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5 Things To Note When Choosing Microphones For Live Events

5 Things To Note When Choosing Microphones For Live Events

A solid sound system is the backbone of live events, productions or performances. They fulfil a range of event sound goals, from straightforward objectives such as facilitating clear communication between presenter and audience to more complex ones such as creating specific ambiences and moods for performances.

Microphones, naturally, are a crucial element of sound systems. They not only serve as the main input devices for presenters and speakers, but may also play an important role in contributing to the overall tone and mood of a specific performance with its visual design.

There’s no doubt that choosing a high-quality microphone is essential to excellent sound design. But the question remains for event organisers: Which microphone should you go with to meet your specific event needs?

We’ve prepared a quick checklist of five important considerations to factor in when choosing your microphone:

1. Budget

Simply put, your budget is the most important factor to consider for your microphone selection. Prices can range from tens to thousands of dollars, so you’ll need to ascertain the amount of money you’re willing to allocate to your microphone before researching your options.

While you want to make sure you don’t get a microphone that does not meet your requirements, you also want to avoid overspending on your microphone if your event does not require such high specifications.

For example, for a presenter giving a speech to a smaller audience of under 50 people, a dynamic cord microphone is an inexpensive choice that still works for its intended purpose.

On the other end of the price spectrum, musicians or dancers performing to a larger audience of hundreds to thousands of people would prefer a pricier professional wireless microphone for added versatility without compromising quality.

2. Venue

Different venue settings require different types of microphones, so it’s imperative that the microphone you choose is the right fit for your venue.

For example, if your venue is outdoors, you may consider using cardioid (unidirectional) microphones to clearly capture sound from your intended source, such as a speaker or performer.

Another thing to consider is the size of your venue. If your venue extends far beyond the stage, you’ll need to make sure your microphone is powerful enough to work with a sound system that is able to project sound over a wider and farther distance.

3. Compatibility

When selecting a microphone for your live performance or event, do remember that it’s ultimately one part of your overall sound system. While each individual microphone does come with its own technical specifications and capabilities, it must work well with your overall setup if you wish to achieve your desired sound quality.

Check your existing or desired inventory of sound equipment, such as speakers or mixers, and see if their capabilities complement each other. Some things to look out for are frequency ranges, output levels and impedance.

You’ll also need to make sure you have all the ancillary equipment required for your setup to function; these may include cables, adapters, converters and preamps.

Finally, consider the layout of your sound system. The most ideal situation would be if you can conduct a full sound test before your event, so you’ll be able to determine if your microphone performs well with the rest of your sound system.

4. Audience

In live events, capturing sound from your speakers and performers may not suffice. Often, you’ll want to capture sound from the audience as well.

The position and configuration of your audience will determine what microphone works best for your live performance or event. In fact, depending on your audience layout, where you place your microphones may make a larger difference than the actual equipment.

There are several ways to capture sound from your audience while making sure the overall mix stays clear. You may consider pointing cardioid microphones at the audience, as they are more sensitive to sounds in front of them while less sensitive to sounds behind them. You may also consider omnidirectional microphones, which capture sound equally all around it.

Naturally, each microphone type comes with its pros and cons. Cardioid microphones, if placed in the wrong position, may result in loss of sound or audio cuts. Placing omnidirectional microphones correctly is also important, as you’ll need to find the best position to balance your sound input.

5. Style

When choosing the best microphone for your live event, focusing on the technical aspects usually takes priority. But this doesn’t mean its looks don’t matter!

Microphones have the potential to complement the style of your event or speaker. There are two factors to consider: visual aesthetic and functionality.

If your live event presents a specific theme and stage design, try getting a microphone that suits your visual concept. For example, if your live event comes with a nature-based theme, try using green or red microphones to elevate the aesthetic appeal of your stage.

Functionality is another key aspect to consider. If your live event requires your speakers and performers to move around, you may want to consider opting for wireless hands-free microphones. This gives them more freedom to be mobile, while keeping their hands free.

Go for the best microphone and sound options with a full-fledged production partner today

It is always challenging to choose which microphone works best for any live event. There are so many technical and event-specific factors to consider, not to mention the other elements of the overall sound system.

Ultimately, capturing and producing great sound is the culmination of not only the right microphone, but also the expertise and experience of your audio technician, sound engineer and sound designer.

That’s why it’s best to work with a team of production specialists who will ensure the entire process goes smoothly, from planning, to installation to event-day execution.

Live Productions is a full-fledged technical production agency with a strong track record for managing sound for a wide variety of live events, including private, corporate and even government events.

Our experienced team of sound specialists will set up and programme your overall sound system, so you’ll achieve your dream sound output.

Choose your microphones and craft your sound at your next live event with us today!

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