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Keith W Blackwell
 
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Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

For any of you who have actually tried to weather-proof a
condenser mic, could you tell me about your experiences with
that? What works well and what doesn't, both in terms of
maintaining integrity of the frequency response as well as
protecting the microphone element from moisture and wind?

Or if you have *used* professional "outdoor" mics that are
already designed to be weatherproof, which features or
approaches seem to work well?

Believe it or not, this appears to be a topic that has not yet
been discussed on rec.audio.pro.


From web-based "research", I have found 4 high-end product
lines, some from familiar manufacturers and others from
companies I've never heard of. In case you're interested,
I'll list details below. But those are all what I call very
expensive. On the other end of the spectrum, there seem
to be a few grass-roots efforts to put together cheap
solutions, such as "Bird Bugs" and "Outside Ears", but
each has it's own drawbacks. I'm hoping to find some way
to weatherproof a mic with relatively flat, full-spectrum
frequency response for monitoring wildlife sounds and
analyzing them. This is for permanent installation, not
just some parabolic reflector you take with you on a nature
hike. I was even thinking that something like
the Behringer ECM8000 would be a good mic to start with
because it is dirt cheap and otherwise sonically suited
for the purpose. Perhaps it would be reasonable to buy
one of those "wind-screens" with the little bird spikes
and the internal rain-shield that go along with the high
end outdoor measurement mics and try to put it on the
ECM8000. Of course, this also necessitates finding some
small but reasonable consumer-quality mic pre. Anybody got
any insight into this approach? Any other helpful info?

Other options would be to use moisture resistant micro
mics like the DPA body-worn thingies, but they cost
several hundred, which is bit out of range. And I am
not aware of any affordable dynamic cartridges that can
give what might be called full-spectrum response, though
that might have been a good option since a dynamic might
not be so demanding about avoiding moisture. Ideally
for the intended application, the mics and weatherproofing
and consumer-grade mic pre's for them all together will
only cost about $100 or maybe $150, while still maximizing
quality and minimizing the aesthetic impact of the mics
on the environment.

Thanks for any tips.

--
Keith W Blackwell
(if emailing, change "homemail" to "jymis" in address to avoid delays)

PS: Here are some details I promised:

First, the expensive stuff:

B&K makes some, like the 4181: http://www.bksv.com/1344.htm
(also the 4198: http://www.bksv.com/pdf/Bp1696.pdf)

Others I had not heard of before include:

Norsonic http://www.norsonic.com/web_pages/microphone_info.html

Cirrus Research http://www.cirrusresearch.co.uk/out_mics.html

Gras http://www.gras.dk/

Notice how they all provide those windscreens with bird spikes?

Now for some cheapies:

Outside Ears has mic pre's built into the speakers! But the mics
leave a lot to be desired with their hollow plastic containers:
http://www.outsideears.com/about.htm

Bird Bugs are fairly serious, using small parabolic reflectors
(soft rubber bowls) with protective grills (probably for car
speakers) and a thin coax cable connecting a small electret
capsule to a small box containing a little circuit board with
the power for the mics as well as preamps (it has 2 1/4 TS jacks
for the mics and one TRS mini jack for the line-level output).
http://natural-technology.com/
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Scott Dorsey
 
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Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

Keith W Blackwell wrote:
For any of you who have actually tried to weather-proof a
condenser mic, could you tell me about your experiences with
that? What works well and what doesn't, both in terms of
maintaining integrity of the frequency response as well as
protecting the microphone element from moisture and wind?


For what? I do a lot of gigs where mikes need to be outside for a while.
I like using the Sennheiser MKH-20s as much as possible, since the omni
pattern reduces wind noise, and the RF electronics don't have trouble with
humidity.

I wouldn't leave them up for days on end, though.

Or if you have *used* professional "outdoor" mics that are
already designed to be weatherproof, which features or
approaches seem to work well?


Most of the measurement mike companies make monitoring mikes intended for
long-term outdoor use. The Larson-Davis and B&K ones get used a lot on
a contract job that I spend most of my time on.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Pooh Bear
 
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Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

Keith W Blackwell wrote:

For any of you who have actually tried to weather-proof a
condenser mic, could you tell me about your experiences with
that? What works well and what doesn't, both in terms of
maintaining integrity of the frequency response as well as
protecting the microphone element from moisture and wind?


If you're talking about serious moisture, have you considered a condom
over something more traditional ?

It'll keep the rain out. No idea about the sound.


Graham


  #5   Report Post  
Keith W Blackwell
 
Posts: n/a
Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

Thanks for the replies.

