Three Tips to Improve Your Mic Technique

People won’t stay with your show or podcast or at your live event if you’re audio is hard to listen to. Here’s how to improve your mic technique.

Try to Be as Intimate with the Microphone as You Can.

That means the mic close to your mouth. Audio from shared or table top mics are going to be more difficult to listen to and enjoy

Don’t Put Your Mic in Front of Your Mouth.

When using a mic talk across it not into it. That will help you avoid plosives.

A plosive is a puff of air.

Try this: Put your flat palm in front of your mouth and say Peter Piper picked pink pineapples. With every P you should have felt air hitting your palm. When those puffs hit the pickup element of the microphone, it causes a plosive.

Now move your palm to the side of your mouth in front of your cheek and repeat Peter Piper picked pink pineapples. There should have been hardly any puffs of air hitting your palm. Position a mic beside your mouth and the puffs of air, the plosives, pass right by but the sound is still collected by the microphone. 

A pop filter is another way of blocking plosives. A pop filter is a round mesh disc placed between a vocal performer and the microphone. I don’t favor these because they can distort audio.

You may also run across a wind screen over a microphone. It’s designed to help air move around the mic to keep from overpowering the voice speaking into it but it will not stop plosives.

Keep it Equal

Another caution when recording audio, especially among multiple people, is equal levels. It is difficult to listen to a conversation when one voice is really loud and the other is very soft. Or when a person changes volume as they talk. Listeners keep having to adjust their playback level, and that’s another reason not to listen.

One way to help make audio more listener friendly is for everyone involved in the conversation to be on separate mics with separate volume control. Better still, record each participant into their own mono channel on your software. That will help immensely in editing for listen-ability. Since the human voice is mono instead of stereo recording it in mono helps with faster download times.

If you’re having problem with the acoustics of your room record under a pile of blankets or in a closet filled with clothes.

So to sum up, have each person be as intimate with their own mic as possible as if the speaker was going to whisper in someone’s ear. Just place the mic where someone’s ear would be, then talk normally. Keep levels equal by recording each individual to their own separate channel in your software. Also remember that by positioning the mic at the speaker’s cheek plosives pass by the mic instead of getting blown into it. If it’s uncomfortable to put the microphone to your cheek, put it below your chin. And finally, if you’re having problem with the acoustics of your room record under a pile of blankets or in a closet filled with clothes