The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Piezo Frap mic advice Sounddesign
Old 24th March 2008
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Piezo Frap mic advice Sounddesign

Hello there I have searched the web quiet a while to find a good
frap mic soloution for experimental sounddesign recordings.

I became interrested in this after having seen Anne Kroeber at th School of Sound
last summer. This was in London. I realy was fascinated by the insides she provided.

At the moment this the best soloution I have found:
Trance Audio Products
They had a modified version extra for sounddesigners. (Longer Cables)
But at the moment they are redesigning there product or something.....

I do not want to wait any longer. Has anyone experiences with frap mics.
Which Mic modell should I go for.

Is it cool to do stereo or experimental multichannel recordings with frap mics?




Cheers Tilman
Old 24th March 2008
  #2
I bought a TranceAudio contact mic after hunting for a Frap & discovering that they are no longer made... i really like the TranceAudio - its sensitive & low noise & has a great frequency response (at least partly due to the perfectly matched contact mic & preamp) - lots of nice low frequency energy... My one is mono but I am considering buying the stereo version... When i bought mine I requested a longer cable between the contact mic & the preamp which has been handy, although you have to be careful as the cable is sensitive to handling noise...

FWIW there are some example recordings from my Trance Audio contact mic here:
the music of sound » fun with a contact mic..

plus some here from recording wind on aerial guy wires with it
the music of sound » capturing the wind (part 2)

its a VERY inspiring tool, it makes you look for sounds in the world in a different way, simply because it records structure borne vibration rather than in the air. Accordingly the recordings have no room acoustic!

Old 26th March 2008
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Hello subbasshead! Thanks for your reply.


Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead View Post
I bought a TranceAudio contact mic after hunting for a Frap & discovering that they are no longer made...
What is the difference between a contat and a frap mic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead View Post
i really like the TranceAudio - its sensitive & low noise & has a great frequency response (at least partly due to the perfectly matched contact mic & preamp) - lots of nice low frequency energy... My one is mono but I am considering buying the stereo version... When i bought mine I requested a longer cable between the contact mic & the preamp which has been handy, although you have to be careful as the cable is sensitive to handling noise...
So you advice me to buy a Transaudio with long cable in stereo edition right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead View Post

its a VERY inspiring tool,......Accordingly the recordings have no room acoustic!

-This no room acoustic thing is very important to me.

-Great examples. I realy love the windy sounds they recorded from the wirres.
You have any tip how to stick the contact mics best to the soundsource?
Someone told me "Bostrich" would be the best material for that.

I will email Transaudio and ask for prices.

Thanks a lot / Cheers Tilman
Old 26th March 2008
  #4
What is the difference between a contact and a frap mic?

I call them (trance audio, frap, cducer etc) contact mics simply because they must be
in contact with an object to record them... in the end they are all piezo microphones,
and Frap, Trance audio etc are just brand names....
When I was researching contact mics I actually got in touch with Anne Krober
but later found out the Frap mic they used is no longer made..
Did you read the Dune article linked from my blog?
it mentions their use of the Frap contact mic when working on sound effects for Dune...
DUNEFX

So you advice me to buy a Trance Audio with long cable in stereo edition right?

I am very happy with mine, thats all I can say
and I havent tried a CDucer... but I have tried the ones I bought for my double bass
and they werent as good as the Trance Audio... but one of the main benefits of the
Trance Audio is the contact mic comes with a perfectly matched preamp, and it makes
a big difference...
I dont have a stereo version to try but will sooner or later...
Proximity is quite apparent when eg doing wood scrapes, so I am sure recording
with two contact mics would capture a stereo image... not sure how apparent
doppler effect would be inside wood/metal etc...

You have any tip how to stick the contact mics best to the soundsource?

