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Most pro microphones I've seen are usually carried in huge padded storage cases. Huge, as in, way bigger than comparable camera bags. I don't really understand this as the microphone itself is covered with a metal tube or grill, plus a wind screen, which seems like it'd be a reasonable shock protection in itself. What's the deal here?

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    The grill is not shock protection - it protects the mic from direct impact
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 3, 2022 at 10:54

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Microphones vary greatly for different tasks. The classic live mic, the Sure SM58, is extremely robust. Robust enough to be handled in live situations and even dropped, bumped and swung around by some miscreants. That being said, you don't want to bump it about if you can help it. If it broke during an intense literal mic-drop moment at an epic performance, it was probably worth it. But if it hit the floor and broke because Bill the roadie had greasy mayonnaise-hands, then it's not worth it.
Then you have condenser microphones in which some have diaphragms that are so sensitive, they will pick up the noise of you moving it about in your hand, or even walking in the next room. So these mics are suspended in vibration dampeners while recording. Bumping one of these about would damage the sensitive components inside. Even small bumps could loosen internal mechanisms over time, for any mic, which you really don't want.

So, you want to protect your mics from shocks, big and small. Microphones, like cameras, are sensitive equipment. If you want them to last, you must treat them with respect and give them a cushy home while transporting.

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  • Thanks! diaphragms + vibration dampeners suspension is a legit explanation, thanks!
    – mik01aj
    Sep 4, 2022 at 19:38
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Your Neumann may well have a grill and maybe also some foam against direct blowing to the capsule through that grill. When music gear is transported it's well possible that something is dropped accidentally. So, would you allow dropping the mic on the floor from one's hands? Would the grill and the foam prevent damage?

They will not. When the mic hits the floor it easily has reached vertical speed 5 meters per second as elementary mechanics calculation gives. That speed stops when the outer foam compresses. Let's assume the speed 5 m/s is stopped during the last 5 millimeters of dropping. By making again elementary mechanics calculations one gets the negative acceleration about 250 g.

What that means? You can coarsely think your Neumann weights 1 kg. Now somebody who weights 250 kg steps on it by using only one foot and he aims his foot just on the grille.

Inside the mic circuits, possible electron tubes and the capsule very likely stand far less gees than the mentioned 250 g. A fighter pilot (a trained, prepared and well equipped one) must stand 9 or 10 g with no damage. That's needed few seconds at a time when he turns his plane fast. Parts inside some missiles may be designed to stand that 250 g.

If you happen to believe this all or (better) bother to calculate it again by yourself I guess you want to use padded cases for your mics.

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