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Mic sensitivity for loud music
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
Mic sensitivity for loud music

Simply put, my question is, which is better: a sensitive mic with the pre-amp all the way down or a less sensitive mic with the pre-amp up?

Now for more detail. For a while I've mostly used my SM57 and 58 as room mics for live recording my band. Yesterday I needed the 58 as a vocal mic, so I dug out some old AKG P170 condenser mics. They sound great great, but I have to turn my pre-amps all the way down to get a useable volume, and even then I got a ton of clipping when we did our usual very loud style of music. I couldn't really hear it for some reason, but I still don't want it obviously. Luckily the mics have a switch on them that decreases the volume by -20dB, which is where my question comes in. Would I be increasing the noise floor or incurring tone loss or something by using the switch and turning up the gain on the amp?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
The pad will allow for a higher spl handling of the mic. It will attenuate even the self noise of the microphone to some extent so you won't be losing dynamic range.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
The pad will allow for a higher spl handling of the mic. It will attenuate even the self noise of the microphone to some extent so you won't be losing dynamic range.
So the mic should have the same quality? Does having the pre-amp gain all the way down compared to a moderate level affect the quality at all? I suppose I should test this myself, but I'm wondering if there's theory behind it.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
It depends on the preamp. Most will be slightly cleaner at lower levels, but it is not something that is easily heard. Some preamps are designed to add color at higher gain so they give you a separate output adjustment to let you take advantage of that. I don't think in this case that it is anything you would notice.

Last edited by rumleymusic; 1 week ago at 05:42 PM..
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