Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by claz »

Has anyone tried recording vocals using contact mics directly on the vocalist?

I'm curious as to what this would sound like; not looking for naturalness or fidelity, but intelligibility would be nice.

I searched YouTube, and found only this, which was run through some fx: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_curTsXDjc

For those out there with experience, how would you suggest attaching the mic, and where (chest, neck)?

If you're aware of any recordings with this technique, I'd be interested in looking them up!
claz
Regular
Posts: 60 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:35 am

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by blinddrew »

Never tried it, but if I was going to, I'd be tempted to try and attach it to the side of the throat.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 18263 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Best place is the vocal cords, but the singers tend to get really pissed off (as they choke).

Haven’t tried it but unlikely to be successful as contact mics rely on being attached to a resonant surface, so I doubt you’d get much from skin…….. only way to find out is to try.

Also I’d imagine intelligibility would be a huge issue if you got much at all.

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4528 Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:00 am Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Bob Bickerton »

OK I got curious!

Have a listen to this https://soundcloud.com/user-51090484/vo ... al_sharing

AKG C411 various positions levels all relative to each other, only processing a removal of LF hum.

Better than I thought.

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4528 Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:00 am Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by ManFromGlass »

I knew an experimental music composer who put a mic inside his girlfriend. I never got to hear the final results.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5316 Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am Location: O Canada

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Bob Bickerton »

I'm wondering if he did too...... ;)

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4528 Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:00 am Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

AKG 411 is a condenser so I'm not surprised it's somewhat useable.
User avatar
Tomás Mulcahy
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2221 Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:00 am Location: Cork, Ireland.

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by ef37a »

https://cpc.farnell.com/sennheiser/pc3- ... 5AQAvD_BwE

I use a pair of those ^ for Skype and I have also heard myself on recordings and they are very crisp. The mic has remarkably good sensitivity for one so small but I use mine with a TEKNET USB A/D which also outputs headphone and works very well indeed.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13976 Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am Location: northampton uk

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Talking to a friend last night, apparently dual contact microphones, one each side of the larynx, were commonplace for aircraft crew in World War Two. I assume they were used to attenuate ambient noise and EQ’d to deliver intelligence.

Bob
User avatar
Bob Bickerton
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4528 Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 12:00 am Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Wonks »

ManFromGlass wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:52 am I knew an experimental music composer who put a mic inside his girlfriend. I never got to hear the final results.

Cue the age-old joke "I really don't want to hear some xxxx* singing".

*insert applicable crude orifice term here
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12629 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 5:06 pm Talking to a friend last night, apparently dual contact microphones, one each side of the larynx, were commonplace for aircraft crew in World War Two. I assume they were used to attenuate ambient noise and EQ’d to deliver intelligence.

Absolutely. Known generically as 'throat mics' and still used in some noisy and hands-free comms applications.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 33815 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Contact mic *on* the vocalist?

Post by claz »

@Bob, thanks for posting the audio example! It sounded like perhaps you tried different locations/attachment-methods, of which the first was the most successful. Would you mind sharing what worked/didn't?

@Hugh Would there be an audio reason for the dual mics, or is it simply for redundancy?

Would the recently reviewed cortado (plus, say, an elastic collar) be suitable for this task? https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ze ... tado-mkiii Or would it make more sense to look into a purpose build throat mic?

I'm guessing, maybe incorrectly, that tactical models emphasize the speech frequencies.

Fascinating! (To me...)
claz
Regular
Posts: 60 Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:35 am
Post Reply