The Trials and Tribulations of Using a Microphone

Please Note: No microphones were harmed during this learning period.

It seemed that the best tactic for me as a voice actor would be to set up my own recording studio at home. That meant I needed a number of items, one of them being a good, professional sounding microphone. I realized that the microphones (3 of them!) I had sitting in my desk drawer from my “singing out” days were not ideal for voiceover work.

After many days of researching and pricing, I came home with a desktop Blue© Yeti USB microphone. I set it up in the included stand, plugged it in, and…wait – why was there a bumping noise while I was recording? I know I wasn’t using a drum in the audio. Oh! The stand, which was sitting directly on the desk, was recording every sound I made when I touched the desk. To solve this, I put a towel under it. However, the towel never seemed to be perfectly level, so the mic either fell forward, backward, or sideways while recording (I really did try to keep recording as it was falling, honest).

How about a floor stand, I asked myself. I knew the recommended swinging arm stand could not be set up on the desk I was using, so I bought a floor stand with good reviews, which promised it could withstand the weight of the microphone (it lied). When I placed the shock mount (another heavy item) and the microphone on the stand’s boom, the microphone refused to stay up because it was too heavy (in other words, it would slowly lean over until it looked like it was talking to the floor). Do you know how hard it is to talk into a microphone that’s on the floor? Pretty hard, especially if you’re not limber enough.

I eventually set up the stand so the mic was in an upright position without the boom; this worked for all of two minutes when the piece holding the mic in place broke somehow, resulting in the microphone gradually sinking down until it was about 1 foot above the floor. I wasn’t short enough to use it, so I had to find another alternative. Sigh.

With my hopes and dreams slowly disappearing, I decided to try the microphone stand I had used when “singing out”. After rescuing it from the attic, it took me a few days and an “aha!” moment to figure out the best way to use it. Finally, good results! I can now actually speak into the mic without worrying that it will fall down, fall over, pick up desk thumping, sink to the floor, etc.

The moral of the story: there isn’t one. But I love my Blue Yeti mic!

Cheers ‘til the next blog!