Microphones

About mics and microphone stands

Microphones – or mics – are used to amplify sound, but not all sounds can be amplified by the same type of microphone. There are microphones that ensure a speech can be heard throughout the auditorium. There are microphones for singing, for various instruments, for playing outside and for karaoke. There are wireless and headset microphones. Each one has a specific purpose.

Microphones 101

The microphones used by newscasters and speakers are meant to be used from a short distance (approximately 12 inches), while the microphones used by singers and rock stars are meant to be held very close to the mouth. Some singers are so close to their mics that it almost looks as if they are about to eat the microphone.

The microphones used by musicians to help amplify their instruments (horns, strings, etc.) are small and are equipped with a clip to attach the mic to the instrument.

Wireless Microphones

Besides the microphones that come with cords, there are wireless microphones that work with batteries. People who use this type of microphone have a small transmitter that is placed somewhere on the person's body, usually clipped to their pants at the back (the little box that is seen when the rock star turns around). The wireless mic provides a great deal more freedom for dancing and singing. There is no need to worry about how far the mic cord will reach or tripping over the wire when dancing and walking around on stage.

In recent years, karaoke has become a huge pastime. Karaoke wireless microphones have no need for a separate transmitter since the mic is relatively close to the karaoke machine and works on an infrared line of sight.

Microphone Brands

As with all things microphones come in a variety of styles and prices:

  • Shure microphones are the best-selling mics in the world. Their microphones are even used for Presidential speeches. A basic good-quality Shure microphone for a musical performer costs around $100.
  • Rode microphones specialize in home and studio recording mics. These microphones are a little pricier because of their specialized functions, but Rode microphones on the whole are still more affordable than some other recording mics. A starter model will cost around $700.
  • Discount microphones are easy to find if you take a little time to look. Discontinued models are often heavily discounted, even though they still work perfectly well. Internet retailers are often able to offer better prices than traditional music stores since they have lower overhead.

The microphone is an important piece of equipment for speakers and singers but only if it is the right microphone. Don't just grab any microphone; make sure the microphone is designed for your intended purpose.

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