R/E/P > Klaus Heyne's Mic Lab Stickies

Silica Bags As Desiccants: Do they work?

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Noah Scot Snyder:
I use the metal cased rechargeable desiccants with success. The style I use starts orange and turns clear as it absorbs water. Once it is clear you toss it in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours and it dries out ready to be used again. One lives in each of my well sealed mic cases (the style often used for camera equipment). 

What is the best humidity range for microphones?

There are de-humidifying cabinets, made for camera equipment and selling for a couple hundred dollars, that could be used for microphone storage. I don't live in a humid enough area to ever really need something like that, but they could probably come in handy in studios in humid environments, like in Florida or Southeast Asia.
With an air-tight dehumidified cabinet, you wouldn't need to bother with plastic bags and desiccants every time you used a mic. For those with very expensive microphone collections (not me, sadly), a couple/few hundred dollars for such a cabinet may not seem that big of an expense.

All high-end studio condenser mics are resistant to moisture back-down in high humidity environments, as long as the capsule surfaces are clean.

A contaminated capsule in high humidity behaves differently: when the the level of contaminants (often specks of dust or a film of dried saliva) is dense enough it will form a conductive path between diaphragms and backplate, as soon as enough moisture is present.

The conductive path between the two capacitor plates discharges the plates, and the mic becomes noisy.

My question is, if desiccant packs are useful for mic storage, why not instead use a dehumidifying cabinet for storage? And if such a cabinet were to be used, for what humidity range should it be set?

The opening sentence in my reply suggests that a dehumidifying cabinet or room for microphones is overkill. We have enough data from more than 50 years of condenser mic use all over the world to confirm this.

As a matter of fact, the original AKG C12 was specified to be impervious to even high levels of humidity, as its primary market initially was South America.


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