KWIPPED Tip: Renting a microphone

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microphone rental

KWIPPED Tip #14

Microphones are one of the greatest inventions of all time. They are common in radio, television, motion picture production, audio engineering, and public events. The microphone’s main purpose is to amplify or capture a variety of sounds. Most microphones need a preamplifier, power input, and cables to work correctly.

Microphones can categorized many ways, but this KWIPPED Tip will focus on specific use.

Know the different types of microphones available

Handheld/Stick microphones
Handheld microphones are typically seen in use by reporters or performers on stage. Handheld mics are often used on indoor stages for anything from awards ceremonies to comedy shows. They are extremely durable and designed for rough use. If you need a microphone for rough weather conditions, consider a handheld microphone. These types are of the dynamic mic variety—they require the amplification source to be be close when in use.

Lapel microphones
Lapel mics, or lavalier microphones are worn on the body. They are attached by adding a clip, tape, or even magnet. They are a great option if you need a hands-free option for amplification. If you are outside, attach a small windscreen to block noises. There is a tiny cord that leads to a RF transmitter which can be hid by clothes. Typical applications for lapel microphones include theatrical events, conventions, workshops, musical productions, and more.

Shotgun microphones
Of all the types of microphones, the shotgun mic is the most directional. Shotgun mics are common to TV or film sets as well as stadium events because they a great way to isolate sound. They have sensitive lobes to the left and right. Many times shotgun mics are used on top a boom pole operated by an camera man. Most boom poles are portable and are able of capturing the sound you want. When operating outside, and wind screen is advisable.

Parabolic microphones
Parabolic microphones have similar characteristics to shotgun microphones. Like shotgun mics, they are capable of capturing directional sound, but do it less efficiently. They are more sensitive in front of the device, and are capable of capturing sounds from a long distance. This makes them suitable for recording nature, sporting events, or any long distance sounds.

Wireless microphone
Wireless microphones are exactly that—wireless. They have a radio transmitter that allows them to forego traditional wiring. The sound is transmitted through an optical signal rather than cable. They can also use infrared waves in close distances. These types of mics are used in the entertainment industry and well as public speaking. If your amplification requires free movement, a wireless microphone is a great choice.

Condenser microphones
Condenser mics are high end, detail-oriented microphones used for specific purposes.  They are often used in the music recording process by capturing acoustic instruments or voice for recording purposes. Condenser mics come in all different sizes. They require an audio interface and power to use. The important tip for condenser microphones, is to consider the diaphragm size inside the microphone before choosing which to rent. Smaller diaphragms are great for acoustic instruments, while large diaphragms work well for voice or percussive instruments. There are many types of condensers microphones that work great in a studio setting. Researching which settings are best for the type sounds to be picked up is a good way to secure a good rental choice.

Other types of microphones

  • Boundary microphones
  • USB microphones
  • Tube condenser microphones
  • Percussion microphones

Know microphone accessories you will need

Depending on what type of microphone you rent, accessories are a key component. Some important accessories to consider before renting a microphone include:

Windscreens – to buffer wind of vocal plosives. These can be made from a wire or plastic mesh, a metal cage, or plastic screen. Different types include pop filters and blimps.
Microphone stands – including telescopic boom stand, tripod, solid base stands or fixed stand.
Sound shields or reflectors – often used to reduce ambient sound. They are usually attached to a mic stand.

Common manufacturers:

Common manufacturers of microphones include but are not limited to: Audio Technica, AKG, CAD Microphones, Sennheiser, Roland, and MXL Microphones,

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