How To Use A Contact Mic For Sound Design

Chris Randall (Analog Industries) shared this video that looks at how to use a contact mic for sound design.

“I think I struck a happy medium here between showing the basic techniques and showing some stuff that more advanced users might find interesting,” notes Randall.  “I’ll let you be the judge. Let me know in the comments.”

Contact mics, also sometimes known as piezo microphones or pickup mics, attach physically to vibrating bodies to directly capture the vibrations of the object itself, vs capturing sound waves from the air.

As Randall notes in the video, you can get usable contact mics for almost nothing. You can find cheap ones on Amazon for as little as a couple of bucks, which are fine for experimental work. Here’s an Amazon link for the cheap contact mic he demos in his video.

If you want to get deeper into sound design with contact mics, check out sound designer Tim Prebble‘s article, The First Rule Of Contact Mic Club. It discusses why cheap contact mics sound tinny, recommendations for pro contact mic solutions and more.

If you’ve got your own tips on using contact mics, share them in the comments!

6 thoughts on “How To Use A Contact Mic For Sound Design

  1. Main benefit of barcus is preamp which grants normal lows, while a simple piezo disc sounds like lowcut filtered.

  2. CRAZY question — can you use a contact mic to generate CV? I don’t know how all that works, but it would be awesome to get that kind of very strange and unpredictable voltage as a controller, not just a mic.

  3. I backed these dudes:

    But after I figured out all it is is just a contact mic with limiting software it left me with the door open to the possibility of what could be possible.

    This is awesome! Thanks for the post.

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