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Author Topic: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.  (Read 2672 times)

Eugen Jeličić

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Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« on: January 26, 2017, 07:34:51 am »

Hello!
I need an advice. I wanted to buy myself a measurement microphone for live needs. I have smaart 7 on my laptop and i'd like to be able to do a general pinknoise system flattening with the microphone in the sweetspot in front of the PA.
I would also like to be able to do a phase response measurement to align the subs with the top boxes.

So i had a few options in mind. I can buy a used Behringer ECM8000 for a good price here in my country. But i heard it's not very flat above 8k and i heard it's not any good at measuring phase response.
The second option is stretching a bit and buying a dbx RTA-M from thomman. It's not that expensive.
The third option is stretching a bit more and buying the beyerdynamic MM1 witch seems to be really good in reviews but i'm not sure if i'm going to benefint from a mic that expensive in comparison to the dbx one.
I'm not going to be eq-ing L'acoustic systems in treated auditoriums, i'm usually working with yamaha/EV crap in concrete basements.

The third option is buying a used IK Multimedia Arc 2 system. That option was not planned in the first place but i came across a guy living in my city selling the ARC 2 set for half the price of a new one.
This is a room correction set for home studios and it might come in handy because i have some yamaha HS7's in a not treated room and i mix quiet a lot on them so if this could help me EQ my room a bit it would be a nice buy.

But on the other hand 1. I don't know how good is the measurement mic that i get with this set and can i use it Live with smaart. 2. If i simply buy a dbx RTA-M there is nothing stopping me from using it together with smaart to correct my bedroom modes just like i would with the ARC 2 system.

So which option do you thing would be the best bang for the buck here?

Thanks.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 01:20:58 pm »

At a Smaart class I took we compared several mics provided by the students and instructor (hey, Harry!).  They were surprisingly similar from around 40Hz to 8kHz.  If you're not aligning the very top octave I'd not be terribly concerned.

As for measuring phase response - that's part of info being derived via the Fast Fourier Transform.  Any inherent phase problem would also manifest itself as a magnitude variation and should be apparent.  In the Smaart class we observed no such things with the ECM8000.  What we did observe is the amount of variation between individual mics, and again that was predominantly in the top octave.

I own the Audix measurement mic and 4 of the RTA-420 that are sold by various dealers (sometimes with different model number).  They are not identical in response but sufficiently close that I can align front fills, mains, subs and side hangs without great concern.

The dirty little secret is that pretty much all of the inexpensive measurement mics use the same capsule (Panasonic?) and the pre-amp/impedance converter use nearly identical circuits.  I suspect the differences in perceived quality are mostly in unit-to-unit variation (or similarity) of response and/or brand name.

If I were buying today, with the choices you have, I'd get the dbx.
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Laurence Nefzger

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2017, 02:04:15 pm »

I suggest looking at Dayton Audio EMM-6 Electret Measurement Microphone. It comes with an individual calibration that is kept by the manufacturer so if you lose your paper sheet you can look it up at any time based on the serial number.

I have done direct comparisons to my Earthworks TC40K and find that the small differences (primarily above 8K) are not worth fretting about. Especially in terms of speaker optimization.

They can be found for around $50 (US).

After one of my matched pair of TC40K hit the concrete floor during a measurement thus creating a very unmatched pair I decided to look for less expensive alternatives that I could afford to lose if a catastrophe occurred during a measurement.


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Eugen Jeličić

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2017, 02:14:18 pm »

At a Smaart class I took we compared several mics provided by the students and instructor (hey, Harry!).  They were surprisingly similar from around 40Hz to 8kHz.  If you're not aligning the very top octave I'd not be terribly concerned.

As for measuring phase response - that's part of info being derived via the Fast Fourier Transform.  Any inherent phase problem would also manifest itself as a magnitude variation and should be apparent.  In the Smaart class we observed no such things with the ECM8000.  What we did observe is the amount of variation between individual mics, and again that was predominantly in the top octave.

I own the Audix measurement mic and 4 of the RTA-420 that are sold by various dealers (sometimes with different model number).  They are not identical in response but sufficiently close that I can align front fills, mains, subs and side hangs without great concern.

