Types Of Microphones For Podium Presentations | Best Picks & Troubleshooting

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Learn about the different types of microphones for podium presentations, such as dynamic and condenser microphones. Find the best picks and troubleshooting tips to ensure optimal sound quality.

Types of Microphones for Podium

When it comes to choosing a microphone for podium use, there are several options available, each with its own unique features and advantages. Understanding the different types of microphones can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs. In this section, we will explore three main types of microphones commonly used for podium presentations: dynamic microphones, condenser microphones, and wireless microphones.

Dynamic Microphones

Dynamic microphones are known for their durability and versatility, making them a popular choice for podium presentations. These microphones work by using a diaphragm that moves a coil within a magnetic field, generating an electrical signal. One of the key advantages of dynamic microphones is their ability to handle high sound pressure levels, making them suitable for loud environments such as conferences or public speaking events.

Dynamic microphones are also known for their excellent off-axis rejection, which means they are less likely to pick up unwanted background noise or feedback. This makes them ideal for situations where ambient noise may be a concern.

Condenser Microphones

Condenser microphones are another common choice for podium presentations. Unlike dynamic microphones, condenser microphones use a thin diaphragm that vibrates in response to sound waves, creating an electrical signal. These microphones require an external power source, usually in the form of phantom power from a mixer or audio interface.

One of the key advantages of condenser microphones is their sensitivity and accuracy in capturing details and nuances of sound. They are known for their wide frequency response, allowing them to capture a broader range of frequencies compared to dynamic microphones. This makes condenser microphones a great choice for capturing vocals or instruments with rich tonal qualities.

Wireless Microphones

Wireless microphones offer the freedom of movement and flexibility that wired microphones cannot provide. These microphones use radio frequency transmission to send audio signals from the microphone to a receiver, eliminating the need for cables. This makes them ideal for presenters who want to move around the stage or interact with the audience while speaking.

Wireless microphones come in various forms, including handheld, lavalier, and headset options. Handheld wireless microphones are similar to traditional wired microphones and are held by the presenter. Lavalier microphones are small and discreet, typically clipped onto the presenter’s clothing. Headset microphones, on the other hand, are worn over the presenter’s head, allowing for hands-free operation.

When choosing a wireless microphone for podium use, it is important to consider factors such as range, battery life, and interference resistance. It is also crucial to ensure that the wireless system you choose complies with local regulations regarding frequency usage.

Features to Consider when Choosing a Podium Microphone

When selecting a podium microphone, there are several key features you should consider to ensure optimal performance and suitability for your specific needs. Understanding these features will help you make an informed decision and find the perfect microphone for your podium presentations.

Polar Pattern

The polar pattern of a microphone refers to its sensitivity to sound from different directions. It determines the microphone’s ability to pick up sound from the speaker while minimizing unwanted background noise. There are several common polar patterns to consider:

  • Cardioid: This polar pattern is ideal for podium presentations as it focuses on capturing sound from the front while attenuating sound from the sides and rear. It helps reduce feedback and unwanted noise from the surrounding environment.
  • Omnidirectional: An omnidirectional microphone picks up sound equally from all directions. While it may not be suitable for noisy environments, it can be beneficial if you need to capture the sound of multiple speakers or audience interactions.
  • Supercardioid: This polar pattern combines the directionality of a cardioid microphone with a narrower pickup angle. It provides a more focused sound capture from the front while still attenuating sound from the sides and rear. It offers improved gain before feedback compared to a cardioid microphone.
  • Hypercardioid: Similar to supercardioid, hypercardioid microphones have an even narrower pickup angle, providing a more precise capture of sound from the front. They are particularly useful in environments with high levels of ambient noise.

Considering the polar pattern that best suits your presentation needs will ensure clear and focused sound reproduction.

Frequency Response

The frequency response of a microphone refers to the range of frequencies it can effectively capture. It is represented in Hertz (Hz) and typically displayed as a graph showing the microphone’s sensitivity across different frequencies.

For podium presentations, it is important to choose a microphone with a wide frequency response that can accurately reproduce both low and high frequencies. This ensures that the speaker’s voice is faithfully captured and reproduced without distortion or loss of detail.

A microphone with a flat frequency response is often preferred for podium presentations as it provides a neutral and natural sound reproduction. However, depending on the specific requirements of your presentation, you may also consider microphones with tailored frequency responses that enhance certain aspects of the speaker’s voice, such as boosting clarity in the midrange frequencies.


