contact-mic-how-to

Easy, Durable Contact Mics How-To, with Sample Audio

You’ll find plenty of contact mic tutorials floating around the Web, but bassling (Jason Richardson) – working with a learned technique – has what I think is a really nice example, one that sounds really good. It’s easy to do, but unlike a popular tutorial (and one I’ve tried myself), you won’t wind up dis-assembling a Radio Shack piezo speaker. The result is an inexpensive, versatile microphone that will happily go places your conventional mic won’t, giving you new possibilities for sampling and sound design. bassling credits his source: This technique was taught to me by Alan Lamb when we …

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armhammer

Kitchen Contact Mic Chemistry: Make a Mic from Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar

Now, aside from making fake volcano simulations, you can actually get some recording done with this stuff. Science! Photo (CC-BY-ND) Rodrigo Huerta. Need a new mic to play with? Maybe you should raid your kitchen pantry. London-based musician Leafcutter John writes us to share a detailed tutorial on cooking up new mics from common household ingredients: Real Sound Cookery – Make a contact mic with baking soda and cream of tartar. [leafcutterjohn.com] That in turn is inspired by a terrific, detailed video by our friend Collin Cunningham for MAKE:Magazine (Collin’s also been a regular at our Handmade Music series in …

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Ten Music Technologies to Be Thankful For Right Now

Photo (CC-BY-ND Dave/riptheskull. Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers. I was thinking about technologies for which I’m particularly thankful, some non-obvious, some perhaps so obvious they might be easily be taken for granted. Each I hope represents some opportunities for others. At the risk of starting a Thanksgiving roast, in no particular order, here are the ones foremost in my mind in the waning days of 2010.

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iPhone Roundup: Field Recording, DJ Tools, Odd iInstruments, Cinco de Mayo

Now we’re talking: FiRe turns your iPhone into a serious recorder. No, really, a serious recorder – with advanced features and actual mic support. Your pocket is bulging with power. Wait… okay, that sounded really wrong. Anyway, the mobile software revolution continues. There’s so much stuff out there that it can actually be hard to track. Here’s a round-up to help you navigate everything that’s going on this week. And even if you can’t stand another word about the iPhone, consider this: the explosion of iPhone software, more than just a fad, illustrates what happens when you give developers tools …

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Recession Specials: From Tenori-On to Little Phatty, Costco Blue Mic Deal to Soft Steinway

Illustration (CC) Dani Armengol, who just became my hero. Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Who need them? The entire month of December seems to be on sale when it comes to music tech. Christmas (and Hanukkah, for that matter) are nearly here. Whether it’s economic pressure or just some aggressive holiday pricing, there are some big deals out there that could make excellent gifts – or might just give you a nice list for shopping for yourself before or after the holidays. (Yes, it’s true: most of what readers suggested in our “gift guide” for the CDM Winter 08 special wasn’t …

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Shure SM58 Mic Torture Test Pt. II, After a Year Buried Underground

The SM58. Unless your gigs are in Hell – and it freezes over – your mic will probably have a much calmer life than Studio’s did. Photo (CC) Deseret N/detmusic [myspace]. Just how rugged is your microphone? Mats StÃ¥lbröst, editor of the Stockholm-based Studio, took testing to a new extreme last year. He did violence to the legendary Shure SM58 – the sub-$100, vocal dynamic mic. It was used to hammer nails. It was dropped several meters. It was frozen. It was dunked in water. It was driven over by a car. It had beer poured on it. It was …

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XLR to USB: CEntrance MicPort Pro Reviews

Unintentional CEntrance logo on whiteboard. Photo: Tsega Dinka. Blue Mic’s new Icicle and subsequent discussion of alternatives like CEntrance’s MicPort Pro has generated some interest and chatter. Matej Isak sends over a review he did of the MicPort Pro: CEntrance MicPort Pro review [Mono & Stereo] CEntrance links to some other good reviews online on their product page. Highlights: Craig Anderton writes a detailed review for Harmony Central and in March did a short round-up of “fun stuff to plug into your USB bus.” Steve Fortner at Keyboard is quite fond of the thing. MusicTech gives it a perfect score, …

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XLR to USB Adapters: Better Options than the Blue Icicle?

I’ve personally always been happy carrying around any one of a number of portable USB/FireWire audio interfaces. But as readers pointed out following Blue’s announcement of the Icicle yesterday, various solutions have offered direct mic – to – USB hardware with preamps for connecting a single mic to a single USB port. And several tech blogs picked up on the Icicle announcement, so clearly there’s a need for someone. The major oversight of the Blue Icicle is that (as near as I can tell) it doesn’t have a headphone jack. Result: the only way to monitor the microphone would be …

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Blue’s Icicle: Plug XLR Mics Straight to USB

Ever wished you could take any mic you wanted and plug it directly into your computer? With Apple nixing FireWire and the whole size issue, it’s not quite practical to expect an XLR jack on your computer. You could use a USB mic, but they’re useless in other situations. Blue Microphones has a new product called the Icicle, which is a small, pen-sized gadget that has XLR on one end, USB on the other end, and a preamp and a converter in the middle. Price: US$59.99. No drivers required.

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New iPhone Multi-track Recording, iPod Mic, More, but No Love for Original iPod touch?

Mobile Apple users, I’ve got a couple of recording solutions for you – a hardware mic for the iPod (not the touch), and a multitrack audio app for the iPhone and second-generation iPod touch. I’m sure they’ll be a godsend to some people out there. But this time, I’m not waiting for commenters to say “I’m sick of iPhone apps.” I have to offer some healthy skepticism of my own this time around – and a bit of regret that the first-generation iPod touch is getting left out in the cold. But don’t let that stop you if this happens …

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