What would happen if a spider got into your microphone?

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Record-Producer.com.

Wednesday August 9, 2017

So there I was doing my daily singing practice, which I really do desperately need as anyone who has heard me will tell you. I like to practise into the microphone while listening on headphones, because that's how I always sing. Practise as I preach, I say. (It's an AKG C414 EB if you were wondering.)

And then I saw a spider crawling up the side of the mic. A small one. Small enough to wriggle its way inside I thought, maybe through the grille, maybe around one of the switches.

So I blew it off. No danger. I carried on with my practice until I could hear something that sounded like a musical note rather than a throaty wheeze.

Some time later I started wondering about this spider. Not what it was doing in life and whether it considered itself a success or failure. But what would happen if a spider did get into one of my microphones.

I wondered whether I might be able to hear the pattern of eight tiny feet through my headphones or loudspeakers. I really don't know, and it would take the combined talents of an arachnologist and an a electroacoustics expert to work out whether the impact of a spider's feet would create an audible signal above the natural noise of the mic.

But I probably wouldn't want to risk it on a session with a hired-in vocalist. On the other hand it might create an interesting eight-to-the-bar rhythm that I could work up into a profitable EDM track. Probably not, but you never know.

And then I thought, what if it laid eggs and there were baby spiders on the diaphragm? I have seen nests of spiders in my yard and they can be big enough to affect the diaphragm for sure. Certainly enough to affect the sound quality of the mic.

I suspect if this did happen, then the sound quality would be affected for the worse, not better. But once again who knows? It might create an interesting sound texture and your musical rivals would have a hard time wondering how you did it.

But all in all, I'd say that spiders in microphones are easily as bad as snakes on a plane. And as I have seen for myself (the spider on my mic, not the snakes), it could be a real possibility.

Hey, does your mic sound funny? Have you looked inside lately?

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