The dirty little secret is that pretty much all of the inexpensive measurement mics use the same capsule (Panasonic?) and the pre-amp/impedance converter use nearly identical circuits.  I suspect the differences in perceived quality are mostly in unit-to-unit variation (or similarity) of response and/or brand name.

If I were buying today, with the choices you have, I'd get the dbx.

Well i read somewhere online (this might be a misinformation) that the behringer mic has got some king of an EQ circut built inside. And it gives the mic a more flat/precise frequency response because the mic itself is not that flat, but it messes up the phase response. That does sound logical because an eq circut will mess up the phase response however it might be a bunch of crap since i found it by random googleing.

Yes i'm also thinking about the DBX... it's not very expensive. But then again, the behringer is less then half the price here where i live. Since i found a good used one.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2017, 05:18:29 pm »

I suggest looking at Dayton Audio EMM-6 Electret Measurement Microphone. It comes with an individual calibration that is kept by the manufacturer so if you lose your paper sheet you can look it up at any time based on the serial number.

I have done direct comparisons to my Earthworks TC40K and find that the small differences (primarily above 8K) are not worth fretting about. Especially in terms of speaker optimization.

They can be found for around $50 (US).

After one of my matched pair of TC40K hit the concrete floor during a measurement thus creating a very unmatched pair I decided to look for less expensive alternatives that I could afford to lose if a catastrophe occurred during a measurement.

A measurement mic needs a calibration file.  The relative merits of different mics is irrelevant without calibration files.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2017, 05:48:46 pm »

A measurement mic needs a calibration file.  The relative merits of different mics is irrelevant without calibration files.

If you are a speaker developer tuning your product this is probably true, if you are a live sound operator trying to tune a PA not so much.

Mac
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2017, 06:23:38 pm »

The responses regarding the top octave are correct.

And if you "really wanted to get picky", simply compare identical models of loudspeakers-looking at the top octave.
,
You will often quite a bit of variance there.

As you higher and lower- "everything" gets harder.

Consider that the "fundamental tones" of most sounds are 8Khz and lower.

It all comes down to "What am I here to do" and "What am I looking for", "What am I going to do with the information presented"?
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Eugen Jeličić

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 06:39:02 am »

The responses regarding the top octave are correct.

And if you "really wanted to get picky", simply compare identical models of loudspeakers-looking at the top octave.
,
You will often quite a bit of variance there.

As you higher and lower- "everything" gets harder.

Consider that the "fundamental tones" of most sounds are 8Khz and lower.

It all comes down to "What am I here to do" and "What am I looking for", "What am I going to do with the information presented"?

Yes, that last sentence...

But i wrote what my needs are. Live RTA flattening some club PA systems with pinknoise.
Phase aligning different boxes. Trying to flatten my yamaha HS7's at home since my room is not treated.

However regarding the last one, i should apply treatment to my room, i know...

I mean the used behringer would be great for the start but i don't want to find myself a year down do road with SMAART thinking how i should have bought a better microphone...

If the dbx is worth the extra money i'll buy it.
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2017, 08:06:21 am »

Yes, that last sentence...

But i wrote what my needs are. Live RTA flattening some club PA systems with pinknoise.
Phase aligning different boxes. Trying to flatten my yamaha HS7's at home since my room is not treated.

However regarding the last one, i should apply treatment to my room, i know...

I mean the used behringer would be great for the start but i don't want to find myself a year down do road with SMAART thinking how i should have bought a better microphone...

If the dbx is worth the extra money i'll buy it.
I have 3 Behringer mics and an Earthworks for PA tuning. We compared the mics at a SMAART class and found what others have mentioned.
The Behringers work just fine for the PA work.
The results you get  tuning the PA with SMAART should far outweigh the difference in the +8k response of various mics.
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Eugen Jeličić

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2017, 08:31:23 am »

I have 3 Behringer mics and an Earthworks for PA tuning. We compared the mics at a SMAART class and found what others have mentioned.
The Behringers work just fine for the PA work.
The results you get  tuning the PA with SMAART should far outweigh the difference in the +8k response of various mics.

