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You are here: Home TIL on audio: Small diapraghm mics, Ardour, 24 bit sound & podcastage

TIL on audio: Small diapraghm mics, Ardour, 24 bit sound & podcastage

published Feb 16, 2019 07:20   by admin ( last modified Feb 17, 2019 06:43 )

Small/large diaphragm condenser mics

I've wondered a bit why podcasters are using the old style large membrane mics of yonder. You could see these mics in '80s music videos when they wanted to be retro, such as Robert Palmer's "Johhny and Mary" and Ultravox "The Voice".

The Neumann mic company has a page on this: What Is the Difference Between Large and Small Diaphragm Microphones?

It turns out that strictly speaking small diaphragm mics are better, objectively seen (or, uhmm, objectively heard…). But many people like the sound characteristics of large diaphragm mics. I actually like my very cheap T.bone headset mic ,which is from the cheapest T.bone wireless system. Maybe I'm a small diaphragm mic man.


Bandrew Scott's Podcastage is a fantastic Youtube channel that tests a lot of podcast gear thoroughly and in good spirits. A gem.

Best USB Microphone Under $100 (Oct 2016) - YouTube
What's the Best USB Sound Card / Audio Adapter? - YouTube
What's the Best Mic & How To Select the Right Mic (For Beginners) - YouTube

Which mic should you choose?

Podcastage come through with a great guide on his web site: — Bandrew Scott

Plosives and sibilance

Turns out they are different things. Plosives is a powerful puff of air that is mainly a problem for large diaphragm mics with a lot of physical leeway.  Plosives can push those membranes to bottom out and they can take some moments to recover. Plosives are caused by "b" and "p" phonemes.

Plosives should be dealt with at recording time, apparently hard to correct in post production. Plosives are why you can see a screen in front of the big mics.

Sibilants are cause by "s" phonemes and similar. They can be dealt with in post by de-essing, which can be done with a two-pass compressor working in the high frequency band.

9 Techniques for Controlling Sibilance — Pro Audio Files

24-bit sound good

Podcastage explained this very well 16 bit vs. 24 bit Audio, What Should You Record At? (FAQ Series) - YouTube.

…and it's a no-brainer whan you think about it. You get a lower noise floor, and overall better quality. One thing that I will appreciate is that clipping ought to be a thing of the past. Since I started recording on cassettes on analgue, 0db is fine but in digital it most certainly is not! I have to get that into my brain better. With 24 bit (or -24 dB if you want) you can dial down and be far away from 0dB.


Ardour seems to run on my Pulseaudio Linux machine. I thought it wouldn't. I've slaved away in audacity for no reason! :D