Exploring Sound Design Tools: Pickup Coil Microphone

This post belongs to a series where I´m using unconventional microphones to get interesting sounds.
Please h
ave a look at the other posts from the series:

Contact Microphone.

To finish up this three part series about unconventional microphones, here are my results while recording with a coil pickup.

This device records the inductance of electromagnetic waves that are generated by any electronic device, allowing you to get all sorts of buzz, fuzz and hum type of sounds. This type of microphone is similar to the one used in electric guitars.

I have been recording everything in sight: computers, hard drives, screens, appliances and all sorts of audio equipment. I was very surprised about the vast array of different sounds that you can get. Sometimes just changing the mic placement a few centimenters gives you a completely different sound, which seems to be a recurring theme throughout this unconventional microphones series.

So, here are some of the sounds I´ve got. You can individually download every sound via freesound.org or download the whole package through this link.

Hum & Buzz

These are probably the most common sounds you are going to get since any electronic device has a transformer that produces these kind of sounds.

As you can hear, different devices produce different timbres:

Hum & Fuzz Effects

These two are interesting. The first one was produced recording a microwave oven and moving the microphone back and forth to create these dopplery whooshes.

The second one was recorded on a blinking electric hob, creating this pulsating alarm-like pattern.

Data & Glitching

Hard drives, printers, phones and computers produce very cool and interesting sounds. It´s worth recording them while idling but also as they boot up.


I´m happy with the results and I´ve definitely got some cool sounds that I will be using in the future. These could be great for sci-fi, user interface or magical sound design. Thanks for stopping by,