Behringer microphones

Behringer make a range of budget microphones which are popular with home musicians and offer good value for money. Unfortunately their naming scheme is not that clear and it can be hard to know what you’re buying, and how the products relate to each other. This article is not supposed to compare Behringer microphones with other manufacturers, but just to help you understand the Behringer range when choosing a microphone.

Behringer doesn’t publish full information on all its microphones, so I’ve had to do a little digging. Firstly the products are split into several ranges:

  • B series – true condenser microphones
  • C series – electret condenser microphones
  • T series – vacuum tube condenser microphones
  • XM series – dynamic microphones

The XM series dynamic microphones are good for live vocal use and can also lend themselves to drums. The T series is aimed at people who are already familiar with condenser microphones and who want a valve (vacuum tube) sound.

This just leaves the B and C series which seem similar in appearance and on paper. So what’s the difference between them? Is one more expensive or better than the other? Well, in general the B series is superior since they have true condenser capsules rather than the electret capsules of the C series, but It’s not quite that simple as there’s no direct mapping between the products in the B series and C series.

Behringer don’t themselves say that the C series have electret capsules, so I had to rely on third-party sources such as

1 Large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone. Better quality version of the C-1. Small diaphragm cardioid electret microphone. Cheaper version of the B-1. Also comes in a USB edition.
2 Large diaphragm switched multi-pattern condenser microphone. A more feature-filled version of the B-1 and a better quality version of the C-3. Small diaphragm cardioid electret microphone. Similar to the C-4 but older and somewhat better quality. Sold in a twin pack.
3  – Small diaphragm switched multi-pattern electret microphone. A more feature-filled version of the C-1 and a cheaper version of the B-2.
4  – Small diaphragm cardioid electret microphone. Similar to the C-2 but apparently with cheaper internal components. Sold in a twin pack.
5 Small diaphragm multi-pattern condenser microphone with cardioid or omni heads. A more feature-filled  and better quality version of the C-2.  –

If you’re a beginner, chances are you might not recognise all of the terms I’ve used in this table, so here’s a glossary.

  • Large diaphragm – A microphone with a capsule of at least 20mm in diameter. Often used for vocals and other close-up work.
  • Small diaphragm – A microphone with a capsule of less than 20mm in diameter. Often used for instruments, drum overheads or choirs.
  • Condenser – A type of microphone capsule which is based around a capacitor. In this article I use condenser to mean a true condenser.
  • Electret – A sub-type of condenser microphone with an electret capsule which is lower in cost and quality, and usually has a harsher sound and more noise.
  • Cardioid – A microphone that picks up sound from in front in a cardioid pattern
  • Omni – A microphone that picks up sound from all around in an omnidirectional pattern
  • Figure-8 – A microphone that picks up sound from in front and behind, but not from the sides in a bidirectional figure of eight pattern
  • Multi-pattern – A microphone whose pattern can be changed either by setting a switch or changing the head

In my opinion, it is best to avoid the electret C-series unless you are on a very tight budget. They sound tinnier and have worse noise characteristics. However the C-2 is actually a decent microphone when used carefully and for the price, it is hard to beat. The C-1 and C-3 attract poor reviews and the C-4 holds no compelling advantage over the C-2. Based on my personal experience I am happy to recommend any of the B series.

If you want some recommendations of a particular type of microphone for a particular job, then look no further!

Application Recommended mic Acceptable mic
Solo vocal B-1 or B-2 C-1 or C-3
Acoustic guitar etc B-5 C-2 or C-4
Drum overheads B-5 C-2 or C-4
Acoustic guitar etc B-5 C-2 or C-4
Acoustic guitar etc B-5 C-2 or C-4
Stereo XY Pair of B-5 with cardioid head Pair of C-2
Stereo AB Pair of B-5 with omni head  –
Stereo MS B-2 in Fig-8 and B-5 with cardioid head C-3 in Fig-8 and C-2

Finally, let’s have a look at the complete specifications of all the microphones in the B and C series. Some of these criteria are self-explanatory but others are more obscure. In some cases, I’ve put an arrow ↑↓ next to the category to mean “higher is better” or “lower is better”. Be careful to check for the minus signs! The blank fields are where Behringer declined to provide the information. The C-1 and C-3 have a reputation for being noisy microphones and their self noise specs are notably absent…

Model B-1 B-2 B-5 C-1 C-2 C-3 C-4
 Image B-1_P0142_Front_XXL.resized B-2 PRO_P0190_Perspective_XXL.resized B-5_P0224_Niere_XXL.resized C-1_P0226_Front_XXL.resized C2_P0263_Microphone_XXL.resized C-3_P0262_Front_XXL.resized C-4_P0830_Perspective_XXL.resized
20Hz-20kHz 20Hz-20kHz 40Hz-20kHz 20Hz-20kHz 40Hz-18kHz 20Hz-20kHz
dBV ↑
-34 -36 -38 -33 -41 -40 -38
Pattern Cardioid Cardioid
Cardioid Cardioid Cardioid
Type Condenser Condenser Condenser Electret Electret Electret Electret
 50 100 70 100 75 350 75
dB ↑
138 138 140 136 140 142 136
Self noise
dB(A) ↓
13 17 16 19 23
461 550 90 420 90 420 60
25 25 18 16 16 16 16
Signal to noise ratio
dB ↑
81 77 78 75
58 56 20 54 20 54 23
174 210 120 180 94 180 94

Of course, numbers only tell you so much and ultimately it comes down to what sounds best for your purposes to your ears. I often test out new microphones and techniques and you might these articles useful or interesting:

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