Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quick Tips for Podium Microphones

Once you have overcome the fear of public speaking...if you ever really do; Then you worry about projecting your voice, annunciation and content. 

live professional microphone
If your AV vendor is 'worth his salt,' you should not have to worry about the microphone quality as well. 

Microphone Choices:
If  a sound (no pun intended), decision is made here you could avoid a number of pitfalls during the event. A 'no-brainer' microphone selection for a podium is the industry standard, Shure SM58. We use the SM58 everyday and on almost every job. 

Pro: The SM58 will allow you to crank the volume before feeding back. (Good for presenters who do not project.)

We do however try to stay away from the SM58 when it comes to podiums because of the con...
Con:  When a presenter turns their head, looks down or moves off slightly to the left or right of the podium, the SM58 will not pick up their voice well, due to the limitations and range of the pickup pattern.

Our 1st choice in podium microphones is the Shure MX Series, with heavy windscreen. The MX Series comes with a 12" or 18" goose neck and your choice of omnidirectional, cardioid and super cardioid cartridges. 
cardioid pickup patternomni directional patternsuper cardioid pickup pattern


Pro: These microphones are ideal as podium mics due to there sensitivity. Your presenter can stand to the side of the podium and still be heard.
Con: Sometimes the presenter may want to remove the microphone from the podium and walk around; can't do it.



User Training:
After selecting the microphone you need to know about placement and how to use it properly. When using the Shure MX Series podium microphones your presenters should speak, keeping about 6 inches from the microphone element. 
podium mic
 Always use the appropriate windscreen, to avoid the popping 'P's". Human beings expel air when annuciating certain letters. This air will be heard as a loud 'Pop' from the microphone. The goal is to not let the microphone catch any air from the mouth. To that end, be sure not to push the windscreen all the way down; touching the mic head. This will leave yet a little more air between one's mouth and the mic.

Whether using the MX Series or an SM58, mic placement is key. Keeping the mic below the height of the presenter's mouth or to their left or right side will also help eliminate unwanted breath and air from being amplified.

Bruce Johnson 
A. V. Rental Services, inc.
Philadelphia, PA 19135