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How to test a possibly bad mic?

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Angelo Lorenzo
How to test a possibly bad mic?
on Apr 16, 2012 at 8:18:34 pm

I have an Audix UEM-81(w/ shotgun capsule) my friend dumped on me, and I'm having a terrible time getting a usable recording signal out of it (fresh battery before anyone answers back with that). I would say that it barely gets above 20db from the noise floor and it needs a good amount of sound pressure to the point where it needs to be right against whatever I'm recording; my friend was trying to use it in a very futile manner for field recording dialog.

Generally, it doesn't sound damaged as the response sounds normal and undistorted

I can't find much on the mic except this review and even the samples aren't recorded very hot.

Is there a way to test or compare output level? Otherwise I may just reserve this mic for guitar cabinets or snare.

Published sensitivity is 3 mV/Pa @1k (I much prefer my Rode NTG-2 at 15.00mV)

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Jordan Wolf
Re: How to test a possibly bad mic?
on Apr 16, 2012 at 8:39:58 pm

Did you friend purchase the mic "new", or did he get it used, also?

It sort of sounds like the circuitry that energizes the diaphragm plate is bad or going bad - my bet would be overexposure to moisture.


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Ty Ford
Re: How to test a possibly bad mic?
on Apr 16, 2012 at 9:07:35 pm

Hello Angelo and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

3 vs 15 is pretty seriously different.

If you have any other mics, plug them in and see how much level they need,

Make sure you try both mics on the same cable. Then try another cable.


Ty Ford

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Craig Alan
Re: How to test a possibly bad mic?
on Apr 21, 2012 at 7:34:49 pm

power will not adversely effect the UEM81S as long as batteries are installed. If batteries are
not installed and phantom power is engaged, you may experience frequency loss in the bass
frequencies and higher self noise.
Avoid plugging or unplugging the microphone from a PA system unless the channel is muted or the
volume of the system is turned down. Failure to do so may result in a loud “popping” noise

this is from user manual. seems like a lot of things can damage this low end mike.

try cleaning the battery connections.

will help oxidation. the rest of claims are hype but that it does well.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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