After some months of faffing around and one botched attempt I have finally finished building a rudimentary DIY parabolic mic to use for field recordings. In total, the project probably cost me around £15 and I’m pretty happy with the result.
The materials I used are as follows:
1x Large Plastic Bin Lid
1x Jam Jar Lid
2x Jubilee Clips
1x Wooden Dowel
1x Metal Pipe
1x Lavalier (around £8 from amazon)
The only tools I used were a hacksaw, hot glue gun, drill, ruler, pen and a pair of scissors. The basic idea for my design came from this article and it was pretty simple to construct. I modified their design slightly after calculating (very roughly using the formula found here) where the focal point of my parabola was. Seeing as the bin lid I used as a dish is not a true parabolic curve, it doesn’t reflect quite as well as it would if it was, but i’m happy with it anyhow for the time being.
There are lots of folks out there who have made substantially better parabolic reflectors than me and some who have constructed their own mics for the purpose. Check out examples here and here for starters.
Field recordings to follow shortly!
Update: Here’s a field recording made with the mic.
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Update: I’ve now retired this mic as it was a bit unwieldy, fragile and not that effective. Still a good learning experience for me though! I took the lav mic and repurposed it into a DIY stethoscope mic which you can read more about here.