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Give your mic the scratch test!

The grille of the microphone might affect its sound. How can you tell?

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Here is a puzzle regarding microphones. Connect your favorite mic to your recording system and record the sound of your fingernail gently scratching the grille of the mic.

Gently mind.

Now play back the recording. Do you notice the metallic ring to the sound? Try the same experiment with a different mic and you will hear a different 'sonic signature' in the scratch.

Play the recordings a few times. Get someone to help you perform a blind identification test. Get used to the sound of the grilles being scratched.

Now go back to using the mics for real recordings. Hey, can't you still hear the grille 'signature' in your recordings? You probably won't be able to get it out of your head after a while.

Yes, the grille really does affect the sound of a mic. Perhaps it's something we have just gotten used to, and we shouldn't bother too much. Or perhaps it's something the mic manufacturers should be looking at.

What do you think?

By David Mellor Monday January 23, 2006
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