Assignment (mic differences experiment)

Learning Outcome = understand the differences between dynamic and condenser mics.


  1. setup a Shure SM57 (dynamic) and a Rode M5 (small diaphragm condenser) so that both diaphragms are very close to each other facing the same direction

  2. when you record:

    • record both microphones simultaneously with the preamps for each mic set such that the amplitude of both waveforms recorded look very similar (advanced = target averaging around -18db if you can)

    • try to make the waveforms of every recording look similar in amplitude (vertically, similar width) no matter the distance

    • take note of the following for your response:

      • what you have to do with the preamp when you move the mics further from the source

      • what happens with background noise with each mic

      • the microphone's self-noise

      • the usefulness of the "pop filter / windscreen"

      • quality of tone of each mic (frequency response,)

  3. the content of your recordings should be:

    • music from an acoustic instrument or voice

    • and a single clap (if you can, zoom in on the clap of each recording to see how the waveforms of each mic differ = showing their differences in transient response)


  1. your first recording should be with the microphones positioned 2-6 inches from the instrument

  2. your second recording should be with the microphones positioned 4 feet from the instrument

  3. your third recording should be with the microphones 10 feet from the instrument


  1. email me your findings!: in a short essay (paragraph) describe what you discovered especially noting how dynamic and condenser mics differ; include anything and everything you learned from this experiment