Microphones for Audio Calibration 2023


One of the most significant improvements you can make to your audio system is calibration. This is because every system operates in a different environment, and therefore, sounds different in every space. Audio calibration allows you to tailor the sound to suit a specific setting to get the best sounding system. We explain this in detail in our article “What is Room Equalisation (EQ) and Why Should You Care?.”

To measure the sound, a calibrated microphone should be used to ensure accurate measurements of the audio system. Without using a calibrated microphone, it becomes impossible to determine if the measurements are a true representation of the sound. By having accurate measurements, you can fine-tune the settings of your speakers and audio processor, thus optimizing the sound quality for your specific listening environment.

For most people the UMIK-1 by MiniDSP is the go to for consumer calibrated microphones. With its great performance, affordable price, and widespread compatibility, it is often used by home audio enthusiasts and professionals to get accurate sound measurements. For those looking to get a slightly better performance, the UMIK-2 is a good option. Check out our article “Umik-1 vs Umik-2: Which USB Microphone is Better for Home Theater?” to see a detailed comparison and decide which is right for you.

If you have been following us for a while you know that here at Simple Home Cinema we are passionate about both video and audio calibration because it is the best way to maximize your investment and get the best out of your equipment. While you can hire an experienced calibrator, it is still a great idea to learn the basics and do regular touch-ups yourself, as this can save you time and lots of money in the long run. It can also be very rewarding to learn such a skill.

This why we have created several comprehensive guides to help teach and guide you through audio calibration; check out our guides in the cards below:

What Are Calibrated Microphones?

At its core, a calibrated microphone is a type of microphone that has undergone testing and calibration processes to ensure its accuracy in sound measurement. Unlike standard microphones used for casual recording or communication, calibrated microphones are designed to provide precise and consistent results across different frequency ranges and sound pressure levels.

The calibration process of the microphone involves exposing it to controlled sound sources with known sound pressure levels and frequencies. By comparing the microphone’s output to the actual sound pressure levels, the calibration process can derive correction factors for the microphone’s response. These correction factors are stored in the microphone or provided in a calibration certificate.

They often come with a unique calibration file or an electronic chip that adjusts the microphone’s output to account for any deviations or inaccuracies in its response. This way, users can apply the calibration data to their sound measurements and obtain more precise results.

Why Use a Calibrated Microphone?

Using a calibrated microphone is crucial for obtaining accurate measurements. It guarantees a true representation of the sound, capturing its exact characteristics. On the other hand, utilizing any old, uncalibrated microphone would yield unreliable results, potentially leading to erroneous equalization or correction applied to the audio system. In such cases, rather than enhancing performance, these adjustments could have do the exact opposite.

USB Microphones

Best Overall


The Umik-1 from MiniDSP is the gold standard in consumer calibrated microphones. It offers excellent performance and affordability, and comes with a calibration file. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, integrating seamlessly with various audio software, including REW and DIRAC Live. The MiniDSP website provides extensive support for first-time users, offering helpful “getting started” instructions and tutorials.


  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz +/- 1dB (Calibrated)
  • Capsule type: 6mm/.25″ electret, Omnidirectional
  • Connector: USB-C to USB-A 1.5m cable included with tripod
  • S/N Ratio: 74 dBFS
  • Sample Rate: 24bit ADC @48kHz
  • Maximum SPL for 1% THD @ 1000 Hz: 133 dB
  • Windows/Mac/Linux
  • Included Calibration file

Upgrade Pick


The Umik-2 from MiniDSP is the successor to the Umik-1, featuring an upgraded microphone capsule that reduces the noise floor and distortion levels. Additionally, it boasts a higher sampling rate, capturing more intricate details in the frequency response. However, it is worth noting that the Umik-2 has a slightly lower max SPL compared to the Umik-1, and comes with a higher price tag.


