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Maximum SPL on a microphone at rock concerts
Maximum SPL on a microphone at rock concerts
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Old 1st December 2017, 06:00 AM   #1
Pimpom is offline Pimpom  India
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Default Maximum SPL on a microphone at rock concerts

I hope this is the right section for this topic: I'd like to be able to estimate the maximum SPL encountered by a microphone at a rock concert. The purpose is to estimate the maximum output from a microphone with a known sensitivity.

Figures cited for the sound level at a rock concert vary from 110 to 130 dB. This is really a huge range. Besides, it may not represent the SPL on a microphone diaphragm, with the lead vocalist screaming into it in addition to the background music. And then there are the mikes used to pick up instrument sounds.

If we take 120 dB as the maximum sound level in the audience, what level in dB or Pa can be expected on the mics themselves?
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Old 1st December 2017, 06:43 AM   #2
MarcelvdG is offline MarcelvdG  Netherlands
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I have no idea, but I do know that dynamic microphones are often used for picking up drum sounds, because the 136 dB or so maximum SPL of a typical small-diaphragm condenser microphone is inadequate for close-miked drums.
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Old 1st December 2017, 09:11 AM   #3
JonSnell Electronic is offline JonSnell Electronic  United Kingdom
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There are too many variable in your question to even hazard a guess.
Most experienced Sound Engineers use a gain control to set the desired line level before mixing.
Shure SM57 is the industry standard instrument microphone, the AKG D10 or D110 is the industry standard drum microphone and Shure Beta 58/97 for vocals.
The maximum SPL the diaphragms will stand, is published on the specification sheet for each type of microphone. If exceeded, all that happens is bottoming of the diaphragm. I have had good results from condenser elements for drums.
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Old 1st December 2017, 09:17 AM   #4
chris661 is offline chris661  United Kingdom
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For a loud vocalist and mic right to their mouth, you're looking at of the order of 120dB.

Kick drums can pass 140dB IIRC. The Shure Beta52A is rated for 174dB.

Chris
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Old 1st December 2017, 10:09 AM   #5
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Agree and add; test it yourself.
No kidding.

Get a "Rock Standard" microphone, such as those mentioned above, I personally favour Shure SM58 (of which I still have a lot) or its heir Beta 58, worst case borrow or rent one, hook it to a simple unbalanced 10X to 100X gain preamp, a single OpAmp is fine, and **scream** into it while holding it against your lips.
Even better, get a "loud" friend, even better a singer, to test it.

Also put it in a hole in a kick drum drumhead and let a Rock drummer loose.

In both cases measure RMS and Peak voltage output.

Way better than any estimation.

If designing a PA or recording mixer channel, be certain to not only add variable gain, but also an input (before any Electronics is involved) -20dB pad, which you can pushbutton insert if necessary.

Also add clipping indication Leds at the very first stage.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 04:05 AM   #6
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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I just did 130dB without any strain or warmup, just singing a scale and not screaming.
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