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Can clipping harm condensor mics?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Ted Nightshade, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. Went and tried the km184 on bass drum. One take was six minutes of nothing but clips. Could I have damaged the mic?
  2. Probably not. One good puff of wind would be many times more SPL than your kick drum was putting out and I have seen some jackasses blow into a 184 without apparent damage.

    The question is---Why did it take so long for you to figure out that you were clipping the mic and the input to the mixer? :roll:
  3. mikemoritz

    mikemoritz Guest

    depending whether or not the front head had a hole in it, the kick drum will put out a big "puff of air". Probably more so than a person. It probably didn't horribly damage it (if at all), but I would be careful of putting certain condensers in front of a kick drum.

  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Looks like this is a job for Superma... oops, I mean, Stephen Paul! Whaddya say SP? Give us the definitive word on this.
  5. 'cause I wasn't clipping the mic pre or the A/D converter, just the mic. The bass drum had two heads, fwiw.
    Looking forward to the definitive reply...
  6. pan

    pan Guest

    Does anyone throw in some ribbon microphones for serious SPL measuring behind the kickhole? :w:
  7. The 184 is one hot little mic. Its big brother the KM140 with the same capsule has a switchable pad on the electronics to prevent such problems, so we can assume that the capsule was not damaged.

    The question remains --Are the electronics damaged by such use? My opinion is no.
  8. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Clipping normally only damages things when there is enough POWER involved to melt things - speakers for example. Case in point - too small amplifier being asked to play too loud too long - clipping on the amp output means that the tweeter (hates LF, and you can't get any lower freq. than DC) gets periodic DC levels for long enough to heat it up (volts x amps = heat) in fact, enough of this condition can take out the woofer too - just takes longer (usually) In the case of a mic, there shouldn't be enough POWER involved to do any harm. ( I wouldn't continually do this, we all know YMMV.) I had one drummer a long time ago that probably could have popped a diaphragm if the mic was inside the kick, but he used a 24" kick, "Louisville Slugger" brand sticks, had a full set of calluses on the BACKs of his knuckles, etc. Thank God he finally got another truck-driving job and went away... Steve
  9. gordo42

    gordo42 Guest

    Like someone else said, 184's are way sensitive. I don't think you can get one within 3 feet of any rock drummers kit. As overs they are fine, but don't try any closer.

    I find this interesting as Neuman ran an ad once showing the 184 on a tom: Not recommended.

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