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So I use a barcus berry currently, mainly because a lot of my design gear and mics come from being a concert engineer. The more I use the barcus I find it to be quite a pain to apply to surfaces that are not a piano soundboard/ or flat. Instead of the little double side sticky that is normal for them, I have resorted to Just electric tape or some form of tape around whatever object I am applying it to, which sometimes changes the sound drastically. What other contact mics do you all use that maybe easier to apply to non flat surfaces, and two, do not need the large preamp box that a barcus requires, but still has the quality.

I do like the way the pickup sounds, but if it is not perfectly flush and against a surface securely, it is almost worthless, and by design that limits it to mainly flat surfaces.

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There's a really good thread of contact mic recommendations here. As an owner of a BB myself I understand your point. If I hadn't found such a screaming deal on the 4000xl my alternative would have been a Cold Gold based on the multiple reviews I've read / heard.

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Trance Audio Inducer is the best I've used, for sound & for attaching to objects... it comes with a matched preamp too (very important!) but the contact mic element is one small solid block... I don't think they are available any more though...

I sometimes use blu-tak for attaching my Barcus Berry to things, not sure if thats a universal product but its made for sticking posters to the wall firmly while still being able to remove them without leaving a mark... works well sometimes...

  • We find Blu Tack / Plasti Tak / Poster Putty (widely available under a variety of brand names) is very effective on a variety of surfaces. We offer a piezo contact mic with a small, lightweight preamp that balances the signal and matches the impedance to recording level. link – Zeppelin Design Labs May 26 '16 at 19:32
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I don't own any contact mic myself and never yet had the chance to try one. There is a great article by Tim Nielsen on designingsound.com about his mic collection though. He seems to have at least two alternatives for you. Here's the link:

http://designingsound.org/2011/08/tim-nielsen-special-on-microphone-addiction/

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I picked up one of the little guitar piezo's they make to go along with the Planar Wave system. It's a bit smaller than the mic that comes natively with the system. great for harder to maneuver spaces, as it's much flatter.

http://barcusberry.com/product.cfm?ProductID=30

  • Along the same lines, I picked up a $14 clip-on piezo mic off eBay. Not the best contact mic, but it was only fourteen bucks after shipping. – Dave Matney Aug 18 '11 at 15:04
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Tim is right on the Trance Audio. I recently purchased a custom setup from them. They no longer make the Inducer single channel version, instead they have a stereo version called the Amulet. It actually has two small external boxes, a preamp and a controller box that can be easily velcroed to each other. This is because it is made to be installed inside an acoustic guitar. The guys at Trance Audio were really helpful in getting me custom specs/cables on my system to make it usable for sound design purposes. The sound quality is amazing, definitely the best contacts I have ever used.

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