You Need a Professional Microphone for Your Business Meetings
Chief Engineer Michael Bader has recorded thousands of your favorite audiobooks and he is adamant about ensuring that you look and sound your best during your next ZOOM call.
You can get that professional life-life sound while enhancing your on-camera presence
During the pandemic, a lot of people were forced to speak on a microphone in streaming or broadcast settings. And we know that you are perceived to be at least 20% more intelligent when you have quality audio and we know that you need to sound good for people to really take in what you’re saying. So for professional development — whether you’re doing one-off webinars or whether you spend your entire day in online meetings — it’s always going to benefit you to have better sound quality.
But capturing great audio when video is involved is a real challenge. When you’re running webinars and when you’re presenting on video, your sound choices become a bit restricted by your mic placement options. Sometimes you don’t want to put a microphone right in front of your face because on camera, you don’t look quite as presentable as you’d like to be. But this is the same thing that sound engineers have been dealing with on movie sets for years and years. The boom operator is doing all he can to get the sound right, but the director’s yelling at him to keep the mic out of the shot. You know? So it’s something that presents a lot of different challenges, but like we’ve said, if you pick a mic with a very relaxed sound and with a very wide and forgiving sweet spot like ETHOS or ICON PRO, you can have the best of both worlds.
On being prepared versus being over-prepared for that big presentation
One thing that I always tell people that come to the studio — whether you’re a musician or whether you’re a voice actor — whatever you’re doing, the engineer always knows when you did your homework or not. I can hear it when you record. And if you’re trying to work through a part for the first time, even if you’re doing a really good job of it, it sounds slightly different than someone who’s actually read through it at least maybe once or twice, or practiced through it a couple of times and actually knows what’s coming at them.
If you’re doing an audiobook, you’re doing a voiceover, you don’t need to read every line of it five times because then, you’re probably going to overthink it. But if you go through it once and just kind of get your ideas down, then you have a much better basis to start from so that you can intentionally take it in a direction. It’s like the difference between someone who recorded a grunge album at home on a little four-track tape recorder and didn’t put anything in the right place versus listening to a Nirvana album where everything is distorted on purpose. It’s the difference between messing it up by accident and messing it up intentionally.
And in terms of performance, one of the things we talk about in audiobooks and voiceover especially is kind of discovering things along with the listener. A truly great performance when I’m listening to an audiobook is that it sounds like the person reading it is discovering the characters and the plot along with me — it’s not just them reciting a thing they rehearsed.
I want to hear the actual performance of it. And so it’s that balance, it’s that kind of tightrope walk between preparing and not over-preparing.
Michael Bader is an audio engineer with significant experience in recording, and mixing. He specializes in delivering high-quality offerings in an array of different situations including: studio recording, live sound, podcasts, audiobooks, and post-production. His expertise allows him to engineer sessions with top talent for audiobooks, voiceover, music, and podcasts.
These tips were extracted from an interview with Michael Bader during the Earthworks “From The Stage to the Screen” series. This show takes best practices from industry professionals — from your favorite concerts, albums, movies, and productions — and helps streamers, gamers, creators, and business presenters to tell more impactful and meaningful stories. Let us know if you want to see the full collection of tips.