The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Can summer heat destroy a condenser microphone? Condenser Microphones
Old 23rd July 2016
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Can summer heat destroy a condenser microphone?

Hey Slutz,

I was recently recording really loud rock guitars with my TLM 103 in my car. (I record in my car because it's the only good sounding acoustic space I have available). I left the TLM 103 in the car overnight and when I tried to record with the mic today I couldn't get any sound out of it. It was bright and hot outside (about 90 degrees F.) and inside my car probably another 20 to 30 degrees above that due to the heat being trapped in the vehicle (windows all closed). My TLM 103 is black so it was quite hot to the touch when I went to adjust it. Tried to record with it today and couldn't get any sound out of it. I checked other mics through the same cable and preamps to make sure the mic was the culprit, the other mics worked fine. The only sound I could get out of the 103 was the popping sound from turning phantom power on and off, but couldn't get any other sound.. So I fear I've destroyed a fairly expensive mic..

I was also recording some very loud guitars, 100 watt Fender tube amp running out to a Marshall 4 x 12. I had definitely heard some diaphragm distortion from the mic earlier and had to back the mic off pretty far (about a foot from the speaker cone) to compensate. Any chance that using the condenser on too loud of a source could have been the thing that killed the microphone, or is the heat scenario more likely?

Anybody ever fry a TLM 103, either literally or with too high SPL? What seems more likely?

Thanks in advance!

-MM
Old 24th July 2016
  #2
Oops. Bummer.

Can you please post a picture of your 100 watt fender and Marshall 4x12 cabinet and tlm103 on a stand a foot away and your DAW/computer all set up in your car?

What kind of car is it?

I had a 67 Plymouth Fury station wagon once. It was such a boat. I am wondering now why I never tried to record drums in it.
Old 24th July 2016
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Norton View Post
Oops. Bummer.

Can you please post a picture of your 100 watt fender and Marshall 4x12 cabinet and tlm103 on a stand a foot away and your DAW/computer all set up in your car?
Haha, no, it's not quite like that. I have a garage bay set up as a makeshift control room. That's where I have my DAW, pres etc. I have the amp (94' Twin Amp) in the 'control room' with me. It's a combo amp but has a power amp out, so I run a long speaker cable out from the amp into the back of my car (SUV). In the back of the car is the marshall 4 x 12 slant. It fits, just barely. I plug the long speaker cable coming from the Fender into the Marshall cab. Then I have a short mic stand and the TLM 103 micing the cab in the car, running out a longish mic cable back to the preamps in my garage/control room. I sit in front of my DAW with my guitar and a short cable into the amp and play and monitor from there. With the cabinet isolated out in my car I can blast the amp LOUD without going deaf. And also tweak the amp EQ settings while I monitor.

But I'd love to hear if anybody knows about heat tolerances of microphones, condensers and dynamics.

-MM
Old 24th July 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 
MarkF48's Avatar
Have you taken the grill/headbasket off the mic for a peek? I wonder if glue or something else may have softened up(?)

This was the temp of a car dash on a 90 deg day....
Attached Thumbnails
Can summer heat destroy a condenser microphone?-1077716_10201043348357567_1801680190_o.jpg  
Old 24th July 2016
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkF48 View Post
Have you taken the grill/headbasket off the mic for a peek? I wonder if glue or something else may have softened up(?)

This was the temp of a car dash on a 90 deg day....
I did take off the grill and open up the capsule, but there was nothing visibly apparent to my untrained eye. There really aren't a whole lot of electronics in the thing (relative to other mics I've seen) and just a couple of capacitors. I couldn't see anything that was obviously blown or melted or disconnected. Diaphragm looked totally fine, but I am no expert on the electronics side of recording.

Any tech guys know about typical heat tolerances of the parts within a condenser microphone?

-MM
Old 24th July 2016
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
Haha, no, it's not quite like that. I have a garage bay set up as a makeshift control room. That's where I have my DAW, pres etc. I have the amp (94' Twin Amp) in the 'control room' with me. It's a combo amp but has a power amp out, so I run a long speaker cable out from the amp into the back of my car (SUV). In the back of the car is the marshall 4 x 12 slant. It fits, just barely. I plug the long speaker cable coming from the Fender into the Marshall cab. Then I have a short mic stand and the TLM 103 micing the cab in the car, running out a longish mic cable back to the preamps in my garage/control room. I sit in front of my DAW with my guitar and a short cable into the amp and play and monitor from there. With the cabinet isolated out in my car I can blast the amp LOUD without going deaf. And also tweak the amp EQ settings while I monitor.

But I'd love to hear if anybody knows about heat tolerances of microphones, condensers and dynamics.

-MM
Great stuff! I love reading about creative solutions like this! I often feel that out of lazyness I get stuck inside the studio too much instead of using staircases, corridors, bathrooms, etc. But you have really taken this to another level! Very inspiring!

Thanks for sharing!

(Can't help with the mic I'm afraid but with that kind of heat I wouldn't be surprised if it was damaged, sorry!)
Old 24th July 2016
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Is it very humid where you are? My guess would be that humidity is the culprit. You could try keeping the mic in the house for a few days to see if it dries out and becomes useable again.
Old 24th July 2016
  #8
Lives for gear
 
m_gant's Avatar
 

Man- the very fact that you record guitar amps in your car deserves much respect!

And I mean that with the utmost respect!!

