Is this the sound of my microphone dying? :-((

I’ve had a bit of a rough time getting into the studio lately with life getting in the way and seized a moment this afternoon to throw together some songs for a birthday cd for small two year old sweetlet.
But… on my very rough test check there was a weird noise coming through the cans…

Never heard that before… checked all things I could think of, changed cables, checked set-up blah blah and finally swapped microphones and the sound stopped. O poop and droppings… my AT4040 is my do-everythig mic…
Yes, I leave it set up permanently but it is covered. I won this mic a few years back from Brandon and it was in used condition then. Any of you techos have some advice for me? Could this be a build up of humidity or some such thing or
(whimper) is it simply the sound of my microphone dying??

Excuse the ridiculous vocal take… hah, now I re-listen it sounds like the thing is farting at me… LIFE is farting at me… (dramatic sob)
Do I take it apart and stare at it mindlessly? Hold my hand over it and chant?
I have tried a bunch of things, it’s not cubase related as the noise was still there just through the interface… and stopped when I changed the mic…


Sorry for laughing at your plight, but that sound is HILARIOUS! You absolutely HAVE to keep that and use it in a song!..

…um…back to serious matters at hand… Has your mic had any exposure to moisture? In really humid weather, my tube condenser starts making crackling noises after a while (no farting though!)- At times I’ve remedied it somewhat by gently blowing on the capsule at a safe distance with a hair dryer.

Is the mic still under warranty?


Would make a sweet drop in a dubstep number :smiley:


Blah… one day I will see the funny side maybe??


maybe this is possible…
I never had a warranty for this mic as it was a brandon prize… but I have grown to love it…
and it is RIDICULOUSLY humid and rainy at the moment…
should I perhaps overnight it in the airing cupboard

life SO is farting on me at the moment…
double BLAH

but big thanks for responding :beerbanger:

Ha ha Emma Patch the hole in the bucket and see if it goes away. But really, what sound does a tub make at the end of it’s drain cycle?? Sort of that sucking sound.
It may be the microphone’s intereltrode capacitance of the p-n junction reaching avalanche breakdown. It rears it’s ugly head when overwhelmed with extreme close proximity halitosis. Have you been ill? OR… perhaps the microphone has been too close to the north end of a southbound cow again? so many variables…sigh We may need more info??


o awright…

it IS pretty funny

you paul F are a ratbag and a fiend…


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Sounds like the microphone shit its pants, literally.


Gaaaaah. I’ve heard mics do that exact same thing. I don’t remember what caused it. I feel like that’s the sound one of my mics or interfaces made when turning off phantom power, but I can’t get my current mic to make that sound.

Bleh. What sound does the mic make when you turn off phantom power?


Doesn’t particularly sound like moisture on the capsule, which would give you a crackling.
Does it always start off OK then the noise starts (like on the clip) or is it all the time now?

The most likely culprit in some electronics dying is always a capacitor, but I wouldn’t rule out this being a problem on the other end either - unless it doesn’t happen with any other mics at all? Or possibly some interference.

Do a few more tests - turn off everything else and repeat it. Does your preamp have a headphone output? If so just verify that you are getting the same noise through headphones as through the PC. Try it with a different preamp aswell if possible.

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Was the other mic you tried also a condenser mic ?
Sounds to me like a capacitor might be failing in the mic.

You might want to test the mic with a different cable to eliminate other possible causes.

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No kidding!!! I looked back at her avatar to make sure I hadn’t mistaken that for something from CPF!


I literally did the same thing. :smiley:

My life feels like something of a joke at the moment and the fact that this is a really truly happening thing is a glorious irony… especially the song that I was recording.
I have put the mic into the airing cupboard as there is no way I have any time to explore it for another few days. My daughter had a home-birth a couple of weeks ago and that was lovely but it was several weeks early and has caused rather a lot of unexpected chain reactions and making for a very busy life. Last night they had to suddenly go to hospital and I guess a dying microphone is simply a sneeze in the common cold of life.

Excessive humidity could be a problem, I know condenser mics don’t particularly like it (kind of ironic with the name condenser eh?). But yeah, storing in a mic case or fitted box when not using could help - and toss in some of those silica gel desiccant packs (they come in vitamin bottles and packaging to prevent moisture). The blow dryer thing could work too - gently.

Someone once told me that those Himalayan Salt Lamps can screw up a condenser mic … somewhat like the humidity but in this cases it’s because HSL’s increase the negative ions in the air - tremendous health benefits for humans (they say) but the worst thing for a positively-charged condenser plate (?). [remove the lamp and the mic will recover once the negative ions dissipate]

It could be capacitors too. I have a tube mic that made that same sound IIRC. I sent it to a tech and he replaced capacitors (but not the tube because it looked fine). Apparently the mfr’s use cheap capacitors; especially if made in China. It seemed to have fixed the problem. So an electronic technician with microphone experience might be able to check the capacitors for you.

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Maybe when her water broke the humidity caused your microphone to fail?

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and now my tears are making it worse… boo hoo hoo…
but I think that is a wonderful image… the cataclysmic breaking of the waters steeping the very ethers of the air…

I’ve since heard of other people having the same issue and sound and it was a dead microphone so I am not hopeful but will try again later. I still have my rode NT1-a but never warmed to that tone the same. Maybe now that I know a bit more than I used to, I’ll be able to tweak the brightness of its sound more effectively. I had grown to love that mic… there is a hole in my bucket, o blast… tra lala

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I actually recognise that sound… I think it’s a capacitor that’s malfunctioning in the microphone. I’ve had some equipment in the past make almost that exact noise and it’s normally been fixed with a capacitor replacement.


Back to check this out finally - my life has been kinda insane lately and this microphone thing had to be parked for a while.

Now here is an update… and NOT what I had expected.
In a fit of despair, I plonked the microphone into the airing cupboard for four days and this morning I looked online and found someone who lives within driving distance, seems credible and repairs microphones. Connected up the mic just in case the airing cupboard had made a difference and… it seems to work just fine!!!

It was not a cable fault, I tried changing them and the mic I replaced it with (that worked fine), was also a condenser mic - so it really does seem that the extremely high humidity caused the AT4040 to fizz and after drying out, it doesn’t fizz. Okay, so if it was moisture affecting it, I’m wondering what it affected, why it made such a stunningly awful noise and whether there will be residual after effects. When it was making the noise it was sort of a ‘pulsing’ sound. I feel very reluctant to play around with the phantom power switch at the moment, it feels like walking on eggshells ho hum…

this has been interesting… :scream:

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Condenser microphones work on the principle of amplifying changes in capacitance between two plates; Backing plate and flexible diaphragm. It’s possible that moisture between the two plates altered the capacitance to a point where it was outside of the specs of the amplifying circuit and caused the strange ringing sound.
I’m not sure if there will be any residual after effects, only time will tell.

You may want to store it in a case with a few packs of silica gel desiccant between sessions as was mentioned in a previous comment.
Glad you seem to back in business. Let us know if it starts acting up again.

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Thanks JayGee,
that makes sense… it has truly been ridiculously warm and humid here lately and I’ve always left the microphone out ready for action (but covered with a cloth bag). I’ll change my plans and take more active care of it - have no spare cash for a new one at the moment so it was a real fright with maybe a good ending… :sunglasses:

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