I hadn't heard of "Larson-Davis", Scott.
If they're anything like the B&K and other high-end mics, they
will be much to expensive to even consider. This is for permanent
outdoor installation, but targetting a low-end market (wildlife and
bird enthusiasts, especially home-owners, but also nursing homes,
etc.). I'm only doing this because I've been unable to find a job
since being laid off 1.8 years ago, and someone here is wanting to
put together a product to do this and is willing to pay me to try
some different things and come up with a solution (or a "can't be
done" answer). It's just a way to make a little income. I was
actually thinking of asking you about the mic-pre end of this as
well, possibly even recommending that you be contracted for it if
some custom solution has to be designed.

I had forgotten about the Countryman mics, Ty, but I think they
cost about $300, right? I wonder how they can be waterproof?
I mean, they are condensers, after all.

And yes, Graham, the condom was the first
idea, but there is some concern about tympanic resonance. I was
wondering of a small amount of foam between the condom and the mic
would help with that. Small diameter omnis are too small for
condoms to fit tightly, anyway. At least, I'm not aware of any
micro-condoms, and a balloon would likely be too thick and more
likely to be leaky.

Have a wonderful day, friends,
--
Keith W Blackwell


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Scott Dorsey
 
Posts: n/a
Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

Keith W Blackwell wrote:

I hadn't heard of "Larson-Davis", Scott.
If they're anything like the B&K and other high-end mics, they
will be much to expensive to even consider.


Larson-Davis, ACO, and guys like that all make measurement mikes, more or
less on a par with the B&K stuff. Microtech-Gefell also has a measurement
mike lint.

This is for permanent
outdoor installation, but targetting a low-end market (wildlife and
bird enthusiasts, especially home-owners, but also nursing homes,
etc.). I'm only doing this because I've been unable to find a job
since being laid off 1.8 years ago, and someone here is wanting to
put together a product to do this and is willing to pay me to try
some different things and come up with a solution (or a "can't be
done" answer). It's just a way to make a little income. I was
actually thinking of asking you about the mic-pre end of this as
well, possibly even recommending that you be contracted for it if
some custom solution has to be designed.


If you use a premade capsule, you don't need a real preamp, just some gain
at the preamp.

I had forgotten about the Countryman mics, Ty, but I think they
cost about $300, right? I wonder how they can be waterproof?
I mean, they are condensers, after all.


They are shockingly waterproof, but I don't know how long they will last
outside. The guys at Countryman will know, though.

And yes, Graham, the condom was the first
idea, but there is some concern about tympanic resonance. I was
wondering of a small amount of foam between the condom and the mic
would help with that. Small diameter omnis are too small for
condoms to fit tightly, anyway. At least, I'm not aware of any
micro-condoms, and a balloon would likely be too thick and more
likely to be leaky.


The traditional mike for the condom treatment is the SM-57, and it works
fairly well. A condom will NOT last very long outside, though. They are
not designed for outdoor exposure.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  #7   Report Post  
Pooh Bear
 
Posts: n/a
Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

Keith W Blackwell wrote:

And yes, Graham, the condom was the first idea, but there is some
concern about tympanic resonance. I was wondering of a small amount
of foam between the condom and the mic
would help with that.


Read my post again! You are on the right track. Low density foam would
prolly be fine. And it'll stretch the condom. You may inded need to
experiment to avoid resonances but at leat latex is fairly damped.

Small diameter omnis are too small for condoms to fit tightly,
anyway. At least, I'm not aware of any micro-condoms, and a balloon
would likely be too thick and more
likely to be leaky.


LOL !


Graham


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Ty Ford
 
Posts: n/a
Default Weather-proofing outdoor condenser mics

In Article ,
(Keith W Blackwell) wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

I hadn't heard of "Larson-Davis", Scott.
If they're anything like the B&K and other high-end mics, they
will be much to expensive to even consider. This is for permanent
outdoor installation, but targetting a low-end market (wildlife and
bird enthusiasts, especially home-owners, but also nursing homes,
etc.). I'm only doing this because I've been unable to find a job
since being laid off 1.8 years ago, and someone here is wanting to
put together a product to do this and is willing to pay me to try
some different things and come up with a solution (or a "can't be
done" answer). It's just a way to make a little income. I was
actually thinking of asking you about the mic-pre end of this as
well, possibly even recommending that you be contracted for it if
some custom solution has to be designed.

I had forgotten about the Countryman mics, Ty, but I think they
cost about $300, right? I wonder how they can be waterproof?
I mean, they are condensers, after all.
Have a wonderful day, friends,
--
Keith W Blackwell


Keith,

The wire grille on the caps is so small and tight that water can't get
through it. I'm sure at some depth and pressure that water could get through
it, but I've done the dunk test and it works.

Yup. at least $300.

Regards,

Ty Ford

**Until the worm goes away, I have put "not" in front of my email address.
Please remove it if you want to email me directly.
For Ty Ford V/O demos, audio services and equipment reviews,
click on
http://www.jagunet.com/~tford

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