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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering if anyone has looked into the idea of making an intrinsically better reference mic than the seemingly ubiquitous ECM8000? Back in the 1970's, when I was really poor, I found that I could buy modular condenser mic capsules at surprisingly reasonable prices and make my own preamps. I made myself a range of top end mics using AKGs CK1 cardioid, CK5 vocal cardioid, CK8 short gun, CK9 long gun and C414 variable pattern large diaphragm capsules. Now that I'm wanting to upgrade my audio test equipment, my mind is wandering in that direction again. Just wondering if anyone has wandered that way before me?

Making a real condenser (as opposed to an electret condenser) preamp poses no real difficulty, and a real condenser omni capsule should have a remarkably flat response (being a simple pressure transducer), provided the manufacturer has done their homework. Background noise, dynamic range and distortion should also be far better than an electret.

What I haven't done is look around to see what real condenser omni capsules are available at affordable prices these days. Anyone across that? Or seen any other references to building a top-end reference mic?

Terry
 

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Yeah, but still focussing on the use of electret rather than real condenser microphone capsules. You can see why - the Panasonic capsule costs a staggering $2.64 - it never ceases to amaze me what some people are prepared to spend on their home theatre systems.

I'd be prepared to spend a good deal more on the capsule, with a view to getting a really top test mic.

Terry
 

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The main problem, imo, with any homemade mike as far as getting really top results, is calibration. No matter how good a condenser mike you can get, unless it comes with complete engineering and calibration data, how can you tell what you're really seeing?
 

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Fair point. Probably, if one were to go so far as building a full condenser reference mic, it would be worth paying the little bit extra for calibration. Really good capsules usually (or at least used to!) come with a graph but you'd have to check that the preamp was reproducing it faithfully.

The main benefit of the better mic would be the lower noise floor, distortion etc, which are probably matters that don't concern most people putting together a sound system. I'll probably end up using a collection of mics to cover the range of measurements I want to make.

Terry
 
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