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Static Electricity Woes - Condenser Microphones

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Steven Broido
Static Electricity Woes - Condenser Microphones
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:15:01 pm

Well the humidity is again dropping and I'm getting a lot of clicks and pops in my recordings.

( See this post for history: http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/30/863030 )

Quick Summary:

I'm using four Neumann TLM-103s getting phantom power from our Tascam DM-3200 mixing board.

Clicks and pops seem most present when guests move around near microphones or stand up from their chairs.

I am 99% sure that this has nothing to do with master clock settings (The board is set to act as the master clock)... And since the problem virtually disappears in the Spring & Summer, I'm still convinced it's static electricity related.

I had the microphones cleaned last year by Neumann/Sennheiser and things aren't any better.

Had a humidifier installed for the studio AC (but not the control room) but things are still very dry in there.

A few questions:

1 - What is the ideal humidity setting for a studio? (Ours is around 30% )

2 - Should our control room also have a humidifier? (Ours is around 16%)

3 - Are there things I can do to reduce static electricity in a studio environment? (Chairs without wheels - specific fabrics? Static sprays?)

4 - What about choosing shorter phantom power runs? Right now, our mic cables travel under the floor to the studio... I'd say the cables are around 30 feet long. Would shorter external phantom power supplys help? Something along the lines of:

http://www.artproaudio.com/products.asp?id=69&cat=13&type=90

Since we have four of these mics, I'm really trying hard NOT to replace them. But I will if I need to...

Thanks again for your help in advance,

Steve


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Ty Ford
Re: Static Electricity Woes - Condenser Microphones
on Nov 8, 2010 at 10:56:18 pm

A few questions:

1 - What is the ideal humidity setting for a studio? (Ours is around 30% )

maybe 50%

2 - Should our control room also have a humidifier? (Ours is around 16%)

way too low!

3 - Are there things I can do to reduce static electricity in a studio environment? (Chairs without wheels - specific fabrics? Static sprays?)

Anti static floor mats that have a lug on them that attaches to the ground lug of an outlet or other available ground.

4 - What about choosing shorter phantom power runs? Right now, our mic cables travel under the floor to the studio... I'd say the cables are around 30 feet long. Would shorter external phantom power supplys help? Something along the lines of:

Not a factor.

Since we have four of these mics, I'm really trying hard NOT to replace them. But I will if I need to...

It's not the mics, it's your space. Too dry. You've proven that. Now it's about getting rid of the problem. I worked in a radio station once in which the production room was too dry in winter. We could pull a one inch spark just by standing on the carpet and touching the console. We even blew out some modules. Google anti static floor mats and go shopping.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Steven Broido
Re: Static Electricity Woes - Condenser Microphones
on Nov 9, 2010 at 3:35:00 am

Thanks Ty!

I'll give the anti-static pads a shot... and keep working on getting the humidity up.

Again, thanks again... Your expertise is most appreciated,

S


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Ty Ford
Re: Static Electricity Woes - Condenser Microphones
on Nov 9, 2010 at 3:49:05 am

Steven,

Those carbon mats aren't cheap. Maybe get one and do a trial with it. Try a less expensive one and see if it does as well. Become the Master of Mats!

Let us know how that works out for you,

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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