Adventures In Audio
An unusual use for a microphone shock mount

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

Monday November 14, 2011

The function of a microphone shock mount is to prevent any vibrations that are coming up the mic stand from entering the microphone. It's as simple as that, and mostly effective when needed.

However, there is another rather odd way you can use a shock mount...

Some time ago I was working with a singer who didn't have much studio experience. Although efficient and in tune, his performance was lacking in expression, light and shade.

In a situation like this, the key thing to do is find a way for the singer to feel comfortable so that they can get absorbed in the song. Turning down the lights can work. A moderate amount of alcohol can work. Other things can work. You just have to find what works, which can be the tricky part.

One common tactic is to suggest that the performer sings with their eyes closed. This helps focus their attention purely on the sound in their monitor headphones.

And... it worked! Suddenly there was much more emotion coming through. But there was an unfortunate side effect - the singer was now rocking slightly backwards and forwards, and a little bit sideways too. Clearly, sight plays a role in balance, and the lack of balance led to an uneven sound from the mic.

So I thought hard and decided to try something I would normally strongly advise against. I asked the singer to hold gently between fingers and thumbs of both hands, the corners of the shock mount - the outer part, not the inner part that holds the mic.

In theory, the elastic of the shock mount should prevent any vibrations entering the mic.

And it did the trick. Now that the singer knew where the mic was with eyes closed, he could sing his heart out. I did get the odd bump coming through, but fortunately only once during the actual singing, which was easily fixed with a retake.

I won't go so far as to say that this will work every time. But it worked when it was needed, and sometimes that is good enough!

One might say that it would have been better to set up a separate stand for the performer to hold onto. Possibly, but when the performer is hot, the last thing you want is them cooling down while you mess around.

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

Come on the Audio Masterclass Pro Home Studio MiniCourse - 60 great hints and tips to get your home recording studio MOVING

It's FREE!

Get It Now >>

Electric guitar - compress before the amp, or after?

How to choose the best key for your song

What is comb filtering? What does it sound like?

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

What is the difference between EQ and filters? *With Audio*

What difference will a preamp make to your recording?

Watch our video on linear phase filters and frequency response with the FabFilter Pro Q 2

Read our post on linear phase filters and frequency response with the Fabfilter Pro Q 2

Harmonic distortion with the Soundtoys Decapitator

What's the best height for studio monitors? Answer - Not too low!

What is the Red Book standard? Do I need to use it? Why?

Will floating point change the way we record?

Mixing: What is the 'Pedalboard Exception'?

The difference between mic level and line level

The problem with parallel compression that you didn't know you had. What it sounds like and how to fix it.

Compressing a snare drum to even out the level

What does parallel compression on vocals sound like?

How to automate tracks that have parallel compression

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue

Clipping and compressing a drum recording to achieve an exciting sound texture

What can we learn about room acoustics from this image?

Can you hear the subtle effect of the knee control of the compressor? (With audio and video demonstrations)

What is the best studio microphone?

What is the Neve sound? (Using the Slate Digital FG-73)