These two large-diaphragm condenser microphones from Behringer are likely to be among the first condenser microphones that audio engineers on a budget lay their hands on. What’s the fuss about? Are these good microphones? And how do they differ?
The Behringer B-1 and B-2 are Behringer’s top of the range microphones. As part of the B series, they are true condensers (unlike the C series). The B-2 comes in two generations – the original and the Pro. The B-2 and B-2 Pro are basically indistinguishable and the name seems to reflect a redesign of some of the internal components. Behringer receives a lot of criticism online but I think much of it is unjustified and people are just repeating myths. Some Behringer mics aren’t great but the B-1 in particular is one of the good ones and represents excellent value for money.
The key difference is that the B-1 has one diaphragm while the B-2 has two. This means the B-1 permanently has a cardioid pickup pattern, while the B-2 is switchable between three different polar patterns. This makes it a more versatile microphone, but the inevitable compromises in the switchable design mean it has slightly worse sensitivity and noise characteristics.
|Behringer B-1||Behringer B-2|
|Condenser, 1″ single diaphragm||Transducer type||Condenser, 1″ dual diaphragm|
|Pressure gradient||Operating principle||Pressure gradient|
|Cardioid||Polar pattern||Cardioid, omnidirectional or figure-of-8|
|Gold-plated balanced XLR connector||Connection||Gold-plated balanced XLR connector|
|-34±2 dBV||Open circuit voltage at 1kHz||-36 dBV (cardioid)
-37 dBV (omnidirectional)
-35 dBV (figure-of-8)
|20 mV/Pa||Open circuit sensitivity||16 mV/Pa (cardioid)
14 mV/Pa (omnidirectional)
|20 Hz – 20 kHz||Frequency range||20 Hz – 20 kHz|
|-10dB (switchable)||Level attenuation||-10dB (switchable)|
|6dB/oct at 75Hz (switchable)||Low-cut filter||6dB/oct at 150Hz (switchable)|
|138 dB||Max SPL (1% THD @ 1kHz)||138 dB (cardioid)
139 dB (omnidirectional)
137 dB (figure-of-8)
|13 dB||Equivalent SPL||17 dB
|81 dB||Signal-to-noise ratio re 1 Pa||77 dB
|> 1kΩ||Load impedance||> 1kΩ|
|∅ head 58mm
|Dimensions||∅ head 56mm
∅ shaft 50mm
|0.45 kg||Weight||0.55 kg|
In practice, you are probably unlikely to hear these differences. Don’t be fooled into thinking the B-2 is “better” because it has Pro in the title, or costs more. These are two different microphones for different purposes. I would suggest buying the B-1 unless you have a specific need for omnidirectional or figure-of-8 pickup.
Omnidirectional close-miking of instruments and voices is useful to avoid the proximity effect, if you have a nice-sounding room. The figure-of-8 pattern makes this microphone useful in a mid-side setup or a Blumlein pair.
Of course with any microphone review, words are meaningless and it’s all about the sound. In my tests, I was generally unsatisfied with the quality of the B-2 as part of a mid-side setup. I later did a direct comparison by recording female vocals with the B-1 and B-2 in turn. I thought the B-2 sounded thin, metallic and harsh. The B-1 was smoother by comparison. In the end, I thought the B-2s were unsuitable for my work so I sold them and bought a Sontronics STC-3X instead. That is much smoother for use in a mid-side pair.
In summary, I think the Behringer B-1 is a keeper but the B-2 is one to skip. The B-1 is a better choice for cardioid pickup and for omni or figure-of-8, there are many choices.
6 thoughts on “Behringer B-1 vs B-2”
I just bought a B2 about a year ago. And I can’t find information on it anywhere. Is the B2 and the B2 Pro the same microphone?
The B-2 Pro is a revised version of the B-2. Think they were basically identical but they did change some of the internal components, presumably for cost saving.
Thanks for the info. Not even on Behringers web page, is there any information.
Thanks for that info, really appreciated
I need the mic set for song recording at home. So which one I should prefer BEHRINGER B1 or B2?
I’d go for the B-1