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I've recently fried a guitar pickup onto a guitar cable for the purposes of recording Electro-magnetic signals. The idea is to be able to record all the wonderful sounds that things like flashing neon signs and power boxes make. The pickup is nice and small and fits easily into my kit case. However, the other things in that kit include, a short-shot condenser and my H2 recorder. My worry is that the strength of the pickup's magnets will be enough to do damage to the mic, and possibly wipe the SD card in the H2 or damage the electronics.

Is this in any way a reasonable concern, or am I just being paranoid?

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Theoretically, the magnet in the pickup shouldn't affect any solid state storage device. SSD's are arrays of capacitors, which store voltage. As far as I know, and I stress here that I only have an amateur understanding of electrical circuits and electronics, the only way to change the value of stored voltage in a capacitor is to put it under load or to apply a voltage to it.

Only the voltage idea can be imparted using a permanent magnet, and that would require repeated movement along a path of the circuit to generate any voltage. I think that's unlikely to occur. If you're really concerned, just make sure that there's a "compartment" in your case that will hold it in a fixed position, which goes without saying as far as gear is concerned anyways.

As for your mic, I'd say chances are slim it will cause any ill effects. It definitely won't harm the internal ciruitry in any way. Maybe it could cause strain on the diaphragm over a long period of time, which would affect the mechanics of it's response. Speakers have been known to be affected when their cone is held in a fully extruded/intruded position for a long period of time, so the idea might apply to a microphone's diaphragm as well. My guess? It's not going to happen. If you're worried, just keep the pickup away from the diaphragm (base of the interference tube on your shotgun), and you should be fine. A 1/2" should be enough, and 3/4" or more is definitely a safe zone.

  • +1. Solid state devices should be fine around most normal magnets. The OP's description sounds pretty safe to me, too. – NoiseJockey Feb 17 '11 at 0:49
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Here is another source for SD cards and magnets. Reinforcing Shauns statement above.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/116572/busting_the_biggest_pc_myths.html

  • SD cards are pretty durable. I actually had one go through the wash AND dry and it worked totally fine. Probably because it was dried before I tried to use it. – C3Sound Feb 17 '11 at 3:03

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