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Mic Stand mass can affect sound? Condenser Microphones
Old 17th December 2016
  #1
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Mic Stand mass can affect sound?

We've talked about how speaker stand mass definitely affects the way speakers sound. I know for sure that ATC's sound better on higher mass stands than on lower mass ones. So if that is true, would not mic stand mass do the same thing to microphones? Especially higher end condenser mics with a higher bandwidth?

Has anyone ever had the notion to test this in their studio?

Brad
Old 17th December 2016
  #2
Gear Addict
 

You haven't picked up some of those massless drivers yet?
Old 17th December 2016
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Shockmounts.
Old 17th December 2016
  #4
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
We've talked about how speaker stand mass definitely affects the way speakers sound. I know for sure that ATC's sound better on higher mass stands than on lower mass ones. So if that is true, would not mic stand mass do the same thing to microphones? Especially higher end condenser mics with a higher bandwidth?

Has anyone ever had the notion to test this in their studio?

Brad
I have. If a mic stand is making noise I choose a different mic stand.

This post should really be in the newbie section.
Old 17th December 2016
  #5
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andersmv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phewson View Post
Shockmounts.
I was going to say this as well. If you have a really crappy shockmount then I can see resonance in the stand doing stuff to the mic.
Old 17th December 2016
  #6
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Red Black's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by inestima View Post
I have. If a mic stand is making noise I choose a different mic stand.

This post should really be in the newbie section.
This post should really be in the rude/dismissive section.
Old 17th December 2016
  #7
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chrisdee's Avatar
I've also tested this. I find a good shockmount is much more important for eliminating low frequency rumble. A heavy mic stand is good for avoiding the mic from accidentally falling over. Couldn't hear any difference is the sound between light or heavy mic stands.
Old 17th December 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
I think a good shockmount is much more important for eliminating low frequency rumble. A heavy mic stand is good for avoiding the mic from accidentally falling over.
Especially if the mic itself is heavy. If you have a 44BX or (in my case) a Melodium 42B, they're not for the faint-hearted stand.
Old 17th December 2016
  #9
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
I was going to say this as well. If you have a really crappy shockmount then I can see resonance in the stand doing stuff to the mic.
A while back I was on staff at a place that built out a new room with a floated floor. Very floated, as in slab > rubber sheeting > neoprene "donuts" > 1" plywood > carpet. Underfoot it was like a giant drum riser, and isolated the mics just fine from the NYC rumble, but not from what was going on inside the room. I worked that room for about two days and then sat down with the boss. He wasn't too thrilled about buying shockmounts for every mic in the place, including 57's and 421's, since that was what the floated floor was all about in the first place. So he didn't spend a dime, and I learned to make shockmounts out of PVC pipe and bubblewrap.
Old 17th December 2016
  #10
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The mic cable can also couple low end into the mic...
Old 17th December 2016
  #11
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myles's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
The mic cable can also couple low end into the mic...
And usually will.
Old 17th December 2016
  #12
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio View Post
The mic cable can also couple low end into the mic...
We fly cables from the ceiling, using permanent hooks, and mobile carabiners, to eliminate this, the tripping hazard, and cable damage/wear.

I have Neumann and AKG shockmounts that still transmit fan rumble from a PC to the mic, thru the floor. Reduction involves mass and decoupling, on both ends of the pipe.

8"x 16" concrete blocks, two inches thick, supply the mass, under PC and under stands. Quarter inch styrene foam between crete and gear, provides decoupling.

If you delay paying your DirecTV bill, they send a box for you to ship the receiver back to them. It's filled with blue foam falsies, that can turn 32B's, into 36D's. Pay the bill and keep the box. Awesome decoupling, by deliberate design. Just gotta hide em from the ladies.
Old 17th December 2016
  #13
Hi Brad,

Mass does matter, but focusing only on mass is fighting with one hand tied and no kicking allowed. What are you fighting? You're fighting unwanted vibrations transmitted through the mic stand to your microphone. When these vibrations come from an instrument you're recording, they cause time smear and aberrations in frequency response. If they come from anything else, we call them noise. Either way, you want to filter them out before they reach the mic. I use the term "filter" intensionally, because impedance-based electro-acoustic analogies are the easiest way for studio types to think about what's going on. Here's the secret decoder ring:

mass/inertia ~ inductance
compliance/springyness ~ capacitance
damping/friction ~ resistance
pressure/force ~ voltage
velocity/motion ~ current

To stop unwanted vibrations from reaching your mic, you need to combine the first three elements above to form an effective filter. Since you've sold a lot of mics (still love my Brauner!), let's use a typical shock mount as an example.

