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Old 22nd November 2009, 10:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Microphone Technique

Something to share with you musicians or hobby fanatics. Which i kinda agree on this article and which is what create a feedback sound when i sing with mic (normally applies to sensitive mic pickup) on a further distance or when pointing at a position near to speaker.

We all hear about “Microphone Technique”, but what is it, and why do we need it? Microphone Technique, specifically Vocal Microphone Technique, refers to how you hold (and possibly move) the microphone when singing. There are a number of reasons why you should hold the microphone correctly. Firstly and most significantly, correct placement of the microphone will yield the best possible reproduction of your voice through the sound system. Microphone technique is key to a singer’s performance. And whether you want to admit it or not, all of you want to sound good, right?. Secondly, the sound operator will be able to get greater volume and therefore control of the sound from the entire group, as the sound will be less prone to “feed-back” – which is that annoying squeal which can occur with P.A. systems.

Best Placement:
The end without the cable points towards your mouth, pointing straight in and pretty close. OK, so that's an over simplification. Quite simply put, the best possible placement for a modern vocal microphone is between 5 and 10 centimetres from your mouth, with the microphone angled slightly from horizontal so it points up towards your mouth. In other words, if the mic is more than the width of your hand away from your mouth, it’s too far away!

Why position the mic that way?
There are a number of answers to this question.
1. Microphones are deaf. They are not sensitive devices. Imagine speaking to someone who is hard of hearing – what do you do? You raise your voice (ie vocal projection) and you speak more closely to their ear so they can hear you better. This is what you need to do with a microphone. Also when you move the mic away from your lips, the sound operator must turn up the volume on your mic so you can be heard, and as a result, more outside sound (other than your voice) enters the mic.. When the sound from the speakers enters the mic, it is fed back into the amplifier and in a split second it builds into the ear-splitting screech we know as feedback.

2. Proximity effect. The human voice is prone to proximity effect. What happens to your voice when you are calling out to someone at a great distance? Not only do you loose volume in your voice, but the tonal quality changes also. If you’re yelling across a field, the person at the other side hears your voice more like what you’d hear at the end of a telephone line – all the bass sound is gone, so is the sibilance of the trebles, and your left with this mid-range, nasal sound. To combat this, you’ll need to keep the mic fairly close to your mouth. Note however that if you have it too close, the diaphragm inside the microphone will be affected by your breath and you’ll have a “popping” sound on “P” and “T” sounds – and this is undesirable. But remember that the microphone is deaf, which makes it more prone to proximity effect. There is a mathematic explanation for this: The law of inverse squares; if you hold your mic 1cm from your lips it receives a given amount of sound energy from your voice. Move it twice as far – 2cm – does it receive half as much energy? No; only one fourth as much! That extra centimetre takes away three quarters of the efficiency of your sound system!

3. Microphone Polar Pattern or Sound Impact angle. We want the greatest amount of sound to be collected by the microphone. The diaphragm of the mic is (obviously) in the top of the mic and is at right-angles to the body of the mic. It has a “Polar Pattern” which means it picks up the most sound in a straight line in front of it. Sound comes out of your mouth in much the same way as something being spat out of your mouth. It comes up your throat from your vocal cords, hits the roof of your mouth which arches the sound at a slightly downward angle which continues once the sound passes your lips and heads towards the floor once it’s out of your mouth. We want as much of this sound to get into the top of this deaf microphone as we can, so you’ve got to place the mic at such an angle as to catch the sound (ie the same angle as the mic’s polar pattern). If you place the mic vertically under your chin, you will only catch a part of this sound, as it’s impacting the diaphragm at the wrong angle and won’t be captured as effectively.

Physical Holding of the Mic itself
Grasp the microphone firmly, but be aware that where you physically place your hand on the mic can affect how the mic picks up the sound, and so carefully positioning your hand is important.
· Hold the microphone so that there is a space between the top of your hand/ fingers and the back of the microphone's head. Your hand can create sonic reflections into the head of the mic which can alter the tonal quality of the sound picked up by the mic. Likewise, don’t cup your hands around the mic’s head as this will affect the tonal quality of the sound produced by the mic.
· On a Radio Microphone, do not hold it right down at the bottom end, as the bottom 1/4 of the mic’s body is where the transmitting antenna is located. And covering this will affect the radio signal and introduce interference. In between songs, hold the microphone vertically at about chest level so it wont create a feed back problem. (some sound techs will refuse to un-mute singers that don't do this. this rule is for during practise as well)
· For the best sound quality from the microphone, hold it with only your finger-tips. This is not recommended as it increases the likelihood of dropping the mic, but it removes the sound reflectivity of your hand from behind the head of the microphone which results in a better quality of sound.

jianrong added 4 Minutes and 26 Seconds later...

Microphone Movement.
You can’t, and shouldn’t keep the mic in one position throughout the entire performance. You will need to move it around. But bear in mind the angle of the sound being projected from your mouth and keep the mic in line with it.

Movements which are acceptable include:
· Pulling away from the microphone on high, loud notes.
· In their weaker ranges, holding the microphone right next to your bottom lips.
· Pulling away when you want to fade or decrescendo.
· Putting the microphone closer to your mouth when you wish to get louder or crescendo.
· Getting even closer when your voice needs more presence or when you want to incorporate a breathy sound. Note that you will have to adjust your consonant sounds if doing this to avoid the popping caused by “P” and “T” sounds.

These movements require practice, but will add more impact to your performance. They should also be tested in the sound check before the performance commences. Once in a while, you may even want to switch microphone hands, but only after a complete line.

A Few Don’ts.
· You are discouraged from covering or cupping your hands over the head of the microphone. This creates a muffled sound and increases the chance of severe feedback.
· Don’t go screaming into the microphone at close range – this can cause distortion in the sound system, as it has been set-up for your normal vocal level.
· Don’t go swinging the microphone by its cord – performers who do this as part of their show have reinforced cables.
· Hold the mic steady in the desired position. You are not going to achieve a consistent vocal if you are waving the mic around causing volume levels to drop in and out, and it only takes a fraction of movement away from the microphone for sound levels to vary.
· Don’t drop the mic. Definitely the worst thing a singer (or anyone) can do to a mic is drop it! The problem is not physical damage to the mic. Any decent pro quality mic should be able to handle a decent drop every now and then, and although damage is a possibility – especially with older microphones, the biggest problem is the massive spike produced by the mic when it hits the deck. This spike is quite capable of overloading mixers and/or amplifiers, and possibly damaging loudspeaker drivers.
· Don't under any circumstances point the mic at your nose, or allow it to drift above your mouth – this will not only bring a nasal quality to the sound, but will increase the risk of feedback.
· Don’t point the mic at a speaker, or drop it to your side and inadvertently point it at the fold back speakers – this could cause feedback.

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Last edited by jianrong; 22nd November 2009 at 11:04 AM. Reason: Make it neat !
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Old 2nd December 2009, 07:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Microphone Technique

u forgot mic cupping

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