For musicians, studio owners, or anyone who owns microphones, protecting these assets is essential, whether these recording tools cost $50 or $50,000. Microphones are a critical part of your audio chain that captures the notes and nuances that make your recordings or live performances shine. Mics need to provide peak performance. Care must be taken to insure your mics stay in the best working condition.
A microphone that is left uncovered on a mic stand is vulnerable to dust, fibers, and microscopic particles circulating in the air that can attach to the mic’s diaphragm or ribbon. Even minimal exposure can be detrimental to the performance of the microphone. To not protect these valuable assets is doing your equipment a great disservice. Why would you not protect your valuable assets with a MIC SENTRY? (patent pending)
Various suggestions and advice for protecting a microphone have been put forth over the years. Some websites and audio forums recommend the use of various items such as Crown Royal sacks, cotton socks from your sock drawer, sealed plastics bags, eyeglass covers, and yes, believe it or not, even condoms. It truly is amazing that no one has developed a product designed specifically to properly protect professional microphones – until now.
We have produced an effective, inexpensive product that is far superior to any previous solutions that have been tried. Our innovation was conceptualized and designed by experienced studio professionals who identified the need for a better-quality solution that truly protects valuable microphones. A MIC SENTRY is the product that your microphones deserve and need.
Our Material is the Secret
After investigating several different material alternatives, MIC SENTRY found a lint-free, 100% Polyester material that is designed to eliminate the release of fibers which are detrimental to your valuable microphones. It is also moisture-wicking, wrinkle-free, stain resistant, and can be laundered to maintain its cleanliness. The material also allows for circulation of air which prevents moisture build-up that can lead to mold and bacteria growth. With a tight-weave design, the MIC SENTRY material is designed to eliminate the release of fibers that is a major problem when using cotton-based products. By using our synthetic material, this positions MIC SENTRY as being far superior to all other products on the market. Our products also feature a draw string designed to fully enclose the microphone while positioned on a mic stand or while being stored.
Four size options are carefully designed to cover most microphones and common shock-mount systems. A MIC SENTRY works extremely well on condenser mics, dynamic mics, or ribbon mics. The four sizes are compatible with Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, Bluebird, Shure, Warm Audio, Rode, and virtually every microphone on the market.
What’s the Problem?
As we all will agree, microphones are delicate instruments that need their own care. Recommendations from some recording enthusiasts can be highly detrimental to the protection of microphones.
We believe it is not advisable to use a cotton material simply because the fabric is prone to releasing fibers which can attach themselves to the diaphragm – and that is especially true for condenser microphones. If you are using a cotton fiber-based cover, you are not doing your microphone any favors. Simply stated, cotton fabric is notorious for shedding or releasing extraneous fibers. The fibers are attracted to and become attached to the diaphragm or ribbon, and they are highly detrimental to the performance of a microphone.
Condenser mic diaphragms are electrically charged and become the equivalent of a magnet in attracting cotton fibers and other particles. Even when condenser mics are not powered, they still maintain a low-level electrical charge that can attract fibers and dust.
If there is any amount of fiber or dust already on the diaphragm, those fibers and particles are further conducive to attracting moisture and other additional particles. These extraneous particles and fibers can lead to the formation of droplets, providing a conductive path that may cause an electrical short between the diaphragm and the backplate. This triggers a degradation of performance and can cause long-term damage to the microphone.
The grill and all surfaces surrounding the diaphragm or ribbon, including the metallic components, the support ring, and even plastic parts of the capsule are susceptible to attracting unwanted fibers, dust, and moisture. Even a small number of fibers or dust particles can change the sensitivity of a microphone and make the capsule susceptible to attracting even more unwanted stuff. All these things can inhibit the microphone from providing optimum performance and can lead to increasing degradation over an extended period.
What NOT to use To Protect Your Mic
We do not recommend using something to protect your mics not specifically and intelligently designed for that exact purpose. Even the very act of putting on and taking off a cotton cover, no matter the type of item used, cotton fibers are released. Since the cotton cover is in such close proximity to the diaphragm or ribbon, it’s just common sense that there will be fibers released that are apt to make their way to the most critical components of a mic. We do not recommend using anything that contains cotton. Think about when you clean the lint from you dryer filter. Virtually all that lint is cotton fibers that have been shed during the drying process. Hopefully, there is no further evidence needed to convince you that cotton-based solutions are not a good choice.
As mentioned, some recordists use plastic bags, and some have even recommended sealing the plastic bag. A plastic bag does provide some protection, but we do not recommend sealing the plastic bag. By doing so, any particles contained in the bag are nicely sealed in close proximity to the critical mic components – not to mention that you are also sealing in humidity which can also cause damage.
Other solutions people use include Crown Royal sacks, eyeglass covers, and other cotton-based products. Because of the reasons discussed earlier, we do not recommend these items be used for mic protection.
Along with the fibers and dust discussed, there are also microscopic metallic particles circulating in the air in virtually any environment. We don’t see them, but they are there. Even in close examination, we more than likely will not even be able to see them on the diaphragm or ribbon.
According to the EPA, “Particle pollution, also known as particulate matter (or PM), is a general term for a mixture of solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air. Particle pollution comes in many sizes and shapes and can be made up of a number of different components, including acids (such as sulfuric acid), inorganic compounds (such as ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium chloride), organic chemicals, soot, metals, soil or dust particles, and biological materials (such as pollen and mold spores).”
These tiny particles, often referred to as “nanodust,” are constantly in our atmosphere and are harmful to microphones, especially large diaphragm condenser mics and ribbon mics.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of unseen enemies that can attack your microphone. Using a MIC SENTRY solves this problem and helps provide your valuable assets with full protection, allowing your mics to maintain peak performance for years to come.
What About Windsocks?
