studios you will more typically find Neumann, AKG, Gefell and such like. However, I guess in true neutral style, any change now would imply partiality. But I would expect a mike tech to be reaching for Schoeps or Sennheiser to record a grand piano not Oktava. --DavidP 21:24, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Dynamic Microphone Low Frequency resposnse

I removed the comment about dynamic mirophones having poor low frequency response. This is not inherent to a dynamic microphone. For example, the Shure Beta52, Beyer MT88, AKG D112 etc are all used to record kick drum and other low frequency instruments. Iain 19:05, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

adding a link

To the admins:

Users have added many microphone informational resources, why cannot I add one myself? I wish to submit as an educational resource of vintage microphones as well as current microphones. The microphonevault is intended to serve as an educational resource and extremely comprehensive. There are photographs of microphones, user comments, and lenghty descriptions. If this site is not allowed or does not meet the standards of being listed under the "MICROPHONE" section, then why is a DJ Forum (which is nearly completely irrelevant to the subject of MICROPHONES) and a "personal" site, on the links??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:18, 2 August 2006

First of all, why are you addressing your complaints to "the admins"? Are you trying to get authority to rush to your defense here?
Secondly, probably none of those links should be here. +ILike2BeAnonymous 19:37, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

"The Admins" were the ones who suggested that I bring this about on the "discussion" section. I'm just trying to figure out why this is not allowed.

I have just a spare moment to make a comment on this topic. I have surfed and and I don't like what I see! (In my opinion) The Microphone Vault page appears to be a lift. Further I question the copyright on content and photographs at both sites until someone can look into it. Wikipedians need to be careful, please see WP:Copyrights : 1.2 "Linking to copyrighted works". U.S. copyrights after 1923 are still valid. --Charles Gaudette 17:49, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Correct dates?

The condenser microphone was invented in 1916 by E. C. Wente at Bell Labs. The moving-coil, or "dynamic" microphone was developed by W. C. Wente and A. C. Thuras at Bell Labs in the late 1920's, and was patented in 1931.

Many of the excellent condenser recording mics prized today come from the fifties --more history here:

Decide for yourself - but this does not agree with article. --G. Beat 19:55, 8 August 2006 (UTC)


In the early part of the 20th century when this technology was being developed, the word "condenser" was used for what are now called capacitors. Even electrolitic capacitors were called condensers. There is a similar problem with transmitter/microphone and plumbago/graphite. To avoid confusion, it is better to use current terminology. I reverted condenser to capacitor. Greensburger 01:05, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Except that it's irrelevant in this context, because practically everyone calls them "condenser", not capacitor, regardless of correctness. (Check the literature if you don't believe me.) I'm reverting back. +ILike2BeAnonymous 01:07, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

I did a google search and you're right, "condenser microphone" yielded about 1,320,000 hits, although "capacitor microphone" yielded a respectable 21,200 hits. A recent patent 6,678,383 calls it a "Capacitor Microphone". I concede the argument. Greensburger 02:11, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Possible corrections?

IANA Electrical or Audio Engineer. Can someone with a bit more knowledge comment on the following?

  • In the article, it says "Sinus wave" (use your search function to find it). I think this is wrong, but IANAAE.
  • In the THD section, it says "The higher the value, the better". I suspect that this is referring to the dB number next to the THD number, but it's not clear. My understanding is that you want the THD percentage to be low.

-- TimNelson 06:25, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Sine wave not sinus wave. A sine wave represents a single frequency in which the amplitude at each point on the curve is proporional to the trigonometry sine of the phase angle. I corrected it. Greensburger 16:42, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

DPA external link

Although dpamic (talk · contribs)'s addition clearly violated WP:EL, I think that is a good information source. However, it may be more appropriate on a page about audio recording than this page. Han-Kwang 21:49, 20 November 2006 (UTC)