FORUMS: list search recent posts

Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Steven Broido
Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 18, 2010 at 9:43:13 pm

Looks like it's been about a year since I posted this thread:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/30/860295

Here's a brief summary of what's still going on: I'm getting occasional (but dramatic) clicks, snaps, and pops using 4 Neumann TLM-103 microphones running on phantom power from our Tascam DM-3200 board. We also have around 7 whirlwind headphone amplifiers tied into an Extron Distribution Amplifier.

Since my orignal post, our problem with clicks and pops remains - very frequent when the air is dry... More infrequent (but not entirely gone) when humidity levels in our studio are higher (usually when it's more humid outdoors.)

Click this link for an audio recording of what the problem sounds like:

http://cdn4.libsyn.com/fool/Distortion.mp3?nvb=20100318210656&nva=201003192...

We have two separate AC units... One that heats and cools our recording studio and one that heats and cools our control room. Both rooms exist in the center of a very large office space that has ANOTHER separate ac system... So I'm guessing we're heating and cooling air that has already been heated and cooled.

Humidity in our recording studio now reads at around 32% while our control room reads 16%.

Since my last post, we've added a humidifier to our studio AC unit only. But as you can see from the humidity levels in both rooms (which are connected by a single door that I leave open when we aren't recording) - both rooms remain quite dry.

Wanted to follow up as the problem seems to have gotten a lot worse over the last several weeks.

It has been pretty dry outdoors, however.

I've tried wiggling cables around to replicate the problem and can't seem to find a loose connection anywhere.

Sometimes if I leave a microphone open and the room is completely empty, I'll even get random clicks, pops, and snaps.

I'm still convinced that humidity is our culprit but would love it if I were wrong.

Is there anything else I can check for?

Are there anti-static sprays I can try? I've tried Static Guard in the past and it hasn't helped much.

Can I better ground our condenser microphones? As I understood it, they should already be grounded via Phantom power.

Should I have talent where anti-static wrist guards?

I do notice that when humidity levels are low in our studio, I shock myself when touching anything metal.

Since this problem is so intermittent, it's hard to know what else I can do.

Any ideas?

Ty Ford recommended pebble trays or wet towels...

Our studio is carpeted however and wet towels may be a bit of a mess...

I can try laying trays of pebbles around, but where would I put them and what kind of pebbles should I use?

I figured that since humidity may be the problem, a humidifier would fix this but it isn't solving the problem... And it will be expensive to upgrade the existing humidifier or add another humidifier to our control room AC unit.

Although I remain skeptical that the humidifer tied into our studio is big enough if we're still only reading around 30%.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I can't imagine that I'm the only one having this problem out there... But after doing several Google searches, I haven't come up with many solutions.

Thanks in advance!

Steve


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 19, 2010 at 2:58:45 am

Stephen,

Thanks for the samples. That doesn't sound like static to me, it sounds like digital clock errors.
Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index

Steven Broido
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 19, 2010 at 3:12:31 am

I thought that this could be a clocking issue as well except that I hear these clicks and pops through our monitors even when I'm not recording.

Our board is digital and our master clock is set to internal...

And since these mics are going right into mic pre-amps on the board, there shouldn't be anything digital that would effect them.

And the sounds are clearly related to the mics as if I bring the faders I can make the clicks and pops louder or softer.

Is there anything in the signal chain that I might be missing?

S


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 19, 2010 at 3:57:04 am

[Steven Broido] "I thought that this could be a clocking issue as well except that I hear these clicks and pops through our monitors even when I'm not recording.

>>not unusual for a clocking problem.

Our board is digital and our master clock is set to internal...

>>What else is plugged into the interface? Could be the board and the recorder are not talking properly. What recorder are you using?

Regards,

Ty Ford



Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index

Steven Broido
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 19, 2010 at 3:59:24 pm

Hi Ty and thanks for the help.

Our Tascam board is set as the master clock and it's clock is set to internal. I sync everything off the board.

We have one PC set up as our recorder... (BOTH SPIDF IN and SPIDF OUT RCA cables are connected) and I've set the internal soundcard setting to look for a master clock.

It's syncing and locking off of our board.

We have another PC that has an external USB Sound Card. This external sound card only has a SPIDF Out RCA cable attached (Going SPIDF out to the Tascam Board) We don't record on this machine and this external card doesn't appear to have any clock settings that I can find.

We also have a 360 Systems Shortcut that is connected via AES/EBU over XLR.

That is set to sync off an external clock as well (the board) and is syncing and locking.

I've thought that we could have a clocking issue for awhile except that whenever I hear these clicks and pops, turning down the microphone faders always silences them instantly - leading me to believe it's something to do with those microphones.

I NEVER hear or record clicks and pops when our microphones faders are down.

In fact, when I start hearing clicks and pops, it's always when a microphone fader is up.

Do you think it could still be a clocking issue?

Thx!

Steve




Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 19, 2010 at 4:19:50 pm

Steve,

Yup. You have a LOT of devices connected digitally. With the mics up and running, try disconnecting digital devices from the board one at a time to see if the glitching stops. That'd be my next move. That would isolate the problem piece, or help to isolate it. The issue may not be between the board and a piece, it may be between two pieces.

You might be able to achieve the same effect by just turning the digitally connected boxes off instead of disconnecting, but disconnecting them is best if you don't have to crawl around a lot.

Regards,

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index


Steven Broido
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 20, 2010 at 2:47:09 am

I'll give it a shot on Monday...

The thing I can't figure out is if a digital clocking issue could have any relation to mics being potted up or down on our board.

I literally NEVER have any problems if these mics are potted down.

