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contact mic

Subject: contact mic
From: "Graham Evans" grayboodle
Date: Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:19 pm (PDT)
> I am doin this installation for a gallery.

Art is always throwing up the most fascinating technical problems.  I am
no sound or microphone expert but I felt like throwing in some ideas

> There will be a subwoofer inthe middle of the gallery and a pile of
> sand around it.. the viewers are required to walk on the sand..

Given you say a pile of sand I wonder if there is room for some negative
spaces within that pile.  They wouldn't have to be too big.  But if you
constructed large wooden boxes of very shallow height you could pile the
sand on top of these and put microphones inside.  Or perhaps some kind
of a false floor.

Then I think you would get the sound of the sand crunching against the
boxes.  I am almost certain you would then want to eq that sound before
broadcasting it but then perhaps the subwoofers would be selective
enough for that not to be an issue.  A compresser might actually be a
really good way of adjusting the sound so that the amplification doesn't
sound too localised around the microphone sites.  That way the sound
might seem to come from the sand as a whole.

My thinking is based on my experience using normal mics as I haven't
tried contact mics before.  Even tiny low quality lavaliers might work
well.  Then you need the air (the negative space) to turn the vibration
of the box into air vibrations to be picked up.  But perhaps contact
mics mounted on the inside top of such boxes would work well.  Then the
box lid could act as a giant diaphragm...

> footstep will be picked up and transmitted to the speaker...

Interesting installation idea - I would guess it will sound a little
like the effect you get wearing headphones and walking around the forest
with a high gain microphone.

> .. i am just fixing them onto the floor..

Perhaps the floor is a good vibration absorber.

best of luck
I look forward to hearing everyone elses suggestions...


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