So basically it's not that good above 8k but that's it. Realisticaly the hardest part for me to get right when i'm tunning the system by ear is 1.5 - 5k. It's always the same in concrete holes. One song suffers badly if you cut that too much.
The other one sounds harsh as hell if you don't because of the presence boost in reverbant rooms. But again... very soon you start noticing how much damage you have done by taking out a few dB at 2.5-3k. There is too much important info in there.
That's why i'd like some help from Smaart. I want to learn the difference between "correct" and "subjetctively nice" in far from perfect rooms... I wan't my main mix EQ to be the one that flattens the PA as much as possible.
Then i have another parametric one if i want to change the overall balance if i want that from some reason.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2017, 10:05:55 am »



But i wrote what my needs are. Live RTA flattening some club PA systems with pinknoise.
Phase aligning different boxes. Trying to flatten my yamaha HS7's at home since my room is not treated.


If you are using Smaart as an RTA, then it really doesn't matter what measurement type mic you are using.

RTA is the wrong tool.  The dual transfer function is a MUCH better tool.

When you are talking about "phase aligning boxes", again it doesn't matter what mic you are using.

You mic could be TOTALLY off, but you are not interested in the phase of the mic.  Only the phase difference of the boxes.

So the boxes will have the same phase offset-no matter what the phase response of the mic is.

You are looking for RELATIVE phase difference-not ABSOLUTE phase response.
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Eugen Jeličić

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2017, 10:16:25 am »

If you are using Smaart as an RTA, then it really doesn't matter what measurement type mic you are using.

RTA is the wrong tool.  The dual transfer function is a MUCH better tool.

When you are talking about "phase aligning boxes", again it doesn't matter what mic you are using.

You mic could be TOTALLY off, but you are not interested in the phase of the mic.  Only the phase difference of the boxes.

So the boxes will have the same phase offset-no matter what the phase response of the mic is.

You are looking for RELATIVE phase difference-not ABSOLUTE phase response.

Well while the show is on the run. RTA is really practical just to see what is happening in the room. It can be helpfull to identify some mistakes in the general mix balance together with listening. But for that use, tohether with identifying feedback frequencies if problems occur during the show. Honestly, an SM57 is good enough...

For pinknoise flattening before the soundscheck a good measurement microphone is important but i tought the simple SMAART RTA analyzer is the right tool.
Why would the dual transfer function work better?

Talking about the phase response. Well tehnicaly yes you are right. The point is phase aligning different boxes in the segment where the crossover point overlaps. That means relative phase aligning in relation to eacother. Which again means that even a 57 would be good enough for this purpose since it's just a tool for comparing phase response of different boxes / it's used to measure relative phase. 
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2017, 11:57:27 am »

Well while the show is on the run. RTA is really practical just to see what is happening in the room. It can be helpfull to identify some mistakes in the general mix balance together with listening. But for that use, tohether with identifying feedback frequencies if problems occur during the show. Honestly, an SM57 is good enough...

For pinknoise flattening before the soundscheck a good measurement microphone is important but i tought the simple SMAART RTA analyzer is the right tool.
Why would the dual transfer function work better?

Talking about the phase response. Well tehnicaly yes you are right. The point is phase aligning different boxes in the segment where the crossover point overlaps. That means relative phase aligning in relation to eacother. Which again means that even a 57 would be good enough for this purpose since it's just a tool for comparing phase response of different boxes / it's used to measure relative phase.
During the show, I would agree that in many cases an RTA is the best tool-but what are you actually doing with that tool?  Are you making any "system level" adjustments based on what is on the RTA?

I would be scared to do that during a show.

The dual transfer function (when used properly-most people DO NOT use it properly), is much more immune to "other sounds".  An RTA will respond to any sound, a truck going by for example, that is not part of the actual sound coming out of the loudspeakers.

If the ONLY thing you are interested is the phase response-then yes, an mic will show you the differences.

HOWEVER- you should ALSO be concerned with the AMPLITUDE response of the two speakers are you are looking at.

So you need a flat response mic in order to show that.

Pretty much any "measurement mic"-including the Behringer, should be just fine at any freq you are trying to "align the phase". 

I would assume you are not trying to "align the phase" at 12KHz-because that is a waste of time.  If you move the mic a little bit , it will be all over the place.

