Can Cold Temperatures Ruin A Microphone; Expert Weighs In

Using microphones during extreme weather conditions is sometimes unavoidable.

Both hot or cold extreme temperatures, and high humidity can negatively affect the performance of a microphone. 

Extreme cold temperatures can damage the diaphragm of the microphone as it becomes stiff and noisy when exposed to cold temperatures. Moreover, condensation deposited on the diaphragm due to the cold environment can cause unwanted noise, or change the actual sound of the microphone, or worse, ruin the microphone completely.

Using microphones in freezing temperatures often results in more noise (hissing, popping, crackling) and frequency response changes or changes in transient response due to the diaphragm stiffness. 

Also you can expect added noise due to moisture, which impacts the mic’s element capacitance.

Related: Best Microphone For Recording Music 2021; Reviews

How To Prevent Microphone From Being Ruined By Cold Temperatures

The best way to prevent this is to let the gear acclimate to the new climate conditions before use. When moving from cold temperature to room temperature, give audio equipment time to adjust to the new conditions. 

Also, keep a desiccant (small bags of silica) in the microphone case and be sure to maintain the dryness of the desiccant as required.

Many classic studios keep their condenser microphones in a hot box. a box with a light bulb generating a low level heat (like an incubator). 

If you are having humidity related problems due to the cold weather, try putting your microphone near the heat of a light bulb for half an hour. 

Make sure that you never use a blow dryer on your condenser microphone.

Related: Best Dynamic Microphone For Streaming & Gaming 2021; Reviews

A dynamic microphone is much more reliable to work with in extreme temperatures. The mass of a dynamic diaphragm is much more than a condenser diaphragm. Since it is heavier and much stronger, the dynamic microphone is much more resilient in extreme temperatures, but within limits.

Working in extreme weather conditions can be challenging. For crews finding themselves in such conditions regularly, it is best to be prepared by purchasing RF technology condenser and dynamic microphones that are optimized for rugged use in the field.

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