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How do you test the accuracy of a microphone?

  1. Sep 10, 2014 #1
    With another microphone? And how do you test the accuracy of that microphone? With yet another microphone? ...and on and on we go

    I suppose you're probably thinking to yourself, "well that's easy BeautifulLight, just set up an experiment using a signal/tone generator, couple of microphones, and an oscilloscope! Use the signal/tone generator to output a unique signal, let's say X amplitude at Y frequency, "into" each microphone. With the aid of the oscilloscope, you should be able to check that each microphone is indeed picking up X amplitude at Y frequency. If all microphones check out, then all microphones are accurate." Okay, so maybe I'm going to get some crap about what variables I should be testing, in this case, freq and amplitude, but you know what I mean:smile:

    Is this correct?

    I do believe you can check the validity of a microphone using frequency, amplitude, etc. These are elements of the objective world (constructions of science) and therefore can be tested. However, sound (as with light) is a construction of a subjective perceptual process (think pitch & how it differs from freq), so in my opinion, the only ideal reference signals we have are the ones that are picked up by the two funny looking things on either sides of your head.

    If you are curious, this thread arises from the question of whether or not accurately reproducing a recording is subjective. You need to be really careful how you define recording. You can define recording as the unique signal your microphone picked up OR you can define your recording as how the song sounded to YOU during that initial recording -just assume you sat in on the recording.

    Thoughts? I know there are a few EE's on here. Maybe someone that has worked in the music industry can elaborate on what variables come into play when testing the accuracy of electric microphones. *I assume signal/tone generators aren't plugged directly into microphones. Of course, they'd play X amplitude at Y frequency -you're forcing it to. It's not a speaker!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2014 #2

    The Electrician

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