Microphone Blimp

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Introduction: Microphone Blimp

Wind across a microphone causes distortion and unwanted noise for videographers and nature recorders while taping outside. The purpose of the microphone 'blimp' is to attenuate the wind noise without interfering with the desired sound. Blimps are expensive. This project came in under $40.

Mics are interchangeable in this blimp (if the mic's diameter will fit inside).

Step 1: Materials

'Nugget' bird feeder from Agway ~ $20
Paint roller from Walmart ~ $2.25
Scrunchie hair elastics ~ $3
Sink strainer from Bed Bath & Beyond ~ $4
Microphone(s) (assumed you already have these)

(Materials not shown)
Five feather boas from Michael's craft store ~$10
Epoxy
Black thread and needle
paint roller extension pole from Home Depot ~ $16

Step 2: Attach Mic Shock Mount Cords

1. Use a hacksaw to cut off the fixed end of the bird feeder tube. Pull the removeable end of the tube off and retain for later use.

2. Cut the elastics in half and thread the elastic through the grill in the bird feeder (a long pair of hemostats is helpful).

3. Clip one end of the elastic (a bulldog clip or similar) and thead the other end of the elastic through the grill and clip that end (see figure with clips).

4. Use superglue to glue the elastic band ends together. If the ends don't stick, use scissors to cut the glue off of each end before attempting to glue again.

5. Continue with other bands until an 'X' pattern is achieved.

6. Repeat 'X' pattern until three sets of elastics are mounted (see figure)

7. Test elastics position by sliding the mic through the sets of elastics as shown in two figures. Ensure that the mic doesn't touch the sides, because any movement of the blimp will cause the sound of the knocking of the mic against the grill on the recording.

Step 3: Mount the Grip Handle

1. Use a hacksaw to cut the roller from the paint roller handle. Ensure that the cut leaves a small amount of tip above the bend, so that this tip can be inserted into the grill for support purposes.

2. Bend the handle away from 90 degree, if desired. In other words, check the angle of the handle in the completed project. I didn't want mine straight up and down when I pointed it at my sound source.

3. Insert the tip that was left after cutting the roller off into the tube grillwork.

4. I used thin brass wire to attach the grip handle and then followed that with epoxy. Your ingenuity is probably better - U-shaped bolts or whatever.

Step 4: Mount the Screen in the Removeable Top

1. Use a Dremel or other cutting tool to remove a 2-inch diameter disc from the removeable top of the bird feeder.

2. Insert the sink strainer screen into the bottom of the modifed bird feeder top to measure the amount of screen to be cut. A grease pencil is useful to mark the screen -- otherwise, eyeballing it is OK.

3. Use a heavy set of scissors to cut the strainer screen to the proper size.

4. Insert the screen cutout through the bottom of the bird feeder cap and epoxy it into place.

5. With a needle and black thread, sew the tip of the feather boa to the apex of the screen. Wrap and sew the boa to the screen in a spiral fashion over the screen and glue the remainder onto the rim of the feeder top. Hold it up to a light to ensure there aren't any gaps in the sewing job.

Step 5: Wrap the Tube

Note: Recommend that the boa string be tied instead of glued to the grillwork, because an elastic might break or some other minor disaster; you might need to unwrap and repair. Make use of the elastics as tie downs for the boa wrap.

1. Wrap the boa around the feeder tube. Leave enough tube space for the cap to be put on.

Step 6: Test the Mic Blimp

1. Insert a mic into the elastics and cable it to your pre-amp & recorder.

2. Take off the removeable cap & blow into the end of the mic. Noisy? You bet.

3. Put the cap back on and blow into the mic. No distortion? Good it works

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    47 Discussions

     You are using a diaphragm microphone, they are good for recording things close up.

    Filmmakers like me use a shotgun style mic, which records sound from all directions.

    10 replies

    A shotgun mic is a UNI-directional condensor which records ONE direction, only. All shotgun mics use a standard directional capsule — usually a supercardioid — the hope is that the tighter directionality (at high frequencies), will reduces the ambient noise. A "diaphragm" mic, as you called it, has a typically wider pickup pattern, which gets more room ambience, and the less desirable for filmmaking.

    As a very long time professional sound engineer (started 1982), I need to clarify a "shotgun mic" is NOT unidirectional NOR omnidirectional.  The best way to define them is roughly 70% of their sound field/source comes from ONE direction, then 10/20% from rear, 10/5% left and 10/5% right...thus the professional recording engineers use them for recording in a very specific direction yet allow a very small bit of ambient sound to "leak" in so the recording sounds more "live/natural" than sterile from "close in" mics .

    Ducktape1, sorry, but here is a quote from the link you gave at wikipedia....""Shotgun" microphones are the most highly directional. They have small lobes of sensitivity to the left, right, and rear but are significantly less sensitive to the side and rear than other directional microphones are."

    This link also has a good explanation as well as show the "polar pattern/ recording field" examples for the three most popular types http://lafcpug.org/reviews/review_shotgun_mic.html.

