I don't own a hydrophone yet so I can't try this out myself. Out of curiosity, I was just wondering if you can use a hydrophone like a contact mic? As far as I understand it both types of mic are essentially similar. So yes the question is: does a hydrophone also work when it's not submerged in water, if you'd strap it to any vibration producing source, would it record 'sound' the same way as a contact mic does.

Thanks! Daan

2 Answers 2


I have an Aquarian Audio H2-a hydrophone and its optional contact mic adapter, which is a rubber cup that fits snugly around the microphone body when wetted slightly.

It works very well, but I've found that unwanted noise becomes a problem when the microphone is inverted (i.e. contact side up). Has anyone else had this issue with the H2-a and/or found a solution to the problem?

  • +1. It's my fave contact mic in my collection, in fact. I've not found a way to keep that damn capsule in the rubber boot when it's upside down, so you're way ahead of me! Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 22:54
  • @NoiseJockey That's interesting to know, I am looking to get an Aquarian Audio H2 but didn't know it works well as a contact mic. I'm currently using a contact mic made by www.contactmics.com which is good, but it's better to have other options too! Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 9:21

I've done a few sessions using H2a hydrophones as contact mics, and they really do a great job of capturing clean, clear signals. My primary problem with using them in that context is that, even with the rubber cup mount, they don't really stabilize unless your surface is completely flat and gravity is working in your favor. Even with mild angles or curves you lose that direct coupling between the mic and the surface, thus reducing the amount of signal you can pick up. A couple of solutions that have worked for me:

  • Duct or electricians tape!
  • Velcro wraps (tricky to keep them from slipping off the cylindrical mic but doesn't leave a sticky residue like tape)

Sometimes I forgo the rubber cup altogether and press the mic directly onto the desired surface with my hand. I'm pretty confident that this yields a better recording since there's nothing coming between my noise source and the mic capsule, but you've got to be very, very still since the H2a is so sensitive.

  • Jay, I've recently experimented using c-clamps with closed-cell foam pads on the inner grips. This isn't always foolproof, given the cylindrical shape of the H2a, but it can sometimes be a tighter fit than with gaffer's tape. Commented Oct 4, 2011 at 15:36
  • @NoiseJockey, great idea - can you post a link to said clamps? Commented Oct 4, 2011 at 16:24
  • 1
    I haven't used them in this context, but I have a couple sets of these clamps that are great due to their ability of one-handed operation. goo.gl/kFPki Commented Oct 4, 2011 at 19:40

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