90% of the time I just use double sided sticky tape
The Trance Audio mic comes with a bag of short pieces of doublesided sticky tape
which would be fine if its a nice clean violin or acoustic guitar you are attaching
it to, but I've used mine in fairly dirty environments,
eg pipes under a swimming pool:
the music of sound » Ambient swimming pool
Accordingly every time i changed position of the contact mic I had to use new
sticky tape... so I just buy rolls of double sided sticky tape from a stationery shop...
I have tried what in NZ is called BluTack, putty like stuff used to stick posters to
the wall, but i didnt find it so good as you really want as little as possible between
the mic and the object, so all vibrations are transferred....

FWIW the cable between the mic & the preamp on mine is 3 metres long, which is plenty!

thats my $0.05 worth

Old 27th March 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
danijel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead View Post
Did you read the Dune article linked from my blog?
GREAT BLOG!
i've bookmarked it highest priority!
Old 31st March 2008
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Hello Subbasshead,
thank`s a lot for sharing your knowledge.
I realy enjoy your webside.
Well I contacted Transaudio via email.
I am realy longing for getting a stereo set of these mics.


Cheers Tilman
Old 5th June 2008
  #7
Gear Addict
 

These Transaudio mics are no longer availale. :-(
Old 5th June 2008
  #8
Hmmm yeah I got an email saying 'closed due to illness' which is very sad news....
Old 30th June 2008
  #9
Gear Head
 
waterox's Avatar
 

further contact mic questions

I read these posts with interest, especially subbasshead's blog (and dune article) and various comments.

I am also looking for a durable, professional contact mic/preamp system with good frequency response for recording surfaces for sound design/fx, and to use on my bavarian zither, other strings and possibly on percussion (djembe, udu, hand drums etc) for live looping.

For general information I have an sm57 beta which I tried for percussion but in a live setting its very prone to feedback and seems not to capture any of the real character of the drum. For zither I've had better results close-miking the soundhole with a Rode NT1.

I contacted schaller about the oyster a while back and they basically said they dont have any stock and dont know when they will have. So it seems like the options are an akg c401 if one can be found, a c-ducer, or this which looks similar Accusound Ultimate Sound Reproduction

Subbasshead how did the trial of that barcus berry work out? Would it be suitable for general purposes do you think?
Old 30th June 2008
  #10
I'll write a review of the Barcus Berry once I've done enough recording to have a feel for its range, but will make sure i try it on a few drums as well.... it'll be the weekend before I get time tho & will psot a linke here when i do...
Old 25th January 2009
  #11
Gear Head
 
waterox's Avatar
 

barcus berry

Hi,

I'm getting back into some bavarian zither recording and wondered how you got on with the barcus berry?

I'm using a homemade contact mic straight into my cheap alesis mixer and, unsurprisingly, the sound is a bit lacklustre.

Would you recommend the barcus + preamp, or perhaps just a preamp to go with my homemade?

Someone at my sound arts course also suggested using piezo film. Any experience with that?
Old 25th January 2009
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by subbasshead View Post
I'll write a review of the Barcus Berry once I've done enough recording to have a feel for its range, but will make sure i try it on a few drums as well.... it'll be the weekend before I get time tho & will psot a linke here when i do...
Hi there, I am still doing research on frapmics.

To subbasshead:
I listened the different recordings on your blog and thought the transaudio sounded a lot better than the b.b. ones.


1.) What did you experience until now with the B.B`s?

I mailed Transaudio agein, but still they are not able to produce their Inducers:

"We are still not in production on the Inducer mono system, which
is what has sometimes been used for sound effects recording.
We have never had a stereo system really suitable for that purpose.
Our Amulet System is stereo, but it is designed for guitar,
and I think that the system would be impractical for your usage,
but you can download the Amulet manual at
Trance Audio - Product Manuals for details."


2.) Do you think the Amulet system has the same pickups and preamps as the inducer series. Maybe I have to email them agein.

3.) Did anyone try a C-Ducer system? They seem a bit uncomfortable in sice...