The sensitivity of a microphone refers to its ability to convert sound waves into an electrical signal. It is usually measured in millivolts per pascal (mV/Pa) and indicates how effectively the microphone converts acoustic energy into an electrical signal.

In a podium setting, it is important to choose a microphone with adequate sensitivity to capture the speaker’s voice clearly without requiring them to speak too loudly. A microphone with higher sensitivity will capture softer sounds more effectively, allowing the speaker to maintain a comfortable speaking volume.

However, it is essential to strike a balance when considering sensitivity. Extremely sensitive microphones may also pick up unwanted background noise or handling noise, which can distract the audience and degrade the overall sound quality. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a microphone with an appropriate sensitivity level for your specific presentation environment.


Durability is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a podium microphone. Podium presentations often involve frequent setup and teardown, and the microphone may be subject to accidental drops or rough handling.

Look for microphones that are built with robust materials and have a sturdy construction. Metal bodies and reinforced connectors can withstand the rigors of regular use and provide longevity.

Additionally, consider features such as shock mounts and windshields that help protect the microphone from handling and environmental noise. These features can reduce the chances of unwanted vibrations or wind noise affecting the sound quality during your presentation.

Investing in a durable microphone ensures that it will withstand the demands of regular use and continue to deliver reliable performance for your podium presentations.

Best Microphones for Podium Presentations

When it comes to choosing the best microphone for podium presentations, there are a few top contenders that consistently deliver exceptional performance and quality. Let’s take a closer look at three popular options: the Shure SM58, Audio-Technica AT2020, and Sennheiser e835.

Shure SM58

The Shure SM58 is a legendary microphone that has become a staple in the audio industry. Known for its durability and reliability, the SM58 is often the go-to choice for live performances and public speaking engagements.

One of the key features of the SM58 is its exceptional sound quality. It offers a tailored frequency response that emphasizes vocals, making it perfect for capturing clear and crisp speech. The built-in spherical wind and pop filter also help to reduce unwanted noise and plosives, ensuring a smooth and professional sound.

Additionally, the SM58 is designed to withstand the rigors of on-stage use. Its rugged construction and robust grille make it resistant to drops, bumps, and even the occasional accidental mic stand knockover. This durability ensures that the SM58 will continue to deliver reliable performance even after years of heavy use.

Audio-Technica AT2020

Another popular choice for podium presentations is the Audio-Technica AT2020. This microphone is lauded for its exceptional audio quality and affordability, making it a favorite among professionals and beginners alike.

The AT2020 features a wide dynamic range and a smooth, extended frequency response. These characteristics allow it to capture every nuance of the speaker’s voice with remarkable clarity and detail. Whether it’s a whisper or a booming projection, the AT2020 faithfully reproduces the sound.

In terms of build quality, the AT2020 is solidly constructed with a sturdy metal body that can withstand regular use. Its cardioid polar pattern helps to minimize background noise, resulting in a focused and clean sound. This makes it a reliable choice for podium presentations where the speaker’s voice needs to be the center of attention.

Sennheiser e835

The Sennheiser e835 is a versatile microphone that excels in capturing vocals with exceptional clarity and presence. It is a popular choice for podium presentations due to its reliability and ease of use.

The e835 boasts a uniform cardioid pickup pattern, which effectively reduces background noise and feedback. This allows the speaker’s voice to cut through the mix without any distractions. The microphone’s frequency response is tailored to enhance speech intelligibility, ensuring that every word is clear and easily understood.

Durability is another strong suit of the e835. It features a rugged metal construction that can withstand the demands of live performances and traveling. The microphone also comes with a shock-mounted capsule to minimize handling noise, further enhancing the overall sound quality.

Setting up a Podium Microphone

Placement Techniques

When it comes to setting up a podium microphone, proper placement is crucial to ensure clear and audible sound. The microphone should be positioned in a way that captures the speaker’s voice accurately without picking up excessive background noise. Here are some placement techniques to consider:

  1. Position the microphone at the correct height: The ideal height for a podium microphone is usually around chest level, ensuring that the speaker’s mouth is directly in front of the microphone. This allows for optimal sound pickup and helps reduce unwanted noise.
  2. Place the microphone at an appropriate distance: It’s important to position the microphone at a distance that allows the speaker’s voice to be captured clearly without any distortion. Generally, a distance of around 6-12 inches from the speaker’s mouth is recommended.
  3. Avoid obstructing the microphone: Make sure that there are no physical obstructions, such as lecterns or podiums, blocking the path between the speaker’s mouth and the microphone. This ensures that the sound waves are directly picked up by the microphone and not hindered by any barriers.

