What is a telephone pick-coil used for? I am expanding my mic collection zoom (ZoomH4n only so far) and I want to get some mics.

Contact mic for interesting SFX

Boom for universally recording indoor or outdoor dx and sfx

A Lav

Fostex 2LE

Any advice?

5 Answers 5


It recording inductance of electromagnetic waves that are generated by coils with magnet wires. I've you would put a coil of magnet wire around a core (plastic for example) and you place it against something magnetic you basically get a mic.

But It can also record other waves like wifi or other things that transmit electromagnetic waves.

I've made works where you can 'sniff' those sounds with custom own build coils. But Riley buys them and alters them to then sell them at his site and I mean this in a good way. Their affordable quality electromagnetic inductance pick ups.

I've you're interested in low budget ones contact me.

here's Riley pick up coil
here's an example of the ones I build

technical stuff behind the turns

  • Also, Look in DPA mics, there are lots of them on their respectively website. Their worth their money!
    – Qinten
    Jan 13, 2015 at 13:43

You can use a telephone pickup-coil to record (plug it into the "mic" jack on your tape-recorder) or amplify (plug it into the "mic" jack on your amp) phone conversations; you can also use one "in reverse" (i.e., plug it into the "ear" or audio-output jack of a sound-player, such as a radio, cassette-deck, etc.) to play music over the phone. It's also great for "cleanly" (i.e., dubbing directly, without using a microphone) recording off a loudspeaker without audio-distortion or extraneous noises; just place the coil near the center of the speaker-cone so that it can pick up the EMF fluctuations from the speaker's voice-coil. If the sound-levels from using this set-up are too weak to make a good recording, use a low-power amplifier with a microphone-jack (Radio Shack used to sell a small one-watt PA-speaker system with a mike and aux jack; I found it ideal for this purpose) to pre-boost the signal, then feed the amp's earphone/speaker-output into the recorder; adjust the amp's volume-control for optimum sound-strength before recording.


Guitar pickups are boss for buzzes and humms.


I'm also always on the lookout for mics. I've been looking at a Sontronics STC-10. It's bizarrely cheap, almost ridiculous not to get it... Like 150 dollars or so. It can't be that bad since they're selling it :S www.sontronics.com

Also I like the Oktava mk012 and I'm thinking of buying a pair.. Not too expensive either. www.oktavaonline.com

I'd also like to know what contact mic to get, I don't wanna build one... I've seen the Barcus Berry on the web being used but I can't get it in Sweden as it seems...


It's to record telephones ;-) I'm joking (well it's true). It's used to record electric signals in general. You can find some amazing hidden sounds in all your electronic devices. It's handy to have, and really cheap!

I wrote a blog post a looong time ago with a recording done from a pickup coil. If you wanna listen it's here: http://www.soundplusdesign.com/?p=858 Wow, looking at the date, I wrote it 2 years and 1 day ago... Should have answered yesterday and it would have been 2 years on the dot.


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