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borjam

Hacking a Rode Blimp 2: Improved Lyres

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The Rode Blimp 2 is a vast improvement over the first version. They upgraded it to adopt the Lyre suspension by Rycote, which is orders of magnutude better than the old traditional rubber ring suspension.

 

Alas, it seems to be a half baked product and so far they haven't shown much interest on it. Two important flaws are:

 

1- The built in Lyres are too soft. Rycote manufacturers Lyres with several grades of stiffness. The possibility of using different lyres would be great. Sadly Rode decided to manufacture a sort of standard Lyre but with a built in adapter for the Rode rail, in a single piece. This makes it difficult to adapt Rycote spare Lyres.

 

2- Despite selling a long shotgun microphone, and a pretty good one at least for nature recordings, the NTG-8, they sell an extension kit which they say is only compatible with the first version of the Blimp. Turns out it's perfectly compatible with the second version, but the suspension Lyres are not stiff enough to support a long shotgun. See flaw #1.

 

Fortunately it's not that hard to solve the problem. I purchased some spare Lyres from Audiosense (Belgium). I had no idea which variants to order, and they have modular and pre modular options. Pre modulars seem to be intended to upgrade older systems. The good news is, the pre modular is a modular Lyre with an additional adapter piece you can remove. 

 

To the left, a Rycote spare (in this case a Duo Lyre 72) and, to the right the built in Lyres from Rode.

 

IMG_0356.jpeg

 

The Rode Lyre looks like a Rycote one but with the adaptor it would be molded in the same piece. It's possible to make such an adaptor (and I am measuring it and drawing it so that it can be 3D printed) but I wanted a quick test. After some minutes with a Dremel (don't forget your safety googles!) and a couple of plastic pipe attachments for 15/16 mm pipe I could finally make a couple of kludgy but functional Lyre adapters. (The not exactly precision cut grey plastic piece).

 

HackedBlimp.jpeg

 

blimpfinalresult.jpeg

 

Almost any rectangular piece of plastic with a hole in the middle will do, but there is one tricky problem: It needs to be within a certain heigth range, or the screw that links the Lyre and the bottom rail won't hold properly. The screw, the plastic adaptor and a bottom piece form a locking mechanism thanks to the pressure on the rail. About 10 mm is just right. 

 

I will complete a drawing of a possible adapter and, if possible, make a 3D model for printing. 

 

So how is it with the new Lyres? I would say it's much better. The Blimp is still very front heavy thanks to the long microphone and extension and using it on a boom pole for movie dialog would be considered serious mobbing on the boom operator. But it works fine for nature recording. 

 

I dare to say Rode chose the wrong "shore" for the Lyres. The 82 shore will support shotgun microphones much better.

 

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6 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

Cool little hack! Thanks for sharing! For now my rode blimp does a pretty good job, but at some point this might come in handy!. 

 

I'm not sure about the original Blimp, but maybe this hack is compatible. Maybe they reused the basket and rail.

 

 

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I have the mkii blimp. Actually, I wish I had the rings from the original one as that seems to be easier to modify to fit LDCs. I tried to see if the distributor in Germany had spare ones for sale, but unfortunately not, they seem to be discontinued now.

 

Other than that I like the mkii handle better, makes it all right to change the XLR to 5 pin when needed so would actually love to source mki rings, but this little trick is also inspiring for DIYing something similair. 

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2 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

I have the mkii blimp. Actually, I wish I had the rings from the original one as that seems to be easier to modify to fit LDCs. I tried to see if the distributor in Germany had spare ones for sale, but unfortunately not, they seem to be discontinued now.

 

Have you seen that Rycote sells larger Lyres for thicker microphones?

 

https://mymic.rycote.com/products/lyre/modular-lyre-upgrades/pair-of-duo-lyre-72-19_34-with-adaptor-screws/

 

The ones I used are designed for 19 - 25 mm diameter mics.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, borjam said:

Have you seen that Rycote sells larger Lyres for thicker microphones?

Yeah! Seen people use some bigger bodied mics in rycote lyres. I have been eyeing nt1a which is 50mm, so that is outside the lyre sizes as far as I know. 

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