Adding an internal pad to an electret condenser mic?

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Well-known member
Jun 3, 2004

I'm wanting to install a permanent pad into a fairly inexpensive, electret pencil mic for use on top of a snare drum -- the mic currently craps out / 'snaps' loudly with loud playing. It's the mic, not the preamp (preamp level and external pad doesn't affect this). For a true condenser I could put a cap across the capsule or drop the polarization voltage, but don't know what to do for permanently polarize electret capsule.

What is the simplest way to add, say, -10dB pad between the capsule and the amplifier/impedance converter? I'd really like to use it alongside a dynamic on the top of the drum to extend the top end and detail without resorting to so much EQ (which never sounds natural anyway given the rounding of transients dynamics typically do).

And, FWIW, I do know there are mics out there that can already handle the higher SPL, but I already own a couple of inexpensive electrets that I don't mind risking damage to to see how they might function on a snare drum.

I feel like I should know this, but it has never really occurred to me before. I searched around on the forum to find an answer and didn't find any discussion specifically for electret capsules.

Thanks for any assistance y'all can send my way!




Well-known member
Nov 18, 2015
Its a question I've asked before and the simple answer I got from a knowledgeable person was try and increase the load on the electret capsule . that may get you a little extra clean output but depending on the circuits following it ,that may be of no benefit at all . I have a couple of Peavey PVR-1's , quite an old mic now , it uses the same capsule as many cheap electrets ,yet its good to well over 130db spl. Budget electret mics are probably designed for much lower levels , like for instance voice .

Something like the behringer ecm-8000 might do it , but I cant see any spec for the max spl in the documentation . The PVR-1 does come up cheap every once in a while , it also has a proper transformer balanced output to xlr and runs off anything from 9-52 volts phantom . The cheaper battery powered electrets probably wont be able to do what you want without a complete redesign electronically . Superlux ecm-999 might be another budget option and Im sure theres many more similar knock offs around . Another downside to these mics is their mostly omni patern which will mean loads of spill from the rest of the kit . AKG P-170 can be had now for very small money that might be a better road to go down .