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Karaoke

The Microphone

This is a device for picking up your voice so that it may be enhanced, this usually means amplifying it and mixing it with the music. Mikes can be expensive so please treat this wonderful device with respect.

Don't swing it around with the lead. Apart from the damage it causes to the lead and socket (and the mike when it makes contact with some inanimate object like your head or glass of beer), it may hit someone if it flies off!

Don't blow into the mike and do not bang the mike with your hand in order to test it; this can damage the mike and the amplification system. It is much more professional to simply speak with a few words, even if it has to be the immortal line "Testing, testing, one, two, three"! Remember to switch it on!!

Don't cup the ball of the mike with your hand, the mesh surrounding the ball allows a free flow of air and sound-waves over the element within and your hand may simply obstruct this flow creating booming and increasing the likelihood of feedback.

Don't be frightened of the mike.

Do hold the mike close to your lips and sing directly into the top of it, not the side. A good guide is to hold the mike about half to one inch away for a normal voice but be guided by the operator for the best results. If your voice is loud extend the distance between your mouth and the mike. A normal reaction for the inexperienced singer is to move the mike away from the mouth as soon as they hear themselves clearly - this is simply initial fear and must be overcome for the best results. An experienced singer will vary the distance according to the dynamics of the voice, i.e. on quiet sections, close to the mouth - on louder sections away from the mouth.

Another aspect of mike technique is to remember that the closer the mike is to your mouth the better it picks up the timbre, intonation and depth of your voice. Some singers voices have great depth and this is lost when the mike is too far away.

Feedback

The most common cause of feedback is when the microphone is too close to the front of the loudspeaker. This results in the sound being picked up by the mike and then being picked up again as it comes through the loudspeaker, creating a vicious circle of sound. It may also be caused when the mike is too far away from the singers voice - thus making the vocals too quiet - and the operator has turned up the volume (gain) of the mike in order to compensate, creating the same effect as described above. As this will mar your performance as well as driving the audience insane; keep the mike close.