I need to capture the sound of an engine operating, under the hood. Is there a special kind of microphone or other audio recording technique I need to consider to capture sound of a very loud source?
I'm aware of NASCAR and other motor sport productions that feature the sound of the engine accompanying the video we see from behind the wheel. My application is nothing like that - but it's still very loud.
My go to stat for mice that work well in high SPL environments is to do a web search on 'KICK DRUM MICS" - these are usually placed adjacent to (or sometimes INSIDE) the large kick drum in a rock band environment. That creates serious pulse of low frequency pressure as a transient spike. If a mic can handle that - it should handle a car engine without breaking a sweat.
BTW, if you're not using a device or a mixer with a TRIM control, you may need a pad to drop the level of even a dynamic mic down to match the needs of your recording device input. XLR pads are available from most audio stores including national chains such as Guitar Center.
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Bill is correct. It's important to realize that every stage through the flow of your audio signal may be clipped (=distorted). So a mic that's not over-driven by loud sounds might still deliver a signal that's too loud to the preamp in a mixer or camera. So the preamp stage may distort even if the meter looks good. Putting the pad (basically a kind of volume control) between the mic and preamp lowers the signal to a point where the preamp doesn't distort. You can buy pads that have switchable amounts of volume cut. BTW, all this is just another reason to always listen to playback.
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