CategoryAudio for Presentations and Events

Picking the best microphone

Now that you have the best voice recorder… usually most buyer’s attention goes to the next piece of kit in any producers arsenal – the microphone (or microphones).  There are so many options when it comes to picking the right microphone for the job.  Is it for a studio?  Is is for in the field?  Are you connecting it to a computer, or are you just connecting it to your recording device?  What is the difference between uni-directional, omni-directional, cardioid or dynamic?  USB or XLR?  Shotgun or Lavalier?

So many questions that you need to answer, and so many choices to sift through to find the best microphone for the job.

To help you navigate the microphone market, we have set up a sister product review site just for microphones.  The Best Microphone is all about helping you find exactly that – the best microphone for the job.

Check them out once you have picked the best voice recorder for your job!

How to record your stand up comedy gig

Recently I have been listening to a lot of stand up comedy — and trying to understand how stand up comics refine their material… and nail the delivery every time – night after night.  The best thing about comedians hosting podcasts is that they regularly let a few of their tricks of the trade, unhealthy or processes out of the bag in their conversations.  Recently a number of comics have talked about their habit of recording every single gig they perform.  They record their performances proactively with the intent of replaying what happened if a particular joke got an extra laugh, sovaldi or a section of their show was a bit of a lull.

So what do comics use to record their stand up comedy shows?  Most are simply using the voice memo or sound recorder function on their phone, purchase with the phone simply sitting in their pocket.  Whilst convenient, most however suggest that whilst the audio quality is ok, managing the sound files can become tedious with the phone.  A number – particularly those that are crossing over into producing podcasts as well – have graduated from phone recordings to using a portable digital recorder like the Zoom H4n, or Zoom H6.  Better sound quality, you can hook it into the PA system at the club you are playing, and you can use it for other publishing or broadcasting activity as well.  The perfect way to raise your profile as a comic, and reflect on your practice after every show!

Review: Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A Omni Directional EW System

For the past few weeks we have playing with wireless lav microphone systems for public speakers.  To be honest the one that came out on top of the few we looked at was the Sennheiser EW 112P Omni Directional wireless system.

First, this is a great “go-to” system if you need more coverage, or if you are looking for more features than many other systems offer. Most people will be more interested in the sound, and being able to make fine grade adjustments when using it.

What we found is that it works well with the frequency we are allowed locally. The sound is great, and very clear so we are not left having to constantly repeat transmissions over a distance. There is a body pack transmitter that those in the field can use, and there’s several important features such as the mute function, and an automatic frequency scan. The menu’s easy to use and there’s no issue with reading it.

There are the same problems you will find with any system. In some areas you will need a license to operate this system. Clip-ons can break, and you can find yourself needing a new battery while the other one is still recharging in the pack. The construction is fairly rugged, but with anything wireless the first thing that will be damaged is usually the receiver. It’s not easy to operate in low lighting without a flashlight.

Anyone who’s using this for field recording will probably be used to dealing with these issues, and the important thing is this system does work well, and you can synchronize the channel and frequency with a button that’s simple to use in the dark once you know where it is located. The black-lit display is good in dim light, and if you are familiar with it you following the menu is fairly simple, even in poor lighting if you are familiar with the device.

We are starting to use the Sennheiser 112P in presentations… it is reliable with great sound.  The perfect wireless lav microphone for any professional speaker!

Presentation voice recording with the ZoomH4n and Sennheiser EW112P wireless microphone

I have the great fortune in my job that I get to deliver presentations regularly to audiences of various sizes – from 10 people to 500 people or more.  For example, recently I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote of a track at an Education conference held in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands!  My usual routine as a speaker is to pop over to the audio desk and introduce myself to the audio tech – clip on the wireless transmitter that the venue has provided, and then try to weave my lapel microphone through my shirt and up to my second top button.  I love the freedom that a good wireless lav mic gives you as a presenter!  No longer tied to the stage or the lectern!

Up until recently I had never thought of recording my own presentations… every now and then the event organiser will record a video of the presentation – but usually they use the on board microphone and the audio quality is horrible.  Since getting my hands on the Zoom H4n recorder, getting a good quality recording of a presentation has been on my to do list.  At first I looked at wired lav microphones like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Microphone but the thought of walking around on stage with my ZoomH4n clipped to my belt didn’t really excite me!

The last couple of events I have spoken at where I have used a wireless microphone, they haven’t invested in an audio technician that could handle the “out of the ordinary” request to plug my ZoomH4n into their sound desk to get a recording (or they had a policy which meant I couldn’t do it)… so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

After reading how the team at VaynerMedia put together the #askgaryvee videos and podcasts – and in particular the wireless lav microphones they use to get a great voice recording… I purchased the Sennheiser EW 112P system (pictured above) – which comprises of a wireless transmitter to clip on my belt, a good quality lapel mic to clip on my shirt, and a wireless receiver to use with a mixing board, or in my case, plug directly into my ZoomH4n audio recorder This was a great solution to my problem – getting a good quality audio recording when presenting to an audience…  I simply:

  • plug the receiver into my ZoomH4n,
  • clip the transmitter to my belt
  • weave the lav mic up my shirt and clip it on
  • make sure everything is turned on
  • hit record on my ZoomH4n to test the levels
  • hit record again to start the recording

And the resulting sound quality is great. Don’t have a ZoomH4n and want to record your presentation??  I found this great deal over at Amazon.com which bundles a Zoom H4n recorder with the Sennheiser EW 112P wireless microphone system – make sure you check it out!

The next question though… should I buy another  Sennheiser EW 112P system so I can record good quality conversations for my podcasts, or record panel discussions?  It is certainly tempting after the performance of the wireless microphone so far!

//Track outbounds