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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:42 AM   #1
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Keep losing lav mic windscreens!

I shoot mainly weddings, and lately during almost every wedding ceremony, the groom knocks the foam winscreen off my Audio Technical MT350 (the standard mic on the Samson Micro 32 system). I'm on my third batch of Samson foam windscreens, which typically cost $30 for five of them when you include the shipping fee. These things aren't worth 50 cents! On the other hand, I want so protect the mic element from spit. Is there a safe way to secure the windscreen to the mic without damaging the mic itself? I know there are furry lav mic windscreens that are more effective, but they look big enough to draw attention to the mic.

T.J.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 02:15 PM   #2
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No but you can find cheaper windscreeens

You can't find a reasonable solution to careless treatment of pro-gear. I have a nest of Sony ecm-77bs and ran into a simular situation. I found 4 shields for $2.50 at RADIO SHACK. Better than the $20 ones I have that came with them. I think I saw several sizes. Don't just look in the mic section, go to the phones and micro-recorders. Mine were a great fit. I thought they were a little too snug at first but over time they were just right. At first you have to twist them on carefully. Now when someone loses one I don't care as much.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 02:33 PM   #3
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Radio Shack, eh? Cool. I'll have to take a trip there soon.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 03:09 PM   #4
 
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I for one, don't use them. They usually create more noise than they prevent, if they're just the cheap foamies. Real silk, held on with a small Blax rubberband works much better against clothing, and if you're worried about spit, it will protect from that, too.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 02:13 AM   #5
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I didn't get paid for a job not long ago because I neglected to use a foamy windscreen at a windy location. I'm not too worried about noise from clothing, but I'll look into the silk. What is the best way to cut down wind without making someone wear a "dead cat"?

Oh, a tiny drop of hot glue should stick the foam to the windscreen but could be removed due to the glue's soft plastic consistency. If I had followed that advice, I would be a lot less poor now.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 08:11 AM   #6
 
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Foam windscreens (most of them) don't do squat for wind, that's incredible, that a client wouldn't pay you. Ever see a windscreen on the Countryman's or AT 892's that Broadway performers use? Indoors, they can create more havoc that they fix.
As far as outdoors in actual wind..., a fuzzy is the only really good thing there is, other than going behind a tshirt, etc. Under collar with understanding of punching up highs in post...getting them to stand back to the wind.
If you need a less challenging means of keeping a screen on, the "sticky stuff" like Gorilla Snot works really well, and it's not at all permanent. It's like the sticky that you find on post it notes. Note: NOT the same as Gorilla Glue.
http://www.gorillasnot.com/
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 08:04 PM   #7
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I don't seem to have any problems outdoors as long as the foam is in place. This particular shoot was effectively ruined by the wind noise. It took an extra day in editing to work around the problems and it was really mutual about the lack of pay. I understood that I cost the guy who hired me to shoot some extra labor and the client got a lesser product. I will never have any doubt that audio quality is more important than video quality.

For the physics of wind reduction, I don't see any difference between going under a shirt and using a foam windscreen. The difference in the field, for me, is that the foam holds onto the mic head and does not move in relation to the element. Clothing moves in relation to the element as the person moves, so a loud, scratchy, rubbing sound comes through. Maybe this is where the silk come in?
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 10:57 PM   #8
 
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Foam windscreens are like sandpaper in terms of how they sound, which is why I don't use them indoors very often. The pure silk works wonderfully when you've got a mic inside a shirt collar, keeping the sweat from the skin off the mic and keeping the mic slick against the fabric. Pure silk is the key...rayons, polyesters, none seem to work nearly as well.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:09 PM   #9
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"I've got one word for you gentlemen... are you listening.... moleskin"

(With appologies to "The Graduate". Moleskin for sticking the mic inside the collar, no 'sandpaper' noise... good stickiness. Dr. Shoalls works good)
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:31 PM   #10
 
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Moleskin works with some situations, indeed. It doesn't pass the high end well, however. Somewhere, I've got samples of several coverings, and this is one of them. I used to use them in our training sessions. Still, it's a great tool to have in the box, just like bandaids and a variety of mounting devices. (Fangs, magnets, button holers, etc.)
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Old November 25th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #11
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Not all foam windscreens are created equal. Most of the "cheap" foam is made from recycled tire scrap. Virgin Acoustic Foam has a softer feel and will be more acoustically transparent. Foam also comes in various thickness and density. We sell Windtech foam screens. I have found none better, and they are reasonably priced.

But foam has its limitations. In higher wind situations, a fur cover (ie: Microcat) works best, or hiding it under clothing are your best bets.

Douglass, I am surprised to hear you recommend silk so highly. In my experience trying to hide mics in some expensive silk shirts & ties rarely works. When silk rubs against any other material, especially more silk, it's like sandpaper. As soft as it may feel to the fingers, it has a certain texture that just does not rub quietly.

Hiding mics under clothing takes skill to make them quiet. There are many materials and techniques developed over the years by professionals, and no single thing works in all cases. One device I like very much is Sanken's rubber pad.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 08:00 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Atias

Douglass, I am surprised to hear you recommend silk so highly. In my experience trying to hide mics in some expensive silk shirts & ties rarely works. When silk rubs against any other material, especially more silk, it's like sandpaper. As soft as it may feel to the fingers, it has a certain texture that just does not rub quietly.
Works great for us....and anything that works well...I'll stick with. I didn't suggest hiding it in a silk shirt or really expensive silk tie, I recommend putting pure silk (difficult to find) over a foam windscreen or no windscreen, held tightly by very small rubber bands called "Blax." I've done this many times, even on dancing Broadway performers.

As you alluded to, there are many materials that can be used, and no material works in every situation. I'm surprised you'd mention the Windtech, I've got a box full of them, and most of them (not all) are no different than any other windscreen in terms of noisiness or high end loss. Their larger shotgun covers are very good, only minimal loss with reasonable air flow reduction, but nothing that I'd call "exceptional."
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