What Does a Shock Mount Do For a Microphone? Ultimate Guide 2022

Have you ever faced a situation when your perfectly recorded audio got ruined by a slight vibration or disturbance caused to your microphone? Many of us come across this problem in our daily lives. Now the question is how can you avoid this problem. In the market, you have many accessories to help you cope with the issues. One of the fitments is a shock mount.

A shock mount is an equipment designed to help you avoid such complications. Shock mount constitutes four triangle-shaped arrangments supporting your microphone holder so that your microphone averts from undesirable shocks and vibrations.

A shock mount helps you keep a reasonable distance between you and your microphone and hence effectively helps to reduce damping problems because of a spit and other liquids. It can also help your microphone from falling and other accidents that can ruin your expensive microphone completely.

But to gain all these benefits, you need to choose an accurate shock mount for your microphone.

How do you do that? You can do so by keeping in view the diameter and other measurements of your microphone. Technically speaking, shock mounts differ from microphone to microphone, so you need to choose a shock mount considering your microphone model and design.

In the article, I will address the importance of a shock mount for your microphone. And I will help you learn hacks to choose a shock mount wisely. Stay tuned till the end.

What is Shock Mount?

A microphone is a sensitive device and needs special care to work properly. There are many accessories in the market that aids in durability and crisp audio quality to your microphone.

The shock mount is one of the accessories that can protect your microphone from unwanted shocks and accidents. Many of my readers would know about this supplement, but for the newbies, I will help you catch the drift about shock mount and how important it is for your studio.

A shock mount is a mic holder surrounded by triangles or similarly shaped stands. It is composed of elastic material and hence provides maximum durability to the accessory as well as mic.

When the mic undergoes a vibration or shock that can ultimately contribute to disturbed audio quality, it can absorb maximum vibrations and reduces the impact to a great extent. It also keeps your microphone out from the damping problems as a side benefit.

What is the Purpose of a Shock Mount?

While explaining what shock mount is, I addressed some of its benefits and uses. Here I will try to address the purpose of shock mount more in-depth.

Shock Mount as a Positioner for Your Microphone

The initial purpose of a shock mount is to provide an ideal position for your microphone to record audio. Occasionally you observe that the microphone gives a better quality output when placed at a particular angle shock mount can aid in fixing your microphone at that position for crisp quality results.

Protector from Outside Interversions

The diaphragm of a microphone is a sensitive fragment of the mic. Even the slightest touch can trigger high pitch distortions. We label such rumbles as structure-borne noises. The supportive structure of the shock mount discourages these disturbances by maintaining a reasonable span between the mic and the outside environment.

Solution for Damping Issues

One way to keep saliva and moisture away from your microphone is by using a pop filter, but have you ever thought shock mounts can also reduce the chances of damping to a considerable level? It keeps your mic at a fixed position away from saliva contact hence resolving damping issues.

What to Look for in a Shock Mount?

While choosing a shock mount, it is a cause of concern that what should I look for in a shock mount? Here are some factors that can effectively help you choose the perfect shock mount for your mic.

Durability and Elasticity

Durability and elasticity are the two main factors that need consideration at the time of buying. An ideal shock mount provides a fair share of elasticity so that when you are fixing your mic, it can easily fit into the holder and don’t break away or sag. Durability depends upon the material composition that your shock mount has. Material such a polyurethane or urethane is ideal for the shock mount.

Good Isolation Properties

The fundamental purpose of a shock mount is to isolate it from the outside environment and protect it from unwanted shocks and resonance. So when you are choosing a shock mount, make sure to pay close attention to its isolation properties. A good shock mount has regular suspension bridges that aid in protecting your mic from the outside environment.

Compatibility

Many shock mounts can indeed hold variation microphones, but this does not necessarily attribute to all the shock mounts in the market. Shock mount may be compatible with some microphones because of their design and shape but does not hold the other microphones due to the diversity in the design. You can choose a customize shock mount for your microphone for maximum support.

Types of Shock Mounts

There is a variation of shock mounts available in the market, each serving a more or less similar purpose. Shock mounts differ in material composition and design. Material plays a vital role in determining their capability to protect the microphone, and so does their price tag vary.

Here you will get an insight about some types of microphones available in the market.

Cat Cradle Shock Mounts for Large Microphones

A widely available shock mounts for large USB and XLR microphones is the cat cradle shock mount. As the name indicates, it has a pattern in the form of a cradle. Its suspension bridges are arranged just like fingers of both the hands fused.

