Microphone placement is paramount for good sound quality in a variety of applications. Whether the subject is singing, hosting an event or speaking in front of a television camera, the placement of the microphone will determine whether audiences cringe every time he speaks because of bad feedback or listen attentively to the crystal clear sound of his voice. Thankfully placing a lapel, or lavaliere, microphone is not that difficult---just allow plenty of time to adjust the sound and placement before the event starts.
- Skill level:
Press the clips on the end of the microphone to open the attaching mechanism and slide the microphone onto the lapel at the mid-breastbone point on the microphone wearer; this is about the height of a normal chest pocket on a suit jacket. Alternatively, slide it onto the neck of the shirt or blouse if there is no lapel; the head of the microphone should be facing the direction of the speaker's mouth.
Run the microphone cord on the inside of the jacket, shirt or blouse and attach the battery pack to the back of the trousers or skirt.
Turn the sound on to test the microphone. Ask the wearer to breathe in and out normally. If you can hear the breathing, move the microphone down a little until the breathing noise disappears.
Ask the wearer to move his arms up and down a little and twist his torso. Make sure jewellery, neckties or other clothing items do not bang into the microphone as these common movements are performed.
Ask the wearer to speak. The typical "One, two; one, two; testing" is fine. If the sound comes out clear and strong, then your microphone is in place. If it is too faint, move it up slightly; find the balance between good feedback on the microphone and avoiding the sounds of breathing.
Tips and warnings
- Determine which side the speaker will be facing most. If it is a sit-down interview, for example, the microphone should be on the lapel closest to the subject/interviewer. Roaming wearers (event hosts or performers, for example) should have the microphone centred as much as possible.
- Often placing a microphone on a woman is more difficult because there is a vast variety of clothing types, very few of them involving a lapel or necktie. Slide the lapel microphone onto the neck of turtle neck shirts, attach it to the straps of singlets or even to the very edge of the bra cup or on bra straps.
- If a microphone needs to be attached to a bra, ask the wearer to clip it on herself, then direct her to adjust its placement as necessary.
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