How do you test the accuracy of a microphone?

In summary, with another microphone? And how do you test the accuracy of that microphone? With yet another microphone? You can test the accuracy of a microphone by playing a signal/tone generator at a certain amplitude and frequency and checking to see if each microphone is picking up the same amplitude and frequency.
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BeautifulLight
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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!
 
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Related to How do you test the accuracy of a microphone?

1. How do you calibrate a microphone for accuracy?

To calibrate a microphone for accuracy, you will need a sound source with a known output level. Place the microphone at a specific distance from the sound source and measure the output using a sound level meter. Adjust the microphone's sensitivity or gain settings until the measured output matches the known output level.

2. What is the frequency response of a microphone and how does it affect accuracy?

The frequency response of a microphone refers to its ability to accurately capture sound at different frequencies. The accuracy of a microphone can be affected if it has a non-linear frequency response, meaning it may not accurately capture all frequencies equally. To test the frequency response of a microphone, you can use a frequency sweep test and compare the recorded output to the input signal.

3. Can the environment affect the accuracy of a microphone?

Yes, the environment can have a significant impact on the accuracy of a microphone. Factors such as background noise, reverberation, and temperature can affect the microphone's performance. To test for environmental impact on accuracy, you can conduct tests in different environments and compare the results.

4. How do you test the sensitivity of a microphone?

The sensitivity of a microphone refers to its ability to convert sound waves into electrical signals. To test the sensitivity, you can use a sound level meter and measure the output of the microphone at different input levels. The sensitivity is usually measured in decibels (dB) and can be compared to the manufacturer's specifications.

5. Is there a standard method for testing microphone accuracy?

Yes, there are standard methods for testing microphone accuracy, such as the ANSI/ASA S1.42-2001 standard. This method involves using a calibrated sound source and comparing the microphone's output to the known input. It also includes guidelines for testing in different environments and for calculating accuracy values.

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