Proper Microphone Technique for Podcasting
When it comes to podcasting and microphones, it’s easy to get stuck on equipment. Many podcasters are looking for the perfect microphone, the perfect amplifier, the perfect compressor to complement their voice when they would be better served improving the way they use the microphone.
This fixation is not unique to podcasting. In many sports, the beginner gets infatuated with the newest, shiniest piece of gear and doesn’t realize that it’s the software, not the hardware. It’s what you do with the equipment you have.
Here are a few simple, yet practical tips that will help improve your sound through improving your microphone technique:
Don’t move the microphone
When you find the best position for the microphone, don’t move it. Don’t touch it. Leave it alone. It sounds obvious, but sometimes it happens unconsciously.
Point the microphone away from noise
Try to keep noisy devices like computers, fans, buzzing lights, etc outside of the microphones optimal pickup zone. Don’t stand with a fan or noisy computer directly behind you!
Don’t move your mouth in relation to the microphone(while talking)
Don’t lean side to side. Don’t turn your head back and forth. Feel free to wave your arms so long as you don’t hit the microphone arm. Only your voice should be changing and fluctuating. Keep everything else as consistent as possible. Set up your desk or workstation so that you don’t need to constantly turn your head to look at the mixer or computer screen.
Maintain the proper distance to the microphone.
Experiment until you find the distance that provides the sound you are looking for, then maintain that distance at all costs. The distance will generally be 6-12″ from your lips. Closer means better bass, but can also cause a “muddy” sound. Too far away means that your microphone will pick up more room noise at the same voice levels.
Aim the microphone toward your mouth from below or above, but not directly in front. In other words, don’t “aim” your mouth directly at the microphone. Also be careful not to over emphasize the plosive consonants(like “p” and “t”).
WARNING: I know this is an equipment tip, but it is inexpensive and important. Get a windscreen! Even if your microphone has one built in, get an external pop filter to serve as the first line of defense. Trust me, it will make a big difference.
What practices or techniques have you implemented? Share them in the comments:
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