The Cheat Sheet: Your Microphone, Your Friend

cheat-sheet-logo2by Flip Michaels

Just like friends, microphones have personalities -- some waaarrmmm and soft, others piercing, perhaps even irritating. It's important to pick the right "friend" that will complement the sound you're looking to achieve. Seriously. Bright, clear voices start with bright, clear microphones.

If every announcer had a different mike, it would be like hearing a mix of old albums and CDs, at the same time. It pays to be consistent. You can force a tonal balance out of every spot if you make sure all the mikes are the same. "Just Do It!" Purge your studios and plan on spending a couple hundred per mike.

"WHAT?! Spend the station's money? We're already trimming the budgets!" Hey! Great sound complements great programming. Wake' em up; get the support you need.

When selecting a common mike for everybody, take your time. You can get your hands on quite a few variations. Ask your engineer; get' em on loan for tests. Why not record something raw on each and listen to the difference? You'll hear it!

In Cheat Sheet format:

* Go with an efficient unidirectional dynamic. They'll go for years without changing characteristics.

* No batteries, no DC (or "phantom") power, and watch signal levels to make sure you're getting a "natural" sound.

* During testing, use someone else's voice. Be the critic, not the performer.

* Worry about mike processing after the purchase.

* Don't forget the basics: new tape, clean heads, alignment, etc.

After implementing some consistency, purchase pop filters. They'll do wonders! But don't get those fuzzy, wrap-around, two inch thick mike rubbers! I'm talking about acoustical foam. Just watch some MTV; you'll see what I'm talking about. Also, WARNING: watch your announcers' mike techniques. If they're reading copy off the floor with the mike aimed at their head, you've just wasted a five hundred dollar mike.

MORE MUSIC PROSECUTION!

I've received word from John Pellegrini at WKLQ, Michigan, that a trial date of July 7th has been set on a lawsuit by the Romantics over the use of their song "What I Like About You" in five different TV ads! Just when you thought it was safe....

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