All profit supporting   special needs music

Accessories Clip on microphones (pads thumping noise)

lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
Hi,
I know keys/pads noise is something to live with when using to clip on microphones. Despite that I saw videos on YouTube on which these microphones perform very well in this department.

In this video the Shure Beta 98HC picks almost nothing of keys/pads noise:
Shure Beta 98HC, Beta 57A & Rode NT2A

In this video the AKG C519ML picks almost no noise while it's noticeable on the Beta 98HC and annoying on the Sennheiser:
Shure Beta 98HC, AKG 519C & Sennheiser e908

In this video Beta 98HC is the quietest and the AT-350U is the most noisy, the DP 4099 is between them.
Shure Beta 98HC, ATM-350U & DPA 4099

While in this video is the opposite, the C519M picks more noise than the Beta 98HC:
Shure Beta 98HC, AKG C519 & DP 4099

In this video the AKG C519M picks almost no noise:
AKG C519 & SD LCM89

The AKG C519 performs great in this video, even when compared with a top notch studio microphone:
AKG C519 & Neumann TLM-102

And the same in this video:
AT 2020, Behringer C2, Shure SM 57 & AKG C519

Now the questions...
  • What makes a clip on microphone to pick more pads/keys noise in the recordings?
  • What could help to reduce it?
  • Why sometimes the Beta 98HC does it better than the C519M and sometimes does it worse?
  • I have an old SM98 with the A89KCS clip, would the C519 or the Beta 98HC offer a better noise isolation?
  • If I eventually "upgrade" my SM98 and buy a new C519 or Beta 98HC for getting a better isolation, how much (if any) sound quality would I sacrifice?

Thank you very, very much in advance.
 
S

Saxamofone

New Member
Messages
25
Locality
Contra Costa
Now the questions...
  • What makes a clip on microphone to pick more pads/keys noise in the recordings?
  • What could help to reduce it?
The mechanical vibration of the bumper corks/felts slapping back when you release a key and the pads hitting the tone holes when you press a key -- and all the mechanical movement of the keywork -- gets transmitted thru the brass of the sax thru the bell into the clip and up the gooseneck (and mic cable) into the housing of the mic capsule.

You can reduce it to a certain extent with cushion on the clip itself and shock isolation of the mic capsule on the end of the gooseneck of the clip. But even then, the mechanical vibration makes it thru the fairly stiff sheath of the cable up to the mic capsule. I've experimented with cables that transition to very fine, flexible wire for an inch or two between where the clip/gooseneck holds the cable and where the cable enters the mic capsule - it helps a little but not enough. Electronics are getting so small you could probably get a miniature transmitter/battery inside the capsule itself and then no wire at all.

I've experimented a lot with shock mount designs and it usually involves some sort of stretchy/flexible suspension to absorb the vibration - and that's great if you hold still to play but the more flexible you make things, the less secure the mic is for an environment that moves around (i.e. you dance and swing your sax around like Lenny Pickett with Tower of Power in the 70's).

They key noise with a clip-on setup is fine for live but no matter how good/expensive the clip setup, I can still hear the mechanical key noise when recording compared to recording with the same mic un-clipped from the bell and clipped onto a mic stand and playing at the same position relative to the mic.

My biggest problem with clip-on mic in a live band situation (electric guitars/bass and loud drums/timbales/conga) is that I need to be able to work the mic when the music changes from something delicate and sweet to something that rocks hard. You can only control dynamics with your breath to a certain point and electric guitars turn up their amps beyond what you can compensate for by blowing harder. (I suppose you could rig up a volume pedal)
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,815
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
It's a physical transfer of sound through the clip.
Bubble wrap under the clip doesn't look great but can help. Softer or extra foam on the clip helps as does a better shock mount. Foam at every opportunity in the chain will help deaden it.
Position of the clip on the horn can make it better or worse. A few mm can have a big effect.
Old hard pads, corks and felts won't help. Softer pads and a lighter touch while playing will help, but it's not always practical.
I don't think there's a shop bought solution. A little personalising and customising may be the answer.
A great mic on a poor mount will still clunk.
 
lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
Thank you very much for your replies. I wonder why in many of the videos in the links in the OP there's almost no pads/keys noise and in many other the noise is noticeable even using the same microphones. Could be the clip position on the bell so relevant? Could be something in the recording chain increasing/reducing the noise? Most recordings seem to be unprocessed. I realizaed the microphone cable picks vibrations if in contact with the bell and if it's in contact with the gooseneck it picks it's vibrations making the microphone shockmount useless.

I guess I'll do some experimentation as Colin suggested, I have a 3D resin printer and I have acceptable 3D design skills. Probably a shockmount redesign could be the answer.

Again, thank you very much for your replies.
 
Veggie Dave

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,487
Locality
Citizen of Nowhere
A clip-on mic isn't really a good idea if this is for recording. If it's for live work then most extraneous noise won't be heard in most situations. If you're playing more boisterous music then it won't be heard at all.
 
lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
A clip-on mic isn't really a good idea if this is for recording. If it's for live work then most extraneous noise won't be heard in most situations. If you're playing more boisterous music then it won't be heard at all.
That's true! I use other microphones for studio recording, my favorite for this is the Shure SM81 which is rarely used for recording saxophones, I appreciate the flat response with no boost in the upper frequencies as most vocal microphones do.

