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Simple bass microphone

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by mje, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I was assembling another version of Don Tillman's remote cable preamp (http://www.till.com/articles/PreampCable/) when it occured to me that the battery box I built for this would also power an electret microphone. So I dug into the bag of Panasonic electrets I recently found surplus and knocked this together:


    The end result- even with that questionable mounting- works superbly into my Contra. Sounds better than even the best PZT crystal pickup I've built. Granted, it's not as good for high volume situtations where feedback is a consideration, but at a total cost of about $4 (plus the battery box- another $10) it's amazingly good.

    I was going to modify some of these capsules for better headroom and higher SPL (a modification Siegfried Linkwitz came up with: http://sound.westhost.com/project93.htm) but it doesn't seem necessary. (I'll probably do it anyway.)

    You can find simple electret microphone capsules at your local Radio Shack for under $3. Add some coax, a little heat shrink tubing, and one resistor and capacitor and you can make something as good as microphones that sell for much, much tmore. The best part is that they're so cheap, you can carry a half-dozen spares ;-)
  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Very cool!
    Hope you can do some MP3's

    I've had my eye's on one of these for recording.
    Which also uses electret mics.
  3. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    That's a great project, though I'd add some felt padidng around the mics to eliminate effects from nearby reflections off the case.

    I knew John Simenton, though I'd never met him in person. I corresponded with him for a number of years, and helped him set up his first web site. He surprised me with a gift of one of his microphone preamps in return. A really nice, and very creative, guy.
  4. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    What a great idea.

    And that's really neat to have know Mr Paia himself. I've bought a few of the Paia kits and they're always a lot of fun. And work surprising well for the price. I ran across a Gnome at a garage sale and bought it. It actually works! Fun, clever, stuff. The e-music biz owes him big time, he kept a lot of innovators on their toes and and may DIY'ers entertained.
  5. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Cool! Although it reminds me of the K+K trinity mic, which i had for a while and found to be just extremely hard to use--hard to position it so it had both a good sound and a focused signal, hard, really hard--to avoid bleed from other instruments
  6. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    The Trinity is a cardiod mike; these capsules, out of the bag, are omnis, which I think are actually better in this instance as positioning is less critical. Get it close to the bass, set the gain low, and it shouldn't pick up too much bleed. I still haven't used this in a setting with other instruments, so I can't say for sure.
  7. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Not to derail but the Trinity is real different from bass to bass. On my German Ply bass it never sounded very good. Lotsa feedback and bleed problems. On my Shen Willow it sounds great.

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