But at lower freq (which is what I am assuming you are talking about), a cheap measurement mic will work just fine and give you the information you are looking for.

The tool you use depends on what job you are doing.  I don't see many people taking the BK4007s out to bar gigs or any case where it is likely to be damaged.
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Eugen Jeličić

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2017, 12:27:22 pm »

During the show, I would agree that in many cases an RTA is the best tool-but what are you actually doing with that tool?  Are you making any "system level" adjustments based on what is on the RTA?

I would be scared to do that during a show.

The dual transfer function (when used properly-most people DO NOT use it properly), is much more immune to "other sounds".  An RTA will respond to any sound, a truck going by for example, that is not part of the actual sound coming out of the loudspeakers.

If the ONLY thing you are interested is the phase response-then yes, an mic will show you the differences.

HOWEVER- you should ALSO be concerned with the AMPLITUDE response of the two speakers are you are looking at.

So you need a flat response mic in order to show that.

Pretty much any "measurement mic"-including the Behringer, should be just fine at any freq you are trying to "align the phase". 

I would assume you are not trying to "align the phase" at 12KHz-because that is a waste of time.  If you move the mic a little bit , it will be all over the place.

But at lower freq (which is what I am assuming you are talking about), a cheap measurement mic will work just fine and give you the information you are looking for.

The tool you use depends on what job you are doing.  I don't see many people taking the BK4007s out to bar gigs or any case where it is likely to be damaged.

No, usually not. But just like in the studio you can't have a 100% correct prediction of how things will sum together while you are eq-ing them channel by channel. So even if none of the instruments had any kind of 100-300hz ring or mud, that doesn't mean that in the overall mix some unexpected things might show up there. So if any kind of a "ring" shows up in the lowmids during the show, the SMAART RTA (especially with the slow spectrograph) tends to be usefull for things like this.

I am able to detect the problematic frequency by ear, relatively precise. But when you take a look at the nice big RTA it really helps you to put some things into better perspective. Helping you to touch up some of the channel eq-s a bit more or even the main mix eq if you want to generally rebalance the mix a bit.

Together with that, in case of a monitor feedback i usually know which monitor it came from since i keep looking at the stage and tracking what is the band doing. But if you had the smaart spectrograph turned on. You take a look at it and find a nice red line from a few seconds ago.
Then you can open the monitor EQ and eliminate a few dB from the problematic frequency.


2. Talking about the dual transfer function i will research a bit more about it and them possibly ask some quiestions.

3. Of course not, with the yamaha system that i run in a local club quiet much every weekend, the top boxes do combfilter but i know that it's not possible to solve that with a phase response graph since it would only work for one spot.
However i was going to try aligning the subs with the top boxes in the crossover area. (80-120hz)
I run the system crossed over at 110hz with a 24dB/octave BW cut.

4. True. The mic i need is mostly for "bar" gigs.


EDIT: What did you mean with "i should also be concerned with the amplitude response of the speakers that i'm looking at ?
If i'm aligning a dual 18 with the 2x15+1.5 top box, the levels that the sub is going to be running at compared to the top box is going to be my choice based on the type of music i'm mixing?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 12:30:28 pm by Eugen Jeličić »
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2017, 12:36:09 pm »

I am able to detect the problematic frequency by ear, relatively precise. But when you take a look at the nice big RTA it really helps you to put some things into better perspective. Helping you to touch up some of the channel eq-s a bit more or even the main mix eq if you want to generally rebalance the mix a bit.

Together with that, in case of a monitor feedback i usually know which monitor it came from since i keep looking at the stage and tracking what is the band doing. But if you had the smaart spectrograph turned on. You take a look at it and find a nice red line from a few seconds ago.
Then you can open the monitor EQ and eliminate a few dB from the problematic frequency.

Ivan has said it pretty well, but the quote above is the only thing you should be using an RTA for. Do not use it for guidance on whether or not you have too much of some frequency in your mix, that is what your ears are for. Use it to identify what that sound you are hearing is.

