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4.3 Mic Stand Setup

In this lesson, you are going to learn what to look for and how to set up a microphone for that big, rich, broadcast sound. Before I show you how to set one up, let's talk about what types of mics will work. Typically when you see these types of microphones used on podcasts and video streams, they are big, gigantic, dynamic microphones. Sometimes they may be condensers but most of the popular ones are dynamic microphones and usually you will see 3 specific microphones used the Shure SM7B, the EV RE20, and the Heil PR40. All of those are fantastic sounding microphones. And they're all quite expensive. But the thing is, you don't need a big, giant microphone to get a big, giant sound. You can use almost any good sounding dynamic microphone. The microphone I'm gonna show you for this demonstration Is a Shure BETA 57A. My wife actually bought this for me 15 years ago for a snare drum microphone for my drum set. Now that doesn't mean it's going to sound like a snare drum because a good microphone for an instrument is usually going to be. A good microphone for voice. And in fact, this does sound pretty good on my voice. And the reality is that when you get a microphone really close to the sound source, many microphones will sound fantastic. So this microphone is around $140, but there are many other less expensive options that will work. The Shure SM57, the Shure SM58, the Sennheiser e 835 and many, many others. Those are just the microphones that I have a lot of experience with. As far as a recommendation, I would go down to your local music store and see if they have some microphones set up for you to demo. And pick the one that sounds the best on your voice. If you don't like it, return it and try a different one. So let's talk about how to actually rig this up so you can get the microphone right up your grill when you're doing your presentation. Now you may be thinking I'll just use a boom stand like this. This is a standard microphone boom stand that you would find on stage and many other productions. And this will work to get the microphone in position so I can just adjust the tilt arm here and adjust the length of this and lock it into position. And I can get this right into position fairly easily. And I can probably adjust this so that it's a little less intrusive into my video frame here. The problem is that when I'm moving around like I showed you before, my voice is going to drop significantly if I move away from this microphone. Now, that's something that's good because if I have to cough, I can just lean over here and cough and it'll be really really quiet. But, let's say, I'm a little bit lively, and I'm moving around a little bit, or I want to lean over here and talk about something. This kind of stand is really not gonna work very well for that because in order for me to move the microphone over, kind of horizontally, I have to do a number of adjustments here and kind of reposition this. And that's way too much work. So this is not the right tool for the job. However, this contraption here is and let me show you how to set that up. So this scary looking thing is a desk top boom stand, and you've probably seen one of these used on a podcast or some video stream or a radio show at some point in your life. It's really actually quite simple as this scissor mechanism and these springs to basically hold the microphone in position. Wherever you put it, and it works quite well. Now, this microphone stand is not terribly expensive, this costs around $58 USD on Amazon.com. I did add this $10 shock mount with a pop screen that I wanna show you in a second, so you're looking at maybe $70 and it came with this XLR cable which is one less thing. Installing this is fairly simple. It comes with two options. The first is very very simple. This is just a little clamp here and it's got a hole where you just stick the end of this boom. And the other is a little plate that you can screw down to your desk with three screws and that's going to be probably a more sturdy option. I'm not going to show you how to set that up here because this is a plastic table and it won't work very well. And in fact, this clamp won't work very well on this plastic table because it's a little bit, kind of flimsy on the side and I can't get enough clamping pressure to really make it stable. So for this demonstration, I've just attached a little piece of wood here with some bar clamps so I can show you how this works. So I'm just gonna clamp this up here, and I'm gonna get it pretty snug. I don't want to crank the heck out of it because, as long as it's fairly snug, it should be fine. If I need a more stable solution, you probably want to use that little screw down connector. Next, you just stick the end of it in the socket here. There's a little screw here that I can kind of tension this and lock it down. Microphone goes in my little shock mo adapter. You can use a normal mic clip for this but I like this shock mo because it takes a lot of the rumble out of the microphone, and I can get this kind of in position, just like this. Attach the microphone cable. Now I can get this microphone into position and it's very, very easy. I can make small adjustments so maybe I don't want it kind of this way, maybe I want it more like this. Very easy, there's just a little thumb knob here. And the cool thing is, when I got this yesterday I did very, very little to adjust it to get it to work like this. There's one little adjustment knob here that controls the tension of this joint. And that's pretty much it. When I set this up to test it, it literally works like this right out of the box. So if I wanted to move kind of over here, I can just move the whole stand and move the microphone wherever I go and listen to this. That is essentially silent, right? I mean, I did not move the microphone levels down at all. You can hear it on my lav microphone, which is quite sensitive. That literally makes no noise. I can't even hear it. So this is very, very cool. For $70 this is a fantastic set up if you like the sound of this kind of in your face broadcast dynamic microphone. And I think it sounds pretty cool. Now one thing you may run into with this type of microphone is issues with pops. You can see right there I intentionally did a pretty big puff of air so that it would make that nasty sound. This type of microphone is designed for live use and so it does have some foam underneath this metal screen here to help with those puffs of air, those plosives a little bit. But it doesn't eliminate them completely. One of the nice things about those larger microphones is that they have some more kind of pop protection inside of the microphone. Especially the Heil PR 40. And I know the Shure SM7B comes with a giant foam screen, which does a lot to protect against that. Now I can add a foam windscreen to this microphone and that would probably completely eliminate any of those problems with those puffs of air, but maybe you don't like the look of a foam windscreen on there. So another option is you can use a pop filter. And this particular shock mount here actually came with this pop filter. So with the pop filer installed, you can hear [SOUND] those plosives are greatly reduced, probably eliminated. And, that's nice, but you can see there is a little distance here between the microphone and the pop filter. So, I can't get right on the microphone. Like it could before. So, that's kind of a downside. In this particular case, I would probably get rid of the pop screen and use a foam windscreen on here. The nice thing about this set up is that it is flexible. So instead of a dynamic microphone, I could use a little pencil condenser microphone, which you can actually get much cheaper, probably around $40 or $50. Those sound really, really nice and the great thing about a condenser microphone is that it has a much higher output than a dynamic microphone. It's something we didn't talk about so far. What you'll find it Is that you're going to have to crank up the volume a lot more with a dynamic microphone because they just don't have as high of an output compared to a condenser microphone, even a lapel microphone. And so when you. Crank up that pre-amp gain, you may start to hear a little bit of noise. This is going to depend a little bit on what kind of audio interface you get and what kind of pre-amp it has in there. Setting the level on a microphone like this is exactly like setting a level for a condenser microphone or a lavalier microphone or even a shotgun microphone. You wanna aim for levels around. -6 for peaks, maybe a little bit higher if you're very consistent. If you're not a very consistent presenter, maybe shoot a little bit it lower. The thing you don't wanna do is clip the input. That's gonna sound bad. So, that'll take a little bit of experimentation, but around -6 is a good place to start for those peaks on your audio meter. Now that you know how to set up this dynamic microphone, the next step is to get everything working with a streaming application. And that's coming up next.

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