Adventures In Audio

Why does a microphone need a shock mount?

by David Mellor
LEARN AUDIO ONLINE ► FREE TRIAL ►

Perhaps your microphone came with a shock mount. Perhaps it was an expensive accessory. But why won't a simple clip or stand adapter do the job?

The function of a shock mount is to prevent vibration traveling up the mic stand from getting to the diaphragm of the mic. If you have ever recorded with mics set on stands on a portable staging system, then you will know how bad things can get. (Worse still with older designs where the space under each stage element is enclosed and resonates.)

Some microphones are naturally more prone to this kind of noise than others, and need a shock mount to guard against even a small amount of vibration. Other mics are less sensitive and rarely need any special treatment.

It has to be said though that a shock mount can be an expensive accessory, if not supplied with the mic. They can be fiddly to use and not nearly so handy as a simple stand adaptor or clip.

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course

FREE TRIAL

Ready to take your recording to the next level? Take a 30-day FREE TRIAL of the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course - Our most popular course.

In a home recording studio, it is actually quite unlikely that a shock mount will provide any benefit at all. There is absolutely no reason why you should not record without one, with any mic, as long as there is no stand-transmitted vibration.

If you are in doubt, set up your microphone. Set your preamp to the amount of gain you would typically use for vocals. Start recording, then walk around the microphone. If you can hear vibrations on playback, then you need a shockmount. If you cannot hear vibrations, and there are no subsonic frequencies visible in the waveform display, then you don't.

Sometimes I think that shock mounts are used because they somehow look more 'professional'. Actually this might not be a bad thing. If you invite a vocalist into your studio, they will sing better if they are impressed with what they perceive as the professionalism of your setup.

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course

FREE TRIAL

Ready to take your recording to the next level? Take a 30-day FREE TRIAL of the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course - Our most popular course.

But if you're working on your own and do not suffer from stand-transmitted vibration, you don't need a shock mount. So you can save yourself some expense and unnecessary messing about with elastic and still end up with perfect recordings.

And if you're working on your own, your studio doesn't have to look professional, it just has to sound it!

Browse microphone shock mounts...

Friday August 9, 2019

The Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course

FREE TRIAL

Ready to take your recording to the next level? Take a 30-day FREE TRIAL of the Audio Masterclass Music Production and Sound Engineering Course - Our most popular course.

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

More from Adventures In Audio...

Graphic equalizer demonstration using the Waves GEQ Classic

Harmonic enhancement: In the master or individual tracks? (Can you hear the difference?)

What will happen if your snare drum clips?

EQ demonstration HF bell boost

How much bass can a Bluetooth speaker produce?

One weird trick for monitoring your mix on a Bluetooth speaker

Can a preamp's pad work as a pop filter

Get the sound you want from the tools you have

What is the phase button for on a microphone preamplifier?

Choosing studio monitors - Is it your most important buying decision?

What is a channel strip? Why should you use one?

Audio effects explained - A quick guide for beginners

How to choose the best key for your song

The amazing stereo effect that no-one can hear

What is the best studio microphone?

Bad Audio Diary BAD 9: What's wrong with this picture?

Weird and wonderful sounds using the Air Music Tech Chorus plug-in

The end of latency?

An investigation of the pre-delay parameter of the Lexicon 480L reverb plug-in

Add reverb to your recordings using the natural echo chamber technique

Why you should ventilate your home recording studio

Q: What is your main concern if your interest is voice over?

Why do microphones sound different?

Channel strips - powerful tool or utter folly?