How to clean a dynamic microphone

Whether you are working within a professional studio or live setting, chances are you’ll have a collection of dynamic microphones. Ultimately these should be kept as clean as possible as they are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, due to their low sensitivity and close proximity to performer’s mouths. There’s a couple of reasons why dynamic microphones should be cleaned on a regular basis and we’ll also look at the process on how to clean them. 

Hygiene

First and foremost. It’s hygienic. You would expect a clean glass when ordering a drink from a restaurant or bar. The same theory applies to microphones. These are used up close to many different people’s mouths and can have come into contact with unclean surfaces like the floor regularly. Also, if you are working on a tour where the performers are using the same microphones every night for 6-8 months, these will need to be kept as clean as possible so it will prevent the performers from becoming ill on tour. As the last thing anyone wants is disruptions to the tour.  

Build-Up

Secondly, you’ll want to keep on top of preventing any build-up on the grill of the microphone. If you were to open up a dynamic microphone that belonged to a small club venue and hadn’t been cleaned in over a year, the result would be horrifying. It’s surprising how much build-up can occur. Keeping on top of regular cleaning will benefit you massively in the future as you won’t have to deal with the disgusting task of cleaning away a year’s worth of gunk. Secondly, you want your microphone to sound as good as possible, as having lots of build-up on the grills can cause degradation in the microphone’s frequency response.

What you’ll need:

  • Toothbrush 
  • Washing up liquid 
  • Dettol Cleansing Surface Wipes
  • Kitchen roll

 

How to clean:

  • There is no right or wrong way when cleaning the grills as long as the grill is clean by the end follow this guide for inspiration. 
  • The first step when cleaning a dynamic microphone is removing the grill from the body. Simply twist and unscrew until it comes off. Once you have the grill, remove the foam windshield, so you have both the metal grill and the foam windshield. The foam windshield depending on the last time it was cleaned will have saliva build-up on it mainly, whereas the metal grill will have some salvia and lipstick build up as-well. 
  • Now beings the cleaning process. Using a toothbrush and washing up liquid, scrub the metal grill in warm water to remove any build-up from the grill. Or if this does not take your fancy, you can put the metal grill in the dishwasher. Whatever you choose to do, ensure that the grill is completely dry before putting back on the microphone, the last thing you want is rust building up. You can use kitchen roll to dry everything off before reassembly. 
  • Next is the foam windshield. By hand, wash using hot water and washing up liquid in a sink until all the build-up has been completely removed. Again like the grill ensure the foam is completely dry before reconstructing the microphone. Let it air dry overnight or if time is sensitive use a hairdryer to speed things up. 
  • It’s straightforward and isn’t too time-consuming. The time to clean will all depend on how dirty everything is, so if you regularly clean your grills, the cleaning times will be dramatically less than if you let them build up over a long period of time.
  • Lastly, the surface cleaner wipes. Keep these handy with your microphones, and use them on the grills daily. These wipes are designed to make surfaces clean enough to prepare food on, which will be perfect for keeping your grills sterile and clean for whoever uses them.

For more news articles visit the ProAudioBlog website and for equipment needs visit the Studiospares website.

 

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Charlie Munn

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