Most people have probably developed habits as they have progressed through life. They have likely had people try to break them out of bad habits. Habits that aren’t beneficial and may even harm someone or damage something. When dealing with microphones, as with any delicate piece of equipment, we want to get rid of the bad habits. Here is a list of some habits that break microphones.
Dropping The Microphone
You see people on television do it for effect or to look cool but ‘dropping the mic’ is not something to get in the habit of doing. Whether you are using a cheap mic or an expensive mic, just dropping it is a sure way to damage it. The loud popping noise from the dropping could also cause problems with the sound system. So, leave the mic dropping to the people on television. They probably have enough money to buy many microphones to drop.
Spit In The Microphone
It may sound icky, but it is a problem that many sound technicians frequently deal with. You shouldn’t be surprised to find a great deal of wetness in a microphone after a long concert. Church pastors are notorious for giving microphones a ‘baptism’ during a sermon. Using spit covers is the best way to prevent saliva buildup. They do look tacky so if you don’t use them, then you must have good microphone maintenance. Remove the capsule and inspect the foam pieces for wetness. If needed you can wash them with soap and water or even mouthwash. Rinse and let air dry. It doesn’t hurt to keep spare screens.
Don’t throw your microphones into a work box or storage crate. If you don’t have a good microphone case, then keeping them in a plastic bag is a good alternative. It will keep airborne dust from settling on the capsule. Even if you have a case, using a plastic bag can add extra protection. Foam particles from the storage boxes could find their way into the microphone.
Placing The Microphone Too Close To The Instrument
This is a habit I covered before but it bears repeating. Putting the microphone too close to the instrument. Especially, if you are using a condenser microphone. Remember, they are not built for very loud sounds. Also, proper placement will not only save your mic but produce better sound. Good placement cuts down on feedback so your other audio equipment can perform at their highest levels.
Tapping The Microphone
When a person comes up to a microphone he usually wants to see if it is on. Instead of just talking, people have gotten into the bad habit of tapping on it. This is not a good idea because not only can it damage the microphone but also the speakers. The sudden pop from the tapping can be startling or even painful for the audience. So, when giving a speech or addressing a crowd, just start talking. The microphone is probably on. Don’t worry, the technicians will tell you if it isn’t.
Blowing Into The Microphone
It is rare that blowing into a microphone will damage it. The exception being that if you are using a ribbon microphone. A sudden stream of air could stretch or rip the fragile ribbon. The bigger threat is that blowing could damage the loudspeaker just as tapping the microphone can. Also, since most people can’t tell between the types of microphones, it is best not to blow into them. Ribbon microphones are mostly found in recording studios but you never know.
Break Those Bad Habits
Study my list of habits that break microphones. It will keep you from making these mistakes and trashing your microphones. Now when mic an event you can educate the talent on what not to do to the microphone. They will look professional and ready for their speech. You will have microphones that last for more than just one event. Who wants to buy new microphones after every show? Drop the habits that break microphones. Not the mics!