Every caller should use the best microphone that they can afford to buy! You should take it with you whenever you intend (or hope) to call, and plug it in to the system in use when you call.

Buy the microphone that is best for your type of voice and take care of it. Not all microphones are created equal. A cheap microphone will sound cheap.

Choosing the Right Microphone
There are many types of microphones available, each designed for a specific purpose. Some are best for amplifying musical instruments in an orchestra, some are designed for use on a stand or a podium for public speaking, and some are designed to be held in the hand for singing (or calling). Make sure the microphone you select is designed to be hand-held and does not pick up noises through the cable or the body of the mike as you move around the stage.

Use a microphones with a "cardioid" (heart shaped) or "super cardioid" pick up pattern of operation. This pattern is designed to amplify sounds only from around the head of the mike ("directional" microphones), so that they donít emphasise the crowd noise. This design also helps to minimise feedback (the screeching you hear when a microphone is pointed at a loudspeaker).

Most callers use a "Dynamic" microphone, which means that it does not require an internal power source to give a good signal ("Electret" microphones require a battery to boost the signal). All modern square dancing sound systems will work fine with a dynamic microphone, but some will not work properly with an electret.

If you have either a very high pitched voice or a very deep voice, you may find it helpful to select a microphone with variable frequency settings. These microphones can be set to "roll off" the highs in shrill voices, or if you have a deep voice they can boost the highs, to make the sound more pleasant and/or clearer.

A good quality microphone will last for many years and will help to bring out the best in you. You should treat your microphone like your toothbrush; it is a personal thing.

How to Hold a Microphone

For the microphone to pick up a clear, undistorted sound, it must be held about one to three centimeters from your mouth. Hold the mike at a constant distance, so the volume of your voice doesn't keep changing. Try to keep the mike steady, and don't let it wave about.

Do not press the microphone up to your lips or chin, as this will obstruct your mouth and may cause distortion. If you are sounding muffled over the microphone, it may be that you are holding it too close to your mouth.

The hand that you hold the microphone with should be as far from your mouth as possible, so that the dancers can see your face (and not just part of it). Although you see Rock Singers holding the head of the microphone, it is not good for the clear sound needed for square dance calling.

The mike itself should be held at a 45-degree angle, and slightly to one side - once again, so as not to cover your face.

One last thing to remember: if you want to say something that is not intended for the whole audience, don't say it over the microphone.

Correct Microphone Technique


Doís and Doníts of Microphone Technique

DO hold the microphone steady

DO hold it at a short distance away from your mouth (about one inch)

DON'T wave the microphone around

DON'T press it into your chin

DON'T place the mike on your lips (don't swallow it!)

DON'T choke the microphone (donít hold it at the tip)

DON'T say anything over the microphone that you might regret later