Balanced piezo contact microphones
Balanced piezo contact microphones
Balanced piezo contact microphones

At the illutron art ship, we are using a lot of piezo elements to make contact microphones and hydrophones (underwater microphones)

Piezo elements can be a noise nightmare. And if you are using the piezos for hydrophones, to capture underwater sound, the noise can be even more challenging, unless you get everything very well sealed.

We came up with a trick, to get a balanced signal from piezos:

Simply using two piezo elements sandwiched, back to back, you can generate a balanced signal, that will be completely noise free.

Step 1: How to make it

Balanced piezo contact microphones
Balanced piezo contact microphones
Balanced piezo contact microphones

You need

  • 2 normal piezo elements
  • Microphone cable
  • XLR plug

    Connecting

  • Sandwich the two piezos "belly-to-belly" (crystal and wires in, metal out)
  • We just use a wad of normal silicone sealant in-between the piezos (Think Oreos)
  • Join the two (black) wires from the capsules and connect to Gnd on your xlr / microphone-cable
  • Connect the centre wire (red) from piezo A to + (hot) and the red from piezo B to - (cold) on your xlr / microphone-cable
  • Connect a XLR-plug to the other end of your cable

    Step 2: Try your noise free contact microphones

    Balanced piezo contact microphones
    Balanced piezo contact microphones
    Balanced piezo contact microphones

    Plug the xlr-connector into the balanced input of a mixer or recorder, and enjoy the crisp clear noise free sound from your piezos.

    This is a recording we did with two balanced piezos mounted on pieces of burning firewood.

    Headphones are recommeneded - Enjoy! :-)

    Experience so far

  • The sound from the piezos are very clear and noise free
  • The oscilloscope have verified, that the output truely is balanced
  • The piezo microphone is very sensitive and responsive.

    As hydrophones

    I tried this piezo-design out as hydrophones. I could just stick them in the water and get sound. I didn't even care to waterproof them, and they worked perfectly and noiselessly under water too.

    So, for quick and dirty underwater microphones, just sandwich two piezos like this and dump them in the pond.

  •  
     

    Tag cloud

    make build easy simple arduino making homemade solar laser printed portable cheap mini building custom cardboard wooden create super lego turn paracord chocolate your paper light intel