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Condenser Mic Troubles?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by mannyr, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    I always have this nagging fear that every time i hold a condenser mic in my hands i've somehow broke it because i griped it to hard, or whatever, because everyone tells me there so fragile.

    But so my question is, how sensitive are condenser mics? And give me an example of what action would break it to the point where you can hear a fair difference in sound?

    I have the shittiest mic shock mount and theres no way to get the microphone out of it unless you be a just little agrressive.

    I lightly shook the mic and heard a quiet rattling sound as well, is that normal? im so effin scared that i did something to it lmao. its like a baby or something.
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Treat it like a hand grenade. Don't pull the cable out and throw it though!

    Give it respect and it won't blow up in your hands.
  3. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    Its that sensitive?

    So gimme an example of an action that could break it? (besides the obvious, an action that is the most common for normal users to break one who are skilled enough to work with one)
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I don't have any, and I'd imagine it varies by manufacturer.

    Hitting it with a hammer comes to mind, but I hope everyone realises that that would be unwise.

    A very large SPL such as 140dB could perhaps overload the gear. Or yanking the cable while the phantom power is live.

    From what I've seen of them, impacting the capsule would be unwise. I've also never seen them transported in anything other than padded cases.
  5. mannyr

    mannyr Active Member

    What about shaking it side to side lightly? Or pulling it somehwat aggressively out of a shock mount (but not very aggressively)

    Does anyone own a rode nt2?
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Condensor mic's aren't that fragile. Don't use 'em for a hammer. Don't run over them with a car. Turn the P48 off when plugging them in or out-but that won't necessarily kill them to leave it on. Your speakers on the other hand. Don't drench them in Guiness. It's a waste of Stout.

    The fragile mic's are the ribbon mic's. Even they take more abuse (other than blowing on them) than they use to apparently.
  7. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    I think you are missing the point.

    When someone tells you that a condenser is fragile or sensitive they are simply referring to how they so easily can pick up many different sounds from across a room.

    I accidently bumped into the mic stand and watched as it slammed my AKG C4000B into the floor once, and the fall did not even scratch it. Thankfully, I think the shock mount saved it.

    John is right on the $! Treat the mic with respect, they can take a little abuse when your clumsy with them.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    This is all relative. Dynamic mics like the SM57/8 are notoriously tough. They are the ones you have seen smacked with drumsticks and twirled like a lariat around some stoned singer's head. Throw them across a room and they will more than likely be OK. A condenser will be fine on a bumpy car ride, but will probably not survive being dropped from a 14' boom stand. A ribbon is more fragile, and is particularly sensitive to gusts of air pressure.

    With that said, I treat all of my equipment as gently as practically possible.
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    If a mic casing was made of plastic, then yeah... they would be very fragile... but they're usually made of metal.

    As long as you don't do anything that would dent or scratch the metal, you're gonna be OK.

    The same thing applies to the screen area of a mic. Anything that dents the screen can dent the capsule... you damage the capsule, now the mic won't work. (or it's gonna sound really bad at best)

    You can sometimes get lucky and they survive a short fall from say, waist high. Sometimes they can even survive being dropped from higher distances... but you don't wanna make this a routine practice!

    Dynamic mic's are pretty tough. Roger Daltry swinging an SM58 around his head is the perfect example. (But note that they taped the bejebus out of it from the body down about a foot of mic cable)

    Treat a condenser mic like you would a good guitar, trumpet or other fine instrument, and you should be fine.

    A ribbon mic should be treated like a fine violin, such as a Strad... They're meant to be played, but you never really wanna take one on a football field as part of a marching band. Treat them with all the care you can, and you can get several lifetime's of service from them.
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Yes I do. I baby my mics, but I also do all the repairs too....so thats likely why I baby them. White gloves and all...

    Anyway I had my NT2 hit by drum sticks, spit into and almosty dropped a few times. So far no real capsule dammage which is what I am most worried about. The electronics are easy to fix, the capsule not so much. Cleaning the capsule is easy enough, and fixing a dented body I imagine could be done with some care (never had too yet).

    Anyway be as careful as you can but don't be afraid to use them.
  11. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I watched Lou Burroughs use an E-V RE-20 to hammer nails into a 2x4. Then he blew a whistle into it to prove it still worked...
    I watched a beloved Beyer M69 roll off of a lecturn, hit a carpeted floor, and blow apart into several pieces....
    My then-9-year-old daughter made a science project of "recording fish noises" by dropping her daddy's Sony 77 tie tac condenser into the fish bowl...Guess what? After a few days of drying out, it went right back into use, clipped to an old D18 !!
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Many condenser microphones have their capsules mounted within the shell with numerous different shock mounting techniques. When you shake a condenser microphone you are likely hearing the shock mount being rattled around. It's like "Dr. it hurts when I do this"? The doctors reply, "so don't do that". If you shake my condenser microphones around, I shall calmly placed my hands around your neck and try the same thing. You probably won't be able to speak or hear very well while I do this. So don't let me do this to you. Get your hands off of my condenser microphones. Have you learned anything yet? If not, I could also try this with your balls?

    Being a female engineer I can tell you this never happens to me as I am not into jiggling my microphones.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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