  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz +/- 1dB (Calibrated)
  • Capsule type: 12mm/.5″ Low noise
  • Connector: USB-C to USB-A 2m cable included with tripod
  • S/N Ratio: 120 dB
  • Sample Rate: 32bit ADC @192kHz
  • Maximum SPL for 1% THD @ 1000 Hz: 125 dB
  • Windows/Mac/Linux
  • Included Calibration file

Also Great

Dayton Audio UMM-6

The UMM-6 from Dayton Audio is a condenser style USB microphone designed to work with most audio software. The mic is easy to set up and use and even comes with a hard plastic case, which is a nice touch. Using the custom calibration files, the frequency response accuracy can be extended down to 5Hz; however, it does have a worse signal-to-noise ratio compared to the MiniDSP products.


  • Frequency Response: 18-20,000 Hz (Calibrated)
  • Capsule type: Precision 6 mm electret condenser
  • Maximum SPL for 1% THD @ 1000 Hz: 127 dB
  • Connector: USB B female 10ft included with tripod

Audyssey Mics


Audyssey Replacement Microphone ACM1HB

This microphone is used with AVRs and sound processors running Audyssey room correction, and comes calibrated from the factory. It serves as a replacement that comes with the AVR if the original is lost or damaged. Please note that this is not a general microphone and can only be used with compatible AVRs; you can find that list here. This microphone does not have a calibration file, as it is built into the Audyssey room correction software.


  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Connector: 3.5mm Jack
  • Not serialized- no custom calibration
  • S/N Ratio: 78 dBA
  • Polar Response: omnidirectional


ACM1-X Audyssey Microphone

This microphone is used with AVRs and sound processors running Audyssey MultEQ-X room correction only. This microphone has been serialized from the factory to have a unique calibration to make it more accurate than the base Audyssey microphone. This is a great option if you are running MultEQ-X; however, it is more expensive than the standard Audyssey mic.


  • Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Connector: 3.5mm Jack
  • Serialized to have custom calibration
  • S/N Ratio: 78 dBA
  • Polar Response: omnidirectional
  • Works with all Audyssey AVRs that are compatible with ACM1HB, however the more accurate calibration file only works with the MultEQ-X PC software at the moment.


Audyssey Pro Kit

The Audyssey Pro Kit is a package of audio calibration tools used to get the best calibration using the older MultEQ Pro or the newer MultEQ-X PC application. However, with a newly released adapter cable from Audyssey, it is compatible with all modern Denon or Marantz AVRs.

Although it is on here as a professional product mainly meant for commercial use, it still warrants mentioning for those who are trying to get the very best out of their system. It comes with a custom calibrated mic, a preamp, a tripod, and other tools needed for the very best calibration.

Since the microphone supports XLR-type microphone connections, the cable length can be as long as needed – even suitable for large auditoriums such as IMAX theatres.


  • Calibrated to match Audyssey reference mic in factory
  • Can be used for MultEQ-X and MultEQ-X Pro using the new adapter cable
  • Works with older AVRs supporting MultEQ Pro Calibration
  • Supports very long cable lengths for large spaces

XLR Microphones

Best XLR

Dayton Audio EMM-6

The EMM-6 from Dayton is the XLR plug version of the UMM-6. Therefore, it has almost identical specs as the UMM-6, and should serve you well if you are in the market for an XLR mic. Note that an XLR cable is needed to use this mic.


  • Frequency Response: 18-20,000 Hz (Calibrated)
  • Capsule type: 6 mm electret condenser
  • Maximum SPL for 1% THD @ 1000 Hz: 127 dB
  • Connector: Gold plated XLR female

Budget XLR

Behringer ECM8000 Microphone

The Behringer ECM8000 is another XLR microphone which is cheaper compared to the Dayton XLR. This microphone does not come with a calibration file and is a bit inaccurate above 10kHz, but should do in a pinch.


  • Frequency Response: 15-20,000 Hz
  • Connector: Gold Plated XLR female
  • Polar Response: Omni-directional
  • Does not come with a calibration file

In Conclusion

Audio calibration can offer one of the most satisfying enhancements to your system, as it allows you to customize the sound precisely to your preferences. In the industry, it is often said that even less expensive speakers can sound significantly better when properly calibrated, compared to more expensive speakers placed in the same room without calibration. In the world of home theater, understanding how to adjust the sound of your system can elevate it to a whole new level.

This is why we have created our audio guides here at Simple Home Cinema; to assist you through the audio calibration process, while helping you understand the sound of your room and how to enhance the sound to achieve its full potential.

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