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Microphones
Types and Tips
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Microphones
Radio Microphones
Using Microphones
Speakers & Monitors
Karaoke Equipment Set Up

A microphone is used to convert acoustic energy produced by a singer or musician into electrical energy. This is conveyed through the leads into a mixing desk or mixer amp as signals which are processed by the equipment to produce sound via speakers or monitors.

Inside every microphone is a diaphram which vibrates to the sound waves produced by the singer or musicians instrument. This vibration creates a variable voltage which is carried through the lead to the mixer.

There are four main types of microphone:-

1.Dynamic or Moving Coil
The diaphragm is connected to a coil set in a magnetic cap which produces a voltage as it is moved.

2.Ribbon
This uses a large magnet with a ribbon of metal set into it which acts as both a diaphragm and a coil. As it moves a low voltage is obtained across the ribbon. This type also needs a transformer to increase the output voltage.

3.Condenser and electret
The diaphragm is made of a thin plastic material coated with a microscopic layer of metal with a backing plate. Between the two exists a high voltage known as the polarizing voltage. As the capacity varies with diaphragm movement, a variable voltage is produced which must be amplified within the microphone.

4.Pressure Zone
This uses a small diaphragm connected to a special electret capsule to produce the output voltage, the sound waves are picked up through a small slit adjacent to a plate.

These vary in response according to the microphones design and type of pick up.

Karaoke operators and singers shoud use a Low impedence, balanced microphone which prevents signal loss and hum pick up. As you will have many singers using the same mic's it is important to buy products that can by used by any style of singer, preferably one that is omni-directional or has all-round response - the 'SHURE SM58' is an excellent microphone for this type of use and is sturdy enough to take a few knocks.

If you want to avoid damage to your mic's then it is advisable to invest in a couple of Microphone Stands. When you set up your equipment, place the microphone into the stands holder then loosly wind the cable around the stand before connecting it to the mic. Put small strips of gaffa tape around the lead, stand and holder if you want to prevent singers from removing the microphone from the stand.

Radio Microphones

The microphone operates by using an external device that picks up the radio waves and translates them into sound via the mixer.

This connects to the mains system with its own power transformer. A jack to jack or jack to cannon lead is used to connect the microphones base transformer to one of the mic or line inputs of the mixer or mixer amp.

The base transformer has one or two expandable aerials which when extended will pick up the sound from the radio mic from pretty much anywhere in the building!

The microphone usually requires a battery which is inserted into a small compartment usually located at the middle or the base of the mic.

Pro's
1. Allows freedom of movement

2. Less likelihood of accidents from loose mic leads

3. Headset radio microphones enable the karaoke jockey to have their hands free to operate equipment

4. Great for kj's to use when announcing and operating equipment on their own

Con's
1. If dropped can be easily damaged!

2. Harder to grab back from a singer

3. More expensive - batteries need regular renewal

4. Can pick up external radio signals including police and radio stations!

5. Signal can also be disrupted or produce a hum by various electrical equipment used by clubs and pubs.

Whilst radio microphones are a good option for a karaoke jockey, it is not advisable to allow audience members to use them.

If you are looking for a good radio mic then aim to get one whose base transformer is equipped with dual aerials, although slightly more expensive, they are capable of picking up the signal from a wider area.

Trantex have a range of hand-held and headset microphones that are reasonably priced and have a good sound quality.

There should be at least one top quality microphone for vocals and there are many excellent manufactures including Sure, Sennheiser, AK and Neumann. The only way to choose is by trying out various microphones and gaining from other peoples experience.

Visit UK Karaoke Store or our USA Karaoke Store and Musical Gifts for a range of players, equipment, effects, instruments and other musical gift ideas.

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