Microphone etiquette is important. As a podcaster, you most likely have some of your own tricks for getting the best audio from your equipment. Although everyone’s recording space and equipment varies, there are some pretty universal microphone etiquette tips that can be helpful for every podcaster. Check out 8 of those microphone etiquette tips below!
1. Prepare Yourself and Your Environment
Before recording, use chapstick, drink water (and not soda, beer, or milk), and deal with any fidgeting habits that you may have. As for your environment, take care of your pets, shut all windows and doors, turn off any fans and other noisy objects, turn off phones and other electronic devices, and ensure that no deliveries or people interfere with recording. Also, if you record in a room with a lot of reflective surfaces (tabletops, mirrors, windows, etc.) or you notice a lot of reverb in your recording, use pillows and blankets along the walls and floor to help reduce it.
2. Minimize Your Movement
Minimize shuffling things and moving around while recording. Those things contribute to background noise, so you can work to reduce background noise if you are mindful of your movement while recording.
3. Use a Microphone Stand
Using a microphone stand will help to reduce any extra unwanted noise. However, be sure not to attach your microphone stand to anything that your feet or hands could easily touch. Even small movements can be picked up by the mic, so try to place your microphone stand in a location where it is less likely you will touch it or mount your stand to furniture that you can’t touch. Also, mounting your microphone so that it hangs down from above can be a great tactic for avoiding audio peaks since you often expel air downwards when talking.
4. Don’t Blow Into, Tap, or Bump Your Microphone
Microphones are very fragile and sensitive. They’re intended to pick up and amplify sounds coming from a few inches away, so when you blow into, tap, or bump a microphone, the sound will be overly amplified. This can possibly cause damage to your microphone, speakers, headphones, as well as your ears.
5. Use a Windscreen or Pop Filter
Using a windscreen or pop filter will help you avoid "plosives,” which are excessive bursts of air from consonant sounds that disrupt the sensitive components of the microphone. These also act as barriers to protect your mic from spit and can assist you in staying the right distance from your mic.
6. Stay Consistently Close to the Mic
Try to keep your mouth at the same distance from the microphone throughout the recording to keep the volume consistent. A good way to ensure that you are consistently close to the mic is to have the tip of your nose or your lips touching the pop filter or windscreen at all times. In some cases, you may even need to be a hand’s distance (from your pinky to your thumb) away from the mic to achieve the best audio. Also, be sure to speak into the mic clearly and loudly enough to get the right sound.
7. Move Your Mic with Your Mouth
Be sure to always move your mic with your mouth. Ideally, you should be facing your microphone head on with it at about head level. Whether you are moving up or down, or turning your head to the side, you should be adjusting the mic so that it is consistently in front of your mouth. If you are particularly struggling with distracting plosives, try setting up your mic to the side. With your mic to the side, ensure that it is still angled slightly toward your mouth. This positioning of the mic will prevent bursts of air from hitting the mic directly and can result in a smoother, more natural tone.
8. Speak at a Normal Volume
There’s no need to speak any louder than normal when recording since microphones are designed for normal volume levels. If the volume is too low, try adjusting the gain or headphone levels. Speaking loudly into your microphone can damage the diaphragm of your microphone.
In order to get the best audio possible from your equipment, it’s important to remain mindful of your microphone when recording your podcast. While you can purchase the best equipment out there and become a master audio editor, ultimately your audio will still suffer if you have poor mic etiquette. So, next time you’re preparing for your podcast, check off each of these tips right before you begin to ensure mic etiquette is in the front of your mind. Happy podcasting!
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Article Image: Dan LeFebvre via Unsplash.