How long has it been since you really considered the function of a microphone processor in the radio station? I didn’t think so. Let’s start from scratch.

Why do we need a processor for the mics at all? The rest of the material that you broadcast… music, network programs, national commercial spots… have all been optimized for the best possible loudness and sound quality. If your announcer’s mic has no processing, it will sound weak and muffled by comparison. A mic processor has the tools to bring your voice to the same “polished” quality of the rest of the program material.

Each manufacturer has their own combination of modules to get the job done. Here are the basic elements, common to all of them:

1- A clean preamp with phantom power. – Many broadcast consoles don’t supply phantom power. This allows you to use a condensor mic, if you choose.

2- Compression – Maintains a consistent, competitively loud signal whether your announcer is aggressive or timid.

3- Downward Expansion – Reduces pickup of room noise when the announcer stops talking.

4- Equalization – Changes the tonal character of the sound. Mic EQ should be used sparingly. Assuming that the mic has a good sound to begin with, there is no need for massive amounts of EQ to make it “better.” Start with no EQ, and make small adjustments until you find the right sound.

Long-time favorite analog mic processors for radio are Symetrix 528E, dbx 286A, and Aphex 230. The 230 also has digital output.

Digital offerings include Airtools 2X, Vorsis M1 and M2. These provide analog and digital outputs.

The digital processors can store several “presets” to allow you to conveniently change the settings to suit a particular program, or mic, or voice.

Airtools 2X and Vorsis M2 are dual processors. Two separate mics can be independently processed in the same device.

Microphone processors give your voices the polished, consistent sound to compete with the biggest stations.

One thought

  1. Problem with the 2x is that they (for some weird reason) decided not to make the de-esser variable. You can only set it between three fixed presets which means you’ll get too much or too little. A horrible business decision and completely stupid as de-essing to me is one of the most important processes there is. That was the deal-breaker for me, sadly.

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