So I wan to remove the inner layers of mesh from my MCA sp1's and was curious how to remove them and if you guys had any tips or advice on how to do it.
I'll describe a procedure below, but first some background for folks discovering this thread in the future - why would one want to remove layers of mesh from a microphone headbasket?
Well, the answer is to achieve a clearer, more open, less colored sound with more precise transient response. Over the years, microphone headbaskets have been constructed using one (ex: AKG C12), two or three (ex: U 47) layers of wire mesh. Like all engineering decisions, the choice of the number of wire mesh layers involves trade-offs. In this case, openness and minimal coloration on one hand and environmental protection and a "shaped" frequency response on the other.
I would never advocate pulling layers of mesh out of a U 47 or U 87 - these layers are part of the sound of these mics. But one of the beautiful things about low-cost mics is they encourage experimentation because one does not have to preserve an iconic microphone inviolate.
When the open area percentage of a headbasket is increased by converting it to a single-layer mesh design, the "cavity effects" of that little chamber surrounding the capsule are reduced. Internal reflections are reduced, coloration decreases, transient response is made sharper, boxiness is reduced, frequency response is smoothed - in sum, the microphone takes on a more "open" character.
The single layer mesh design has been an element of my signature sound - open and detailed but not sibilant, for years. So here's how to go about getting some of that sound yourself.
You'll need a tiny jewelers screw driver, a miniature jewelers file with a round, sharp point, a pair of sharp wire cutters with long jaws, a 6" pair of needle nose pliers and a heavy duty pair of long nose pliers with jaws about 8"-10" long.
To summarize the technique - you want to pick the inner-most mesh away from the outer layers then fatigue the mesh away from the weld points.
Sounds easy right? Its not. You have to work very slowly not to damage the outer, heaviest layer of mesh that is intended to remain in place. The process should take you 30-45 minutes if you're working slowly and carefully and not pulling the inner mesh away from the outer mesh. The key is to start between the weld points on the bottom of the headbasket ring, picking the mesh away until you reach the weld points. Then cut the mesh away from the welds with the cutters. Once you've gone all the way around you can start working the mesh back and forth to fatigue it and break it away from weld points further down the frame. This get pretty tough down around the top of the headbasket. Use a combination of your tools, go slowly, fatique the metal - don't pull, and you'll eventually succeed.
A Dremel tool won't fit all the down inside the headbasket to reach the seams at the top of the basket - plus, the wheel would be rotated 90 degrees away from the direction it would need to spin in order to cut those top seams.