Bubblebee Fur: The Long and Short of it

You may have noticed that a couple of our wind-protection solutions for Shotgun mics, are available in both long and short-haired variations, so we wanted to expand on this and explain exactly why this is, the science behind it and when it's necessary to use each variation.

Which Products Have Different Variations of Fur Length?

The Windkiller

The Windkiller with Long and Short fur

The Spacer Bubble

The Spacer Kit with Short and Long-Haired Fur Covers

The Big Windbubble

The Big Windbubble with Short and Long fur

The Science Behind Wind & Sound: What’s the difference?

Sound is an energy which causes air molecules to vibrate at a frequency. Wind is the energy of air molecules moving from point to A to point B at velocity.

Sound energy can travel through both air molecules which are stationary and moving air molecules (wind).

Think of it as a river or lake; if you throw a pebble into a lake, it will create ripples around a stationary point. If you throw a pebble into a moving river, it will still create ripples which will travel, included in the flow of the river.

the difference between sound and wind energy

Illustration: How air molecules move in sound or wind

The human ear interprets vibrations which travel through air particles as changes in air pressure. A microphone’s diaphragm does the same thing - interprets changes in air pressure as the molecules vibrate back and forth. Wind also causes a change in pressure, causing unwanted sound in a recording as a result and stronger winds can even cause the mic diaphragm to overload.

A note on ‘wind noise’: moving air molecules make no sound inherently. The sound we perceive wind to make is always the result of these moving molecules hitting a surface of some sort, causing friction, or sound caused by the movement of these surface objects. A classic illustration of this would be the sound of air moving through trees, causing the branches and leaves to move, shake and collide.

Wind colliding with a surface creates increased pressure and friction noise

Illustration: Wind creates increased air pressure and friction noise when meeting a surface

Omnidirectional or Directional Microphones:

Omni-directional mics measure the overall air pressure around the mic capsule. The diaphragm and backplate contain a sealed off unit of air and therefore measure the differences between pressure inside vs outside, regardless of which direction it’s pointed in. Generally the construction of Omnidirectional mics means the diaphragm is a more robust material than that of their directional counterparts. Omni mics can handle higher direct wind speeds before overloading the capsule.

Directional microphones use a more sensitive diaphragm material as to achieve ‘directionality’ they measure the differences in pressure in front of, or the behind the diaphragm. This phase offset of the sound energy results in smaller increments of difference and the diaphragm material is usually more flexible to pick these differences up effectively. Due to the softer diaphragm of a directional microphone, their capsules can be particularly susceptible to wind and overload quicker than omni mics.

Omnidirectional and directional mic capsule differences

Illustration: differences in construction of omnidirectional and directional microphone capsules

The goal of our wind-protective gear is to create a safe, still space around the microphone capsule to allow it to function as closely to how it would in a still, windless environment.

Fur and Wind Protection:

In nature, animals living in the wild have coats of fur to help protect them against the elements likes wind to keep them warm (there's a reason highland cattle have so much of it, being native to the windy Scottish Highlands and Outer Hebrides!) Fur allows the wind to slow down before reaching the skin and thereby holding a pocket of warmer air next to the skin and protecting the animal from windchill.

The highland cattle (we really do think they’re cool!) have a fur coat which consists of a variety of different lengths, some strands of which reach up to 33cm (13”) in length. While our imitation fur doesn’t quite boast the same extremes, the principle behind it is similar when protecting your microphone!

We’ve taken our cues from the animal kingdom and created a dense multi-pile, super-soft faux fur. This allows wind to slow down gradually has it collides with the windshield’s fur piles, from the outside inwards.

Multi-pile fur dispersion of wind energy

Illustration: Multi-pile fur in the dispersion of wind energy

This forgoes a lot of the ambient noise which can be caused by larger flatter surfaces as wind hits them – also the reason our strands of fur are so fine. The open mesh base of The Windkiller and Spacer Bubble uses a very porous acoustic foam to then create a neutral space around the mic. All this to allow it to function as closely to its original specs as possible.

Why Are There Two Different Lengths of Fur?

Simply put, the longer the hair, the better protection against the wind!

However, covering up a microphone in any capacity is always going to have an effect on the way that microphone captures the audio frequencies around it. There will always be a compromise. The design and construction of our wind-protection solutions allows you to find the perfect balance to ensure your recordings are protected from harmful wind noise, while retaining as much natural transparency as possible.

Because the velocity of wind outdoors isn’t a constant level, we developed a short-haired version of our fur. This allows your mic to retain even more of its original frequency response, whilst protecting against lower-mid level winds. The visual aspect of the short-haired fur is also perfect for use with on-camera mics, to ensure any potentially longer strands of fur stay well out of the shot.

If you’d like to see and hear the differences between our wind-protection solutions, head to our YouTube channel to watch us test them out in a variety of different and windy locations.

Have a windy day!