Do digital clocking issues have any impact on Phantom Power?

That might make sense in our situation... If a clock setting was messing with phanom power causing static on those 4 mics to appear.

Anyway, I'll keep working on it...

Thanks again!

S


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Mar 20, 2010 at 3:06:41 am

[Steven Broido] "I'll give it a shot on Monday...

The thing I can't figure out is if a digital clocking issue could have any relation to mics being potted up or down on our board.

I literally NEVER have any problems if these mics are potted down.

>> Right, I understand. If you swap out those mics for others, does the noise continue? Could be the mic pres/faders are the path for the noise to get to the monitors.

Do digital clocking issues have any impact on Phantom Power?

That might make sense in our situation... If a clock setting was messing with phanom power causing static on those 4 mics to appear.

>>Perhaps not impossible, but I've never encountered it before.

Anyway, I'll keep working on it...

Thanks again!"


You Bet.

Regards,

Ty Ford



Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index

Jeff Powel
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Jun 8, 2010 at 9:09:03 pm

Steve, I am having the identical problem with an Shure SM 81 and with an AKG C 4000B. I have no data on my humidity, perhaps because I live in the Pacific Northwest and it has been very wet, so that seems less likely a culprit. I am operating with a MacPro 3.32 GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon, 8 gig Ram 1066 MHz DDR3, M-powered 8.03, Mackie 1640i mixing board. Universal Audio SOLO 610 PreAmp/DI box. I noticed it with the PreAmp but, it turns out, that was only because the signal gain was higher than when running direct through the Onyx 1640i mixer. (It has a preamp for each channel, but less power). When I cranked the 1640i preamps up, bypassing the SOLO 610 preAmp, it still happens. Tech support at Universal Audio said it was the cable. Tech support at Sweetwater that sold it to me, said it was a ground loop issue and to use a non-grounded power adapter. (Did it. No help)

So I am wondering if you've solved this conundrum?

jeff


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Jun 9, 2010 at 2:59:25 am

Jeff,

check to see if the Apple Audio/Midi utility is showing the same sample rate for the Mac system as the devices attached to it by firewire.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index

Jeff Powel
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on Jun 10, 2010 at 6:13:33 am

The clicks occur even when the computer and midi devices are turned off. Could they still be contributing?

jeff


Return to posts index

Steven Broido
test
on Nov 8, 2010 at 6:46:16 pm

test


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: test
on Nov 8, 2010 at 6:50:01 pm

test, test, test, test.

Echo test complete

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index

Jeffrey Davis
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 11, 2012 at 4:34:12 pm

Did you ever come up with a solution for this? I have had identical problems but the system is almost entirely analog (We do record to a computer through USB after the mixer, so that's digital), but everything else is just XLR cables coming into the mixer and a couple of speaker cables coming out. Pops and clicks just like you describe and a condenser microphone on phantom power.


Return to posts index

Jeffrey Davis
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 11, 2012 at 4:40:55 pm

I should add it's always worse when it's dry. Also the we don't redirect the sound from the computer (usb) back through the system so we shouldn't hear the clicks and pops through the speakers if it was a problem with the analog-to-digital conversion (but we do). At least I don't think we should, unless the mixer just freaks out.

We have had multiple mixers and multiples computers with identical problems.


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 11, 2012 at 10:52:16 pm

Jeffrey,

The problem is usually conflicting sample rates.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index

Steven Broido
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 12, 2012 at 2:45:58 am

We wound up pulling out the Neumann TLM-103s and put in EV RE-20s...

Not a single click or pop since.

The issue for us was definitely the microphones.

A bummer as the TLM 103s sound amazing.

Thx!

S


Return to posts index

Jeffrey Davis
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 12, 2012 at 1:18:53 pm

So switched to a dynamic microphone and it went away... I suspected that it may just be that the condensor mic eventually breaks down in certain environments. Not certain yet but it seems probable.


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 12, 2012 at 1:39:56 pm

Jeffrey,

Please elaborate on "eventually breaks down in certain environments."

What are the causes? What sort of breakdown?

The OP mentioned that he was operating in an extremely dry environment. We used to have a problem with low humidity at WBAL/WIYY every winter. When I walked into the production studio, I could draw a static arc of 2-3 inches from the console to my hand. It was actually painful.

There the discharges were definitely audible and, in some cases, blew out circuits in the console.

Unless your situation is extreme low humidity, ticks and clicks are usually due to clock errors, or something else.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


Return to posts index

Jeffrey Davis
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 12, 2012 at 2:36:52 pm

The room we are in varies in humidity throughout the year. The clicking and popping only appears in the winter when it is very dry. It also only appears near the end of a long recording session, after about 2 hours. We are using a. Earthworks FM360 lectern microphone. We have replaced the microphone (with an identical microphone from the same company) several times. Also, in our case the clicks and pops appear suddenly near the 2 hour and 15 minute mark, although the timeframe is not exact.

Actually not entirely suddenly. After about 2 hours we start to pick up an ocassional fuzzy radio static like sound. Then at a certain Point--SNAP! Very loud. Once you get one pop you will be sure to hear a second in about 3 minutes. The only thing the stops the repeated popping is swapping out the microphones but it will come back two hours later.

It only gets that bad on maybe 4 or 5 weekends each year but its drastically bad when it does. This has been consistent for 5 years now although a little extra dryness has been bringing it into the spring this year. Probably the 5th microphone too.


Return to posts index

Jeffrey Davis
Re: Clicks Pops Using Condenser Microphones Static Electricity?
on May 12, 2012 at 1:13:27 pm

Ok, will definitely take a look at that. Thanks.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]