Condenser mic exhibiting problems, need experts

Soulgolem

Member
Hi all, I own a Warm Audio WA-87 condenser mic, the original version, for the past year it's been exhibiting problems that I can't find useful information about on the web, perhaps it's a unique problem but I'd be really happy to have an expert's opinion, or maybe others have had this problem in the past.

When powering it up, the front side will work for a couple of seconds and then slowly fade to silent, if using omni, same thing will happen so only the backside is usable. (the rear works as it should). Same thing happens with figure 8 pattern.

so basically omni is usable only on the rear side
figure 8 - same thing
cardioid is dead silent

tried in at least 2 interfaces and 3 preamps with the same results.

is it possible that a capsule could be damaged and working only on the one side ? or is this anything to do with phantom power ? when I change polar patterns, *sometimes* it will work again and start fading (rather quickly) to silent on the front side, same thing if I turn phantom power off and then on.

I'm already communicating with warm audio about the issue, covid has been a real hell to me so I'm asking here because if I have a better understanding of the problem perhaps I can find someone local to do the work, I'm already foreseeing the RMA expense from Warm Audio and thinking this will kill me financially, which kind of sucks because truth be told, I would probably have to sell it to pay my rent.

Anyway, all help would be greatly appreciated.
rock on.
 

arcaxis

Active member
Can't hurt to try drying out the mic with some desiccant packs in a ziplock bag. I had a CAD M179 doing something similar with the front side capsule and it took a few days with the desiccant to get it back functioning correctly. Perhaps moisture from your breath has condensed onto the front capsule(?) Are you using a pop filter which may reduce breath moisture from reaching the capsule?

These are the desiccant packs I bought and they are reusable.
 

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rob aylestone

Well-known member
Well, sadly it sounds as if it faulty - if you have checked the obvious features like the phantom supply being present and correct. Power issues like this normally centre on capacitors in the main - their part is pretty important - so problems can often cause the available polarising voltage to drop, and gradual fading out of a working capsule hints at power issues. Faulty capacitors causing the power rail to fall, current increase to compensate, the phantom supply has limited available, so the voltage drops further a cycle. The power requirement for figure 8 and omni is greater than cardioid normally, so switching one capsule out lowers the current demand a little. My guess is it needs to go back, and nothing else will solve it, if you're unable to fix it yourself.
 

RRuskin

Rick Ruskin
Can't hurt to try drying out the mic with some desiccant packs in a ziplock bag. I had a CAD M179 doing something similar with the front side capsule and it took a few days with the desiccant to get it back functioning correctly. Perhaps moisture from your breath has condensed onto the front capsule(?) Are you using a pop filter which may reduce breath moisture from reaching the capsule?

These are the desiccant packs I bought and they are reusable.

If it's a moisture problem, the quickest way to dry it out is to arrange the mic so it hovers over a low-watt (40 watt max) incandescent lightbulb while it's powered up. If still not working after a day of this, something has gone down in the electronics.
 

Soulgolem

Member
thank you, i’ve placed it over a low powered lamp, can’t power the mic itself though because of placement, hope this helps, then i’ll try maybe in a bag of rice for a bit, large grain so it doesn’t get in through the grill

could definitely be moisture from usage but at the same time i’m not getting my hopes up too much because there’s been periods where i didn’t use the mic for months so i would think a large amount of time would get rid of the moisture.

i’m thinking perhaps i should find a local repair guy because the consultation alone with warm audio is a charged fee upon repair 😓... then there’s shipping. If it’s only a capacitor that needs changing, shouldn’t be complicated for a pro to troubleshoot yea ?
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
A local guy might be convenient, but probably price is not always the case. The manufacturer will know exactly what to do, will have all the right components in stock and if it needs something for comparison purposes - it's on the shelf. Let's say the engineer wonders if the capsule might be the problem, he just swaps it and sees what happens - cured or not? Your local guy won't have the spares to substitute so it might be more expensive, and you might still need a new capsule? See the problem?
 

arcaxis

Active member
could definitely be moisture from usage but at the same time i’m not getting my hopes up too much because there’s been periods where i didn’t use the mic for months so i would think a large amount of time would get rid of the moisture.
Sometimes where things are stored away for a time may have some dampness even if appearing dry. My CAD mic had been in a drawer, but seemed to absorb moisture from somewhere. I now keep that mic and another one that seem susceptible to dampness in a ziplock bag with a pack of desiccant. The packets aren't expensive to use when storing a mic, they change color when moisture is absorbed, and they can be recycled by heating. I do have the WA87 and it's a decent mic and well worth the cost by Warm Audio if it does need some repair work.
 

Soulgolem

Member
ok so here's the thing, I put it over a low heat bulb for about an hour and...

plugged it in with low hopes already planning option #2

and voilà ! it worked !
!!

omni sounded loud, clear and articulate, same sound both sides
figure 8 sounded focused and I could feel perhaps the rear being a tad louder
cardioid sounded warm

after about 3-4 minutes, I got the impression although I'm not fully sure, that the sound was slowly degrading,
perhaps I didn't get rid of all the moisture so I put it back atop the lightbulb

I'm gonna get some of those desiccant packs and do that next !

thank you so much, this is happening as I'm hearing from warm audio and getting the RMA form.

side note: customer service at warm audio is very quick and efficient, but I'm still hoping I won't need to send it in
 

Soulgolem

Member
or so it's been about 3.5 hrs total....

the mic has healed, it sounds just like it should, this is amazing, so I figured out this is probably due to high humidity in my apartment and the constant drinking of tea ! I guess some mics are more sensitive to this kind of stuff, my rode ntk never exhibits anything like that.
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
My older AKG Perception 220 has the same issue - crackling from humidity, plopping it in a big ziploc with desiccant packs overnight seems to work.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I once thought I had destroyed my then new Studio Projects condensor when I used it outside on a cool, damp night. I put it in the box, and when I tested it months later it was perfectly fine. Having used mostly dynamics to that point, I didn't think about dampness affecting a mic like that.
 

arcaxis

Active member
If it's a moisture problem, the quickest way to dry it out is to arrange the mic so it hovers over a low-watt (40 watt max) incandescent lightbulb while it's powered up. If still not working after a day of this, something has gone down in the electronics.
This is a viable way to dry a mic out, but I don't know that I have any incandescent lightbulbs to be found around my house any longer. All the fixtures are fitted with LED bulbs. :unsure::-)
Heat does work. Just use caution to not overdo it.
 

RRuskin

Rick Ruskin
This is a viable way to dry a mic out, but I don't know that I have any incandescent lightbulbs to be found around my house any longer. All the fixtures are fitted with LED bulbs. :unsure::-)
Heat does work. Just use caution to not overdo it.
I keep a few around just for this purpose because I have a few older mics that are susceptible to taking on moisture regardless of how carefully they are stored.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
My one AKG 414 that needed drying out has never been outside - or even been in the band mic box and left in the damp van overnight in the winter - the other condensers have been treated like I treat dynamics - badly - and are all trouble free? Weird.
 
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