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Old August 3rd, 2014, 09:28 AM   #1
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lavalier fails

Last ceremony I had a small sony ic recorder with lavalier mike attached to a microphone stand just below the handmicrophone, it recorded well throughout the ceremony but at some point the priest takes the handmicrophone from that mikestand (which was connected to a mixer see image below with xlr) and when he placed the handmicrophone back into the mike holder on the mikestand he grabbed the mikestand with one hand and he very briefly touch the lavalier mike I had attached to that. At that exact moment (I have a visual confirmation from one of my camera's) the lav mike dies, there is a loud cracking sound and after that there is only deadsilence.

I have just tested the sony recorder and it still works fine with other lav mikes, only the one I used doesn't work anymore? Anyone know what might have happened that caused that lav mike to fail?
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Last edited by Noa Put; August 3rd, 2014 at 01:01 PM.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 09:49 AM   #2
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Re: lavalier fails

Is it possible it was a static discharge? I have experienced on or two quite noticeable shocks over the years from static electricity but fortunately haven't fried any equipment.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 09:56 AM   #3
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Re: lavalier fails

I go thru a few lavs a year Noa and testing with a digital meter it appears that the cable eventually breaks right where in goes into the module ...I replace mine every 6 months or so as the cable does take a lot of wear and tear from bending ...he probably grabbed the cable and the wire inside finally snapped!
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 11:14 AM   #4
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Re: lavalier fails

Chris.

Could you tell me how to do that test. I assume you are using a multi-meter, which I have.

Thanks. Jonathan.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 01:09 PM   #5
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Re: lavalier fails

Likely the mic cable broke at the element... a relatively common occurrence.. especially on low cost mics.
Even top shelf lavs are considered expendables in the film sound world.. In that case, if an actor removes (and breaks) the mic despite instructions not to remove it themselves.. I would charge it to the production co. as L&D.. if it breaks through normal wear and tear, that's another story.
Of course for most wedding Videographer, that's not an option. Unfortunately when the cable is broken at the element it's usually not repairable. I have five or six Trams waiting for an economically viable repair procedure.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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Re: lavalier fails

Yep, it's broken at the connection, just tried it again and wiggled the cable at the connection with the microphone and I do get sound again but it cracks all the time. I usually get cheap lavs and I think Chris suggestion to replace them on a regular base might be the best option.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 09:29 PM   #7
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Re: lavalier fails

Hi Jonathan

Just put your meter on resistance (ohms) and measure across the plug and a good condenser mic will give you a reading between 700 and 800 ohms indicating that the cable is, in fact, connected to the module. If it gives you a high reading (mine just shows a 1 on the left indicating out of range) then the cable is open circuit and if it shows zero then the cable has shorted out.

As already indicated in other posts it sadly never happens in the middle of the cable but usually at the point where the cable goes into the module base so it's hardly worth a repair! If you are going to replace it anyway you can rip it open and see where it broke but my lavs are Azden X503's and not worth repairing as a new one costs $20

Obviously do a physical check of the cable to make sure it hasn't been "squished" by something and that can be repaired if you are handy with a soldering iron. I know where the cable goes into the module on my lavs, it's a sealed joint so trying to cut/melt it open would be a big hassle.

Chris
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Old August 4th, 2014, 11:43 AM   #8
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Re: lavalier fails

Thanks for that info Chris. I really appreciate that.
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Old August 4th, 2014, 03:03 PM   #9
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Re: lavalier fails

When storing them I wrap my lav cables with the same "over under loop wrap" everyone uses as a standard cable wrap for XLR and other large cables. I use it for all cables. On fine lav wires it keeps the twist out of it. And I don't hold the loops together with sharp teeth on alligator mic clips.

Good luck Noa, that mic is toast. I have only been able to repair one lav wire out of many over the years. It broke at the connector end so I was able to solder it. It has back up only status now.

Steve
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Old August 6th, 2014, 07:40 PM   #10
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Re: lavalier fails

If you are going to attempt a repair and manage it, I would rather put a new piece of cable and a new plug on it as well as the cable could be stressed elsewhere. Obviously if you are attempting a repair on a $400 lav then the time involved might be worth your effort and some new cable but if it's a $20 lav then it's really cheaper to just replace it rather than drive to the electronics store. buy some cable and a plug and then find out you need a better soldering iron so go back again to the store. On most lavs you have a sealed plastic stem so that would have to be cut away to expose the module terminals and then after the repair you obviously need to encase the repair again in a resin shell so it's a big effort and only really worth it on a pricey mic!

Chris
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