mike (noun) Short for microphone, a device for converting acoustic power into electric power that has essentially similar wave characteristics.

Berliner's brainstorm.

Possibly the first microphone invented was a telephone transmitter. In 1876, while working for Alexander Graham Bell, Emile Berliner cooked it up in his spare time.


Then the mike is too close to your mouth. You're not resting it on your chin, are you, Mr. Donahue?

All about the pickup.

There are essentially four types of microphones. Each has a different pickup pattern.

Bidirectional mikes are best at picking up sound from two sound sources, usually opposed to one another, and excluding all other sounds.

Cardiod mikes, which get their name from their heart-shaped pickup pattern, are often used by speakers. They pick up what's in front of the mike, not what's behind.

Omnidirectional mikes pick up sounds from all directions.

Shotgun mikes are suited for picking up sound at a distance (think sporting events).

Remember the mike.

Keep in mind that the audience will be able to hear what you're saying, maybe even in a low voice. If you have something to say that's not intended for everyone, keep it to yourself until the mike is well out of range.


There's nothing worse than a squeal that shatters attendees' eardrums. Keep the mike pointed away from and as far from the audio speakers as possible. And from other microphones, too. Anything too close and squeeeeal!

Keep it steady.

For a crisp, clear sound, it's best to hold a microphone four to five inches from your mouth. Try to keep the mike steady and at the same distance, so that the volume of your voice doesn't drastically change.

Lovely lavalier.

Lavaliers are worn on clothing, usually on a tie or jacket. They give the speaker freedom to move about and use her hands. But they can pick up nearby sounds and voices.

SOURCES: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blmicrophones.htm; Queen's FILM 250 Notes on Sound: Microphones, www.film.queensu.ca/250/250SoundMics.html; Audio: Microphones, http://pachome1.pacific.net.sg/~firehzrd/audio/mics.html; University of the South Pacific, Media Centre, Types of Microphones, www.sidsnet.org/pacific/usp/media/tips/equip/mics.htm; Learning The Tricks of the Trade, Easy.com.au, www.easy.com.au/callers/Micropho.htm; www.vocopro.com/faq.html

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