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How Much Gain Should a Professional Microphone Preamplifier Have?

Many tradeoffs are required in the design of microphone preamplifier circuits. Characteristics such as noise figure, stability, bandwidth, and complexity may be dependent upon the gain of the design. Three factors determine the gain required from a microphone preamp: Sound-pressure level of the sound source, distance of the microphone from that sound source (within the critical distance), and sensitivity of the microphone. This paper is an effort to find a probability distribution of the gain settings used with professional microphones. This is done by finding the distribution of max SPL in real use, and by finding the sensitivity of the most commonly used current and classic microphones.

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