What microphone would be appropriate to record heartbeats? I want to record people off the street so it has to be easy for the person to hold in place themselves for a couple of minutes whilst standing up without causing too many extraneous noises. It would be great if it gave the impression of 'medically legitimate professional' rather than 'home-made pervert freak'.

It's being made in London to form part of the music for a modern dance show in Korea.

6 Answers 6


You could try Diego Stocco's method. Check out his stethoscope mic at :24. Looks like a Rode NT-6 with a modded stethoscope attachment.

  • That's a brilliant trick. Maybe it's a lot harder to do than it looks but I will try it. Thanks for the link. Oct 8, 2012 at 8:20

Unless you are recording in a very controlled environment, I would recommend a contact mic (which is, ultimately, a better-sounding stethoscope). A standard capsule-based mic will likely generate too much noise (or pick up noise from the surrounding area) because you'll need to turn it up significantly to pick up a pulse.

Check these out: http://www.c-ducer.com/

They are contact mics that could easily be mistaken for medical electrodes but anyone who doesn't know better (it basically feels like a leather strip, and it comes with its own double-sided tape). I own a pair and they sound fantastic — very low noise and they come in a kit with a phantom-powered impedance convertor that terminates in a standard XLR to plug in to any preamp. They're advertised for violin, harp, piano, and any instrument where there is a resonant body. Properly fitted to the upper chest and/or neck, I'm sure you could get some good heartbeat sounds.


  • Thanks Matt. A friend has offered to lend me a pair of harp mics which sound very similar. Oct 8, 2012 at 8:14
  • How did this option turn out? Very curious! Feb 28, 2019 at 2:08

come on, there's got to be a more extreme version that involves ingesting things or, you know, probing of some sort. :D

  • To be honest, I think people off the street will be a little uncomfortable about that... "I have to stick it WHERE?" Oct 5, 2012 at 19:36
  • What about spill, bleed and leakage? Oct 8, 2012 at 8:19
  • @David - Hahaha :-D Oct 10, 2012 at 1:58

I have done some great hartbeat recordings with the H2a Hydrophone from Aquarian. It may be a good idea to try with the adapter

  • Ditto, better results with the adapter than without. Oct 8, 2012 at 5:03

Hello !

If you've got one, you could try with a hydrophone mic in contact with your chest. It's not the best way, because you will have noise to deal with, but maybe you can get what you're looking for.



@Clem. If you're using a hydrophone, you could do the recording underwater in contact with your chest. This might actually make it feel like you're inside the bloodstream. You would need a very quiet body of water, though.

  • with regards to quiet bodies of water - that probably rules out urban swimming pools. Those things pick up traffic noise like crazy!
    – Rene
    Oct 5, 2012 at 14:54
  • That's a great idea. Will try it in the bath. Oct 8, 2012 at 8:20

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