I’ve been using a pair of Behringer C-2 small diaphragm condenser microphones for several years now, and I’ve been extremely impressed. This week I had cause to buy another pair – but I noticed that since I bought my C-2 microphones, Behringer have introduced the C-4. So what’s the difference?
The blurb on Behringer’s website is identical, except to say that the C-4s are black rather than silver, and blend in more discreetly with stage surroundings. Both microphone kits come with the same accessories: a pair of microphones, wind shields, microphone clips, a stereo mounting bar and a hard carry case.
The specifications are also similar, but not identical. I’ve emboldened the rows that differ.
|Transducer type||Condenser, 16mm||Condenser, 16 mm|
|Connector||Gold-plated balanced XLR||Gold-plated balanced XLR|
|Open circuit sensitivity (@ 1kHz)||-41 dBV (0 dBV = 1 V/Pa)||-38 dBV (0 dBV = 1 V/Pa)|
|Frequency response||20 Hz to 20 kHz||20 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Level attenuation||-10dB (switchable)||-10dB (switchable)|
|Low-cut filter||6 dB/oct @ 120 Hz (switchable)||6 dB/oct @ 120 Hz (switchable)|
|Max SPL (<1% THD @ 1kHz)||140 dB||136 dB|
|Equivalent noise level (IEC 651)||19 dBA|
|Signal-to-noise ratio||75 dB|
|Nominal impedance||75 Ω||75 Ω|
|Load impedance||> 1 kΩ||> 1 kΩ|
|Supply voltage||+48 V||+48 V|
|Supply current||3 mA||3 mA|
|Φ Shaft||20 mm||23 mm|
|Length||94 mm||94 mm|
|Weight||90 g||60 g|
Annoyingly, Behringer have failed to publish the noise characteristics of the C-4, so we can’t make a judgement on that. However, there are anecdotal reports that the C-4 has lower self-noise than the C-2. Noise aside, there are three key differences.
- The C-4 is 3 dB more sensitive than the C-2, at the expense of having a 4 dB lower maximum sound pressure level
- The C-4 is slightly fatter at its fat end (it’s not straight-sided like the C-2)
- The C-4 is significantly lighter, at just two-thirds of the weight of the C-2
Difference 1 is exactly why I purchased the C-4s. I wanted a slightly more sensitive microphone for use with choirs and classical instruments. SPL is not a limiting factor here. I would favour the C-2s for use as drum overheads or in other loud applications.
Difference 2 is irrelevant although in my opinion the C-4s look a bit silly.
Difference 3 is a huge disappointment for me, though. For the benefit of those people who have handled neither of these microphones, the C-2 is cast of thick solid metal. It’s heavy and sturdy; it feels a lot more expensive than you might think. It reminds me of holding something heavy like a spanner. Unfortunately, the C-4 has a much thinner metal shell. It feels cheap, fragile, light and like it would dent if I dropped it.
But the real test of these microphones will be in a recording. I’ve only owned the C-4s for a few hours so I haven’t yet had the opportunity to use them in anger. You can hear some the choral recordings I’ve made with the C-2s on the St Mary’s Choir website. When I get round to testing the C-4s in the choir, I’ll comment at the bottom of this post and provide samples.
For now, suffice it to say: if you have no need for the extra sensitivity of the C-4, I recommend you stick with the C-2 for its vastly superior build quality.