It comes in a variety of designs to accommodate the needs of your microphone. It is composed of elastic, mostly rubber material for flexibility and durability. Its foundation lies on the external skeleton of the shock mount, and a hollow stand to hold the microphone is provided in the center for enhanced support.

Price may vary according to the anatomy of the material used. But a majority of microphone users find it a reasonable choice.

Plastic Elastomer Suspension Shock Mount

This shock mount is somewhat like the shock mount I described earlier, but it differs in chemical composition. It won’t be wrong to say that it is a lavish version of the cat cradle shock mount. It utilizes the fusion of elastic and polymers are known as elastomers and provides maximum durability and support to the microphone.

The structure may vary according to the model of your microphone. These shock mounts are generally utilized by professionals and come with a hefty price tag. But these shock mounts pay for their price.

Individually Dedicated Shock Mounts

As I discussed earlier in the article, there are many customized shock mounts for different microphones. These shock mounts are built-in high-quality fabric and vary for each microphone. You cannot utilize shock custom-built mounts for any other model mic.

Individually dedicated shock mounts may vary in size, design, and price tag according to the quality.

Pencil Microphone Shock Mounts

The design of this shock mount is for small microphones. Its design is different from the cat cradle as it needs to hold small microphones. It has two two-points of proximity for maximum support. In the cat cradle shock mount, as you observed, an exterior skeleton supporting the structure for the pencil shock mount, its central framework supporting the microphone.

The design may vary from elastic bands arranged around the center to the shotgun shock mount designed for long microphones particularly, ribbon microphones.

The main problem with the pencil shock mount of any type is the lack of durability and elasticity. The shock mount is composed of elastic bands, but due to many factors, they cannot provide adequate support, and after a short time, bands start to droop, making the shock mount quite useless.

Do Shock Mounts Fit All Mics?

Every studio and microphone requires a shock mount for uninterpreted audio quality. Here is another question that pops into the mind of many microphone users is fitting of the shock mount. Would a shock mount fit my microphone? A common question when users talk about shock mount. So the short answer is yes.

So here, another question arises can you use one shock mount for all the microphones? The answer is yes and no. You can utilize some shock for several microphones because of the identity in the sleek and design.

A person can use a USB microphone shock mount for an XLR microphone. But you cannot use a shock mount designed for a boom operator for dynamic or condenser mic.

You have to choose a shock mount keeping in view compatibility with your mic.

Yes, but users of different countries with identical models can use the same shock mounts.

Do Dynamic Mics Need a Shock Mount?

Before starting with the debate over shock mounts and dynamic mics, let me dig into the anatomy of a dynamic mic. A dynamic mic is considered the best mic by professionals to record vocal sounds.

This mic does not easily pick up background noises. A dynamic mic is quite resistant to resonance and other forms of distortions. And it can handle high pressure effectively. The secret lies in their infrastructure. They use phenomena of electromagnetism for their work, converting sound signals to electrical signals reducing the background effect.

The question is, do dynamic mics require a shock mount. The prime purpose of a shock mount is to reduce the effects of vibrations and other jerks. Dynamic mic has a rug style means many of the shocks and vibrations can pass without disturbing the audio quality.

If you are working in an indoor environment with instruments and vocals shock mount is rarely needed.

Use a shock mic if you have unavoidable interference accompanied by distortion of sound quality during live performance. Otherwise, it is not compulsory to use a shock mount for a dynamic mic in ordinary studio recordings.

Do Shotgun Mics Need a Shock Mount?

Starting with the topic, let me first explain the assembly and working of a shotgun mic for my users so that understanding the need for the mic is relatively easy.

A shotgun microphone is a longitudinal high-sensitivity mic. Another factor contributing to the specificity of a shotgun mic is its extremely directional poles which means they are highly delicate to a specific area from where they pick up the audio signal. The fact I mentioned typifies that the slightest shock or vibration can be lethal to the audio output. Besides this, shotgun microphones possess self-noise to some extent.

A shotgun mic is also known as a line mic due to its design, making it difficult for the user to hold the mic in a stable position without causing any natural vibration or distortion.

If I analyze the facts, It is highly recommendable to use a shock mount during studio recording and live sessions to reduce resonance to a great level.

How Much Does a Shock Mount Cost?

A shock mount is a miraculous accessory working to enhance your audio output. But keeping in view your budget and planning accordingly for your studio is also necessary. In this subheading, I will be discussing the cost and expenditures of a shock mount.

