Get your grubby hands off me!
If your mic could talk, that’s what it would be saying. There is one time and one time only that you should be touching your mic and that is when you are setting it up at exactly the right position.
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Once your mic is set, you need to leave it alone! I mean, you can tap it with a pen to make sure that it’s actually on and recording you but after THAT… leave it alone!
Now this may seem like an obvious thing (I hope that it is) but I hear evidence of mic manhandling all the time!
The biggest culprits are the public speakers… I hear you holding that mic like you’re pacing the stage like a mother effing boss! I get it. This is your comfort zone. No, scratch that, this is your power zone and you want to be in it. But here’s what you need to know. Your stage mic and your podcast mic are not built the same.
It’s literally like trying to ride a Vespa the way you’d ride a Harley. Sure, they are both two wheeled vehicles but they are not the same thing. They operate very differently and if you don’t know the difference, you could end up body surfing some concrete.
Using your mic incorrectly is not nearly as dramatic as all that but it is an assault to your listeners ears when you’re clutching that mic in your hands.
If you’re using a condenser mic, it’s built to pick up all of the sound around you. That includes any rubbing or finger tapping or chin brushing you might do. If you have a dynamic mic, you may not hear the hand noise quite as much but you will hear the change in your voice quality because it’s a lot harder to maintain the perfect recording position while you’re flipping that mic around.
Here’s another reason to keep your hands off that mic – the mute button. If you’re all over your mic, you might change the settings without realizing it. This is a very special note to anyone using the Shure MV7. That mute button is very, very easy to hit. It only takes a whisper of a touch. You will have no idea that you’ve muted yourself until you listen back and wonder where all of your audio went! Do it again, Handsy!
And the final reason not to handle you mic. You don’t need to do it.
I know there are podcasters who don’t love the hands-free lifestyle but they run the risk of decreasing the listening enjoyment of their listeners. Ain’t nobody who wants an unexpected audio punch in their earholes! Boof. It’s nasty.
Why would you do that? Remember, your podcast is not for you – it’s for your listener so treat them right. Give them audio they can enjoy. If you do, they trust you to manage your mic. When you do, they’ll be happy to put you in their ears every new release.
Mic technique comes with practice and the very first thing you should practice is keeping your hands to yourself.
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