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Q: "I just wanna ask how can I minimize the popping sound on a microphone? I'm using a lavalier mic."

Who would have thought that the mistress of King Louis the 14th of France could have had such an impact on sound engineering?

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Question from a Audio Masterclass visitor...

"I just wanna ask how can I minimize the popping sound on a microphone? I'm using a lavalier mic."

Yes, apparently the Duchesse de la Vallière, mistress of King Louis the 14th of France, had a liking for wearing a ruby dangling from her necklace. This form of jewelry became known as a lavaliere necklace, and in turn a microphone mounted in the same way became a lavalier microphone. Somewhere in history the final 'e' was dropped.

Microphones are no longer dangled from cords around the neck. Instead, miniature microphones are clipped to the clothing in a convenient place.

Microphones clipped on in this position are not in the direct line of fire of the breath, so in theory they should be resistant to popping.

In practice however, the occasional pop still does happen. So what is the solution?

One would be to fit the tiny pop shield that often comes among the accessories supplied with these microphones. But the solution is even easier than that...

Clip the microphone to the clothing upside down, so that the diaphragm points away from the mouth.

This might seem counter-intuitive, but most miniature microphones are omnidirectional and it doesn't matter which way you point them.

Another side benefit is that the cable often lies more neatly too.

A simple answer to a simple problem, and it works.

Oh, and thanks Duchess!

By David Mellor Thursday November 30, 2006
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