The mass (inductance) is the microphone itself. The elastic provides compliance (capacitance). What little damping is present comes from the friction of the braided wrap on the elastic. So what we've got here is a second-order low pass filter that attenuates vibrations above its turn-over frequency at 12 dB/octave. Below that frequency it does nothing, but right at that frequency it can actually have a resonance and be worse than no shock mount! That's why you shouldn't bother gaffing a pencil mic to a mount for a U87: the assemblage will be tuned too high to work effectively.

Back to mic stands now. Heavier is better, but all you've done is raise the impedance. Double the weight and get only a 6 DB improvement. Instead, put something squishy under the stand you have. Closed cell foam can work; use as little area and as much thickness as will hold the stand safely. But beware that this stuff is not very well damped, so there might be a resonance. Open cell foam adds frictional losses, but is typically too soft without a top covering to spread the load. If you're in the middle of a session, fold up up a packing blanket, and put coasters under the stand feet. (Nobody uses those anyway!)

Of course, once you understand this stuff as network theory, you can build fancier filters: T filters, Pi filters, 5th order Butterworth - sky's the limit. But this being a high-end audio forum, I predict that before that happens someone will simply re-brand JayTee's "packing falsies" and sell them for $180 a set. (No, a set is not two, it's three!)

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 18th December 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
Hi Brad,

Mass does matter, but focusing only on mass is fighting with one hand tied and no kicking allowed. What are you fighting? You're fighting unwanted vibrations transmitted through the mic stand to your microphone. When these vibrations come from an instrument you're recording, they cause time smear and aberrations in frequency response. If they come from anything else, we call them noise. Either way, you want to filter them out before they reach the mic. I use the term "filter" intensionally, because impedance-based electro-acoustic analogies are the easiest way for studio types to think about what's going on. Here's the secret decoder ring:

mass/inertia ~ inductance
compliance/springyness ~ capacitance
damping/friction ~ resistance
pressure/force ~ voltage
velocity/motion ~ current

To stop unwanted vibrations from reaching your mic, you need to combine the first three elements above to form an effective filter. Since you've sold a lot of mics (still love my Brauner!), let's use a typical shock mount as an example.

The mass (inductance) is the microphone itself. The elastic provides compliance (capacitance). What little damping is present comes from the friction of the braided wrap on the elastic. So what we've got here is a second-order low pass filter that attenuates vibrations above its turn-over frequency at 12 dB/octave. Below that frequency it does nothing, but right at that frequency it can actually have a resonance and be worse than no shock mount! That's why you shouldn't bother gaffing a pencil mic to a mount for a U87: the assemblage will be tuned too high to work effectively.

Back to mic stands now. Heavier is better, but all you've done is raise the impedance. Double the weight and get only a 6 DB improvement. Instead, put something squishy under the stand you have. Closed cell foam can work; use as little area and as much thickness as will hold the stand safely. But beware that this stuff is not very well damped, so there might be a resonance. Open cell foam adds frictional losses, but is typically too soft without a top covering to spread the load. If you're in the middle of a session, fold up up a packing blanket, and put coasters under the stand feet. (Nobody uses those anyway!)

Of course, once you understand this stuff as network theory, you can build fancier filters: T filters, Pi filters, 5th order Butterworth - sky's the limit. But this being a high-end audio forum, I predict that before that happens someone will simply re-brand JayTee's "packing falsies" and sell them for $180 a set. (No, a set is not two, it's three!)

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
That was awesome Rick! Assuming one has a well designed mic/shock mount/stand system, is double the weight- i.e. is 6dB- not substantial? What I am getting at is that I see valuable new and vintage mics sitting atop cheap stands made of the worst castings and terrible, thin uprights and boom tubes. Some mics are not in shock mounts. You flick theses stand tubes with your finger and they ring like mad! These are not LF resonances, but strong HF ones. Is this not an audible issue? I mean if Klaus and others I know hate metal pop filters because they "ring", do not stands have the same issue?