For tuning a PA you really need to learn about using the dual FFT capability of Smaart or any of the other FFT based analysis systems. Using an RTA makes you think you can fix an architectural problem with eq. You can't. Learn about Smaart, take the class, it is expensive, but it is worth it to find out all the things you don't know and have been doing wrong.

It doesn't matter what measurement mic you use.

Mac
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Eugen Jeličić

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2017, 12:49:36 pm »

Ivan has said it pretty well, but the quote above is the only thing you should be using an RTA for. Do not use it for guidance on whether or not you have too much of some frequency in your mix, that is what your ears are for. Use it to identify what that sound you are hearing is.

For tuning a PA you really need to learn about using the dual FFT capability of Smaart or any of the other FFT based analysis systems. Using an RTA makes you think you can fix an architectural problem with eq. You can't. Learn about Smaart, take the class, it is expensive, but it is worth it to find out all the things you don't know and have been doing wrong.

It doesn't matter what measurement mic you use.

Mac

Of course. I only look at the RTA after i hear a problem. Never to check if there are any problems that i don't hear. That doesn't make any sense.

I will get some literature / videos on that subject. That's one of the reasons i wanted a cheap measurement mic. It won't mean so much to me to improve my live mixes but i want to learn using smaart in depth.
I will first do a lot of reading and then go practice in the club i work in.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2017, 04:19:53 pm »


2. Talking about the dual transfer function i will research a bit more about it and them possibly ask some quiestions.


You MUST use the dual transfer function when looking at the phase response anyway.  An RTA will NOT show you phase.

So while using the transfer function to look at phase-all you have to do is to look at the other screen-it is the freq response.
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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2017, 07:59:34 pm »

I took the SMAART class recently, and the instructor showed us that the primary difference between the $100 mic and the $1k mic it the flatitude (yeah I know it's not a word) above 10khz. 
The more you pay, the higher the flatness goes.
His point was that even the cheap mics are flat in the range that is the most important.
The critical frequencies for sub alignment are at the crossover point; in the 80-200hz range.
He also noted that when someone knocks over your $100 mic, you don't have a heart attack.
Rational acoustics sells both cheap and expensive mics.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2017, 09:03:52 pm »

I took the SMAART class recently, and the instructor showed us that the primary difference between the $100 mic and the $1k mic it the flatitude (yeah I know it's not a word) above 10khz. 
The more you pay, the higher the flatness goes.
His point was that even the cheap mics are flat in the range that is the most important.
The critical frequencies for sub alignment are at the crossover point; in the 80-200hz range.
He also noted that when someone knocks over your $100 mic, you don't have a heart attack.
Rational acoustics sells both cheap and expensive mics.

That is exactly why I keep the good mics for in shop usage and take the "throw aways" out when there might be any damage.

In a stadium setting there is no use in even worrying about anything above 10Khz.  You simply "aren't getting there" 800' away.
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2017, 12:17:32 am »

Another vote that the Behringer mic is good enough.   I have a calibrated Audix mic and a few Behringers.   

I 'hack calibrated' my two ECM800 Behringer mics against the Audix for fun, i.e. I stuck them in exactly the same position in front of a studio monitor and created a correction curve to make them match the calibrated Audix. Took about 20 minutes per mic. The differences between the Calibrated Audix and one ECM8000s were within +/- 1db above 100 Hz, and +/- 2dB on the second ECM8000.  Both ECM's needed larger corrections below 100Hz (up to 3dB and 6dB at 20Hz for the two mics). 

Even without the correction, performing a phase alignment of subs would be good enough with any of the uncorrected mics. With the tops on poles over the subs, standing up then sitting down would probably cause more phase misalignment than the cheap measurement mic.  With center clustered subs: moving left or right one seat would introduce more phase misalignment than the cheap mics.

The ECM8000s, along with your brain and ears, are good enough for your intended uses.

And yes, do treat your control room :)
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Re: Suggestions for SMAART measurement mic.
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2017, 07:59:43 am »



Even without the correction, performing a phase alignment of subs would be good enough with any of the uncorrected mics.
If the only purpose is "phase alignment" then any cheap mic from any manufacturer would work just fine. Dynamic or condenser.

Since you are using a SINGLE MIC, and looking at the difference in phase response between different loudspeakers, the difference will be the same.

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