You my friend are a warrior & my guess is the mic took a dive from spl not heat.
Old 24th July 2016
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Lumbergh's Avatar
 

SPL

Epic way to destroy a capsule, kudos
Old 25th July 2016
  #10
Gear Addict
 
Jazzcrisis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by m_gant View Post

You my friend are a warrior & my guess is the mic took a dive from spl not heat.
No way--even much higher SPL wouldn't straight up kill a condenser mic like that. It might smack the diaphragm into the backplate, but you would probably have some output for awhile after that.
Old 25th July 2016
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Haha you guys are great! Glad the car method is being met with approval rather than scorn. And with that being said, I would be remiss if I did not give proper credit where credit is due:

I did not invent the car method, I actually got the idea from a terrific article written by an engineer named Matthew McGlynn at recordinghacks.com. Here is his article: http://recordinghacks.com/2013/07/28...u-already-own/

It is a major hassle in terms of set up to do what he describes in this article, but believe me: if you are on a budget and don't have or can't afford a properly treated acoustic space, then recording inside a car is totally worth it. The interior of a typical automobile just sounds great with no effort. Totally dry, no flutter echo, no parallel walls, isolated from the ground by the car's suspension, tons of built in sound insulation. Doing this easily made a bigger difference for my recordings than buying an expensive preamp and better converters did. You do not realize how ****ty a conventional square or rectangular flat-walled room sounds until you hear a space that actually sounds good. So props to Matthew for discovering this and sharing it!

-MM
Old 25th July 2016
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Is it very humid where you are? My guess would be that humidity is the culprit. You could try keeping the mic in the house for a few days to see if it dries out and becomes useable again.
It is pretty damn humid here but I had another cheaper condenser mic (Rode NT5) get messed up by humidity before and the symptoms were that it made a constant crackling sound. I was able to completely fix the problem by drying out the capsule in a small bag of rice. Works perfectly again. My TLM 103 isn't making any sound at all.. So I fear it's a more severe issue But since you mention it I might as well try the rice thing here too and see if it helps.

-MM
Old 25th July 2016
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
CEG85's Avatar
 

Sorry to hear about your mic.

I'm guessing it might be the high SPL.
I don't think heat could take down a well built mic like the tlm103.
You can always contact Neumann for repairs.

On a side note, I appreciate the fact you took such an unorthodox method to recording guitar.
Very cool!

Hope everything gets fixed soon.
Old 25th July 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 
sleepyhollos's Avatar
I'd be surprised were it spl. I regularly run amps at literally full blast into a u87ai and even a Coles 4038. Sometimes I can hear the microphone distorting so I have to increase the distance a little or back off the master a touch, but I have never had a microphone completely die. I'd imagine you'd be getting some sound from it if the capsule had been damaged by spl.

Good luck with it.
Old 26th July 2016
  #15
Deleted efff87a
Guest
Another thumb's up to you for thinking outside the box and sticking a 4x12 in your SUV. That is really brilliant. Especially for remote/location recording where say you're recording at a musician's home and want to keep the drums and guitars nice and separated. Seriously that is brilliant. It's like a big ISO box with a V8 and wheels. Park the SUV out in the drive and record. You cold even keep the engine idling to have the AC/heater on for extreme climate conditions if gas isn't a factor in the budget (assuming the exhaust is being taken care of as well). Brilliant.
Old 26th July 2016
  #16
Lives for gear
The TLM103 starts distorting at 138 dB SPL. That's very loud. Even if you managed to get louder than that, I highly doubt that you could destroy it with SPL. I use condenser microphones for close miking drums, on amps and other loud sources all the time and I have never had any problems. Although some condenser microphones have amplifiers that clip at a lower SPL than many dynamic microphones, they are generally less prone to damage from high SPL/gusts of air than the dynamic microphones. I've personally seen several dynamic mics die in a kick drum, but never even heard about anyone having an SPL related problem with a condenser mic.
I'm not saying that it's impossible, but extremely unlikely.

Heat certainly doesn't do any good and a black object in a car can get extremely hot. While it isn't very likely that it got hot enough to destroy the ICs or even the diaphragm, the thermal stress alone could cause some joints to crack.
Old 26th July 2016
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Me_Likey's Avatar
 

I had some Shoeps MK-41 capsules crap out on me in the Philippines because of the heat and humidity. Let it sit in a dry place for a few days and check it again.
Old 26th July 2016
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Getting a styrofoam cooler for the mics, CF and SD cards might be a good idea for those hot days.
Old 26th July 2016
  #19
Lives for gear
 
vernier's Avatar
Ha, guitar cab in car ..a la Train "Meet Virginia". Yeah moisture is bad, keep it somewhere it can breathe.
Old 26th July 2016
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Bhang's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
... Then I have a short mic stand and the TLM 103 micing the cab in the car, running out a longish mic cable back to the preamps in my garage/control room. I sit in front of my DAW with my guitar and a short cable into the amp and play and monitor from there.
-MM
I wish I would have thought of that. Portable isolation booth! Excellent stuff.

I agree that the massive SPL may have damaged the mic.

Moisture too is something to be avoided with electronics and can cause a lot of issues.
Letting it sit in a low moisture environment for several days couldn't hurt.
Old 26th July 2016
  #21
Throw it in some rice or find some silica packets..

Perhaps the heat expansion may have cracked the circuit board? Have you tested the circuit pathways?.
Old 26th July 2016
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Me_Likey View Post
I had some Shoeps MK-41 capsules crap out on me in the Philippines because of the heat and humidity. Let it sit in a dry place for a few days and check it again.
When this happened to you was the mic no longer making any sound at all due to the humidity? Or did it just sound distorted/bad?

Thanks,

-MM
Old 26th July 2016
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Me_Likey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Moss View Post
When this happened to you was the mic no longer making any sound at all due to the humidity? Or did it just sound distorted/bad?

Thanks,

-MM
Stopped working entirely. We thought we fried them, except it was odd they both stopped working so close to each other. It's not 100% relevant to your issue since these misc are SDC with removable capsules. My point is that humidity can temporarily kill a mic.

It's been a few days, did it ever start working again?
Top Mentioned Products
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