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!

12 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.

  4. power electronics noise this will help even more?? as my black metal i’m done with! i seek the sounds od murder death despair hatred beyond rage meets war in my head spoken by legend gg allin, trying find a cheap mixer and this thing just found a medal thing with 2 springs plugs into a pedal then guess into cheap mixer tescam i had then into an amp into something ????? to record my journey into pre-suicide by right loads published songs/poems on lulu a flowing river of demented thoughts ….trying to revive 1 last time too before terminal mom passes i have loads bukowski meets manson both named charles lyrics waiting TO BECOME! UNLIKE MY DSBM BAND….but no help on what i need! poor! no guitar getting rid my aby sg gibson….just POWER ELECTRONIC NOISE!!! WITH ASHPOOL TYPE BM VOCALS SEMI BUT WAR IN MY HEAD SPOKEN AS BY GG ALLIN…..this youtube video shows the sound of the medal box w 2 springs hooked think into amp what you show think i cant speak through it???? but it can amplify crazier this sound…. instagram if any reply… der_engel_des_todes twitter rare few my poems, @jegPoems

  5. Wow this is so coolI recently learned that connecting a piezo directly to a mixer/recorder actually creates a high pass filter around 200hz because of the extreme impedance difference between the piezo and the input of the other device. Adding a simple preamp can get all those low frequencies back! They’re pretty easy to build and schematics (and even kits) are widely available online.

  6. Such a good information about the contact mic for sound design this is very help full article thanks do much sharing this idea

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