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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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microphone shock?

danyo

i sing and play guitar in a band and just set up the pa, but everytime my lips touch the mic i get a small "shock". is it the mic? is it the cables? any insight would be helpful!
February 5, 2008 @02:57am
Smithcok

February 5, 2008 @03:59am
makikogi

I had the same problem and it went away after I hit the polarity switch on my mixing board.
February 12, 2008 @02:55am
RotorOnTop

it is a grounding issue...I got shocked so bad at a live outdoor gig once all I saw was whitelight, it can be dangerous...beware.
February 12, 2008 @11:24am
cdanddvdpublisher

If your equipment is older, make sure that everything is properly grounded. This could be your first problem. If your equipment is ok, it may be improper mains wiring. They make special checkers (I don't know what exactly they are called) to check your outlets. My advice is, use up to date equipment and rubber soled shoes! :)
March 1, 2008 @05:56am
staylor

I've run into this problem quite a few times and it usually results from your guitar rig not being properly grounded. In theory, you can check this by touching the mic while you touch the strings of your guitar - this might trigger some what of a shock Then try touching the mic without touching your guitar; you probably wont get shocked. As a side note, I don't recommend actually checking this theory; it could be dangerous. And I'm not going to take responsibility if you die of electric shock!!!
Check the power cabling on your amp, pedals, and whatever other gear you are using in the signal chain is properly grounded. I know some musicians/techs ground lift equipment to eliminate hum. This is kind of dangerous and could be potentially harmful, especially for people who play and sing simultaneously; You end up rerouting the current through your face into the mic (which is properly grounded). A big enough shock could hurt you! Make sure what you're plugging your equipment into is properly grounded. It should fix the problem.
-ST
March 15, 2008 @03:48am
howlingwolf487

March 27, 2008 @07:27am
amarule

FWIW, this can kill you.
Make sure your amp is properly grounded to the SAME power the PA is. If your amp doesn't have a 3 way grounded plug, get one installed.
March 31, 2008 @05:57pm
davefeasley

I'm not qualified to give advice on this sort of thing but, when I want to know in advance if my lips are going to be shocked by the microphone or not, after making sure I don't have wet shoes on or anything like that, I touch my right elbow to the guitar strings while touching my right hand to the microphone. I believe then that, if electrons do flow through my body, they will take the path of least resistance and only hurt my elbow and hand without going through my heart. Therefore I feel that a potentially dangerous situation will at least not be lethal for me.
July 5, 2011 @08:59pm
yeahforbes

The cheapest and simplest hack is to put an external windscreen on the mic. But the solution I recommend, which avoids such a silly appearance, is to use an isolation transformer. The catch is that it needs to be a 1:1 transformer, not stepping up or down like a direct box.
Rapco ISOBLOX
Whirlwind IMP Splitter
etc.
July 7, 2011 @05:49pm
TimmyP1955

The ground of the PA and the ground of your guitar amp are not at the same potential. Plug your amp in someplace else.
July 15, 2011 @01:42am
AlexDrummerVanOver

I Had This Problem On a Old P.A. of mine It was easy to find. First make sure all your equipment is good by Eliminating it one piece at a time(amp, Board, so on ....) In my case my power amp was going bad. I noticed it while practicing with my band and leaned up against a pole in the basement and a mic was in my hand, (BAM) won't do that again. Also Phantom power will do this some times, that is easy to fix, if you don't need phantom power turn it off. If all else fails Call an Electrician!!
July 23, 2011 @07:39am
TimmyP1955

I Had This Problem On a Old P.A. of mine It was easy to find. First make sure all your equipment is good by Eliminating it one piece at a time(amp, Board, so on ....) In my case my power amp was going bad. I noticed it while practicing with my band and leaned up against a pole in the basement and a mic was in my hand, (BAM) won't do that again. Also Phantom power will do this some times, that is easy to fix, if you don't need phantom power turn it off. If all else fails Call an Electrician!!

Phantom power is 48V at most, at very low current. Unlikely to be felt in the hands I think. And even if it were 'feelable', something would have to be very wrong for it to occur.
July 24, 2011 @08:26am
pursgo

windscreens do not fix this problem.
always check for voltage with a meter.
naturally have everything wired/interconnected correctly.
quick fix for a three prong plug:
loop a guitar string around the ground prong on amp.
tie other end to the mic on the guitar amp.
everything attempted by professionals. if you don't know. don't do it.
December 15, 2011 @10:15pm
yeahforbes

A guitar string around the ground prong of the plug?? That string will be milimeters away from the hot blade! Seriously... most things that people say are unsafe don't actually cause problems most of the time, but this certainly will!!!
And what is "the mic on the guitar amp"?
December 21, 2011 @08:55pm