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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.

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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. – Tom Parkinson Oct 8 '12 at 8:20
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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.

Best,
~Matt

  • Thanks Matt. A friend has offered to lend me a pair of harp mics which sound very similar. – Tom Parkinson Oct 8 '12 at 8:14
  • How did this option turn out? Very curious! – Femtosecond Feb 28 at 2:08
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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?" – David Larsen Oct 5 '12 at 19:36
  • What about spill, bleed and leakage? – Tom Parkinson Oct 8 '12 at 8:19
  • @David - Hahaha :-D – Christian van Caine Oct 10 '12 at 1:58
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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. – NoiseJockey Oct 8 '12 at 5:03
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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

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@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 '12 at 14:54
  • That's a great idea. Will try it in the bath. – Tom Parkinson Oct 8 '12 at 8:20

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