Behringer B-1 vs B-2

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)
18mV/Pa (figure-of-8)
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
18 dB
16 dB
81 dB Signal-to-noise ratio re 1 Pa 77 dB
76 dB
78 dB
50Ω Nominal impedance <100Ω
> 1kΩ Load impedance > 1kΩ
∅ head 58mm
Length 174mm
Dimensions ∅ head 56mm
∅ shaft 50mm
Length 210mm
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.

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