Connecting to Sound System

Once the microphone is properly placed, the next step is to connect it to the sound system. This allows the amplified sound to be projected to the audience. Here’s how you can connect the podium microphone to the sound system:

  1. Locate the microphone input on the sound system: Most sound systems have dedicated inputs for microphones. These inputs are typically labeled with a microphone symbol. Locate the appropriate input for connecting the podium microphone.
  2. Use the correct cable: Depending on the type of microphone and sound system, you may need to use different types of cables. The most common cable used for connecting microphones is an XLR cable. Ensure that you have the correct cable that matches the microphone and sound system connections.
  3. Connect the microphone to the sound system: Plug one end of the cable into the microphone and the other end into the microphone input on the sound system. Make sure the connections are secure to avoid any signal loss or interference.

Adjusting Microphone Settings

After the microphone is connected to the sound system, it’s important to adjust the microphone settings to achieve the desired sound quality. Here are some key settings to consider:

  1. Gain control: The gain control adjusts the sensitivity of the microphone. It determines how loud the sound will be when it reaches the sound system. Start with a moderate gain level and adjust it accordingly based on the speaker’s volume and the size of the venue.
  2. Equalization (EQ): Most sound systems have built-in EQ controls that allow you to adjust the frequency response of the microphone. This can help enhance the clarity and tonal balance of the speaker’s voice. Experiment with the EQ settings to find the best sound quality for the specific environment.
  3. Monitor the sound: It’s important to monitor the sound during the setup process to ensure that the microphone is capturing the speaker’s voice clearly. Use headphones or speakers connected to the sound system to listen to the audio output and make any necessary adjustments to the microphone settings.

By following these placement techniques and adjusting the microphone settings, you can ensure that the podium microphone is set up correctly for optimal sound quality during presentations or speeches. Remember to consider the specific requirements of your venue and adapt these techniques accordingly for the best results.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Podium Microphones

When it comes to using podium microphones, it’s not uncommon to run into technical issues that can disrupt your presentation. The last thing you want is for feedback, screeching noises, low volume output, or muffled and distorted sound to distract your audience. In this section, we will explore some common problems that may arise with podium microphones and provide you with practical troubleshooting tips to overcome them.

Feedback or Screeching Noise

One of the most frustrating issues you may encounter with a podium microphone is feedback or screeching noise. This occurs when the sound from the speakers is picked up by the microphone and amplified, creating a loop of sound that results in an unpleasant high-pitched noise. To eliminate or minimize feedback, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check microphone placement: Ensure that the microphone is positioned correctly. Keep it at a distance from the speakers to avoid picking up their sound. Experiment with different placements to find the optimal position where feedback is minimal.
  2. Adjust microphone sensitivity: Most podium microphones have a sensitivity control that allows you to adjust the microphone’s response to sound. Lowering the sensitivity can help reduce the chances of feedback. Start with a lower sensitivity level and gradually increase it until you achieve the desired volume without experiencing feedback.
  3. Use a microphone with a cardioid polar pattern: Microphones with a cardioid polar pattern are designed to pick up sound primarily from the front and reject sound from the sides and rear. This directional characteristic can help minimize feedback by reducing the microphone’s sensitivity to sound coming from the speakers.
  4. Apply sound baffling: If feedback persists, you can consider using sound baffling materials, such as foam or acoustic panels, around the microphone or in the vicinity of the speakers. These materials help absorb sound waves and reduce the chances of feedback occurring.

Low Volume Output

Another common issue with podium microphones is low volume output. If you find that the sound coming from the microphone is too quiet, making it difficult for your audience to hear you clearly, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check microphone positioning: Ensure that the microphone is placed at an appropriate distance from your mouth. Position it slightly below or to the side of your mouth, pointing towards your chin. This positioning helps optimize the pickup of your voice and improve volume output.
  2. Adjust microphone sensitivity: Similar to troubleshooting feedback issues, adjusting the microphone’s sensitivity can also help with low volume output. Increase the sensitivity gradually until you achieve the desired volume level. Be cautious not to increase it too much as it may result in feedback.
  3. Check the sound system settings: Verify that the volume controls on the sound system are properly adjusted. Ensure that the microphone channel is not muted or set to a low volume. If necessary, consult the sound engineer or technician to assist you in adjusting the settings for optimal volume output.

