Alistair McAlpine

Handheld podcast microphones – one or two?

In Podcasting tips on October 7, 2010 at 2:14 p10

juggling podcast microphonesTwo microphones or one? A Podcaster’s choice.

If you are  conducting your podcast interview using hand held microphones you may prefer to use just one microphone or opt for two.

Two microphones offer the opportunity of recording a stereo podcast by recording each microphone to a separate channel of your stereo audio recorder. Even if you are sticking to a mono format the two microphone technique offers distinct advantages in post-production. Don’t discard the idea of using a single mic, single microphone interviews are standard fare in many broadcast environments and there are advantages. Also, you may only have one or you may end up using one due to unforeseen technical failure.

The advantages of the one microphone interview

A single microphone used in an interview becomes more than an instrument to gather audio, it allows you to manipulate the interviewees participation directly. Who ever you point the microphone at knows they are expected to speak and those who are not on-mic know that they are expected to not participate.  You have much more control over the pace and content of the interview.

The disadvantages of the one microphone interview

Your one-mic interview is less likely to encourage free discussion between participants and this may be to the detriment of the life of the interview. It’s more likely that one person will speak, then, when the microphone is moved to them the next will participate, only one person at a time is directly ‘on mic’. When there is one microphone swinging in and out of their personal space interviewees may become less spontaneous and more self-conscious.

In a group situation you may also miss out on good contributions from less forward people who are shy of attracting the attention of the dreaded swinging microphone.

The advantages of the two microphone interview

Recording two microphones onto separate channels of a stereo recording device opens up different dynamics which may or may not suit your style of interview but is worth considering.

podcast interview 2 mic techniqueTwo mic podcast interview 

Two-microphone interview recording

Radio producers have used two mics for many years and find interviewees are more relaxed and easier to engage in conversation.

You may find that the less conscious people are of the mechanics of the interview, the more invisible the microphones become and the more they engage with you and the subject of the interview.

Also, two microphones recorded onto separate tracks of a stereo (two track) recording device will allow you to manipulate the interview later by increasing or decreasing the volume of one or the other. I’ll expand on this shortly.

Our next post takes a look at podcast two-mic interviews. for stereo podcasting.

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