Cheers Tilman
Old 25th January 2009
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Dumb-Ask's Avatar
 

I hope I'm not hijacking this thread. I too would like too get a contact mic, but my budget is low right now. Are there any reasonable sounding contact mics for around $50?
Old 25th January 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Real FRAPs haven't been made in MANY years. Ann K has talked about how careful she is with hers because they are somewhat unique and not replaceable. If you hear some things she has recorded and then try to do similar things with a simple contact mic you will immediately hear why the FRAPs are so revered among effects recording people. I recall them telling me that, among other innovations, FRAPs actually had 3 mic diaphragms in them, at different angles. I had a long conversation with the designer (Arnie Lazarus?) many many years ago about them, when he was just about to quit making them. I could have bought some, but didn't because they were expensive. I regret that every time I need to do some fx recording these days.....

Philip Perkins
Old 26th January 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
iluvatar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumb-Ask View Post
I hope I'm not hijacking this thread. I too would like too get a contact mic, but my budget is low right now. Are there any reasonable sounding contact mics for around $50?
Try building your own. I bought a sack of 25 piezo elements on ebay for about $15 and onto a couple of them, I soldered a length of cable and a 1/4" connector. Plug 'em into a DI box and you're all set. I was surprised at how good they sounded.

-Dan.
Old 26th January 2009
  #16
Gear Head
 
waterox's Avatar
 

See above.
IMO they are usable and cheap homemade, but I'm looking for something better.

I have a similar experience using my sm57 beta on guitar cabs (low volume, often lots of effects) and on the zither.
It just sounds a bit wooly and unrealistic. I could probably find a better cab to use than marshall 2x12, but the Rode NT1a sounds a LOT better, if slightly harsh. I'm thinking of getting an NT2a as general purpose mic since I can only really afford the one right now. Anyway, I'm hijacking my own thread..

Quality contact mics and preamps anyone? Piezo film?
Old 26th January 2009
  #17
FWIW I i now tend to use my trance inducer contact mic with the BB preamp

its what works for me - I definitely like the BB preamp having XLR balanced output
but I am less impressed with the BB contact mic element
I am sure it is fine if all you want to do is stick it to a piano
(& a zither isnt too much different to a piano)
but I want to stick it to all sorts of random stuff
some clean & easy... some messy & difficult.
& the trance inducer mic seems to translate cleaner bottom end,
so I use it (with a Neumann KMR81 short shotgun on the other channel)

I havent tried a C-Ducer but bear in mind it isnt a spot contact mic
its more like a 10cm strip of plastic, so only applicable in certain circumstances....

experimentation is the key.
contact mics need good impedance matching
& lots of clean gain from the the recorder AND the DI/preamp.

its quite easy to get some kind of signal through,
but to get a clean, dynamic, high resolution signal from an object
is purely on a case by case basis....
so best to keep an open mind & be surprised by what you find!

eg my old studio had a big metal gate (3m x 5m) in the yard
that creaked like crazy when it was very dry & swung slowly...
so i tried sticking my contact mic near the hinges, which is where
my ears told me most of the sound was coming from...
but the contact mic doesnt hear what your ears hear & putting it by
the hinges sounded weak.... it was only when i attached it at the
place with the most vibration (a diagonal strut) when i got really
strong resonant sounds....

Its almost better to listen with your fingers before you attach a contact mic...

and yes, making a contact mic stick to a rusty old gate is a PITA
but perseverance provides its own rewards

FWIW there is a US$3000 contact mic made by Sanken
that can 'hear' ants feet - people use it to detect termites
but similarly, its application is on a case by case basis:
put it on a comparatively LOUD zither & it will probably
distort and/or break..... put it on a big metal gate
& you better be the worlds most subtle gate opener!
Old 26th January 2009
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Dumb-Ask's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvatar View Post
Try building your own. I bought a sack of 25 piezo elements on ebay for about $15 and onto a couple of them, I soldered a length of cable and a 1/4" connector. Plug 'em into a DI box and you're all set. I was surprised at how good they sounded.

