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    Is my microphone freezing due to cold weather?


    I have an NTG-3, it has been -3 -4 degrees celcius in London tonight and I was on a film shoot. The microphone would work for a short while and then it would sound awful. Loads of noise and quiet recordings. Is this normal? Can I just keep it warm before a take or will this damage it more? I was recording into a Fostex FR2-LE.

    I ended up using my internal mics my ZOOM H4N, which worked fine.

    Can anyone help, experienced this before? offer any advice?

    Ed

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    I reckon it could be condensation. Keep it dry and as warm as you can between uses. When it is taken out into the cold it will remain dry, and only cool down to condensing temperatures over a period of time which might be 10 minutes or hours depending on circumstances. I don't see that warming it slowly to 25 - 30 degC would do it any harm, after all it's designed to survive the tropics. The temperature cycling will do less harm than internal condensation which will eventually lead to corrosion and aging of the various glues and flexible materials. Also use it inside a pre-warmed dead kitten type thing to stop it cooling rapidly and hold out the damp (moisture will condense on the sock before it reaches the mic.).

    Thats my best guess,
    Wibby.

    Heaven in the sky is to die for, Heaven on earth is to live for.
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    Does the mic require an internal battery or is it phantom powered? I can imagine it's a battery malfunctioning in too cold situations.

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    it is phantom powered.

    Thanks for your advice Wibby, I will try to do all that, unfortunately I'm on a 10 hour shoot tonight which is all outdoors and tonight is the coldest night of the year in London so far... great stuff.

    Will try the best I can!

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    I suspect condensation as well, you could use a chemical heat pack ( Outdoor shops ) within an insulated coolbox to heat your mic when you get the opportunity.

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CvkZB%2B5nL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams
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    Thanks again for the help, the temperature last night dropped to -4 degrees celcius, so it was very cold, I ended up insulating my backpack and having a hot water bottle inside which kept the bag warm. I had to re-fill it a few times.

    It worked for a short while, but once it hit around -3/-4 I only got about 10minutes to record with. Thankfully my back up was sufficient enough and there wasn't a load of dialogue.

    I'm definitely going to get some heat packs for any future winter shoots... guess it's a learning curve smile

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    I doubt it is freezing. The sound effects bible guy did a demo. He put the NGT 3 into a meat fridge for a couple of hours, then went into the fridge and started recording with it. The NTG 3 is supposed to be all but imune to weather effects.

    Did you try to connect the NTG 3 to the Zoom? Maybe the Fostex or connections to the mike were the issue!

    Cheers

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    It's not the cold Per se*, but cold plus water-vapour in breath condensing to form liquid-water / solid-water (a.k.a. ice) in the microphone.

    What about adding metal mesh around the mic which the breath will condense on, reducing the amount of condensation occurring on the mic diaphragm ?, e.g. a couple of sieves ...

    http://static-p4.fotolia.com/jpg/00/20/32/31/400_F_20323105_ItKwMPiR3B1of4J0tumrOX7tkc5AvY54.jpg

    or metal mesh desk tidy ...

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZMiXprqUL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

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    Wow. I lend the NTG3 some days ago from the university I am studying and it had the same problems: lots of noise and quiet recordings.
    It`s been in my car for about 2 hours, it wasn`t that cold (round about 4 to 5 degrees celcius). Since I really took care of this particular mic and also of all of my other microphones I think, that the Rode NTG3 is not gonna be my next microphone.

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    Strange!
    Having just looked at the 'blurb' on the NTG3 it seems that Rode are very proud of the Mic's anti-condensation performance. The problems you guys/gals are suffering might come from a manufacturing defect rather than a design shortcoming. Being the (ex)designer for Midas, BSS and Quested I know that manufacturing problems often come in a particular production batch. It might be worth comparing Serial Numbers if you have them. If both your NTG3's have close serial numbers it would certainly help to argue a case for redress from Rode. They probably already know if they had a 'batch' problem and may offer direct replacements if that is the case - some companies do, as a customer relations policy, some, (like BMW) don't.

    Heaven in the sky is to die for, Heaven on earth is to live for.
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    Hi guys! I found this thread via google. I have been struggling with the same problem the past weeks. I literally checked up all my other hardware, even exchanged my XLR box at the shop, before pointing at the Rode tonight and confirming the microphone is causing the problem.

