Recently I’ve been tasked with creating some sfx for high energy weapons.
With a lack of access to high voltage transformers, I’ve gone a little closer to home and purchased some EMF microphones.
They’re pretty cheap telephone pickups, intended for attaching to a traditional landline phone when you want to record a call. They’re no 007 gadget, but they’re pretty fun to attach to everything in the office and see what you can get. You can pick them up for under a tenner on ebay.
They are designed to pickup electro magnetic waves in coils like phone wire. They also work with other signals like WIFI. As an extra bonus, as you aren’t recording using a conventional microphoone, you don’t really have to worry about noise pollution for once!
You can get all sorts of results from objects you to have to hand. Telephones are an obvious one, newer smartphones can provide interesting results when they are turned ON/OFF or accessing different applications.
But other appliances from routers, fans and lighting fixtures all provide their own sonic qualities and personalities.
I also attached a cheap contact mic on some of the recordings too to help thicken the recordings and provide some depth and context to what can be quiet an abstract sound.
To demonstrate the sonic qualities you can get, I’ve embedded three separate takes of the recordings. The first is all the EMF recordings playing at once. The next is all the contact recordings, and the last is them all together.
The only processing is a brick wall limiter and the above mentioned layering.