The CrashGuard is a unique sound-shielding device that isolates the drum microphone to attenuate the sound of cymbals during the recording process. This has the net effect of reducing interference between the two sources thus enabling greater control over the sound of the drum. The CrashGuard 421 has been specially designed to fit the classic Sennheiser MD421 microphone.
Compact and light weight, the CrashGuard is designed to fit most popular drum microphones and mounts directly on the boom stand using the microphone's clip to hold it in place. The high impact ABS construction is tough enough to withstand the hit of a drum stick by even the most aggressive drummer.
To ensure the microphone performance is maintained, the under-belly is fully coated on the inside with high density open-cell foam to absorb internal reflections and reduce phase cancellation. Plus the innovative design features an extended cable cutout that allows the microphone to be articulated for precise placement, further optimizing the performance.
Once in place, the CrashGuard surrounds the microphone with a sonic barrier. By reducing the spill from the cymbals, more of the drum can be captured. This enables the engineer to add EQ to the drum such as increasing high end for more attack without accentuating the sound of the cymbal. On close proximity sources such as the high-hat and snare, the engineer enjoys greater balance over each sound.
The CrashGuard is an easy to use instrument shield designed to control the spill of cymbals entering the drum for greater control during the recording process.
- Reduces sound of cymbals from spilling into drum mics
- Light weight design fits most popular microphones
- Allows drum mic to be articulated for precise aiming
- Improves isolation for added control over each drum
The Science Of The CrashGuard
It would be great if we could claim that we 'invented' the CrashGuard. Truth is; devices like the CrashGuard have been custom built by recording engineers for years. Some have tried cardboard and duct tape, others have attempted to cut & glue plastic bottles.
Although these home-made jobbies work to a certain degree, they are usually fragile, hard to position and probably do not afford as much isolation as one would like.
The point here is that necessity is usually the driver for innovation. The CrashGuard is a device whose time has come to break out of obscurity… and this page explains how it works.
Isolating high frequencies
It is well known that wherever air is free to wonder, sound tends to follow. Sound travels through air like waves on water by compressing air molecules. High frequencies and low frequencies both sound different and behave differently.
Given the fact that bass goes everywhere and high frequencies are more directional, highs are easier to predict. And since high frequencies contain less energy than lows, they require less effort to control. This is, in fact, why the CrashGuard is designed to control spill from the cymbals. Highs are easy to mange compared to bass. And controlling low frequencies from the toms is practically impossible.
Cymbals and high frequency splash
When the hi-hat is played, the high frequency sound from the cymbals will travel outward in a straight line in all directions. You can be certain that some of it will end up right at the nearby snare drum mic. By shielding the snare mic with the CrashGuard, the direct sound from the hi-hat is attenuated. It is important to note that high frequencies easily bounce off of hard surfaces. This can include drum shells, other cymbals and even the drum skin.
Even with the CrashGuard in place, some of the cymbal sound will find its way into the drum mic. The CrashGuard is merely reducing the level to give the engineer more control. This is particularly important when trying to add some attack to a drum. This is normally done using an EQ by adding high frequencies. If the cymbals are left unchecked to spill into the drum mic, their high frequency content will also be accented.
The shield and internal acoustic absorption
In the old days, studios use to line their walls with lead to stop sound. Today, they use multiple layers of gypsum board. To stop sound you need mass. And if you look inside a modern control room, you will find a mixture of both absorbent materials and diffusers. This is because in order to control sound, you have either to absorb it or deflect it away.
The CrashGuard is made from ABS plastic. ABS is a fabulous material… it is rugged yet springy. This means that when you hit it with a drum stick, it will not break. You can find photos of extreme measures where engineers have taped forks and other shields over microphones in effort to protect them from overly aggressive drummers. The CrashGuard offers a good measure of protection and is also heavy enough to actually attenuate some of the high frequency sound. You will also notice that the CrashGuard incorporates angles on both sides. This helps reflect energy away from the microphone inside. In fact, this is exactly the same approach used to build the Stealth bombers: the angular shape of a Stealth bomber is designed to reflect energy away so that it makes it difficult for Radars to pinpoint their location.
The underbelly of the CrashGuard is coated with a layer of open cell acoustic foam. This is designed to help reduce some of the internal reflections that are generated when the drum is hit. The CrashGuard will affect the polar pattern of the microphone which will slightly alter the tone. But by aiming the mic further downward, the effect is minimized.
Who would have thought that such as simple device would actually such in-depth science behind the design… When it really comes down to it, the most important issue here is performance. And the CrashGuard does exactly what it is supposed to do.
Shell Material: ABS plastic, black (75% recycled material)
Inner Liner High density acoustic foam
Dimensions: 17.8cm x 9.5cm x 5cm; 7” x 3.75” x 2”