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Ultra quiet Microphones:

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by kabb, Jul 17, 2004.

  1. kabb

    kabb Guest


    I already have a reasonable collection of microphones such as AKG 414 - solid tube - drum pack (C1000 etc) some Sure (SM57- 58 etc) an Audio Technica and a few esoteric ones but...

    I am on the look out for an ultra quiet Mic that i can record very very quiet sounds with (EG: a pin drop :) ) and i need one for under £500 !!

    Any suggestions would be much appriciated.

  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Be prepared to spend a lot of money to get to that the level of quiet. It is not just the microphone either. You will also need a preamp that is as quiet and is able to have low noise at high gain along with an environment that is quiet enough to record in.
  3. kabb

    kabb Guest

    Thanks so far..

    But can you tell me more?

    I'm open to suggestions although my budget will only streach to £500 for the mic.

    I'm also looking into new preamps. I have a TLA one at the moment and i'm quite interested in the Yamaha i88X specs for all round versatility but also the new Blue Robbie preamp.
  4. kabb

    kabb Guest


    I recently did a hiss test with my AKG solid tube, 414 and Rode NT1 and although it was lacking in overall character, the Rode was the quietest. I'm not to fussy about colour in sound.. infact, i would rather there be no colour. I can manipulate it more then.

    Thanks in adv.

  5. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Sorry, My lack of expertise in cheap gear is very limited. Anything I would suggest would be very expensive.
  6. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Jul 5, 2003
    Portland, OR
    A Neumann TLM103 is about a quiet as it gets, but it does not provide a flat, colorless response. Generally, a large diaphragm mic will be quieter than small condenser mics. I have't researched the issue, but I'm sure you can find several LD mics that are quiet in your price range. Look for one that has a relatively flat response and good off axis response too.
  7. paddy

    paddy Guest


    Elektor had a design for and ultraquiet high gain preamp for just this sort of thing. It was based on multiple cascaded Class A transitor stages. It's in the 301 circuits book. I reckon if you had a good quality electret capsule you could get very low noise results.


    Edit: the AT-3035 would be a good starting point (very low self noise) perhaps build the preamp into the mic head if there's room - I have an AT-3035 on the way and will have a look,
  8. iznogood

    iznogood Guest


    insanely low noise

    insanely flat response

    and for some things insanely boring!!!

    but for recording falling needles or space shuttles taking off (or whales singing) they're second to none!!!
  9. ghellquist

    ghellquist Guest


    insanely low noise

    -- well, actually not. There are other with less noise, the small ones (micro stuff) is actualy rather noisy but it does not matter as they are used real close to the sound source. I think the suggestion of TLM-103 from Neumann is a good bet. In the lower price range the Rode-s in general are considered very noise-free (note, the tube ones gives a little more noise). One to try might be the Studio Projects B1 - very little noise for very little money.

    Good luck
  10. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Download my spreadsheet from my signature. Find the MICS tab, sort by the Noise db-A column.
  11. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    I think that the DPA miniature omni is going to be the one that comes closest to your price range, although it misses the mark by a grand or two.

    The thing that you should know about mic manufacturers is that DPA is the only one in the world to include the whole mic in the noise spec measuring. Many mic companies do not include the capsule, some do not include the electronics.

    Also remember that the A weighted measurements for noise mean that you need to add 10dB to that to get the real-world noise spec.
  12. beauarts

    beauarts Active Member

    Feb 18, 2001
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    Home Page:
    A sennheiser mkh40 was one of the quietest mics I've heard. I went with the schoeps though. Most times absolute noise levels are not a problem for recording. A good sound with good mic technique is what works.
  13. beachhunt

    beachhunt Guest

    another vote for the Rode NT1-A... 5dBA, and only $200 (£108 or so).
  14. dasbin

    dasbin Guest

    NT1-A is one of the lowest-noise mics out there at any price. I hope you're recording sounds within close proximity though, because if you need to capture a quiet sound further than 6 feet or so away, you'd be better off with a good quiet shotgun mic which, while having higher self-noise, will give you a higher signal-to-noise ratio at distance than something like the NT1-A.

    As someone else mentioned, the preamp is key as well, since you're going to be cranking the gain. And don't forget good quad cables!

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