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Microphones can have a number of built-in control parameters that allow you to adjust some of mics' response characteristics. While Dynamic and Ribbon microphones may be limited to only a single roll-off filter control, if that, Condenser mics may have a few more. Let's take a closer look at the most commonly found microphone parameter controls. Because microphones can sometimes capture low frequency sounds, like nearby truck rumble or machinery noise that add nothing desirable to the audio you're recording, a roll-off filter is frequently added to help eliminate the problem.
The roll-off point can be anywhere from 40 to 100 Hz. And more often than not, 60 Hz is selected. The C414 shown here varies from that a little, and that its roll-off points are at 75 and 150. Many Condenser microphones have much more output than Dynamic or Ribbon mics to begin with, but when coupled with loud sound source like a snare drum, the output can be so hot that it overloads the microphone preamp that it's connected to. A -10 or -20 attenuation pad decreases the output signal by that amount in order to keep whatever electronics is plugged into from overloading.
Most large diaphragm condenser mics are capable of multiple pickup patterns, which are selected by the pickup selector. Some are switchable from one pattern to another, while others are continuously variable. While many engineers will always use just the Cardioid pattern, a smart engineer knows that selecting the right pattern for the situation will make his job a lot easier, and in the end, the recording will sound better too. So remember that the built-in control parameters on a mic can be very helpful if they're available. A High-pass or Roll-off filter can help eliminate unwanted low-frequency noise.
The input pad can help the mic and the devices it's feeding from overloading, and the pattern selector will select the pickup pattern that's most appropriate for the application.
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