Muffled or Distorted Sound

If the sound coming from your podium microphone is muffled or distorted, it can significantly impact the clarity of your presentation. Here are some troubleshooting steps to address this issue:

  1. Check microphone placement: Ensure that the microphone is not obstructed by any objects or clothing. Clear any obstacles that may be blocking the sound waves from reaching the microphone. Additionally, avoid covering the microphone with your hand or clothing while speaking, as this can result in muffled sound.
  2. Inspect the microphone grille: Over time, the microphone grille may accumulate dust, dirt, or debris, which can affect the quality of sound. Gently clean the grille using a soft brush or cloth to remove any buildup. Be careful not to damage the microphone’s delicate components.
  3. Check microphone cables and connections: Faulty cables or loose connections can cause sound distortion. Ensure that all cables are securely connected to the microphone and the sound system. If you suspect a faulty cable, try replacing it with a new one to see if it resolves the issue.
  4. Test with another microphone: If the problem persists, try using a different microphone to determine if the issue lies with the microphone itself. Borrow or rent another podium microphone and compare the sound quality. If the new microphone produces clear sound, it may be time to consider replacing or repairing your current microphone.

By following these troubleshooting tips, you can overcome common issues such as feedback, low volume output, and muffled or distorted sound with your podium microphone. Remember to always test and adjust your microphone setup before your presentation to ensure a seamless and professional audio experience for both you and your audience.

Maintenance and Care for Podium Microphones

When it comes to maintaining and caring for your podium microphones, there are a few key tasks that you should regularly perform. By taking the time to clean the microphones, store them properly, and replace any batteries or cables as needed, you can ensure that your microphones will continue to provide clear and reliable sound for all of your presentations. Let’s dive into each of these tasks in more detail:

Cleaning the Microphone

Regularly cleaning your podium microphones is essential for their longevity and optimal performance. Over time, dust, dirt, and grime can accumulate on the microphone’s surface and affect its sound quality. To clean your microphone:

  • Start by gently wiping the exterior of the microphone with a soft, lint-free cloth. This will remove any loose debris.
  • Next, use a cotton swab lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol to clean the grille and other hard-to-reach areas. Be careful not to use too much liquid, as it can damage the microphone.
  • Finally, allow the microphone to air dry completely before using it again.

By regularly cleaning your microphone, you can prevent buildup and ensure that your sound remains clear and crisp.

Storing Properly

Proper storage is crucial for protecting your podium microphones when they are not in use. Here are some tips for storing your microphones:

  • Always store your microphones in a clean and dry environment. Moisture can damage the internal components and affect the sound quality.
  • Consider investing in microphone cases or protective covers to safeguard your microphones from dust, impacts, and other potential hazards.
  • Avoid storing your microphones in extreme temperatures or direct sunlight as this can cause damage to the microphone’s sensitive components.

By following these storage practices, you can extend the lifespan of your microphones and ensure that they are always ready for your next presentation.

Replacing Batteries or Cables

Regularly checking and replacing batteries or cables is essential to prevent any unexpected technical issues during your presentations. Here’s how you can ensure that your microphones have reliable power and connectivity:

  • For wireless microphones, check the battery level before each presentation. Replace the batteries if they are low to avoid any sudden power loss during your speech.
  • If you are using wired microphones, inspect the cables for any signs of wear or damage. Replace any frayed or faulty cables to maintain a consistent and uninterrupted audio signal.
  • Consider keeping spare batteries and cables on hand so that you can quickly replace them if needed.

By regularly checking and replacing batteries or cables, you can minimize the risk of technical issues and ensure a seamless presentation experience.

In conclusion, properly maintaining and caring for your podium microphones is crucial to their longevity and performance. By regularly cleaning the microphones, storing them properly, and replacing batteries or cables as needed, you can ensure that your microphones will continue to provide clear and reliable sound for all of your podium presentations. So, take the time to give your microphones the care they deserve, and they will reward you with exceptional audio quality every time you step up to the podium.

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