Brad



Brad
Old 18th December 2016
  #15
Well, 6 DB is something, but compare it to a second-order low-pass filter tuned two octaves below the interfering frequency: that gives you 24 DB of attenuation.

Now the high frequency resonances of the stand components can be easily excited by direct coupling through the floor, but if you've constructed the mechanical filter assumed above, they won't be. If the filter is tuned to 20 Hz, then the stand resonance frequency is at least 5 octaves above that, so any energy at that frequency coupling from the floor will be attenuated by 60 DB or more. That leaves only air coupling to excite such resonances, which is much less efficient due to the impedance mismatch between air and steel. But if you still think there's a problem, go to your local bike shop and buy some sticky-backed foam handlebar wrap tape to use as damping on the offending part.

David
Old 18th December 2016
  #16
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To damp and isolate my stands I use about 3" cubes of stiffer foam rubber with a diagonal slit corner to corner for the stand to sit in with Sorbothane pads glued under the foam. Works very well for my location recording and have not had sub energy come through.
Old 18th December 2016
  #17
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
... I mean if Klaus and others I know hate metal pop filters because they "ring"...
What the hell - I thought I was the only one [who feels this way]!
Old 18th December 2016
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
What the hell - I thought I was the only one [who feels this way]!
If you're talking about the clip on kind, they're also too close sometimes.
Old 19th December 2016
  #19
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If you're talking about the clip on kind, they're also too close sometimes.
I have one like this but I never use it anymore because I swear I hear a faint ring whenever the singer belts. I wasn't sure if it was my imagination or there really is a fait ring. But it bothered me enough that it sits in a drawer. I never use it. Instead I use a foam pop filter.

Old 19th December 2016
  #20
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timtoonz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by inestima View Post
I have. If a mic stand is making noise I choose a different mic stand.

This post should really be in the newbie section.
Says the guy with 92 posts to the guy with 1600 posts......

Old 19th December 2016
  #21
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toledo3's Avatar
 

In some borderline scenarios, even a decent stand like an Atlas might benefit from putting a rubber play mat underneath it....the kind sold for yoga, martial arts, etc. Can be handy to have a stack around the studio.

They usually wind up getting employed on the short stands I have, for things like kick, or guitar mics, when a boom isn't being used.

Another idea that can be handy...again, with a somewhat decent stand to begin with... is popping a dumbbell weight on top of the base of the mic stand, and screwing the stand back in. Though I would usually add that to be able to use a boom arm further out, I think it probably helps dampen some resonance. Some dumbbell weights fit over a stand tube just right, but it depends on the stand, and the dumbbell of course.
Old 19th December 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougS View Post
What the hell - I thought I was the only one [who feels this way]!
I hunted down (almost 18 years ago now) the best pop filter I could find in Germany and it was the Pauly. Dirk Brauner turned me on to it. Expensive but it really works. Klaus is not in love with the the Pauly either but most of my clients are. Al Schmitt told its the best he has ever used (I then saw him use it on Paul McCartney on that Sir Paul/Diana Krall TV special). Then recently I found this Hakan Pop Killer from Sweden, developed by the MicroTech Gefel importer Hakan (pronounced Hawken) Lindberg. Almost as good as the Pauly and way better than the panty house filters or metal ones.

Brad
Old 19th December 2016
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
We've talked about how speaker stand mass definitely affects the way speakers sound. I know for sure that ATC's sound better on higher mass stands than on lower mass ones. So if that is true, would not mic stand mass do the same thing to microphones? Especially higher end condenser mics with a higher bandwidth?

Has anyone ever had the notion to test this in their studio?

Brad
Four Words for this:

Latch Lake Mic King
Old 19th December 2016
  #24
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DougS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
I hunted down (almost 18 years ago now) the best pop filter I could find in Germany and it was the Pauly. Dirk Brauner turned me on to it. Expensive but it really works. Klaus is not in love with the the Pauly either but most of my clients are. Al Schmitt told its the best he has ever used (I then saw him use it on Paul McCartney on that Sir Paul/Diana Krall TV special). Then recently I found this Hakan Pop Killer from Sweden, developed by the MicroTech Gefel importer Hakan (pronounced Hawken) Lindberg. Almost as good as the Pauly and way better than the panty house filters or metal ones.

