The first time I used a mic to beatbox was when Mando came to GoetheHaus, Jakarta. There was this small battle and I was in it. I noticed that Mando’s mic was easier to use than all the mics there. Then I noticed when Mando didn’t use his mic, his sound was just mediocre. So I thought that setting up the mic is a crucial thing in performing with a mic.
My dad happen to have a music studio at home. It’s a small studio but it has everything that a beatboxer needs. I looked for an unused spare mic and found an old Shure mic. I’m not sure what type it was but I was so eager to try it. So I pluged it in and spat a basic pattern. Whoa! My sounds were horrible. The mic was so sensitive that even the smallest breath of air that came out of my mouth was heard. I thought it was my amp setting. So I tried to tweak here and there but it’s not making my sound any better. Then I thought that it’s probably because I didn’t use a mixer or the mic itself was bad. This thing puzzled me for a while. Because when we did the interview at I-Radio, all my sounds were okay. But at the next event, which was the IBC’s gathering, I couldn’t come up with proper sounds, especially the classic snare (Pf).
Last weekend, I tried using the mic again at home. This time I used another mic which was much newer than the old Shure. I just turned on the amp and tried spitting a basic pattern and whoa! How come this time I sounded better? So I examined everything and found out about these:
1. Holding The Mic
Before, I was holding the mic in a way that made my mouth can’t be flexible. I found out that I have to make a bit more distance between the mic and my mouth. So what I did was putting my index finger up and press the joint to the side of my nose to make and keep the distance. I think this isn’t a general thing because it’s basically a tweak for myself.
2. A Complete Mic
The newer mic parts was still complete. I found out that what made my sound horrible on the old Shure was that mic no longer had a damper within the head piece. That is the soft foam thing that usually is within a microphone’s head or added on the outer part of the microphone’s head. So make sure your mic still have all the necessary part because it will have a great effect on your sounds.
3. Amplifier Setup
Sorry about the shaky picture. I didn’t use a proper camera. I put some simple graphics there to help you understand the picture. If you see the dials, I set my high frequency at about 3.5, my middle frequency at 5 (straight up), my low frequency at about 8 (straight to the right). I forgot about the next two dials, but they’re both set to 0 (zero, straight up). And the last dial is the gain / levels, which should be set just enough to hear your sounds perfectly without causing annoying feedback noise. The amp that I used got a phantom switch which amplifies the sound more. I prefer to switch this off since I’m in a small room.
Well, that’s about it. I hope this article can give a clearer picture on how to set up the mic before any beatboxing performance.
Spread the beat, boys & girls!