    When using the Rode NTG-3 in cold weather (<5 - 8 degrees celcius) it almost shuts down after about 5 minutes. The input on the camera shows and hears lots of noise and almost inaudible audio. When i take it back inside the house (where the temperature is nearly 20 celcius) the rode starts working again with no problems after a 5 - 10 minutes warm-up.

    I am going to bring it back to the store as soon as possible and notify Rode about this problem. I suggest you guys do the same.
    I have been using the microphone with no problems all summer. Just now that winter kicks in it stops working when i am filming outside.

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    Have you tried using another shotgun mic in the same temperature tre_qe?

    I have emailed my local authorised Rode service agent with this query and also asked on the Rode facebook page. Hopefully will get an answer.

    Has anyone had this happen with other microphones other than the Rode NTG-3?

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    Yes, i regularly use the Rode Videomic (mini-jack) anywhere and everywhere for about 4 to 5 years now. I also use the Sennheiser EW100 G3 XLR lavalier set on the same Juicedlink CX231 XLR box. No problems, whilst the NTG-3 does not work on the box when i have used it in cold environment.

    Btw, the last test i did was to put the NTG-3 in the fridge (4 degrees) and take it out after 15 minutes. Same problem. All other components were at room temperature (xlr cable, juicedlink cx231, camera, camera battery, juicedlink battery). Before this test NTG-3 was working. After 15 minutes of being in the fridge it was not. I attached it to the XLR box, turned on camera, etc and listened with headphones what would happen. After 5 - 10 minutes warm-up i started hearing breaking noises and hiss. The next following minutes the sound slowly recovered and the breaking noises and hiss went away. During this test i also connected the Sennheiser EW100 G3 XLR on the same and second XLR port. No problems.

    Besides swapping my Juicedlink CX231 two times at the shop i bought it from, i also tried different XLR cables.

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    The NTG-3 has been extensively tested at sub-zero temperatures (rated to -12 degrees). We have many reports of the microphone being used free of any performance issues in demanding environments including arctic regions.

    Like all RĂ˜DE broadcast mics (and the Blimp) the NTG-3 comes with a 10 year warranty following online registration, so if you are experiencing any issues please contact your local service center to arrange a warranty service.

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    Hi rodemic.

    Can I assume you are associated with the RODE Company? If so it's warming to see the company responding positively to customer problems this way. No company gets it 100% right 100% of the time. The difference between a good company to deal with and a bad one is how they acknowledge and respond to the occasional problems that do arrive, so kudos from me!

    Just a thread for R&D to follow up - from my own experience as a designer of audio electronics and low temperature related problems. We encountered defective batches of electrolytic capacitors, stacked polycaps and ceramic resonators. In the case of the electrolytics and the resonator there was no hint of anything wrong at normal working temperatures at all, while with the polycaps a sweep distortion test with the DUT in the feedback leg of a 12dB/Oct HP filter revealed narrow spikes of resonance at random frequencies not normally picked up with spot testing. I concluded this was due to gas cavities in the stack construction causing "microphony" - sort of confirmed by squeezing with pliers. It was temperature related, but not in an 100% predictable way in the few dozen examples I studied in detail.

    Wibby.

    Heaven in the sky is to die for, Heaven on earth is to live for.
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    Thanks for the quick reply. Yes we use this account for customer service - thanks for your kind words and of course the valuable feedback that I will pass on to our Service, Product Development and Production departments.

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    Hi Rodemic,

    Thanks for replying.

    I was on another shoot this sunday, all was okay until temperatures dropped once again below zero and although it lasted longer, it still decided to die out on me eventually. This is the 3rd time it has happened. I eventually switched to a sennheiser shotgun which came with a camera kit rental and it worked without any faults.

    Some research on the internet highlighted that this has happened a few times in the past? that there was a defect in some mics with low serial numbers mine being 9362, can this be confirmed?

    I will be contacting my authorized dealer for a second time in hope to have this fixed as they seem to have failed to answer my email... phone it is! Thankfully I'm not worried as there is the 10 year warranty and I'm sure this can be resolved.

    Many thanks again!

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    A tip I got from an audio rent:
    If its cold, never breath into the microphone, because it could freeze on the mic capsule. Dont know if its true...but I think its better not to try happy

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    Just as a follow up I have had my microphone replaced with a later version (later serial) and it has worked perfectly well. I left it out of my window for 10minutes and then used it and worked fine.

  • avatar
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    Just as a follow up I have had my microphone replaced with a later version (later serial) and it has worked perfectly well. I left it out of my window for 10minutes and then used it and worked fine.

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