How To Rock the Mic Right

As an artist, there is nothing like being on stage and performing for a crowd of people. The way you sound is everything, and a main part of your sound quality comes from your microphone. But even if you have the best mic, if you don’t know how to hold and handle it properly you can ruin an otherwise great performance. If you are playing an instrument, most of the mic work in done since it will be resting in a microphone stand. If you are a moving vocalist, avoiding common feedback problems can be quite challenging, especially if you are just starting out. Check out our tips on how to rock the mic right so you can have a better show:

Don’t cup the mic

This a mistake a lot of artist today make. Perhaps it is because they think it looks cool, helps the sound go through the mic bettter or they simply just have a bad habit. But in most cases when you perform, you are using a directional microphone. These mics rely on the rear space of the microphone to create the directional pick up pattern. The capsule in the microphone still working in all directions, but reject sound in one direction – like where your audience is.  So when cupping the mic on most directional microphones, you change that pick up pattern and are now picking up all the sounds you were trying to avoid! If you choose to cup the mic, you can almost guarantee that there will be immediate feedback issues. Now this doesn’t happen every time, but it is your best bet to keep your hands off the microphone grille.

Reduce handling noise

How and where you choose to hold the mic is important in order to reduce your handling noise. Those tiny mic rubs, passing it from hand-to-hand or those pat you give it when you ask the audience to “clap along” do make noise that feeds to the audience. Try not to hold your mic too loosely or frequently adjust your hand placement – this will lead to feedback. Now you don’t have to be stoic and not move the mic at all, just make sure when you do you keep a firm grip and avoid the rubs and pats. Some mics are designed to reduce more noise reduction than other, but better safe than sorry!

Distance yourself accordingly

A big pet peeve of mine is when an artist puts there mouth way too close to the mic – like a make-out session. Keep in mind no two voices are the same, but overall putting your mouth on the mic just is not necessary, even if you have a soft voice. Many singers have a wide range and may feel the need to adjust the mic distance throughout a song. If you have a great sound tech, this shouldn’t be a problem, but keeping a consistent vocal range is key to a consistent vocal sound. Again, all voices are different and what works for one artist may not for another. To find the best mic placement for you, just practice often with a microphone! Learn your voice and what works best. This will save from having feedback issues, plus keep your audience from cringing and holding their ears.

Use the right type of mic

Finally, using the right type of mic will save you a load of trouble. Now in many cases – especially if you are just starting out – you are probably going to have to use whatever mic the venue has. The mic you use does not have to be expensive, it just has to be the right mic for you. It is a good practice to ask the venue manager about the equipment before you arrive. If the venue asks you to provide a tech rider – great! That gives you the opportunity to at least request the mic you prefer. Make sure you show up on time for your soundcheck so you can be sure everything is working for you. This will give you time to correct anything or make a last minute switch if needed.

Keep in mind as the artist/singer – the mic is a part of your instrument. By following some basic sound tips you will make your sound tech very happy and your audience as well!

Good luck indies 🙂

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Nicky Dawkins

Nicky is crunchy, DIY mama and established entrepreneur based in sunny Miami, FL. She is the founder of HypeGirls and Werk it Moms LLC. Nicky also launched PERIOD.org's Miami Chapter - PERIOD Miami. She has a love for feminine health and is currently a Doula (DT) under Mama Glow. Nicky holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Florida International University and a Master's of Science Degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University. To contact Nicky email her directly via [email protected]

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