L.. is for Live Audio
update_13-7-15 making the most of the microphone.
Just a few of the microphones here...
Why LIVE AUDIO rather than general microphone technique? In a recording room or studio you can
do it again until you get it right. In this case the mistakes, clunks, bangs, shuffled paper, and forgotten
lines can be made to go away. And while this may flag up a lack of experience in the eyes, or ears of
the recording team, it's not the end of the world, and to a certain extent it is expected.
With live audio work however, there are no real margins for error. You must know how to get the best
results from the situation you face, with the equipment provided. There is an old saying that goes.......
A bad worker will allways blame his tools, and A good worker will allways praise them. If you arrive
on stage, without taking time to find out what equipment is available. Then you will will have no-one but
yourself to blame when you find that you are not familiar with the microphones and sound system, and
give a poor performance, or allow excessive noise or feedback to interfere with your words.
Let's look at the benefits to you from becoming a live-audio expert-speaker. You will be able to use the
tools supplied by the sound engineers to enhance your speaking skills, to gain more presance and add
life and style, be it face-to-face, or on the radio or television.. This fluidity will place you in a higher state
of self confidence, and this will show in your speaches and your recorded work.
So, a microphone is a microphone isn't it?..A transducer, an instrument for converting sound into an
electrical signal, Well, sort of... microphones do convert audio to electrical signals but they have differing
uses based on their electrical and mechanical properties. If you are keen to know these details, then I will
explain some of them. This is not nessecary to become a good user of the tool. For this, some more basic
information is needed .
The most common types you will use include hand-held, lavallier (tie-clip) microphones, Headband
or over-the-ear headset types are also quite popular. You should be aware of other types, in case
you find yourself being confronted with one. If you know what thier function is, and thier strengths
and weaknesses, you can deliver your voice appropriately to take best advantage of them.
Hand Held stick type microphones. These can be either wired or wireless, and are mostly dynamic
and condenser types. When using these you must be very careful to avoid handling noise. Holding
too loosely can cause the microphone to ship in the hand, and maybe even drop! this is a good way
to deafen the sudience, and to damage the microphone. Holding too tight can cause a rasping-gripping
sound. The best place for this type of microphone is either on a stand, or in the hands of a careful user.
If on a stand, be careful not to kick it, or walk into it! If you are holding it, do so with a firm, but not
over tight grip. These mic's are the best for speeches and vocal work, stories etc .. if used well. You
will find with experience, that you can change the character warmth, and loudness of your voice by
varying it's proximity and angle to your mouth, and the position of your hand on the stem.
Tie-Clip types. Again these can be either wired, or wireless. the wireless types are the most common
outside the studio. These are usually condenser types due to their small size. Great for live work.
in quiet locations where the speaker is in a constant position relative to the mic. Less useable for
the more dynamic speakers, who turn their heads in varying directions when speaking. This causes
parts of your speech to be either too loud, or too quiet, you can use this to your advantage only if you
are very careful, and aware of your mouth-to-mic position at all times. These microphones are not good
in areas with high levels of background noise.
Highly sensitive and/or directional types are used in some cases. These may be supported in sprung
shock mounts to help their isolation from their surroundings. mostly condenser types, and often
battery or remotely (phantom) powered. used for interviews, on a stand or fishpole the pickup pattern
is often narrower so the instrument needs to be kept aligned with the speaker, but can, for instance
be further away, and out of camera-shot. Often used with a windshield if used outside.
Ribbon type microphones. Once quite common, are now used mostly in the studio, but may be used
occasionally for live stage, or specialist voice work. you need to be very careful with these, they can be easily
damaged. They are used to add colour to a singers voice, and can sometimes add warmth to a speaker or
storyteller's words. Often a ribbon microphone will have a warm side, and a bright side. Nearly allways used
with a pop-shield, and on a stand or boom.
Boundry microphones. These are generally fixed-position, used for meetings and stage work. and
cover a wider area. On desks/tables for conferances/meetings. or along the front of a stage. The user will not
generally need to build too much technique with these. Often used for sound reinforcement work and the
recording of meetings. Often a flat or low-profile unit that doesn't look like a traditional microphone.
Hypercardiod, shotgun, and parabolic types. These are very directional and are used for various
applications including interviews, audiance questions, wildlife and eavesdropping. When used outside they
are nearly always fitted with a wind-shield used either on a stand, fishpole, or a hand-held susprension
mount to minimise the handling noise.
For most speech applications the best place for a microphone is reasonably close to the mouth,
and in noisy environments, and in cases where feedback may occur, this, and microphone directionality
becomes a big issue.
Many public speakers will prefer to use a tie-clip type mic to allow them to use their hands for other
uses. in this case a headset is the best option, followed by the tie-clip. A tie-clip type does not remain
a constant distance from the mouth, and unless used properly will give loud and quiet spots dependant
on the position of your head/mouth relative to the microphone. for sound reinforcement work, ok/useable
For recording use, it's one of the best ways to make yourself sound really terrible.