You’re a few songs into class, and your riders are warmed up and really getting into it.
You hear a faint ringing behind your music, and then – all of the sudden- a piercing *SCREECH* takes over the room.
You quickly reach for the volume and turn it all the way down. Class is disrupted and everyone is staring at you with their ears are bleeding (not really, but it feels that way!).
You know that the mic and the music are NOT getting along, but you don’t know what happened and you’re scared to put the volume back to normal. Now what?!
This issue came up a few weeks ago in the Indoor Cycling Instructor Crew, and it seems to be one of those things that everyone deals with but no one really talks about. If you’re an instructor and you haven’t experience this yet, chances are you will some point. It’s painful and it’s stressful, but there are ways that you can deal with it.
So, how can we prevent these painful, stressful situations with our mics and sound?
The first thing to know is that microphone issues can run the gamot from piercing feedback and echoes, to muffling, or even cutting in and out.
Depending on the issue, there are a few different fixes:
1. Protect the mic from your sweat!
Once sweat sneaks into the battery pack, that mic will squeak and/or break on you. You can buy a super cheap mic pack on Amazon (I got this one), which will definitely help. Another thing you can do is use a condom (yup, a condom) around the mic pack to really keep it sealed from any moisture. I know it sounds weird, but it works!
2. Get new mic covers OR clean your old ones!
When the mic covers get muddled with dry sweat (aka salt), it can definitely affect the sound quality. If you notice your voice starting to sound muffled, it might be time for some new/clean covers.
3. Make sure the system gain (or sensitivity) is set correctly.
You may have to check with your designated tech person or the manual to the sound system to find the best setting, but the gain level will definitely make a difference. There will liekly be a setting on your sound system as well as on the mic pack itself…Make sure you check both!
4. Check the placement of your speakers.
If you’re getting feedback from your mic, you might notice that it only happens in certain areas of the room. This might mean you need to adjust your speaker placement. For example, you do NOT want the speakers set up in the four corners of the studio. Ideally, the speakers are set up on the wall right behind the instructor. Placing the mic too close to the loudspeaker, too far from the sound source, or simply turning the mic up too loud will make the feedback problems worse. Talk to your studio manager about moving the speakers if poor placement is causing feedback/echoing during class.
These are just a few options to try to fix any sound issues, but you may need to hire a technician if your problems are more complex and involve re-wiring, electrician work, etc.
Tech issues are just a part of life, and people will understand a little echo/screech once in awhile, but if you keep these 4 tips in mind you can minimize your sound issues and focus on delivering the best ride you can!