Side by Side: On-air Condenser Mics

December 1, 2012


Dynamic mics are everywhere. The EV RE-20 and its cousin the N/D-27 are probably the most ubiquitous dynamic studio mics in use. The Shure SM7 (and still sometimes the SM5) are also common. Heil has made inroads as well. Even Neumann has the BCM 705. But there is another option to the dynamic mic. Perhaps it's time to consider a condenser mic in the studio.

There are misconceptions about condenser vs. dynamic mics for on-air use. Some claim condensers aren't rugged enough for jock use. That's not really true any more. The cost of many condensers can be higher than a dynamic, but not by much. Condensers require phantom power, but most preamps and consoles can provide that with no effort.

There are potential benefits for condensers. Condensers usually have a lower self-noise floor and higher sensitivity than dynamics. A condenser's lighter diaphragm (compared to a dynamic) can respond quicker to transient sounds. Condensers typically have a flatter frequency response as well. We selected a few common condenser choices for radio studios.

Model
AKG C4500 BC
Audio-Technica AT4040
MXL BCC-1
Neumann BCM 104
Rode Broadcaster
.
Pattern
cardioid
cardioid
cardioid
cardioid
cardioid
Frequency Response
30Hz - 20kHz
20Hz - 20kHz
20Hz - 20kHz
20Hz - 20kHz
20Hz - 20kHz
Diaphragm Size
1"
1"
0.87"
1"
1"
Output Impedance
200Ω
100Ω
150Ω
50Ω
40Ω
Max SPL
145dB
145dB
148dB
140dB
128dB
Sensitivity
-34dB
-32dB
-49dB
-32.4dB
-34dB
S/N A weighted
86dB
82dB
78dB
87dB
80dB
Orientation
end address
side address
end address
side address
end address
Filter
bass-cut
80Hz high-pass
high-pass
100Hz low-cut
high-pass
Pad
-20dB
-10dB
-
-14dB
-
Weight
450g
360g
720g
500g
577g
Notes
-
-
-
changeable headgrilles
LED on-air indicator
MSRP
$819
$495
$350
$1,080
$629
URL
akg.com
audio-technica.com
mxlmics.com
neumannusa.com
rodemic.com
.

Click here to enlarge the polar patterns.



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