Brad
Thanks for sharing your experience.

I see the Haken looks like a great deal at $99 US for a home studio guy like me.
vs
The Pauly at $269 US

Pop Filters | Sweetwater.com
Old 19th December 2016
  #25
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Muser's Avatar
PORON Urethanes have various useful properties. maybe one of them could apply in some these cases.

Old 19th December 2016
  #26
Gear Maniac
Quote:
I know for sure that ATC's sound better on higher mass stands than on lower mass ones. So if that is true, would not mic stand mass do the same thing to microphones?
although my speaker stands weigh as much as my 100ASL's, I'm not sure this analogy is totally coherent :-)

IMHO this train of thought would lead more to evaluating the surfaces the actual instruments you are recording will be sitting on.
thinking about guitar cabinets, Toms, Kicks, drum risers, flooring and so on.

that said, of course your stands should not have resonances and be stable enough to not be influenced by the air pressure deriving from instruments hitting them. But thinking about stands for microphones might even correlate more to the kind of chair you are sitting on in front of your monitoring speakers.

yes, Pauly screens work great,
for me it is the first pop screen that actually stays put in the position you park it in front of the microphone and does not make you look like a complete fool trying to adjust the screen to stay centered in front of the mic. And it is the best compromise I have heard so far in terms of getting rid of plosives vs. transparency.
Old 20th December 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mart View Post
although my speaker stands weigh as much as my 100ASL's, I'm not sure this analogy is totally coherent :-)

IMHO this train of thought would lead more to evaluating the surfaces the actual instruments you are recording will be sitting on.
thinking about guitar cabinets, Toms, Kicks, drum risers, flooring and so on.

that said, of course your stands should not have resonances and be stable enough to not be influenced by the air pressure deriving from instruments hitting them. But thinking about stands for microphones might even correlate more to the kind of chair you are sitting on in front of your monitoring speakers.

.
Consider this; the mic stand will be picking up ALL those sounds and NOT in a nice clean fashion..This is dependent on the type of Floor material ect..
Old 20th December 2016
  #28
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A floated studio floor is to isolate from OUTSIDE low frequency sound transference (traffic / trains / etc.) so any sound made in the studio itself still transfers to the mic stands in that space. All materials resonate at certain frequencies and that includes mic stands regardless of their mass. Most will just shock mount the mic on the stand to dampen any transmission from the stand to the mic however if you want to go beyond that it's probably more effective to hit your local big box home center and buy some cheap recycled rubber floor mats and cut them up to put under your mic stands which will dampen between floor and stand. Additionally you can wrap the mic stand with foam as sugested above or for very little money just buy some cheap closed celled foam pipe insulation at the big box home center and attatch to the mic stands with a few wraps of electrical tape (this will dampen the stand itself and offer a little protection from head bumps LOL). So for less than $50 you can rig up many of your stands with likely better results than buying a heavier stand itself for more mass if you were to do objective testing with measurement.

The reality is most recording spaces don't have great isolation because it costs too much to design for high isolation and the mic will likely pickup that noise well before mic stand transference noise kicks in as the weak link. Given that noise is masked with the music itself and via editing we strip silence for when the music is not playing I doubt this is much of an issue to pursue other than for expensive mic stand makers to claim more mass due to their use of heavier steel tubing as a marketing pitch.
Old 20th December 2016
  #29
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Old 23rd December 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Lunde View Post
I hunted down (almost 18 years ago now) the best pop filter I could find in Germany and it was the Pauly. Dirk Brauner turned me on to it. Expensive but it really works. Klaus is not in love with the the Pauly either but most of my clients are. Al Schmitt told its the best he has ever used (I then saw him use it on Paul McCartney on that Sir Paul/Diana Krall TV special). Then recently I found this Hakan Pop Killer from Sweden, developed by the MicroTech Gefel importer Hakan (pronounced Hawken) Lindberg. Almost as good as the Pauly and way better than the panty house filters or metal ones.

Brad
Have you sent a Hakan over to Klaus yet? I was telling him about it a few weeks and he hadn't heard of them. I bought mine from John Willet in the U.K. Before you started repping them here. I think it's terrific.
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