Author Topic: [muso] Contact microphones  (Read 934 times)

Lee

  • It's discipline that begets love
    • My things.
[muso] Contact microphones
« on: March 30, 2006, 02:16:49 PM »
I'm thinking about getting one of these so I can make some Merzbow-style noise. But I want to make sure I'm making the right decision. Let's say I've got a mic, and I stick it to my throat, for example. The vibrations of my throat would be picked up by the microphone, and would produce noise through an amp. I think. But is there any more to it? I know I could pass it through filters and effects pedals, but is there any vital stage I'm missing here? Any help would be appreciated.

[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2006, 09:40:03 PM »
I'm doing microphones in my audio engineering course at the moment so I'll ask about it on Tuesday.

[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 11:53:34 PM »
my friend uses these taped to his guitair - they sound awesome.

talk to Knowledge of Bugs in Bristol - he'll sell you one.

[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2006, 01:20:55 AM »
I have one of these, it's extremely useful. I use it for acoustic guitars mostly, but it also works quite well with a piano. The only problem is it's so sensitive it picks up every single guitar squeak, which can be irritating. It also makes lovely feedback if you use it plug an acoustic into an amp.

[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2006, 07:18:04 AM »
Quote from: "The Man With Brass Eyes"
my friend uses these taped to his guitair - they sound awesome.

talk to Knowledge of Bugs in Bristol - he'll sell you one.


My drummer has just bought 3 of these from Tom Bugs. Nice chap, his workshop is full of bits of wire and ancient synths. He fixed my Poly 800 for a tenner.

[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2006, 04:18:14 PM »
That place is like rabbit warren catacombs deep beneath Bristol.  There is probably a monster in there.

Quote from: "Phil_A"
so sensitive it picks up every single guitar squeak


does that mean you have to be a better guitarist?  I mean does it pick up more imperfections if you make a duff note?

Are these contact mics expensive?

When an acoustic guitar is being played thru one it reminds me of somekind of edwardian harpsichord.  they do sound fabulous.  it sounds like they've been used on some of the Devandra Banhart albums.

Johnny Yesno

  • Injecting the rivers with stainless steel fish
    • Lines Horizontal
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2006, 04:42:10 PM »
If you want to do it on the cheap you could always try one of these babies:



It's called a piezo transducer. All you have to do is solder the other ends of the wires to a jack plug and you're ready to go. They're not as good as a proper contact mic but they're a fraction of the price. It's just as well because they're quite delicate. Available from all good and bad electronic components outlets.

Somebody has used one to construct a "tin can bass". Can any avant garde music fans work out what his first mp3 is supposed to be? I think I know but my guess is based purely on the rhythm since the notes he plays are quite, ahem, atonal.

Lee

  • It's discipline that begets love
    • My things.
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2006, 04:46:19 PM »


THAT'S the thing I've been on about. I want some of them please.

Johnny Yesno

  • Injecting the rivers with stainless steel fish
    • Lines Horizontal
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2006, 04:53:43 PM »
Okey-dokey. Well you'll need an amp with a reasonable amount of gain as they don't produce much signal. You'll also have to make sure the transducer is touching the sound source as it is not like a microphone which picks up signals from the air.

NoSleep

  • feat. Keith Jarrett and his singing parrot
    • Space Is The Place
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2006, 04:58:08 PM »
I used have a fretless bass and i stuck one of those behind the machine heads to pick up a bit of neck noise which made it sound a bit like an acoustic bass. Zappa owned a guitar which originally belonged to Hendrix that had a similar set up.

I picked up a tip from Russian band, Zga, who play instruments that they make themselves from scrap metal etc... You can make cheap contact microphones by using the speaker from one of those birthday cards that plays a tune. Same principal as using headphones as a microphone.

Lee

  • It's discipline that begets love
    • My things.
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2006, 04:59:17 PM »
Quote from: "Johnny Yesno"
Okey-dokey. Well you'll need an amp with a reasonable amount of gain as they don't produce much signal. You'll also have to make sure the transducer is touching the sound source as it is not like a microphone which picks up signals from the air.


Oh yeah, I know that, the whole point is that they would be attatched to various parts of my body to produce sound, hence the throat example I mentioned. So it's just a direct link to the amp then? Nothing else needed?

Johnny Yesno

  • Injecting the rivers with stainless steel fish
    • Lines Horizontal
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2006, 06:04:28 PM »
Quote from: "Lee"
Quote from: "Johnny Yesno"
Okey-dokey. Well you'll need an amp with a reasonable amount of gain as they don't produce much signal. You'll also have to make sure the transducer is touching the sound source as it is not like a microphone which picks up signals from the air.


Oh yeah, I know that, the whole point is that they would be attatched to various parts of my body to produce sound, hence the throat example I mentioned. So it's just a direct link to the amp then? Nothing else needed?


IIRC that's all you need. When I tried transducers myself I'm pretty sure I just soldered one to a quarter-inch jack and plugged that into my mixer which was connected to my amp. The mixer was only needed to control the gain as there are no gain controls on my hifi amp.

I'm not sure how good the results will be for miking body parts. The throat may work okay as long as you can maintain contact - this is not as easy as it sounds, though. But at least failure is cheap - 59p in fact.

Quote from: "NoSleep"
You can make cheap contact microphones by using the speaker from one of those birthday cards that plays a tune.


Those are piezo transducers. It seems they can be used as hydrophones too. Cool!

[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2006, 09:29:37 PM »
Shit man I forgot all about the mics, sorry.

Johnny Yesno

  • Injecting the rivers with stainless steel fish
    • Lines Horizontal
[muso] Contact microphones
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2006, 04:58:55 PM »
The answer to this week's fucking obscure trivia question is 'Secrets' by The Residents, BTW.