The price of a shock mount is highly dependent on the durability and elasticity of the shock mount. The shock mounts that have good fabric, such as elastomers, usually ranging from 25 $ to 50 $, and if you are considering shock mounts from a high-end brand price may rise to 95 dollars.

Similarly, cat cradle and shotgun mic shock mounts range between 20 to 35 dollars.

Customized shock mounts may vary in price.

Here are some of my favorite shock mounts available in the market.

  • Rycote USM: I will highly recommend Rycote USM if you need a shock mount for your studio. This shock mount can hold mics of different models ranging in diameter from 18 to 55 mm in diameter. By using this shock mount, you can experience 12dB of unwanted resonance isolation. Its price ranges between 90-100$dollars. It promises durability and elasticity, and users review that the shock mount does not sag away.
  • Rode Blimps: Rode blimps shock mount is a combination of the windscreen and shock mount. This shock mount is for shotgun mics. It provides good elasticity and durability. It is sold for around 280$- 320$, but the hefty price pays for the quality it supports sensitive shotgun microphones to an impressive extent.
  • LyxPro MKS1-B Spider Shock Mount: This shock mount is a pocket-friendly and well-synthesized microphone. It has a broad range means it fits many microphones with a large diaphragm coming from different ends comfortably. MKS1-B can aid in reducing the vibrations occurring due to physical contact with the mic itself. It also eliminates floor resonance and stands noises. The price for LyxPro MKS1-B is 23 dollars which are quite affordable.

How Do You Replace Shock Mounts?

Sometimes shock mounts need a replacement for operating well as the elastic band’s bag as time passes. Here we will discuss the procedure to replace a shock mount.

  1. Disconnect your microphone if connected to any gadget or power.
  2. Gently disentangle the elastic bands from the mic holder. Try to work on one strap at a time. Avoid hurtle as it can damage your mic holder.
  3. Once you have unwound the top cord, set it aside and start with the bottom band. Be extra vigilant while removing the bottom cable, as the maximum support for the mic holder comes from the ring at the bottom. While working at the main cord, the chances of falling off of the mic holder elevate.
  4. After you have removed the old elastic bands, start with the replacement of the strings. You will see four slits on your microphone holder. Gently begin connecting them to the openings of these slits. You may face a droopy length, but you can adjust it afterward.
  5. Repeat the same procedure for upper bands.
  6. Now take the mic holder and place it in the center. Connect bands from the bottom and hook them to the mic holder. Before this step, remember to adjust the length so that the mount does not sag away.
  7. Repeat the same procedure for the top cords too. You can model loops on the opposite sides first. It will ease your task.
  8. The shock mount is ready to work back!
  9. Place your mic and check for the results.

When Should Shock Mounts Be Replaced?

Now the question is, when is the best time to replace a shock mount? Or how would you know your shock mount needs replacement?

The common reason to replace a shock mount is the loss of elasticity. Elastic bands tend to droop as time passes. Elastic bands are responsible for the complete serviceability of the shock mount. Whenever you notice a crook in the cord or your microphone becomes sensitive to the vibrations that it was not before, then it means your shock mount needs replacement.

Incompatibility between the microphone and the shock mount is another reason for shock mount replacement. Users should not try to accommodate shock mounts with mics that do not match as it only destroys the audio quality.

You can also replace your shock mount at regular intervals such as months or years.

Conclusion

The shock mount acts as a shock and vibration absorber for the mic. It performs the same function as the shock absorber performs for the car.

The shock mount is the necessity of every studio as it ensures that crisp audio output retains. Shock mount comes in various designs and sizes according to the variety of mics available in the market. The point that should be kept in mind while choosing a shock mount is it should be compatible with your microphone.

One of the shock mounts available in the market is a cat cradle shock mount. Plastic Elastomer Suspension Shock Mount, and various individually dedicated mics(A customized shock mount). Pencil shock mount (Built for boom operator and shotgun microphone).

Other than this analyzing the isolation properties of a shock mount are also necessary as this is the prime goal of the shock mount. Checking for durability and elasticity of the mic is also vital as it saves your time and money from working on shock mount again and again.

But if you notice a sag or droop in your shock mount, replacing it is another step towards achieving a clear audio quality. In the article, I mentioned some of the decent-quality shock mounts that you can consider along with the replacement process. I hope it would help my readers in understanding shock mounts better.

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