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I'm looking to get an in-line pad to have part of my gear, no specific needs. My main mic I would be using it with is the MKH 418s. I have a few questions:

  • Does a cheaper pad add much noise to the signal?
  • Does one get stereo (5 pin) pads? Or do I need to buy two separate 3 pin XLR ones?
  • I'm getting other gear from B&H, so out of their stock what would you recommend?
  • If you had to only get one, how many db attenuation would you go for?

The cheaper the better, but I really don't want to add noise to my signal.

Thanks for your input.

  • an MKH418s is a stereo (M/S) mic - it is unlikely you would ever need a pad to work with this mic. A number of issues arise - firstly the side channel is very noisy, so you don't want to have to pad this down and reduce signal to noise ratio further. Additionally, you need pads that will pass phantom power. Main use for pads is to attenuate line level down to mic level, not for attenuating mic level down further. – Mark Jun 17 at 23:59
  • Additionally, the need to use a pad on a mic such as this would indicate you might be subjecting it to an SPL that could damage the capsule. – Mark Jun 18 at 4:14
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I always keep at least one Audio-Technica AT8202 in my bag. I've used them on my hydrophone and even the MKH50, and I can't hear much (any?) additional noise. the AT8202 is switchable betweeen -10, -20, and -30 dB; pretty darned spiffy.

Audio-Technica in-line attenuator
(source: audio-technica.com)

  • I ended up buying two of these. Thanks for the input, they seem like good value. – Andrew Spitz Apr 18 '10 at 22:01
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+1 for the Shure A15AS, been using those for years without a hitch.

In answer to your cheaper pad question, make sure that if you use an off brand besides Shure or Audio Technica that it has a good following. I've made mistakes in my youth by chincing on cheaper gear that ended up costing me more money and time in the long run.

My 2-cents... Nick

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When I worked at Electric Lady Studios, we used the Shure A15AS barrel adapters. They didn't effect the signal noticeably (except for the expected padding of course...), and are switchable, so you aren't stuck with a certain value.

A 5-pin stereo pad would be sweet, but I've never seen one before. If they make one, that'd lighten your load, but would also limit you to using it with your 418s (nice mic, btw).

Hope this helps!

Shure switchable inline attenuator

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