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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Houston, TX

    proper treatment of microphones

    Hello everyone...

    I am a choir director in Texas and I am having some issues. The Fine Arts department bought the choir a great sound system a few years ago. It belongs to the choir and the Fine Arts Director would prefer if it were only used for the choir. HOWEVER, my principal INSISTS that I loan it out for every single program that happens at school. Usually, it's okay, but lately, the male principals think it is okay and fun to HIT the top of the microphone in order to make noise to get the children quiet in the auditorium. I have asked them several times not to do this and they don't think it's serious. SO, my questions here are.... 1) Exactly WHY they shouldn't hit the microphone, and 2) Is there an article somewhere that I could print up and take to the next meeting.

    I should also mention that next time they use the sound system I plan on giving them the 30 year old crappy microphones that barely work. I am not going to give them the nice ones anymore until they learn not to beat the crap out of them just to get the kids quiet.

    Thank you for your help!


  2. #2
    It shouldn't damage the microphone, you should worry about your speakers though. tell them that the suddent blast of sound could cause the cone to break

  3. #3
    Microphones work the opposite of a speaker, there is a floating item that creates a changing electrical field when it vibrates. They are mechanical > electric converters, if you will. Large shocks [such as those caused by hitting the mic] can cause the pickup elements to get misaligned, completely dislodged, or physically broken, all of which will have the same effect: a broken mic.
    As for documentation, in your mic's manual there is likely a maximum g-force rating (as well as instructions not to hit it).
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs) Chat at:
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  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    San Luis Obispo, CA

    Microphones Should Be Treated With the Utmost Care

    In my recording arts class, we were taught that the microphone is the most important piece of equipment in the studio. If any student was to even think about treating any microphone in the way the principal at your school treats yours, they would be kicked out of the school!
    We spend at least one entire three hour class just learning the proper care of microphones before we can even come close to any of the studio ones.
    If they insist on treating mics like this, give them a shure sm57 or sm58. they are tough and can take a beating.
    it really depends on the type of mic you are using as to its durability. there are dynamic, large and small diaphram condenser (capacitor) mics, and ribbon mics. ribbons work when the sound waves move a ribbon across a magnetic field, the signal is then picked up and converted into an electrical signal which is carried down to the other end of the mic cable, into whatever device you have the mic plugged into, either PA system or recording chain. Ribbons are the most delicate mics usually and are most vulnerable to shocks and abusive treatment. condenser mics work on the idea of capacitance, and need phantom power to operate. They usually pick up well from longer distances. Dynamic mics like the shure sm57 are usually more durable.

  5. #5
    You know, that last suggestion will probably solve your problem. Get an SM58, which can darn near get whacked with a hammer and shrug it off.

    When the offending people ask why you've given them a different mic than you used to, tell them that the mics they've been using are optimized for music recording, while the SM58 is optimized for voice. Tell them that the mid-high frequency boost of the SM58 makes the person's words clearer and easier to understand, compared to the music mics, and its low-frequency rolloff corrects for the unnatural bass boost you get when a directional mic is used at close range. Tell tham that many singers won't use any other mic. In short, you're giving them a mic that's correctly matched to the application.

    You don't need to tell them that if they insist on whacking the mic, you'll give them a mic that's designed to tolerate whacking. You may feel like telling them that, but it'll only cause trouble for you.

    By the way, there are fairly good dynamic voice mics that are even less expensive than an SM58. Many are made in China. Some are even sold by Shure. Some look more expensive than they are. A cheap, easy way to solve your problem.


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