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Point Source Audio Sounding Board: Practice SAFE Microphone Etiquette

Point Source Audio • Industry NewsThe Sounding Board - Point Source Audio Blog • March 18, 2020

Some precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of spreading anything around

Why Performers and Presenters Should Have Personal Mics
Sharing is usually seen as a virtuous act, but this isn’t the case when it comes to a performer or presenter’s microphone. It may not seem like a problem that a multiple people share one microphone. You probably use the house mic at conferences and when you’re on the road without thinking twice about it. But you may be putting your health and the health of others at risk by sharing a mic. Here’s Joe Cota, Education Specialist with Point Source Audio, on how to clean your microphone:

Sharing Mics Can Spread Disease
During cold and flu season you probably take precautions to stay healthy and to make sure you don’t sicken others if you come down with a cold. You use hand sanitizer, sneeze into your elbow, and keep shared surfaces clean. So why do you keep sharing microphones?

Microphones get contaminated with cold and flu germs in a number of ways. First, keep in mind how close the mic is to your mouth. As you speak or sing you are getting your saliva all over the mic. Sometimes you might even cough or sneeze on it. If it’s a handheld microphone, you also have the opportunity to slather the barrel of the mic with germs from your hands. Pop and wind filters are especially good at harboring germs because they can remain moist for a long time. Many mics also have integrated windscreens that can’t be easily changed or cleaned.

So, when you pick up that shared microphone, you’re also potentially picking up the cold or flu bug that another unwitting person is just getting over. You touch it to your mouth, grab it with your hands—they may as well have just sneezed in your face! On top of that, cold and flu viruses can live on surfaces like microphones for 48 hours or more, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Microphones Difficult to Disinfect
Microphone sanitation is encouraged after each use. This is necessary to avoid spreading germs that may live on the mic or windscreen, but also when makeup or tape residue start to build up and adhere to the boom. This helps with aesthetics and is more comfortable for the user.

Unfortunately, most microphones can’t be effectively disinfected. They have many inaccessible places where germs can hide and bacteria can breed, which you can’t clean without damaging the mic. Though you can take some precautions that may help reduce the risk of spreading wintertime maladies or other viruses around.

Here are some tips for handling Point Source microphones. Be aware that some PSA mics are waterproof (“W” in the model number), and these practices may not apply to all mics or all brands of mics so do check with each manufacturer for care and handling.

Rubbing alcohol or citrus based oil are great for cleaning a headworn microphone. Gently wipe down the microphone spending extra effort on areas with extra build up. Care has to be taken to not let the element get wet if the product is not rated as waterproof. Makeup can build up in the element aperture reducing high frequency performance. Do not use a pin, compressed air, paperclips are anything else to clean this out. Our CO-8 products are waterproof (look for the “W” in the part no.) and can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner to clear obstructions. Always contact the manufacturer for suggestions on how to clear any foreign objects blocking the element.

Here are some tips for handling Point Source microphones. Be aware that because our CO-8 omni mics are waterproof, these practices may not apply to all mics so do check with each manufacturer.

1. All of our mic booms and cables can be cleaned with an alcohol swab.

2. With the SERIES8 omni elements, you can further put these into a sonic bath for about 2-3 minutes. Do not submerse the CR-8 cardioid element as these elements are not waterproof.

3. Additionally, use a NEW windscreen every time the mic is used.

4. Offer a personal mic as an option for a performer or frequent public speaker. Our interchangeable X-connectors make it possible for them to have several terminations for whatever wireless packs they may encounter.

Windscreens are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and should be changed often to keep your microphone element free of bacteria.

A Personal Mic is the Best Protection
At first, it might feel a bit like rock star gluttony to carry your own mic with you everywhere you perform or speak, but it’s the most effective way to prevent spreading germs to others. You don’t usually share your headphones, (though sharing a mic is more like sharing a toothbrush) right? It should feel no different having your own mic. And you don’t have to glam your mic up with glitter and rhinestones, but don’t let us stop you from personalizing it! Just be sure to avoid paint and adhesives that may damage your microphone’s sensitive electronics.

In the end, when you consider how much it costs you and your production when you’re out sick, getting your own mic literally pays for itself.

Further information from Point Source Audio: www.point-sourceaudio.com

The Sounding Board is presented in partnership by Point Source Audio and Stage Directions Magazine. To read more PSA Sounding Board Blogs, go to http://www.point-sourceaudio.com/sounding-board/ or visit www.point-sourceaudio.com. Also follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/psa.audio/

 

 

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