4 posts

  • avatar
    210 sounds
    52 posts
    Micing a steel cable

    A number of years ago I built a 130 foot (39.6 meter) zip line in our backyard for the kids. They have outgrown it and I am very soon converting it into a trellis for grapes. Before I do that I wanted to capture some of the unique sounds that you can get from a high-tension steel cable. I have been playing around with it the last few days but I am not happy with the results, and am looking for suggestions.

    I have a Sony PCM-M10 recorder and several binaural mini-capsule mics from Sound Professionals. The first thing I tried was using a rubber band to hold the mics next to the cable at the top of the post. That was OK, but did not pick up as much of the "pinging" as I would like (when you tap on the cable it makes a cool space laser sound).

    Then I tried putting the mics in a small suction cup with a hole drilled through to hold the capsule, and held that on the sides of the 4"x6" post using a pair of ear muffs, which positions the mics about 1/4" from the surface of the wood. That picked up the pings better, but it is very muddy.

    I am wondering about somehow attaching the capsules directly to the cable? Has anyone tried that? How did you attach them?

    Also what sort of sounds should I make? I have been doing:
    - Riding down the zip line (accelerating pulley on metal cable, becoming a whine)
    - Hitting the cable with various objects (baseball bat, stick, tapping with fingers)
    - Running a stick along the cable



  • avatar
    1939 sounds
    1783 posts

    A piezoelectric transducer ? ...

    IIRC the improvised transducers, (the disc in wristwatches which makes the bleep), are deaf to low frequencies so may cure your muddiness problem ...

  • avatar
    167 sounds
    1494 posts

    I agree with Timbre, contact microphones are great for this type of stuff wink

    Once I placed a contact mic onto a suspension bridge, it was the most beautifully strange audio I have ever heard.

    I am the thing that goes bump in the night...

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  • avatar
    210 sounds
    52 posts

    OK I will get myself a contact mic! Thanks for the tip.

    4 posts