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Why is your microphone technique so important when giving a best-man speech?

In this article, we are going to go over a few things.

  • Different microphones types and why it’s important to choose the right one
  • Microphone position, how the sound is affected and why it’s important
  • How to deliver the speech for the best sound
  • Testing and checking the microphone
  • Do’s and don’t when it comes to using a microphone.

Different Microphones

For the best man speech, you have three notable different types of microphones. You have a wireless handheld microphone, a wireless headset microphone and a cable handheld microphone. There are many different brands of microphones, but the two main ones to hire are either Sennheiser or Shure.
Wireless handheld microphone. This is the best first choice for your speech. These are great as you don’t need to be near the sound desk. You can be anywhere within your venue and speak from any table or alter.
Wireless headset microphone. This microphone is, as it sounds, a ‘headset’, is worn on the head and clips behind your ear, and the mic hangs over your cheek. This is popular with people who need to use their hands or feet; maybe you have planned a surprise dance routine. Essentially, if you want to move freely, this is maybe better. Please note this kind of microphone normally needs a sound engineer to operate, as they can feedback (squeal) if you don’t know what you are doing.
Cabled or wired microphone. This is the cheapest option and has many limitations due to needing to be near the sound desk. They are the most stable and probably best if you do the sound DIY or on a budget.

Microphone position

Note: This section only applies to handheld microphones.

Holding the microphone is important when it comes to delivering a tip-top speech. First, let’s look at where not to hold it. Never cover the mesh end; this is where the capsule is, and covering it ruins the sound. We know it looks cool and rappers like Eminem do it, but it changes the sound and can cause squeals and feedback. You can hold it anywhere, but not on the mesh capsule bit.
Next, how far should it be from my mouth? Too far away, your voices become thin and hollow. Too close, and it becomes boomy and overpowering. You want it about 1-3 inches from your mouth, pointing (it may sound obvious), but at your mouth, if you turn your head, the mic follows. Good microphone technique will make you sound clear, more confident and generally better.

How to deliver the speech for the best sound

This section is going to be short. You need to speak, imagine the microphone isn’t there, and try to project to the back of the room. Microphones are a supporting device. No need to shout as this is being ampliflied and probably will cause the guest to jump.

Testing and checking the microphone.

When you arrive at the wedding and the equipment is set up at the beginning of the day, make sure you plan 5-10 minutes to soundcheck your voice. This is massively important to one, practice hearing yourself through the system and getting used to your amplified voice, and two, it gives the engineer or whoever is setting up the sound to get the right levels for the space.

What not to do when it comes to using a microphone?

The first golden rule is never to tap the microphone to check it’s on. All novices do it when approaching the microphone to check it’s on. Tapping a microphone sounds horrible and isn’t necessary. The best bet is to look at who is operating the sound, whether an engineer or a friend and give them a look. Start with a greeting. It’s much better than an aggressive tap.
Three, never ask the audience, ‘is this on?’, ‘can you hear me?’. This is why we soundcheck and spend a bit of time getting levels. Just start!
Two, going to reiterate this. Don’t hold over the mesh part of the microphone; it creates squeals and generally makes the microphone sound nasty.