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I have a Neumann tlm 103, and was wondering if anyone knew about cleaning the diaphram. I was told by a local dealer here in san diego that Neumann will go through the mic and bring it back up to specs n all for $100.00. I'm not worried yet, but a decent ammount of dust is begenning to collect on the electrostatic diaphram. I was just wondering if anyone knew a "do it SAFELY yourself " way of cleaning it. thanks


anonymous Sun, 03/20/2005 - 22:11

yeah...i dont think im gonna practice with my Neumann, i know how delicate the diaphram is, i could do it with my sure ksm, i dont know i was just wondering if there was a diy way of cleaning them but doing it safely, otherwise ill just pay the 100 bucks for Neumann to go through it. Post the links to those site's kev if you could, ill check them out. thanks

ghellquist Mon, 03/21/2005 - 00:00

avoid the problem occuring if at all possible. A condensor mic should really survive 30 years without beeing cleaned. A little dust will not make any difference in the sound.

Secondly, I would not do it on anything but the no-brand Chinese mic. I´ve been told it basically involves carefully lifting the dust with destilled water, and carefully mopping it up with blotting paper. Unless you have a very delicate hand, you migh as well end up stretching the membrane or even puncturing it. And they say the tobacco tar is basically impossible to remove.


TeddyG Mon, 03/21/2005 - 08:58

You might try to keep your mics(And everything else) covered when not in use? An old towel or maybe something(s) more fashion-coordinated..?

Of course you could always keep the better mics in the fancy boxes they came in? Even the cardboard boxes the cheap ones came in would be fine...

Neat freaks beware: Same thing is true with telescopes(For the astronomy fan) and camera equipment(For the photog). Many more problems are created by the improper/far too often attempted cleanings, than occur from normal dust buildup.

By the time a mic really needs cleaning, it likely needs to be checked-out/refurbished anyway, so a pro would be the best option here. Korby, in the Pittsburgh, PA, area, does such things - sorry I don't have a link handy. The really cheap ones? Go ahead and give it a try... or just pitch the things and replace them - they were cheap...


anonymous Mon, 03/21/2005 - 12:06

ghellquist wrote: Unless you have a very delicate hand, you migh as well end up stretching the membrane or even puncturing it.

This isn't the primary danger.
If you don't do it exactly right, you run the risk of wiping off the gold sputtering on the diaphram, which will do way more harm than a little dust sitting on it.
And sometimes, even if you DO do it exactly right, the gold will come off, because it wasn't bonded properly or has been weakened over time. The older the mic is, the more likely this will happen. But also the cheaper the mic is, the more likely it will happen.. it happened to me with my 2-year-old Rode NT1 a while ago. I guess their sputtering process sucks pretty bad, either that or I got unlucky.

Take it from one who already learned the hard way: it's not worth it to even try. If the diaphram is BADLY soiled, take it to a professional. And then in that case, you might be better off getting it reskinned anyway.