Headset Microphone Care
Your Headset Mic - Getting it on right!
By Kevin Dempsey
Fitness headset microphones take an awful lot of abuse. We sweat, scream, and spit into them. At the end of our class when we hit shower that poor mic is still out there doing another class. We work our mics so hard it borders on abuse. Is it any surprise we have so many problems with them? But you can help. With a little bit of care you can have of trouble free performance from your mic system.
Most group fitness headset microphones for are designed to sit at the side of your face about two finger's width away from the corner of your mouth, or slightly in front and to the side of mouth, not directly in front as with most head worn singer's microphones. This helps to avoid amplifying breath noises and blowing spit into the mic capsule as you teach.
If you need to confirm that the mic is working after you have turned on the transmitter and checked that the mixer and sound system are all set to go then, whatever you do, NEVER blow into the microphone to test it!
Blowing hard into the delicate microphone capsule is the easiest way to damage it.
A simple "test - one - two" is all you need to say and you won't risk being the cause of expensive, unnecessary repairs.
After use, always remove the foam windscreen from the mic, gently wipe any sweat from the mic, and remove the body pack transmitter from your pouch belt. To store the system when not in use, hang the headset microphone on a hook 1m(3ft) above a shelf for the transmitter so that the headset's cable is kept as straight as possible. Do not coil or kink the cable.
A few simple steps:
- Don't put the mic capsule directly in front of you mouth.
- Never blown into the microphone.
- If your mic was design to use a foam windscreen then always use one.
- Always use a neoprene transmitter pouch belt.
- Always remove the windscreen after use.
- Always remove the body pack transmitter from the pouch belt.
- Hang the mic when not in use. Do not coil or kink the cable.
Feedback (that squealing or howling sound) occurs when the microphone is too loud, the music is too loud for the microphone or you are too close to the speakers. In most cases turning the microphone level down or moving away from the speakers will stop the howling so just adjust the levels to get the right mix of voice over music without the howls. If the problem persists you may need to reposition your speakers to make sure that they are not 'firing' straight back at you. We also find that better quality speakers are less prone to feedback.
If feedback persists because of the room's architecture (full of mirrors, windows, a polished wood floor and brick upper walls) or your speaker types (ie: some horn tweeters) then there are a selection of Feedback Exterminator devices or 31 band Graphic Equalizers available as an add-on component that fits between the Wireless Microphone Receiver and the Mixer, that will filter out those annoying squeals.
When used correctly, headset microphones that were designed for group fitness use will give you many years of trouble free service. Take care of your fitness microphone and it will take care of you.
Kevin Dempsey is a professional audio engineer, sound technician and fitness enthusiast. He is President and CEO of Fitness AV, The Fitness Audio Visual Experts, the leading supplier of sound and video systems to the fitness and recreation industry. Sign up for our monthly fitness instructor newsletter
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