But I'm surprised about how well perform certain microphones when isolating keys/pads noise. When you have a minute take a look at the videos in my first post, the audio is supposed to be pure and unprocessed and in most cases keys/pads noise is hardly noticeable, even when the saxophone is the only instrument.
 
DartmoorHedgehog

DartmoorHedgehog

Member
Messages
314
Locality
Dartmoor, SW UK
A clip-on mic isn't really a good idea if this is for recording. If it's for live work then most extraneous noise won't be heard in most situations. If you're playing more boisterous music then it won't be heard at all.
Totally agree. Most of my live sax playing these days is with a rock/punk band, so the odd bit of noise (and even the sound quality to a degree) doesn't really matter. I find it much easier with a clip-on mic because I've never got used to playing into a mic on a stand (most of my wind playing before has been in non-amplified trad jazz and concert bands).

When we started using sax in the band I tried for a bit to get used to playing into a vocal-type mic, then borrowed an AKG clip-on gooseneck drum mic and it was a revelation. Now I use a similar (cheap copy) mic and it works really well. There's some pad noise if I just flap the keys but when I'm playing it's not a problem.

For studio recordings though I've played into a fixed mic and just forced myself to stay still :)
 
thomsax

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,522
Locality
Sweden
  • What makes a clip on microphone to pick more pads/keys noise in the recordings?
  • What could help to reduce it?
If a player with "weak" tone is playing with a clip-on microphone the pad and key noise will be more out of in front. I never heard Clarence Clemons pad or key noise. To play with full volume helps up.

I have some clip-on microphones.
For me it's
Soprano: Ok, but "Why?"
Alto: Ok.
Tenor: Ok but the clip-on microphone limits the Rock & Roll Saxophone.
Baritone: No. The small microphones can't handle the sound from a full volume baritone.

Cord or cordless? Cord for me. The clip-on microphone sender picks up the "clicks" from the electric fence, cows close to the woodshed. A "click" that is about 30bpm. But perfect for longtones excercises.

The best clip-on microphone is a SM57!! Something in the style that Clarence Clemons played in the 70's and early 80's.

Ccequip

View: https://youtu.be/4dG3jc6fzPY
 
T

turf3

Member
Messages
787
Locality
Earth
If you can find one, you can use the Keene Clamp, with a short 4" angle mount and an SM57 for excellent results. It'll make the horn balance strangely, but you can get used to it. When I used this rig I would duct-tape the cable to the side of the bell as well for a little strain relief.
 
lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
If you can find one, you can use the Keene Clamp, with a short 4" angle mount and an SM57 for excellent results. It'll make the horn balance strangely, but you can get used to it. When I used this rig I would duct-tape the cable to the side of the bell as well for a little strain relief.
I found a tenor and a soprano Keen Clamp among my stuff. I'll experiment with them.
Keene Clamp


Thank you for your suggestion.
 
lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
The soprano clamp is brand new and in its original "packaging".
Keene Clamp 2

Keene Clamp 3
 
T

turf3

Member
Messages
787
Locality
Earth
I think hooking a Shure SM57 to the end of a soprano would not work out very well at al.
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,815
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
This looks interesting

 
John Laughter

John Laughter

Member
Messages
446
Locality
Macon,GA
I never heard Clarence Clemons pad or key noise. To play with full volume helps up.
:clapping: likewise with Scott Page and Pink Floyd, Tim Cappello and Tina and so many more.
 
Last edited:
lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
I think hooking a Shure SM57 to the end of a soprano would not work out very well at al.
Totally agree! I rarely play soprano, mostly alto and tenor. But I'd never use a SM57 for the soprano or any other sax, I do prefer other dynamic microphones.
 
rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,130
Locality
Surrey, UK
I think hooking a Shure SM57 to the end of a soprano would not work out very well at al.

A curved sop is easier to mic up and get a balanced sound.

Rhys
 
lpgasparotto

lpgasparotto

New Member
Messages
27
Locality
Buenos Aires Argentina
Hi,
I did some experimentation but not with the Keen Clamp. I attached a Radio Shack Realistic tie clip microphone to the rubber shockmount on the A98KCS while keeping the SM98 and I recorded a stereo file, SM98 to the left and Realistic to the right and then splitted it into 2 mono files (available here).

Here're my findings:
  • The SM98 picks a more dry tone than the Realistic. This is because the Realistic is omnidirectional and the SM98 is cardioid.
  • The Realistic picks more ambient sound because the same reason.
  • The Realistic recorded a more rounded tone, more real.
  • The SM98 picked far more pads thumbing and keys noise, this is the weirdest finding because both microphones were using the same rubber shockmount in the A98KCS. This makes me think it could be something wrong with the SM98 itself.
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,815
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
Could be the internals.
 
GJ77

GJ77

Senior Member
Messages
791
Locality
Dunmow, Essex.
I’ve been using a DPA4099 for years, and while the key noise is apparent when carrying out line checks, it becomes an irrelevance when a band is playing. I tend not to use it on smaller, more polite gigs, when a Sennheiser MD441U on a stand is the preferred option.
 

Similar threads (maybe)

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom