3/29/2012 - StoryBlog
My Tirade on Microphones
Now that I have your attention, this is not a tirade on microphones, it's a tirade about using microphones. Here is one simple fact: If they can't hear you clearly, they won't hear your story. In fact, if the audience can't hear you, they will be distracted by that fact. Some will spend their time worrying about you and wishing you would just "adjust the mic". Some will not care at all and tune out. Either way...if no one can hear you, they won't be listening.

"Resistance is futile." In most venues, you will have to use a microphone. So please, learn how to use it. Learn how to adjust the height. Learn how to adjust the angle. Listen to yourself as you speak, and try to hear the sound of the amplification. If the sound is distorted, you are too close. Don't "eat" the microphone. If you can't hear it, you are probably too far away from the mic. Here's the key: Speak to the audience, not the microphone. You will still need to project. The microphone is there to amplify your voice, not replace it.
Embrace the microphone! Both figuratively AND literally. Don't be afraid of it. It should be your best friend, especially in a big venue. If you can, get to the gig early, do a sound check. Try different voice levels. And by the way, if the character needs to shout, move back from the mic. If you need to whisper, you may need to move in a bit.
Watch this video of Betty Buckley on the Tonight Show to see how she constantly adjusts the distance from the mic. CLICK HERE
You aren't alone. If you need help, ask for it. Ask the sound tech. Ask the Emcee, even if it is when you get up for your set. If you are unsure of the microphone, ask someone to assist you in setting it properly. TAKE THE TIME YOU NEED TO GET IT RIGHT.
Note for emcees: Help your tellers. Don't leave them hanging. You want them to look and sound good, so help them with the microphone. Adjust the height for them. Don't leave a short teller standing behind the mic and attempting to reach up for the microphone. And don't let a basketball player struggle by having to lean down to meet the mic.
One more tip: If you are making a video recording of the event, find a way to get a microphone feed directly to the camera. The small internal microphone attached on the camera is not meant to pick up clear sound from more than three feet away. You may get a good video, but if it sounds like you are talking from the back of a giant warehouse, you won't be heard clearly.
Okay. My tirade is over.

©Mark Goldman 2012

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For more information contact Mark Goldman - 602-390-3858 - Mark@Storytellermark.com


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