Microphones are like any other electronic devices; they can wear out over time; however, they can last for decades and still perform perfectly, but you should protect your microphone from the factor that can affect its lifespan and shorten it.
Screaming into your microphone may not directly be the reason for it showing a lower performance, screaming into the microphone when accompanied by some other factors can affect your microphone, especially its sensitive components like the diaphragm.
Can Screaming Into Your Mic Damage or Break It?
Mics can handle high levels of sound pressure; therefore, yelling or screaming into your mic will not damage or break it; however, the diaphragms of mics can not tolerate air blasts, for example, vocal plosives. Vocal plosives can happen when a speaker or a singer pronounces certain consonants.
These consonants are accompanied by heavy breathing, which makes the air strikes the microphone’s capsule; as a result, the air applies pressure on the capsule of the mic, and it can, over time, damage the mic. The vocal plosives could be heard in recordings as a popping sound if the plosive with too strong, or it can be heard as a windy sound if the plosive is weak.
When you yell or scream into your microphone, you may produce these vocal plosives, which will affect the mic’s capsule, resulting in the damage of the microphone over time; if you don’t notice these vocal plosives in your recording when you yell, then your mic will be fine.
What Happens When You Scream Into Your Mic?
Your vocal cords deliver unwanted microphone feedback when you scream into your mic. Then when the extra volume is added to this feedback, the distortion mechanisms of the microphone are triggered due to the harsh tone resulting from the feedback and the extra volume.
How to Scream Into Your Microphone Without Distortion?
When you exceed the limit of the microphone, the distortion starts to appear. To scream into the microphone without triggering the distortion, you need to keep a distance from the mic while screaming; this way, you can avoid exceeding the limit of the mic; in addition, you adjust the gain adjustments.
You have to adjust the gain adjustments by minimizing the gain of the signal or reducing the preamp volume; screaming into your mic is similar to a high falsetto produced by male signers; the process depends on the usage of false notes and cords, which means it has no consistency because it has no full push from the diaphragm.
Screaming into the microphone can be hard without triggering the distortion because when you scream, you deliver unwanted feedback from your vocals; besides, the extra volume adds to this feedback, resulting in distortion, therefore, you have to make some changes to the gain adjustments and the preamp volume to keep consistency; you can see that the opera singer has a mic close to his mouth. Still, he doesn’t trigger distortion mechanisms because he has the proper consistency.
How to Scream Into Your Microphone Without Clipping the Mic?
After adjusting your gain levels to the average of your vocals, you might still face some problems due to the peaks that exceed the limit of your microphone; for example, the plosives like B and P can apply some air pressure over the microphone due to the blast results while pronouncing them.
The pop filter is the best solution to avoid these blasts or plosives; it’s either a metal mesh or a piece of cloth that fits over the microphone to reduce the number of air blasts reaching the microphone, which decreases the effect of the plosives produced from your mouth during screaming.
Don’t Record Directly Into The Mic.
Recording directly into your microphone is not always supposed to produce a better sound; it depends on the type of the microphone; for example, the high-quality microphones that use a high diaphragm condenser should not be recorded into them directly; meanwhile, the low-quality dynamic microphones you will need to scream or sing directly into them to have better quality.
The high-quality microphones use a high diaphragm condenser which makes them more sensitive and can pick up subtleties and details of any vocal performance; this can cause problems when directly recording into them because you can exceed their limit easily when using high vocals, and this will distort your recordings.
To handle the air pressure effect when using a condenser microphone, you will need to move the microphone higher than your mouth level; the microphone should be at the noise level; this will make the microphone avoid any air blasts that come out from your mouth while screaming or singing. In addition, you need to fight your instinct; you level your mouth with the microphone new level because this will affect the quality of your recording and trigger the distortion mechanisms.
Keep Your Distance From The Mic
You need to keep a distance from the microphone; after moving the microphone to a higher level than your mouth level and placing a pop filter in front of the microphone, the next step is to keep a distance of five to eight inches if you are using a low tone and keep a twelve-inch distance if you are using a high tone. The only case where you should be standing near the mic is when you want to have a deep tone.
What Can Cause a Mic to Wear Out?
Microphones can wear out for many reasons, for example, some environmental factors like humidity, heat, and corrosion; there are also some other causes like gas leakage, smoke, dust, mechanical stress, etc. Therefore, you have to know what can cause your microphone to wear to protect it and make it last longer; therefore, you need to like into them in depth:
Humidity is considered a lethal problem for microphones because it affects the microphone’s passive components like transforms, magnets, ribbon baffles, cartridges, and diaphragms. In addition, the humidity also can affect the printed circuit boards in microphones; in the active solid-state microphones, the humidity affects the FETs transistors (field effect transistors).
The problems resulting from the humidity don’t stop at the condensation of metals; it is also the reason for corrosion later; in addition, when combined with dust in the air, the condensation can clog the open parts of the microphone.
Corrosion usually results from humidity; the corrosion can affect the moving-coil dynamic diaphragms found in the microphones because they are copper. The copper can corrode slowly over time, resulting in a lower microphone performance. Meanwhile, the ribbon diaphragm is made from aluminum; aluminum can also corrode.
When the ribbon diaphragm gets corroded, the putout signal becomes less accurate and weaker; the condenser diaphragms are made of gold because it doesn’t corrode; meanwhile, the most exposed part in the microphone’s components are the PCBs, they will corrode over time because they are exposed to humidity and oxygen.
Smoke and Dust
The smoke and dust to wear the microphone parts will need a catalyst: the humidity; when the humidity is present, the smoke and dust can accumulate on the surface of the microphone and inside it. The dust can also affect the diaphragm if the dust particles have sharp edges. The diaphragms of ribbon microphones are very sensitive to dust, which can easily damage them.
Therefore, the ribbon microphones should be covered while moving them. The dust can be lethal to their diaphragms and easily damage them, especially if the dust particles are sharp.
Can Tapping On Your Mic Damage or Break It?
Tapping on the microphone can break or damage the thin structures in the microphone, like the diaphragm, because they are very thin, and if you tap very hard on the microphone or drop it, they can break; however, if you tap lightly or gently on the microphone, it will bot affect its structures.
The microphone consists of thin and sturdy components; therefore, tapping on the microphone will not affect all the parts; for example, PCBs, vacuum tubes, and ribbon diaphragms can be easily damaged if you tap the microphone very hard or drop it.
To sum up, screaming or yelling into your microphone will not damage or break the microphone because it can handle high sound pressure levels. However, the vocal plosives generated when you are screaming can affect your microphone, and the air blasts resulting from the voice plosives will apply pressure and act like strikes on the mic’s diaphragm.
This will affect the diaphragm of the microphone and can easily damage it if it’s repetitive; when you yell or scream into your microphone, you may produce these vocal plosives, which will affect the mic’s capsule, resulting in the damage of the microphone over time, if you don’t notice these vocal plosives in your recording when you yell, then your mic will be fine.