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Lectern Mic Maneuvers: Hiding In Plain Sight

While no one solution is perfect for every lectern, this video focuses on one that deals with the worst offenders.

By Steve Milner June 6, 2019

If you’ve spent any time in the world of corporate, special event or broadcast audio, you’ve probably fought a few lecterns along the way. From whispers to shouts, presenters hanging off the sides and the special ones who touch their lips right to the microphone and scream, it’s always a surprise. As many challenges as there are though, we have options and tools to deploy in response.

While no one solution is perfect for every lectern, this video focuses on one that deals with the worst offenders. If you’re typically using a standard lectern mic, something like a Shure MX418, this can be a technique that saves your signal chain when things get rough. Lectern mics take a lot of abuse. Often due to their location, right up in everyone’s face. They get smacked around by accident, clapped into, clapped on and whacked with all sorts of folders and folios. None of this sounds very good.

Once the speaking starts, presenters tend to focus their energy both good and bad on that poor little capsule. They’ll move it around, move around it, build up energy in their speech and go in for the kill, screaming their final points permissively and popping every P and B along the way. You even get those who seem to add syllables, extra little thuds and clicks onto words at random.

What to do?

If the lectern mic is going to be the focus of everyone who steps up to speak, then I’d personally prefer to get my audio elsewhere. In this video we talk about hiding a small shotgun style microphone under your regular mic. We look at some simple mounting options and what types of results we can get by simply sourcing our audio from a mic a few inches away from where your talent is expecting it.

The traditional mic can still be used when appropriate, giving the benefit of the extra reach when needed. An advantage to this method is it can be deployed with almost any combination of microphones that you feel could be beneficial. We’re not concerned with matching the microphones exactly, as each will be used to combat different types of voices, we just need them both to be stable and sound good individually.

Let us know how you approach micing up a lectern. What mics do you prefer to use & why? The microphones show in the video are the Countryman A3H18 and the Sennheiser ME36 mini-shotgun along with the complete IS Series Kit From Sennheiser and the beyerdynamic RM30 vertical line array microphone.

About Steve

Steve Milner
Steve Milner

Steve Milner (aka @DcSoundOp) is a freelance sound engineer who travels the world for work and attempts to create educational and entertaining videos and production related content along the way.


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Edward Camps says

Great idea and would really like to get those microphone mounts. Please let me know where I can get them. Thanks again for that great idea with the dual mics.

Gary Colter says

Great vid. If I had $1 for everytime someone ate my 18" Shure podium mic.....
Anyone try a lavalier at the base of the podium mic?

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