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microphone is shocking me, literally

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(@mogal)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

Hey, has anyone ever had a microphone shock you when you are singing? This happened to me at practice today. I have a brand new Shure Beta 58A, and it is on a boom stand that has a Helicon Voice monitor on the stand. This has never happened to me before. Any ideas on what could be causing this, and, what to do about it?

MoGal


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

First, get yourself a ground-fault tester and NEVER EVER plug your gear into anything that fails the test . . . it can literally be fatal.

Second, if you are getting a shock from your gear, turn everything off, unplug everything and don't use it again until you're aboslutely sure you know why you were getting shocked, adn that that problem is resolved. Again . . this is life and death stuff.

If your outlet is not showing a ground fault, then carefully check over your gear for shorts. You need to find it and get rid of or fix that piece of gear.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@mogal)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

Hey, thanks for your advice. Today was the first time I had used this microphone over at one of my bandmates houses. Before that we were at my house. I'm wondering now whether or not her outlet was grounded. Is that what you meant - to test and make sure the outlet is grounded? Would I find that sort of tester at a Radio Shack or something?

MoGal


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

Radio Shaft or Home Depot.

KP speaks the truth, it can be extremely dangerous. Odds are it's the bandmate's outlets.


   
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 xg5a
(@xg5a)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 482
 

Guess that rules her house out for practice...

A lot of houses have newer outlets with grounds and stuff, but the grounds lead to nowhere. I know this because my house is in fact the same way. All of the outlets are 3-prong, but the 3rd prong isn't connected to anything, as the house was built before 3 prongs were invented. I know a lot of houses around here are like that(don't know about your area). I would think that could definately cause it...

Be careful!


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I have been shocked by mics before. Not pleasant. :shock:

One thing that helps is the foam covers over the mic. Since using these I have never been zapped. They also prevent pop, like sometimes if you sing a "P".

If you can reverse the polarity it should eliminate this.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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 xg5a
(@xg5a)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 482
 

If you can reverse the polarity it should eliminate this.
So maybe he should get one of those 3 to 2 prong outlet adapters, and try flipping it over?


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

That won't work...

On modern wall outlets, one 'leg' is narrower than the other - so plugs can't be flipped over.

That wasn't always the case, and many buildings may still have old wall outlets. If you plug into an old outlet, you could do that - but many amps have a polarity switch on the back, because the problem was once really widespread, and it can be fatal... one example is Les Harvey, who was the guitarist in Stone the Crows; he was killed on stage.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@mogal)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64
Topic starter  

Hey - this is pretty scary stuff! To follow up, last night we had practice over there again, and the other bandmates husband came over and tested the outlet she was using. Sure enough, it was not grounded. He said there was about 60 watts of voltage going along the floor! So...she is going to have an electrician over to fix it. We usually practice at my house anyway, so it isn't a problem here. I didn't realize it was that big a deal, really! I'm glad I looked into it with you guys!

MoGal


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

It's a very very big deal.

I actually know a guy who died due a bad outlet. He was a buddy of mine in high school, killed at 17 playing in a friend's garage.

Never ever plug into any outlet unless you know there is no ground fault.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Oh yeah, it happens. Keith Relf, the lead singer and harmonica player for the Yardbirds was electrocuted and died playing a guitar that wasn't properly grounded in his own home.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

The best $5.00 you'll ever spend on electrical safety.

Unless, you want to turn into Uncle Fester...

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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(@diceman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 407
 

In many cases the third (green) wire is connected to the copper water supply line for the house . This supplies a ground connection . A separate ground rod can also be driven into the earth and the green wire is connected to it . Best of all is to use both , connecting them all together . You can never have too much grounding .

If I claim to be a wise man , it surely means that I don't know .


   
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