Some advice appreciated on a mic selection and/or method. I’m creating a sound installation involving ‘bodily’ sounds from an indoor climbing wall. I need to capture detailed and focused sounds of hand and feet interacting with the wall while isolating environmental sounds of a similar nature. A mic could be boom operated 1-1.5m from the climber safely but it would be facing the wall. Hands and feet would regularly be 2-3m. Using a single mic to pick up both would increase the possibility of environmental sound than say 2 mics one focused on hand other on feet. Furthermore, the sounds of a single climb has to be captured in its entirety. I can’t cut and paste or sample from other climbs. Further more the recording would be in a space 4m x 7m one side open so reflection is an issue.

I’m wondering whether a decent quality contact mic would be one option in combination with

A) hypercardioid mic to help with isolation but not sure I would be able to capture both hands and feet together. So 2 mics? B) single mic with a wider pattern C) more focussed mic (shotgun from further way) but worried about reflection issues.

I have a pair of akg 451e I use for studio recording which I could use to test boom setup up but sure it’s not the ideal mic.

Can’t really test out rather trying to crowd speculate in advance. I’m really used to recording in studios.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • i'm trying to figure out what it is you're missing from your set of captures. You have close mic from the lav sessions… so you're looking for an ambient pair, but not too ambient?? How about the lav mics on shoulders or even on the back, away from the 'action'? Do you have access to such as Izotope RX where you could tune out some of the ambience in post?
    – Tetsujin
    May 16 at 12:22
  • Thanks. I want to capture the sounds of the interaction between body and wall. This would be feet and hands, scraping noises, rubber noise. The lavs I am using are wireless top end consumer. They were good as a test case for feet but I’m looking for better quality. So a microphone that can capture a focused detailed sound pointed 1- 1.5m towards a wall that offers a fair amount of isolation from other sounds in the environment that are likely to be similar sounds :). lav on voice is reasonably isolated from the environment in post.
    – Thinksitdo
    May 16 at 14:18
  • You need to set that detail out in your question. It's just not clear at the moment.
    – Tetsujin
    May 16 at 14:27
  • 1
    Thanks. Edits made.
    – Thinksitdo
    May 16 at 14:56
  • I'm not sure I can really help here - I'm a studio engineer too - but somewhat amusingly [to me, anyway] I looked up the 451E on google, then thought, "I'm sure I've got one of those in the 'I never use these' bag in my mic case…" & lo & behold, I do, along with a similarly aged Calrec 1050. Don't think I've used either of them in 30 years, haven't a clue what they sound like ;) I'm sure I'd have tried them if I had a pair, but they're just singles.
    – Tetsujin
    May 17 at 8:02


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