    One example, I discovered is when I mic/record acoustic drums.  I used to use 2 condenser mics, like the AKC C1000s ( http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/AKG-C-1000-S-Condenser-Microphone?sku=271131 )  "boom mounted" about 3-5 feet above the drum kit to pick up primarily the cymbals (other parts of the kit where close mic-ed).  Problem was both cardioid and hypercardioid patterns were not narrow enough and I was picking up too much of the rest of the drum kit.  As a test I borrowed 2 Rode NTG1 shotgun mics from one of my video friends and tested them.  With a bit of tweaking to account for the new mics I found I was picking up MUCH LESS of the drum kit and MUCH MORE of the specific cymbals I wanted (Left only or right only)

    One note I have tried virtually every "cheap trick" (musical pun intended) to (1) get by with cheaper mics and/or (2) "force" mics to record (or ignore) more/less than they we designed to do....with a few successes but mostly failures (re: yeah I may have recorded but the quality suffered more than I liked).  I even built a "Pringles can attenuator/shock mount" for one of my C1000s...the shoke mount was great...but the sound quality sucked and even had to fight feedback even more so.  Thus trying to "force" a "regular mic" to be a shotgun mic might work....but may create more issues.

    One final note....I really do like like this instructable as a very good idea for a DIY wind screen....GOOD JOB.

    something uiu can do to modify your c1000's is put tape around it and you will have an omnidirectional mike.place it near the bell of your cimbal and it will sound very natural.because you can place it close to the cymbal yiu won't have too much crosstalk anyway.

    an omni sounds best because no sound can reach the diafragm from behind causi'n fase problems that sound unnatural.

    ouch for the mic,
    1st Problem: tape leaves residue on mic=not good for mic.
    2nd Problem: Spl, aka, the diaphragm will be DESTROYED. if not straight away, it will over a short period of time. A better option if placing a mic on the bell would be the AKG C430, designed for drums AND relatively inexpensive. (no need for tape either) see : http://www.akg.com/site/products/powerslave,id,278,pid,278,nodeid,2,_language,EN.html

    love the instructable, maybe work out a way to fit a wired mic. (shouldn't be too hard, and cheaper on mics/batteries over time too)

    Hassjeover123...I have to agree with werthy94 and add even more. C1000 uses phantom power which is powered by either a 9 volt battery inside or via the preamp or mixer...that makes them VERY hot mikes. They are so sensitive that I have used a pair of them to mic a choir from 10 feet (left and right with center bias) and you could hear breath noises. To crank the gain down so low to get them near the bell and not blow them odds are would create such a dirty and un-natural signal to not be worth the effort. Plus the tape will increase feedback potential.

    Bottom line find the best mic designed for whatever you are trying to do with the best mix of quality and price. I have tried virtually every trick in the book with most types of mics and why I have well over $15,000 in just mics...every experiment seemed like a good idea until I heard the recordings and most were not a good idea....but this is still a great instructable!!!!

    1.remove the tape imediately after the recording-session
    2.use a -20dB pad.
    3.read up on the basics maybe then you'll understand why and how this works and why (if you do this right) it will sound more natural.
    4.we where talking about about a recording-session so what is this about feedback???

    upon further research, I have discovered that more recent C1000's at least, have a switch to change between cardioid (standard) and hyper-cardioid (closer to a shotgun mic) so if you really really want to use a pair of C1000's as overheads on a drum kit, lift them, and put them in hyper cardioid, they should be able to handle this at about 1 meter out. this MAY be your solution but proceed with caution, I haven't tried this myself.

    1st = think cans, what exactly is your drummer drumming to, whatever it is, in my experience, they still need to hear themselves as well, e.g. drum>mic>recording console>cans>mics>etc...
    (if you don't understand techy lingo, which I'm guessing you don't due to your blatant lack of knowledge, cans are headphones used to monitor the recording/let the technician talk to you)

    2nd = Blatant lack of knowledge. i.e. microphones have a certain point they get to before they rip apart from the inside, also known as the Max Sound Pressure Level (Max SPL) which is measured in db's (decibels). basically this means that if you have a mic with an 80db spl max, it can only stand up to 80db of audio at the diaphragm. the spl produced by a standard set of cymbals is well above the max spl of the C1000. your diaphragm is screwed, I feel sorry for ALL of your equipment.

    You can exchange the rubber hairbands for rubber clothesline (can find those at the hardware store), rout it through crosswise and tie it once.

    Also, there's a great site for DIY radio that has reviews on cheap but awesome sounding mikes (or as they say "caviar sound on a catfood budget").
    Google: Creamyradioaudio

    Warning! Before you buy any wireless microphone, be aware that the FCC (in the U.S.) has outlawed use of wireless mics operating in the "700 MHz band" (698 through 806 MHz) as of June 12, 2010. You can find out more here:
    http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones/
    Do not buy any that fall within that range, unless you don't plan on using them after that date.

    Just a little note - do NOT blow into microphones. The humidity on your breath is not good for it - don't do this even if you are in a humid place like Florida. Or Minnesota, or anyplace that is humid!! Love the rest of this great and super creative Instructable!! Well done!!!!

    1 reply

    What people do when you hand them a hand held mic- say "test" into it, ask why it's not making sound, blow on it, tap on it, and finally ask why it's not working (again).
    I now give lessons before handing out a hand held.

    Just one question minniesfarm- Do you really know what all those knobs do? ;-)

    I never knew what the big fuzzy microphones were for, and now I do. Thank you.

     this makes me think of male olympic curling, but not as boring. ..i think.

    Will this dampen the sound entering the mic though? Would it make it harder for it to pick up sound? I've been considering getting the atr-55 for a while now.

    1 reply

    I have used this at my job (I seem to be getting a ton of video work these days) and if there is sound loss, I think you'd have to have dog's ears to hear it. The only hassle I've found with the ATR-55 and this blimp design is remembering to take the mic out from the elastics and turn the switch to OFF to save batteries.