04/03/16

ACOUSTICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Acoustical-characteristics-of-musical-instruments-L-1.jpg
This article contains a comprehensive table that provides information about different musical instruments, their tonal range, sound levels and dynamic range.
Use the table below to get an overview of your instrument's tonal range, sound pressure level and dynamic range. It will help you decide on the required minimum specifications for your microphone.

 

Strings

Tonal range (lower/upper)
g (196 Hz) / g⁴ (3136 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 10 kHz / 16 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
95 dB
SPL (db re 20μPa)
At the ear: up to 109 dB
Dynamic range
30 dB
Attack time
5-30 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
c (131 Hz) / c³ (1047 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 10 kHz / 16 kHz
Dynamic range
30 dB
Attack time
30–50 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
C (65.4 Hz) / c³ (1047 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 8 kHz / 16 kHz
Dynamic range
35 dB
Attack time
Plucked string: 5–30 ms; Struck string: 30–50 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
E₁ (41.2 Hz) / g (196 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 7.5 kHz / 10 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
95 dB
Dynamic range
35 dB
Attack time
Up to 110 ms; Hard: up to 110 ms; Soft: up to 450 ms

Brass

Tonal range (lower/upper)
e (165 Hz) / d³ (1175 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 15 kHz / 15 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
106 dB
SPL (db re 20μPa)
0.5 m from bell piece: normal; forte: 108 dB; extreme forte: 128 dB
Dynamic range
Lower tonal range: 30 dB; Higher tonal range: 10 dB
Attack time
20–40 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
H₁ (61.7 Hz) / f² (698 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 10 kHz / 10 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
95 dB
Dynamic range
Middle tonal range: 40 dB; Higher tonal range: 20 dB
Attack time
20-40 ms; In low tonal range: up to 80 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
E (82.4 Hz) / c² (523 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 7 kHz / 10 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
104 dB
Dynamic range
Middle tonal range: 45 dB
Attack time
20–40 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
Eb1 (39 Hz) / g¹ (392 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 4 kHz / 7.5 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
96 dB
Dynamic range
Middle tonal range: 40 dB
Attack time
20–40 ms

Woodwinds

Tonal range (lower/upper)
d² (587 Hz) / c⁵ (4186 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 10 kHz / 15 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
102 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
c¹ (262 Hz) / c⁴ (2093 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 6 k Hz / 15 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
96 dB
Dynamic range
35 dB
Attack time
20-60 ms; Low register: Up to 180 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
c¹ (262 Hz) / d³ (1175 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 15 kHz / 15 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
90 dB
Dynamic range
30 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms; Low register: Up to 120 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
d (147 Hz) / e³ (1319 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 10 kHz / 15 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
92 dB
Dynamic range
50 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
Bb (58.3 Hz) / c² (523 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 8 kHz / 12 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
90 dB
Dynamic range
35 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
Bb₂ (29.2 Hz) / c¹ (262 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
92 dB
Attack time
20-60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
ab (208 Hz) / eb³ (1245 Hz)
Frequency content up to (harmonics/noise)
⇒ 12 kHz / 16 kHz
Typical max SPL, 3m
98 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
db (139 Hz) / ab² (831 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
98 dB
SPL (dB re 20μPa)
At the center of the bell piece up to 130 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
Ab (104 Hz) / eb² (622 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
98 dB
SPL (dB re 20μPa)
At the center of the bell piece up to 130 dB
Dynamic range
25 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
Db (69.4 Hz) / ab¹ (415 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
98 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
Ab₁ (51.9 Hz) / db¹ (278 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
96 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms

Stringed instruments

Tonal range (lower/upper)
E (82.4 Hz) / c³ (1047 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
88 dB
Attack time
20-60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
E (82.4 Hz) / c³ (1047 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
92 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms
Tonal range (lower/upper)
A₂ (27.5 Hz) / c⁵ (4186 Hz)
Typical max SPL, 3m
Lid in 45° position: 100 dB
Attack time
20–60 ms

Percussions

Tuning
Eb (77.8 Hz) – G (98 Hz)
Frequency range with the highest level
60 Hz – 200 Hz
Typical max SPL, 3m
110 dB
Attack time
10-18 ms
Tuning
F (87.3 Hz) – c (131 Hz)
Frequency range with the highest level
60 Hz – 200 Hz
Typical max SPL, 3m
110 dB
Attack time
10-18 ms
Tuning
A (110 Hz) – f (175 Hz)
Frequency range with the highest level
60 Hz – 200 Hz
Typical max SPL, 3m
110 dB
Attack time
10-18 ms
Tuning
c (131 Hz) – ab (208 Hz)
Frequency range with the highest level
60 Hz – 200 Hz
Typical max SPL, 3m
110 dB
Attack time
10-18 ms
Frequency range with the highest level
50 Hz – 400 Hz
Typical max SPL, 3m
115 dB
SPL (dB re 20μPa)
With pedal, 20 cm from drumhead: 120–128 dB
Dynamic range
80 dB
Attack time
8-12 ms
Frequency range with the highest level
80 Hz – 4 kHz
SPL (dB re 20μPa)
108 dB
Dynamic range
55 dB
Attack time
5-8 ms
Frequency range with the highest level
100 Hz – 5 kHz
SPL (dB re 20μPa)
105 dB
Dynamic range
65 dB
Attack time
2-4 ms
Frequency range with the highest level
2 kHz – 12 kHz
 

Live microphones

The 4099 Instrument Microphone series offer natural reproduction and high gain before feedback. Dedicated holders are available for a range of instruments.
 

Studio microphones

In controlled environments you could benefit from a mic with even lower distortion and a huge dynamic range. Our pencil microphones are excellent for e.g. symphonic concert hall recordings and as support mic for acoustic instruments.
 

Related content

In Microphone University we have loads of content that could be relevant to you. Learn more about how to mic various instruments in the articles below.
 

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