Tech Talk

A series of informative articles on funeral home technology...

Podium Microphones — What Are My Options

Directors often ask us to quote an upgrade for an entire funeral home sound system; however, in many of these cases, we discover what they really need is simply to have the correct type of microphone installed. Installing a new podium microphone may be the easiest and most affordable upgrade to your audio system. But with so many to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic Microphones

Let’s start with the two main types of microphones and their purposes. DYNAMIC microphones are most commonly used for singing and speaking. Dynamic mics are generally used for applications where the user is in very close proximity to the microphone. The major weakness with this type of mic is that its pickup pattern is about 3-6 inches. That simply means that when the user moves outside this range, the level drops significantly and the mic becomes ineffective.
Condenser Microphone

Condenser Microphone

CONDENSER microphone is the best choice for a podium mic. If a dynamic mic has a useful pickup pattern of 3 to 6 inches, a condenser mic has a pattern of 3 to 6 feet. Condenser microphones use a power source to increase sensitivity. This helps a great deal when it comes to "picking up" the person speaking, whether up close or at a distance. The sensitivity of this type of mic tends to be its weakness as well; if the podium is placed too close to a ceiling or wall speaker it will likely feedback.

So what is feedback? Webster defines feedback as “the return of a fraction of the output signal from an amplifier, microphone, or other device to the input of the same device.” In other words, the microphone is picking up its own amplified signal in a continuous loop.

In some instances, we are asked about installing a wireless handheld microphone for use as a podium mic. Though wireless technology adds a great deal of flexibility, this does nothing to alleviate the main problem. Most of these wireless mics are just cordless versions of a dynamic microphone. There are a few condenser wireless microphones available, so if you plan to upgrade to a wireless for your podium, make sure it is a condenser microphone.

With this basic understanding, you can make an educated decision on a simple but highly effective upgrade to your sound system.

Check out our references, all of whom would be happy to talk with you about the services we have provided them, and their feelings on our company and our work.

- Chris Runnels, owner of Advanced Audio Systems

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