Homemade Contact Microphone

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to make a contact mic with my class at Columbia College Chicago. I’ve been interested in contact mics for a while now, but for whatever reason haven’t actually picked one up to do any recordings. So, this was the perfect kick in the pants to get to work!


A small Altoids tin makes a great protective case for the piezo element!

I of course had to try out some of the obvious uses for contact mics. I recorded all kinds of metal. One of the better recordings I got was from my lift top coffee table. You can’t go wrong with metal springs.

Being the weirdo I am, I wanted to see what else I could do with my fresh new mic. I got some neat recordings from different faucets and toilets. One of the most interesting was quite unexpected. After turning off my bath faucet I heard some faint bubble noises long after the water had drained. My guess is these were air bubbles somewhere far down the pipe, still resonating up to my faucet.

(Note: This was significantly processed to remove noise.)

Without a doubt, however, my favorite recordings came from my own body. Hearing your own body at work is a undeniably strange experience. I captured my heart beating, bones popping, and stomach gurgling. I had the most fun recording my throat as I talked and made funny noises. This could be great for creature design!

All in all, I’m impressed by the results from a contact mic you could make with a few bucks. I might need to buy one of these!

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