Back in the day, the only tools available at a preacher’s disposal were his vocal cords and the church’s acoustics. Today, however, many churches have built-in PA systems and all you have to do is to speak into a podium microphone.
Not a religious person? Whether you’re a lecturer, a motivational speaker, or running for president, just swap the pulpit out for a podium or lectern. You’ll still need a podium microphone.
5 Best Podium Mics for Lectern & Pulpit Uses
Let’s take a look at some of the best pulpit mics and lectern mics, and how to choose the right one for you.
The quality of the sound depends on the room acoustics, noise level in the room, microphone quality, and many other smaller factors. If you speak in several different churches or halls, additional features, such as interchangeable polar cartridges, strong RF interference protection, and surface vibration isolation, might help a great deal.
The Shure MX418/C is a gooseneck podium microphone replete with useful features that will make sure you get the best possible sound in a given room. It has a standard 18” gooseneck that’s very flexible, yet sturdy once positioned.
When it comes to surface vibration, this fine little microphone is rated at more than 20dB isolation. It is also quite immune to RF interference and electromagnetic hum. The interchangeable cartridges are MX418/C’s finest feature. It will allow you to pick the perfect element for each occasion.
A good podium microphone has to be well-built. It has to be sturdy and strong and made of quality materials. If you’re looking for a well-made podium mic that doesn’t sacrifice sound quality, then you might want to take a look at the Shure CVG18-B/C.
The CVG18-B/C is a tough and rugged gooseneck microphone. It is easy to adjust and holds the position quite well. This is a condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. The frequency response range of 70Hz-16,000Hz allows the mic to pick up the entire range of human voice.
The CVG18-B/C features Commshield, Shure’s proprietary technology for guarding against interference from RF (radio frequency) devices in the room. Also, this is a quiet mic that is highly resistant to radio signals and has no onboard controls.
3. Samson CM20P
A good microphone doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes, an excellent podium mic can come with a reasonable price tag. If you’re looking for an all-rounder that’s both affordable and well-equipped, you should check out the Samson CM20P. It’s able to give pricier models a good run for their money.
The CM20P is a 20” gooseneck model with flexible bottom and top. It is a condenser model with a cardioid pickup pattern, ideal for pulpit or lectern application. You can attach it to the stand via the standard XLR connector. The multistage windscreen allows you to select between several levels of noise protection.
This model also has a built-in hi-pass filter, a feature that’s lacking in some significantly more expensive models. The CM20P works with 9V-52V Phantom Power units.
4. Peavey PM18S
Sometimes, complicated microphones with numerous onboard features might be too complicated for beginners. If that’s the case, a simple and straightforward unit that sounds good might be the best solution. If you are in the market for a simple podium microphone, you should consider the Peavey PM18S.
This is a standard 18” gooseneck model with a back electret condenser under the foam windscreen. The dual flex tubing gives you great freedom when positioning the mic.
There are no onboard controls, though it has a LED power indicator. It also features a locking system to prevent unauthorized people from removing the microphone from its position. The PM18S can work with Phantom Power units of 9 to 52 Volts and has a specifically tailored frequency response to suit the human vocal range.
As technology marches on, quality microphones are becoming more and more affordable. A good podium mic doesn’t have to break the bank anymore. If you’re on the lookout for a microphone with a great price to performance ratio, the SKP Pro Audio Pro-6K might interest you.
The Pro-6K is a standard gooseneck microphone with a fixed stand. It sports a cardioid condenser element which makes it an all-around solution for speakers and preachers. Its frequency response range of 60 to 18,000Hz covers the entire spectrum of the human voice.
The microphone operates on 3V batteries and rocks the standard XLR output. The on/off button and the indicator are located on the base.
When shopping for a podium microphone, you should first consider its build quality. Flimsy and poorly assembled mics tend to break faster and more frequent. They can also give out in the middle of an important speech or conference. The best pulpit mics are sturdy and sound good.
The microphone element has to be well-made and capable of picking up clean sound, regardless of the type and the polar pattern. The gooseneck needs to be flexible enough to be at least reasonably adjustable and sturdy enough to hold the position throughout speeches.
Finally, the flange mount should be made of metal and hold the microphone firmly in place. If the mic has its own stand, it should be big and heavy enough to properly support the mic.
Podium microphones most commonly have the cardioid polar pattern. Cardioid microphones pick up the sound mostly from the front while being quite good at blocking the sounds from the back. However, the cardioid pattern is not always the best choice.
Supercardioid/Hypercardioid microphones are not as sensitive to sounds coming from the sides and the narrower sensitivity area is great for loud environments and rooms that haven’t been acoustically treated. However, they tend to have poorer back rejection.
Omnidirectional mics, as the name suggests, pick up sound equally well from all directions. They are great for rooms with fantastic acoustics and recording in a low-noise environment. However, they are highly prone to feedback.
Dynamic vs Condenser
Nowadays, you can find affordable and quality models in both categories, largely reducing the choice between dynamic and condenser mics to personal preference. Let’s take a closer look at each type.
Dynamic microphones have built-in power supply and comparatively simple construction. They are also less fragile and sensitive than their condenser siblings.
Condenser microphones, on the other hand, need an external power supply. They are a bit more complicated, but make up for it with superior sensitivity across the frequency spectrum.
Here are some useful tips for microphone setup during speeches and sermons.
- Keep only one microphone on, whether you’re behind a lectern or an altar. Turn off all other mics to avoid comb filtering.
- Shock mounts can greatly reduce the level of unwanted noise and vibration.
- For an altar, you should place the speakers some 24” to 36” away from the microphone for optimum performance.
- If you’re using a gooseneck microphone, position it slightly off-center. That way, you’ll avoid problems with plosives (t’s and p’s). You should also use a windscreen.
When shopping for a podium mic, you should make sure you’re buying a well-made microphone that sounds good. Consider the polar pattern, microphone’s construction, and additional features. Finally, the best pulpit or lectern mics don’t have to cost a lot as long as they’re good-sounding and reliable.