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Can clipping harm condensor mics?

Member for

19 years 11 months
Went and tried the km184 on bass drum. One take was six minutes of nothing but clips. Could I have damaged the mic?


Member for

20 years 3 months

Richard Kuschel Thu, 01/31/2002 - 05:03
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:

Member for

19 years 10 months

knightfly Thu, 02/07/2002 - 09:44
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