Microphones and miking techniques - Specific electric quantities of microphones

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The characteristics of a microphone are quantified by a series of electric units which describe its behaviour.

10.13.1. Self noise

Generated by the electric components within the microphone. The circuitry present inside condenser microphones is undoubtedly greater than that present within electrodynamic microphones, therefore the incidence of thermal noise is greater in condenser microphones because the generated signal has an intensity which is far inferior to electrodynamic microphones. The microphone's self noise is measured in dB.

10.13.2. Distortion

It is measured in THD [Distortion and Total Harmonic Distortion ] percentage for a certain dBspl value. For example:

THD = 0.002% a 140 dBspl

10.13.3. Sensitivity

Sensitivity is a microphone's ability to accurately convert an acoustic wave-form (measured in Pascal, Pa) into an electric signal (measured in Volts, V). Sensitivity is measured in mV/Pa.

Typical values for sensitivity are:

  • Dynamic Microphones: 1-10 mV/Pa

  • Condenser Microphones: 5-20 mV/Pa


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