We’re in an age of cutting-edge technology and ever-evolving audio production. Making your microphone just got easier.
If you have always wished to own a simple microphone made by yourself, you can record anything sound you want. Then this is the place for you. Here is a simple how to build a microphone tutorial.
A condenser microphone that is as extremely accurate and life-like as possible can be built for around $20 (US). Do not let the price fool you. This mic’s incredible performance will blow your mind. A condenser is also easy to build. -Joel Cameron.
The microphone was largely inspired by a post I found online that showed how to modify Realistic Radio Shack PZMs for improved performance. The mic design has been completed so that anyone can make a complete microphone from scratch.
These mics sound amazing! I made a pair and was stunned by how great they sound. These little guys have been my first choice for unhyped stereo images. They beat out pairs of small and large-diaphragm condensers and some nice ribbons.
There are many good things about this DIY microphone that merit a quick mention:
It uses a very simple circuit with few kits. Mic has very few kits, so it doesn’t have much to mess with the sound. Audio design is simpler than it looks, and this is the ultimate example of simplicity.
The mic is also very extremely easy to build, even if you have no previous electronics building experience. These mics can be built with minimal effort and care by anyone willing to pay attention.
The mic also uses a portable, proprietary power supply to replace phantom power. This mic is great for location recording, binaural nature recording, and anyone who has to rely on dynamic microphones due to their gear lack of phantom power.
Finally, the mic’s tiny 6-mm diaphragm allows for an incredibly quick impulse response. This essentially means that it reproduces sound very accurately and life-like.
These microphone parts have contributed to the recent popularity of ultra-small-diaphragm condensers. This accuracy cannot be achieved with larger diaphragms, even those used in high-quality pencil mics with small-diaphragm diaphragms. These microphones make a recording sound like you are there.
Enough rambling, let’s get to it.
Note: Each cartridge’s bottom is marked with a white positioning mark that can be used to distinguish Terminal 1 from Terminal 2. This dot is located in the noon position. Terminal 2 is left, and Terminal 1 is right.
- Panasonic WM-60AY [Ed. Panasonic WM-60AY [Ed. This capsule is a high-quality back-electret with a flat frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The internal FET impedance converter makes it unnecessary to use an external FET.
- Ceramic disc capacitor 1000 pF
- 10uF mylar, metalized polypropylene, or copper-plated nylon capacitor (DO NOT replace an electrolytic!)
- 2.2Kohm 1 % metal-film resistor
- 9-volt battery terminal with leads
- 9-volt alkaline battery
- The power supply enclosure is made of metal (important for grounding).
- 9-volt battery mounting (clip battery types are available at Radio Shack, or you can use industrial Velcro)
- Panel-mount male XLR connector
- Female XLR connector panel-mount for panels
- Male XLR connector for the microphone output to PSU
- Rubber feet
The project is divided into two parts: Fig. 1. The microphone. 2. 2 – The power supply. Fig. 2a is the power supply that drives a balanced input.
This is the most popular. It can be used to drive an unbalanced 1/8″ mic input (such a mini-disc multi-tracks or cassettes, etc) by connecting an XLR male to 1/8″ male adapter cable from pin 2 to the tip to pin 3 to the sleeve.
The supply in Fig. 2b is suitable for those who are not sure they will ever need to drive a balanced input mic. 2b is intended for use with unbalanced inputs.
It may be noticeable that the power supply diagrams do not have a power switch. The reason is that the battery drains only when the microphone is plugged in. When you are done using the DIY microphone, unplug it from its power source. The battery does not need to be removed.
To prevent shorting of the chassis or any other leads, shrink wrap all leads not being used in the circuit. Your mic will not work if it is short. You can buy shrink wrap at any electronics supply shop.
Connect the DIY mic cartridge wire of the plug to the microphone cartridge. Seal the entire cartridge wire with non-conductive epoxy.
Make sure you overlap the edges where the back meets the sides. This seal provides additional dampening to the capsule’s phenolic backplate, which extends its low-frequency response.
Mounting the cartridge in any manner you like is possible. See photos. I mounted mine, in the end, the rubber boot of a Neutrik XLR connector.
It allows for a small package, decent sonic neutrality, and maybe even shock-mounting due to the rubber’s ability to dampen vibration.
You can mount your cartridge in the same manner, but you should also sink it by gently pressing on the edges. You risk damaging the diaphragm if you mash it down too far from the center.
This method of mounting the cartridge will require you to handle the mic carefully to damage the capsule.
For construction, borrow or buy a basic multimeter. My Radio Shack model 22-802 costs only $25. This can be used to verify all solder points. Sometimes a connection might look fine but not make solid electrical contact.
You can spot a problem as it happens by checking the circuit as you go, rather than going through the whole circuit trying to locate a single cold joint. This can be a tedious task that can quickly become hair-pulling! This is what you should do.
A single-wide electrical junction box cost me 79 cents at Home Depot for my power supply chassis. It cost 35 cents to cover it and attach the screws.
This cover is a great choice as it’s inexpensive, sturdy, metal, and has the correct size punch-outs for most XLR panel mounting connectors.
Neutrik XLRs were used. I had to file four grooves around each edge of the hole for it to fit properly. But the hole was already there.
Take it slow! It isn’t a difficult project, so don’t expect to take too long. You can check and recheck the progress. It’s easy for me to get impatient. But, I recommend working methodically. The mic will provide years of great performance once you’re done.
Using your new microphone
These mics can be omnidirectional, but they also have directional characteristics at higher frequencies. A pair of mics placed in an XY configuration can produce a stunning stereo image.
You can also back off your top-end by doing this (acoustically). Point the tip of the mic 90 degrees from the source. Realism and the impulse response are unaffected.
These mics can be used for recording. These mics are great for recording. They also work well with spaced-Omni and Jecklin disc stereo techniques.
These are perfect for acoustic guitars, pianos, percussion, and just about any other instrument that makes you feel like being there.
Omnidirectional mics are more sensitive to the space in which they are recorded than cardioid microphones. If you want to achieve a dead sound you’ll need to record sound in a room that people do not use or use baffles to reduce the ambiance.
The mic was placed below the singer’s head and pointed up at him, which allowed me to control the ambiance of a vocal track. His voice was projected into the carpet and absorbed by the carpet, leaving little room for reflection.
Omnidirectional mics don’t have the proximity effect (low-end boost when placed up close) like directional mics. This allows you to place them very close to the source without having the unwanted boominess caused by a cardioid.
You will also need low-frequency equalization if you desire a low-end effect, such as a lead vocal and guitar.
These mics are perfect for recording any signal source because they sound natural. You can use them to capture guitar cabinets, acoustic instruments, and brass sections, as well as inside kick drums. Have fun and experiment!
Warning: Never connect these mics with a phantom-powered input without first turning it off and allowing for 5-10 minutes for discharge. Although it is intended to drive a balanced input, it does not have a true balanced output.
Therefore, the DC voltage from phantom power pins 2/3 will not cancel like it would with a balanced microphone. The cartridge is only rated for 10-volts DC voltage.
Satisfy your passion for creating a DIY microphone. Hope the article will give you more motivation and interested to do this. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Hookeaudio will answer your questions as quickly as possible.