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Umik 1 and rew for measuring SPL for mic

Taupe1

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Hey there super new to this stuff but I have a question so I recently picked up a Sennheiser mkh50 for Foley sounds and found sounds ( percussive strikes on metal, stone, wood, kids toys sounds, rubbing bits of nature together, machinery sounds etc ) for sampling for use in music. Out of curiosity in the interest of not damaging the capsule when recording sounds what's a good way to measure the SPL before recordings to make sure that it wouldn't damage the capsule. Would something like the umik 1 and REW with the sounds performed in front of that mic get me close enough on the SPL to feel confident using the mic without concern for damage ?

This seems like one of the main more accurate ways suggested to do this vs a cheapo meter or an app. Just like want to do my due diligence.

Am I overthinking this for these sorts of sounds and I will never reach a high enough volume to damage the capsule with this kind of stuff ?
 

HarmonicTHD

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The umik goes to 133dB and the mkh to 142.

Which is both awfully loud and you will see it when you are clipping the recording level.

But if you are indeed concerned why not get a cheaper condenser for sampling?
 
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Taupe1

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The umik goes to 133dB and the mkh to 142.

Which is both awfully loud and you will see it when you are clipping the recording level.

But if you are indeed concerned why not get a cheaper condenser for sampling?
I'd rather do a buy once cry once thing to get the best recordings I can, I mean realistically like you said the sounds I record that I listed above would probably never get as loud as I would need to damage the microphone. It's probably something Im overthinking and don't need to worry about.

I suppose my best bet is just to keep a decent distance from what I'm recording and make sure it's not any crazy loud sounds.

I wonder if it would still be a good idea to get the umik to test the levels of stuff im going to record in advance of running them into the mkh?
 

Blumlein 88

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Condenser microphones are not really that fragile. The max SPL rating is usually for how far before distortion exceeds 1% or clips. The electronics are what are overloaded and will recover after the overload. To physically damage the capsule would likely take an incredibly high SPL.

I agree with HarmonicTHD. Just get a cheaper SDC with sensitivity rating which is the same and a similar max SPL to check with if you want to be extra careful. If its good then plug in your Senn. You could also go the UMik route no problem. The advantage is it self calibrates so the SPL reading is right.
 

kemmler3D

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I wonder if it would still be a good idea to get the umik to test the levels of stuff im going to record in advance of running them into the mkh?
As @HarmonicTHD pointed out, the UMIK maxes out before the MKH.

But honestly blowing out the capsule isn't a serious worry if it can handle 142dB SPL. You would have to be recording actual gunfire from less than 10 feet away to significantly exceed that. 142dB is probably louder than the loudest thing you've ever heard in your life, unless you go to gun ranges with no hearing protection on.

FWIW I've ACTUALLY recorded gunshots before (creating impulse responses) and the mics were totally fine. The cops showed up, but that's a story for another time.

I would focus more on mic placement and headroom than worrying about blowing out the mic. Just don't actually hit the mic with stuff and you should be fine.

A UMIK is a great thing to have for room correction and measuring performance of speakers, but as a sacrificial SPL meter it's simply not necessary.
 
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