Guidelines for Selecting Microphones for Human Voice Production Research Purpose This tutorial addresses fundamental characteristics of microphones (frequency response, frequency range, dynamic range, and directionality), which are important for accurate measurements of voice and speech. Method Technical and voice literature was reviewed and analyzed. The following recommendations on desirable microphone characteristics were formulated: The frequency response of ... Tutorial
Tutorial  |   November 01, 2010
Guidelines for Selecting Microphones for Human Voice Production Research
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jan G. Švec
    Palacký University Olomouc, Olomouc, the Czech Republic
  • Svante Granqvist
    Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Contact author: Jan G. Švec, Palacký University Olomouc, Faculty of Science, Department of Experimental Physics, Laboratory of Biophysics, 17. listopadu 12, 771 46 Olomouc, Czech Republic. E-mail: svecjang@gmail.com or jan.svec@upol.cz.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Tutorials
Tutorial   |   November 01, 2010
Guidelines for Selecting Microphones for Human Voice Production Research
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2010, Vol. 19, 356-368. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0091)
History: Received September 25, 2009 , Revised February 8, 2010 , Accepted June 3, 2010
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2010, Vol. 19, 356-368. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0091)
History: Received September 25, 2009; Revised February 8, 2010; Accepted June 3, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 36

Purpose This tutorial addresses fundamental characteristics of microphones (frequency response, frequency range, dynamic range, and directionality), which are important for accurate measurements of voice and speech.

Method Technical and voice literature was reviewed and analyzed. The following recommendations on desirable microphone characteristics were formulated: The frequency response of microphones should be flat (i.e., variation of less than 2 dB) within the frequency range between the lowest expected fundamental frequency of voice and the highest spectral component of interest. The equivalent noise level of the microphones is recommended to be at least 15 dB lower than the sound level of the softest phonations. The upper limit of the dynamic range of the microphone should be above the sound level of the loudest phonations. Directional microphones should be placed at the distance that corresponds to their maximally flat frequency response, to avoid the proximity effect; otherwise, they will be unsuitable for spectral and level measurements. Numerical values for these recommendations were derived for the microphone distances of 30 cm and 5 cm.

Conclusions The recommendations, while preliminary and in need of further numerical justification, should provide the basis for better accuracy and repeatability of studies on voice and speech production in the future.

Acknowledgments
The study was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, Project GACR 101/08/1155, and by the Wenner-Gren Foundation in Sweden. The research was supported also by the COST Action 2103 Advanced Voice Function Assessment. The authors would like to thank Skype for the connection. Both authors made an equal contribution to the article.
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