-Dan.
Thanks Dan
Old 26th January 2009
  #19
Old 26th January 2009
  #20
Gear Addict
 

I ordered some cold golds last week (also an avid reader of Tim's blog)

I'll put a review up when I get them listened to.
Old 26th January 2009
  #21
Gear Addict
 

thank you guys,

well it seems as if there would be no real alternative to the transaudio product at the moment.

"to Subbasshead: This Sanken mic is cool. Listened that ants example you can find in the web. 3000$ and discontinued."

"to philiper: I have heard Anne Kroeber at last School of Sound in London.
It was a great experience to listen to her.
So you mean a original Frap Mic is something different. No one produces such microphones anymore? How sad..."

I am researching the Web since more than a year now, to find the right product.

Maybe I will buy something cheaper to start experimenting until I find the right
soloution out there.
Old 27th January 2009
  #22
You can read all about it here FRAP - Flap Response Audio Pickup

FRAP stood for Flat Response Audio Pickup.

I had the pleasure of using one when we did concert sound for Michale Hedges. Talk about a beautiful sound coming off his instrument and someone who could make the guitar sound like no other. It was an amazing experience. To bad they are no longer available but I sometimes see them on EBAY and elsewhere for really outrageous prices.
Old 30th January 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
 
BIGBANGBUZZ's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by renec View Post
I ordered some cold golds last week (also an avid reader of Tim's blog)

I'll put a review up when I get them listened to.
I just bought one of these it does sound ok, Unfortunately I had to send it back as the audio cut in and out.
In testing I stuck it on on my case of my pc and a strange thing happened??? I could clearly here a radio station being tuned off the motherboard ?
Old 2nd February 2009
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Just got the cold golds in (they cost about $50) and slapped them on a tibetian singing bowl through a Zoom H4 and was pretty blown away.

It could be the fact that I'm tapping directly into a perfectly tuned instrument there, but I was really impressed with the sonic result of the mics. Also very low noise, though for most contact miking applications I would imagine that self noise isn't going to be a huge issue. I mean, we're sticking it on to things and striking them afterall.

They also didn't need a huge ton of gain in that specific instance. With the line input on the H4 set to medium it recorded a fat, hot signal. In fact, I needed to flip the input levels down to low when I tried striking the bowl.

I'll go try them on some less intrinsically beautiful stuff later on, but first impressions are pretty darn good here.
Old 2nd February 2009
  #25
Gear Head
 
waterox's Avatar
 

Are you comparing the cold gold to a bog-standard piezo disc from maplin, or something else? Sound quality can be a very subjective thing!
Old 3rd February 2009
  #26
Lives for gear
 

One of the tricks to using the Piezo pickups is to use an impedance matching preamp with it. You can find them at most good acoustic guitar stores. Fishman, L.R. Baggs, barcus berry and a number of other companies make them. I found that using one of these really helps to get the brittle high end down, smoothes out the midrange and warms the low end considerably.
Old 4th February 2009
  #27
& no criticism (i own 2 tibetan singing bowls & love them) but the source
you describe is a loud resonating object, so its relatively easy to get a clean
recording of... ie a bit like putting a dynamic mic on a drum

cleanly recording/magnifying very subtle quiet sounds is another matter again...
Old 26th January 2010
  #28
Gear Head
 

Just wanted to add to this thread... I have built a few contact mics, and have also purchased one from Cold Gold. All of them sucked, for lack of a better term. To be fair, Cold Gold replaced the first one I bought as soon as I wrote complaining of audio drop outs and crackling, excessive noise. But the replacement has the same issues, and I'm not interested enough to see if 3rd time is the charm.

I have written Trance Audio, they are now selling the Trance Inducer product, for those of you who are interested. Well, I should say, they were in November... I have just emailed to confirm they still are.

Thanks for all the info folks!
Old 26th January 2010
  #29
Gear Addict
 

ha that´s funny. I emailed them too. .... a couple of days ago.
I can also confirm this. Now I need to save some money.



FINALY
Old 26th January 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 

I´ve heard good things about this

adyn-en

Haven´t tried it.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump