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Polar Pattern Popping?
Old 14th December 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Polar Pattern Popping?

While setting up my Gefell UM-900 today on a lovely J-45, I wanted to A/B some of the polar patterns to best match the room (cardiod, hyper cardiod, wide cardiod, omni, figure 8, are all available). There is quite a "pop" when switching polar patterns, is this harmful for the microphone? Is it best to turn the phantom power off (or simply the gain?) before switching polar patterns?
Old 14th December 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
gainreduction's Avatar
 

It shouldn't be harmful to the mic, this happens on some models.

For safety, you might want to turn down the gain or the speaker volume so you don't fry anything further down the chain.
Old 14th December 2007
  #3
EJW
Gear Nut
 
EJW's Avatar
 

Good question, my B-uls does this as well and I always wondered if it was a no-no to switch the pattern while the phantom power is on.
Old 14th December 2007
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Elof's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EJW View Post
Good question, my B-uls does this as well and I always wondered if it was a no-no to switch the pattern while the phantom power is on.
My B-ULS mics do this too. When I noticed it the first time it was already too late, one of my DT-770 headphones broke down. Now I always mute the preamp or monitor/hps amp...
Old 18th December 2007
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I just sent my AT4050 back for service. I was changing patterns when I heard a POP. Then the mike started squeeling whenever audio was applied. So, I guess I won't do that again.
Old 6th June 2016
  #6
Lives for gear
Can anyone else shed some more light on this topic? I am particularly concerned with the aforementioned AT4050. AT4050 users, do you always turn off phantom power before you switch polar patterns? Kind of wondering if the previous poster's issue was an isolated incident or if that is a genuine concern. And in general (all mics considered) is that a common practice for most of you or do you just switch away without concern? Thanks.

*Edit: I just bumped an old thread but didn't realize it was in the high end forum. Probably belongs more in so much gear since the issue is relevant to mics of all price ranges. Anyway, if a mod is so inclined that would probably be a good move.
Old 6th June 2016
  #7
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mics's Avatar
 

Pops n plops

Hi all. The popping you are hearing is due to the capsules changing voltage (this is how we make different patterns). This popping can be annoying and in some higher cost mics, this is removed by placing a resistor and a capacitor in series as a rudimentary timing device so when the switch is actuated, the voltage takes a few seconds to ramp up or down thus eliminating the pop and plop.

Popping and plopping in a normal environment isn't at all damaging to the mic. In saying this however, if the mic's capsule isn't great and already has a small fault, this sudden change in voltage can cause the diaphragm to draw down onto the backplate and sometimes this can worsen the issues the mic may already have for example, if the capsule has moisture in the sealed space between the backplate and diaphragm, the moisture may create a permanent grafting point if the diaphragm was to react to the sudden voltage change and then it becomes permanently damaged.

I hope this helps you all some how.
Old 7th June 2016
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mics View Post
Hi all. The popping you are hearing is due to the capsules changing voltage (this is how we make different patterns). This popping can be annoying and in some higher cost mics, this is removed by placing a resistor and a capacitor in series as a rudimentary timing device so when the switch is actuated, the voltage takes a few seconds to ramp up or down thus eliminating the pop and plop.

Popping and plopping in a normal environment isn't at all damaging to the mic. In saying this however, if the mic's capsule isn't great and already has a small fault, this sudden change in voltage can cause the diaphragm to draw down onto the backplate and sometimes this can worsen the issues the mic may already have for example, if the capsule has moisture in the sealed space between the backplate and diaphragm, the moisture may create a permanent grafting point if the diaphragm was to react to the sudden voltage change and then it becomes permanently damaged.

I hope this helps you all some how.
Very helpful, thanks for the technical explanation! This has encouraged me to learn more about how variable polar pattern mics are made (I have an understanding of how mics are made in the most basic sense).

I am still interested in the common practices of other mic users. It seems the safe thing to do is turn off phantom power before switching, but I wonder if most users don't bother with that step and no trouble comes of it.

(Again, I feel like this would get a lot more traction in "so much gear, so little time," so if there is a moderator that would be kind enough to move it that would be much appreciated. I know I could always just start a new thread but that somehow seems wasteful.)
Old 7th June 2016
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Local Man View Post
It seems the safe thing to do is turn off phantom power before switching, but I wonder if most users don't bother with that step and no trouble comes of it.
Switching the phantom power on and of is usually going to result in just as much or even more popping than changing the polar pattern.
It's a good idea to turn down the gain and mute the channel when changing the polar patterns or phantom power.
Old 7th June 2016
  #10
Normal behavior…mute the monitors and turn down headphones before switching the pattern.
Old 10th June 2016
  #11
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeps View Post
While setting up my Gefell UM-900 today on a lovely J-45, I wanted to A/B some of the polar patterns to best match the room (cardiod, hyper cardiod, wide cardiod, omni, figure 8, are all available). There is quite a "pop" when switching polar patterns, is this harmful for the microphone? Is it best to turn the phantom power off (or simply the gain?) before switching polar patterns?
It's quite normal - Ben Sneezby explained why very well, so I won't repeat it.
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