static shock damage to microphone?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Littlewing91, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Littlewing91

    Littlewing91 Guest

    Hello everyone, im obviously new to this forum so first and foremost thought id say hi.

    I recently bought a Rode NT1-a microphone for my home studio but after having it re-carpeted i forgot about the static build up and accidently touching it (think my mouth, dunno why i guess the pop filter was down) and i got shocked, now it was plugged into my audio interface (at that time it was just a line 6 toneport 2, cause i hadn't set everything up again) and was plugged in, although I dont think there was no phantom power running at the time.

    The microphone sounds ok but to my ears it sounds as little worse, not as loud, responsive, etc but I get the feeling I am only convincing myself of this and my mind is playing tricks on me.

    Just wondering if anyone knows if it would have been grounded or not and how much trouble im in.

    Sorry for the ameteur question
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    While any kind of static discharge can seriously damage lots of equipment, I rather doubt its caused your microphone any damage or problems the way you described. It's really too simple electronically within the microphone and a condenser microphone is an electrostatic device and ionic air cleaner to begin with. I really think you are hallucinating from taking a 25,000 volt shock directly to your brain? In fact, if you can send me any, I'd love some.

    However, in a similar situation, electrostatic loudspeakers like the ones made by Quad Electronic of England (which I know you don't have, neither do I) , can meet a terrible fate if overloaded. A short discharge from overloading it will blow a hole through the membrane ruining the electrostatic speaker panel. This generally doesn't happen with capacitor/condenser microphones since they don't emit anything. But I suppose, if you took the grill was off and as you're going to touch the membrane, a static shock arced from your finger directly to the face of the membrane, it might cause some damage to a 3 mu. thick diaphragm? But you didn't do that I hope?

    Conversely, if you are holding an amplified guitar. Are using a tube amplifier without a grounded plug that has been improperly serviced. You can get killed very easily when your lips touch the girl screen of the microphone. You have no idea how many guitarists have been killed that way. Thankfully, they were all hopefully lousy guitarists and singers. Heck! Even if you're amplifier is properly grounded, if the microphone is connected to something that is on a different leg/phase of the incoming power you may still find up to 70 volts of differential power, between the two chassis, to give you a nice buzz, right down to your little toes. It was pretty funny when that happened to me while trying to shuttle a pair of Scully's simultaneously that were plugged into two different outlets in the same control room! Oh yeah! I got a charge of that.

    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    If your NT1-A was plugged into an interface or pre-amp using a proper XLR cable, then it won't have done any damage to the microphone. The discharge path is through the body of the mic down the screen of the cable and into the ground of the pre-amp. There's a chance that it has caused some damage in the pre-amp, but the way to check that is to plug the mic into a different channel and see if you can hear any difference between them.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Boswell is not talking about the preamp in the microphone but in the console. I just thought I would add that so I don't seem so stupid. But he knows better. I am stupid.

    Stupid is as stupid does. Life is like a box of chocolates.
    I wish I could remember the name of that movie? But I can't see the Forest for the trees. I'm sorry, I have to go take a Gump.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Stone the Crows. Les Harvey, 1972. RIP
  6. Littlewing91

    Littlewing91 Guest

    Alright, your probably right because it was not a big shock, and I can't notice any damage, I'm not sure if the line 6 audio interface was damaged but im quite doubtful it was.

    however, im slightly confused to your post about tube amps, if my amp is service properly (actually brand new) will i be ok or is this also about static build up
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    No this is not about static buildup.

    If your tube amplifier is new or has been properly serviced & includes a grounded plug you should be properly protected.

    However. If you lift the ground, with a 3 into 2 cheater plug or physically remove the ground pin and happened to flip the electrical plug upside down & your chassis is live? You are in risk of electrocution. Believe me, I've seen this happen. Many years ago we all got a good laugh when a bozo blew up his guitar amplifier & PA system because nobody got killed. But people have been. Don't take chances.

    Wax on. Wax off.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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