Many people feel that by using a foam windsock they are protecting the microphone sufficiently. That is simply not true. Windsocks are designed to cut down on wind noise as well as reducing unwanted sibilance and consonant sounds. Unfortunately, virtually all windsocks are made of open-cell plastic foam which starts deteriorating within one to two years after manufacture. The particle breakdown and disintegration accelerates over time. Fine foam dust and flakes will quickly and easily penetrate through the mic grill and will be deposited all over the electrostatically-charged capsule area and attach to the diaphragm or ribbon. The foam dust itself is generally charged and sticks to just about everything. It is not advisable to use a foam windsock for the protection of your microphone – in fact, they should be removed after each use.
Many storage cases are also lined with the same or similar foam material which can also release damaging foam dust and flakes. If you store your mics in a manufacturer’s case, we advise you to cover it with a MIC SENTRY prior to placing it into the case for further protection.
The MIC SENTRY as a Tool for Eliminating Disease Transmission
Mics used on vocals are susceptible to capturing unwanted viruses and bacteria – even when a windscreen or windsock is used. The windscreen is also a great collector for nasty little bugs. In this time when viruses and bacteria are prevalent, a MIC SENTRY can be used as a tool to prevent the spread of diseases. This is true in the studio, but it is especially true in churches and other live venues where multiple singers are touching and singing into the same microphone.
Singers emit airborne droplets as they sing, and we hate to say it, but they also spit saliva periodically. Those droplets and saliva contain lots of unwelcome micro-creatures that spread easily. Here is some info from the Mayo clinic:
“The length of time that cold and flu viruses can survive outside the body on an environmental surface varies greatly. But the suspected range is from a few seconds up to 48 hours, depending on the specific virus and the type of surface.
Flu viruses tend to live longer on surfaces than cold viruses. Also, it is generally believed that cold and flu viruses survive for longer periods on nonporous surfaces — such as plastic, metal or wood — than they do on porous surfaces — such as fabric or paper.
Although cold and flu viruses primarily spread from person-to-person contact, they can also spread from contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. The best way to avoid becoming infected with the cold or flu virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
For most singers, it is not a common practice to carry alcohol wipes and clean the mic before and after they perform. A MIC SENTRY is a practical solution that can be easily slipped on and off a microphone. This is not to say that a MIC SENTRY will totally keep you safe during a performance, but like a face mask, it is a good preventative tool.
Singers can feel safer when they use their own personal MIC SENTRY – and remember, the MIC SENTRY is easily washed and dried quickly. Using a MIC SENTRY in this fashion can help keep singers safe and assist in eliminating the spread of viruses and bacteria. You could carry your own mic to each performance but using a very portable MIC SENTRY that folds up and easily fits into a purse or pocket can be a simple, effective, and inexpensive solution. Remember, most mics are damaged through carrying it around and dropping it, so the less exposure to that type of damage, the better.
As stated later in the article, in most applications, there is little to no loss of vocal quality while using a MIC SENTRY. Even using a windsock leads to a slight loss of fidelity, most agree that the benefits outweigh that loss. Using a MIC SENTRY for protection outweighs what little loss in fidelity that may occur. Safety first.
High Humidity Environments
In high humidity locations, extra care is necessary to prevent long-term harm to the mic. We recommend removing the mic from its stand and putting the microphone in a MIC SENTRY, and then placing the mic in its original case or a safe storage container whenever possible. In addition, it is a good practice to use silica gel packets to help reduce the humidity inside the mic case. The silica gel packets will need to be dried out periodically since the gel caplets do their job by capturing moisture. Follow the directions from the manufacturer on drying the packets.
Should I Record With a MIC SENTRY on the Mic?
Some testing has been performed that shows very minimal to no effect on a recorded signal when recording with a MIC SENTRY on the microphone. Some recording professionals will choose not to use a MIC SENTRY while recording, and we recommend you do your own testing to determine whether to use a MIC SENTRY during recording or not. There are advantages to using a MIC SENTRY during a recording, especially when recording vocalists whose breath contains water particles and stirs up the air around the microphone, but it’s your choice. We advise you to do whatever gives you the best results in your recordings.
Caring for Your MIC SENTRY
When washing your MIC SENTRY, we do not recommend you wash it with any cotton-based fabrics since the released cotton fibers can attach themselves to the MIC SENTRY. Those fibers can eventually release when you are using the MIC SENTRY on your mic. We recommend you wash the MIC SENTRY by itself with a mild detergent, thoroughly rinse it, and hang it up or lay it flat to dry. It will dry quickly since the fabric is self-wicking. During everyday use, the MIC SENTRY will accumulate some fibers, dust, and other particles while covering the mic – after all, that’s part of the MIC SENTRY doing its job. Consequently, we recommend washing the MIC SENTRY periodically. How often depends on the environment in which it is used.
Advantages of a MIC SENTRY
Your microphones can be left on a stand and be fully protected when covered with a MIC SENTRY. By using a MIC SENTRY, you will also save studio time by allowing you to maintain your mic placement exactly where you need it. Merely slip the MIC SENTRY over the mic and leave it until the next session.
For recording studios, a MIC SENTRY provides a professional look in the studio versus a plastic bag, a Crown Royal bag, or any other item not designed for the specific purpose of protecting your mics. We offer the option of providing a customized MIC SENTRY with your studio’s logo prominently displayed. Contact us if you want a customized MIC SENTRY.
Our products Are made in the USA, and the 100% polyester material is a far better solution than other alternatives on the market. Protecting your mic from airborne fibers, dust, and particles is critical. Our MIC SENTRY provides the needed protection that is necessary to maintain optimum performance from your microphones, while also extending the life of the mic. Your microphones deserve the protection a MIC SENTRY provides! Trust MIC SENTRY for premium microphone protection.