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Picking a Mic to Record Fireworks

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Darryl Dueck:

If you are wanting lower frequencies how about a sub kick or a small speaker wired into your system the way you would do a microphone

Rick Earl:

--- Quote from: Jeff Lelko on June 10, 2021, 09:16:14 PM ---Greetings,

With the Fourth of July a few weeks out Iím looking for suggestions on a suitable mic for recording the noise of my (professional) fireworks display.  Iíve destroyed enough GoPro mics from the extreme SPLs of being near large caliber shells during discharge.  Any ideas of what can survive and still get decent fidelity?  Thanks!

--- End quote ---

I know the Heil PR-40 was used to record artillery for a film.   I have used my AEA R84 long ribbon to record gunshots before, I did build a custom windscreen for it since we were outside. It gave us a nice big, natural sound.  The AEA will handle 165+ dB.    The Josephson C550F is an Omni measurement mic that will also go out to 165 dB.  Both mics will give you ample bottom end. 

John Roberts {JR}:
Tom Danley did an interesting recording of fireworks a few years ago.

I don't think he shared how he did it but I suspect he stuck a mic down in the throat of a huge horn.


Jeff Lelko:

--- Quote from: Milt Hathaway on June 10, 2021, 09:21:20 PM ---Senn 421

--- End quote ---

Thanks Milt!  Despite not having one in my existing mic locker it looks handy to have around and hits the price point that I'm looking to spend.

--- Quote from: Helge A Bentsen on June 11, 2021, 06:02:55 AM ---Omni mics is your friends if you wish to record the low frequencies realistically over distance.
I'd use DPA 4061 or 4006/7.

Directional mics doesn't capture the low frequency over distance.

--- End quote ---

Good point about the directional mics and low frequencies.  Unfortunately both DPA mics are significantly more than I'm willing to put in the line of fire!  The Senny 421 is pushing it but no worse than a GoPro. 

I appreciate all the other input as well!  I'll have to go see if I can dig up the Tom Danley recording.  I recall that TELARC made a legendary recording of the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons. 

--- Quote from: Riley Casey on June 11, 2021, 09:03:01 AM ---I do have to ask since these shells are normally bursting 100s of feet in the air how close are you getting your  Go Pros that the mics are failing? Mics near the launch tubes would seem a bad idea unless you're specifically trying to capture the launch over the air burst.

--- End quote ---

Very close ;D 

I usually use the GoPro to record the show for my critical review afterwards but would like some more impressive audio beyond the "popping balloons" I currently have.  For reference here's a finale I did in South Florida a few years ago with the GoPro situated nicely between some 5", 6" and 8" mortars...

GoPro Fusion in Grand Finale Fireworks

* this is a 360deg video - be sure to watch in Chrome/Firefox/Safari or the Youtube App for proper playback.

Chris Grimshaw:
Just watched the video.

For picking up sound in that location, I'd be looking for an omnidirectional dynamic mic, like an AT804 (or the modern equivalent AT8004). You'll likely need to EQ the result, but it'll capture LF at a distance, and is unlikely to overload.

I keep one of those around for the few odd jobs where that kind of mic makes sense. I think I picked it up for £30, so if it breaks or gets lost/stolen, I'll just dig around online and buy another.
There are plenty of alternatives around, of course.



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