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[Nature Recordists] Re: MS-stereo and figure-8 mics

Subject: [Nature Recordists] Re: MS-stereo and figure-8 mics
From: Scott Fraser <>
<< Thanks for heads-up Mike. Are the Rodes more susceptible than any=A0
other condenser mic? Or is it just the NT5s? Do they "recover" after=A0
the failure? >>

<<My NT5's didn't recover. After the initial event (popping and=A0
squealing sounds) they were both intermittent back in the studio. The=A0
failure can be subtle and intermittent, making it frustrating when you=A0
are trying to record.
I'm not an expert on this topic, but this is one reason folks spend=A0
the big bucks for RF mics like Sennheiser MKH series for their high-
humidity tolerance. I know there are many discussions on this in the=A0

I can't comment specifically about the Rode NT5's, but in a true=A0
condenser mic (the Rode may be a true condenser or an electret=A0
condenser) the popping caused by high humidity is a result of the=A0
polarization voltage discharging through the air gap between the front=A0
& back elements of the diaphragm. Dry air doesn't conduct, thus no=A0
discharge, while in moist air a sufficiently high voltage potential &=A0
a sufficiently short distance between elements can cause an arc across=A0
the gap. In all cases I've experienced as soon as the mic dries out=A0
enough it returns to perfectly normal operation. There's no reason for=A0
the mic to continue arcing in dry air, unless a design flaw allows the=A0
diaphragm to be dislodged by the discharge, although I would assume=A0
Rode to have higher quality assurance than that. From what I can tell,=A0
electret condenser mics are not susceptible to popping in humid air=A0
since they don't rely upon an external polarization voltage to charge=A0
the capacitor.

Scott Fraser


"While a picture is worth a thousand words, a
sound is worth a thousand pictures." R. Murray Schafer via Bernie Krause
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