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I'm looking into buying a contact mic for various sfx recording. I've noticed that the AKG c411 is a popular choice, but I see the frequency response only goes up to 18khz. Will this be a potential problem when pitch shifting? Is this normal for contact mics? What other options would you guys recommend looking at?

For an idea, I want to attach a contact mic to several golf club heads and record hits, so durability is one of my priorities.

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4 Answers 4

I'm a fan of the Jez Riley French contact mics.

Here's a blog post I did recording some guy wires with them - epic!

Here's Tim Prebble's excellent tutorial on contact mics.

remember to match impedance or you'll lose all of your low end. enjoy.

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@Rene +1 for Jez Riley. I bought his hydrophones and was very impressed with the quality. –  Alan Pring Apr 24 '12 at 10:21
    
@Rene @Alan - Another +1 for Jez Riley. Whilst I haven't used them myself, I know a few colleagues who swear by them! –  Fred Pearson Apr 24 '12 at 17:09
    
I bought a pair too after seeing Rene's blog and I think they're great also! ;) –  Andy Lewis Apr 24 '12 at 19:13
    
Is it normal for contact mics to pick up ground hum or is something wrong? I have a Jez Riley French mic. –  Internet Human Apr 24 '12 at 23:09
    
nope, that's not normal. looks like its time to start troubleshooting. –  Rene Apr 25 '12 at 12:31

Most contact mic recordings I've made (or heard) have very little information, if any, going on at 18kHz. Attached to many materials like metal, wood, or glass, you'd be lucky to get a ton of information above 5kHz in a recording.

If you are looking at doing some extreme pitch shifting, you are better off using a high-frequency response condenser mic, or a contact mic along side a condenser mic. Of course, contact mics by there very nature, can make objects sound larger without any pitch shifting.

If you're going to record a golf club hitting a ball. I'd suggesting mounting the mic not on the head, but further down the shaft of the club. It will give the vibrations in the club further distance to travel...making for a more interesting recording.

Some other options to consider:

  • Barcus Berry Planar Wave
  • Trance Audio Inducer
  • Schertler
  • Cold Gold
  • C-Ducer
  • Building Your Own piezo (it's not that difficult if you're handy with electronics)

Good luck.

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have you thought about doing one yourself? It's so easy and inexpensive! http://maaheli.ee/main/archives/932

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I am interested to know your reasoning behind wanting to use contact mics for recording things like golf club hits rather than using more conventionl microphones? Is it for convenience sake, or so that you don't pick up any other background sound? I haven't tried using contact a mic for this, but I suspect that on it's own it won't sound as natural (unless perhaps mixed with another mic?) as recording with a condensor mic for example. As for 18KHz being the upper limit, I would not expect that to be a problem.

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