I have a Sennheiser ME 66 and I'm using an H4n to record. I'm new to recording, and it's new equipment. I was recording someone playing guitar and while their voice was perfectly clear while singing, the guitar made a strange "thump" sound every time she strummed, or even when she picked with her fingers. What is that called? Can I make it sound better right out of the microphone? What should I be looking for in a sound editing software that can get rid of that?

I did as much research as I could, but "weird thump" doesn't seem to get a lot of hits.

  • Are you able to upload a clip so we can hear this thumping? – Skarik Nov 10 '16 at 20:08
  • @Skarik I would love to, I don't know how though – Cordello Nov 11 '16 at 1:33
  • Upload the audio file to SoundCloud, or as a video to YouTube, and then you can link the URL in your question. – Skarik Nov 11 '16 at 8:08

Another cause for "thumping" is when there is a wooden floor and the player has the habit of tapping the time with her foot. Particularly if the mic is in a mic stand without spider...


Could this be your input 'clipping'? Have you checked your input levels before recording and set your gain accordingly, to make sure you've got enough headroom? The H4n should have on-board limiters too, to prevent/reduce the chance of clipping by compressing larger spike in input level; maybe take a look at turning them on.

Clipping is when the input level exceeds the permitted max record level, causing distortion. It sounds like a heavy guitar strum, or string pluck, could spike louder then the singers voice, and would probably sound like a "thump" or click of sorts on your recording.

Audio Clipping

Alternatively, if your mic is on a surface that the guitarist is connected to in some way, it could be that it's being knocked or shaken when the player strums or plucks, which would result in a thumping sound.

  • I did check recording levels, and the mic is in a shock mount on a mic stand. But thanks for the explanation, I understand what clipping a little better than I did before. – Cordello Nov 10 '16 at 16:37

A ME 66 is a Broadcast microphone used for location recording and sound design, unsuitable for this application. I suspect that's why your having problems. Shot gun mics are extremely sensitive and very directional. I'm not surprised your getting thumping sounds, it's probably because the mic is far too close and overloading the diaphragm as they're designed to be further away from the source. Try using a wind shield to tame it or back the mic right off. My advice though would be to sell that mic and buy one designed for music.

  • I originally bought the microphone for short films, and it's been great for that so far. It happens that in one of these videos, there's a guitar. Is there a way to make this mic acceptable? Will the wind shield/backing off be enough? – Cordello Nov 10 '16 at 16:35
  • It's probably possible to make it work but it's not ideal because the polar pattern is narrow. You'll just have to experiment. I'm only guessing with the info you've given. But I've had similar problems with bass guitars and it was the strings slapping against the pick ups. – Melloj Nov 10 '16 at 17:14

I strongly suspect that the microphone is positioned too close to the talent. Put some distance between the mic and the talent and see how you go. I suspect that the "thumping" will be reduced. This may result in a little more "room" sound occurring, but this might not be a bad thing. Also note that I agree this mic is probably not the right one for the application, but you will definitely get a better result and a more dynamic one - if you put some distance between the talent and the mic.

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