Audio Global Viewpoint – January 2019

A Quick Way to Solve Lavalier Microphone Noise Problems

Have you ever had trouble getting clean, reliable noise-free sound from lavalier microphones? Here is a nifty way to reduce the noise generated by clothing rubbing against a lav microphone shell or cord.

A common challenge in using lav mics on talent is how to reduce undesirable sounds from the microphone. We all seek clean, clear and dynamic sound. Instead, many users end get rustling noise from the lavalier brushing against skin and clothing. Cable noise can also be a problem if not installed correctly.

Unless you have mastered the art and science of correct lav placement (few have, in my personal experience), Rycote has developed a no-brainer solution with its Overcover system. Overcovers are effective for most lav placement, especially in narrative shooting situations where the mic has to be hidden from view under the talent’s clothing.

The Overcover system has two parts: First, the Stickies, small circular adhesive foam pads that are sticky on both sides, and, second, the Overcovers, which are small fur-covered disks.

The adhesive patches come in three colors, white, black and grey.

The adhesive patches come in three colors, white, black and grey.

Stickies are double-sided, hypoallergenic, adhesive pads used to affix lav microphones directly onto skin or on top of clothing. The soft fabric sandwiched between the two adhesive pads prevents the adhered mic from creaking due to skin or clothing movement. They are designed to remain secure when attached to a dry surface and are intended to be discarded after use.

Overcovers use Rycote’s fur technology, providing excellent wind-noise protection for lav mics. They consist of a discreet, fur covering and are supplied with Stickies. With a Stickie affixed to clothing or skin, a fur disc is affixed over the top of a lav mic.

This system is simpler than vampire clips, tape triangles or most other common ways of affixing a lav microphone to talent. If the talent is wearing a white cotton T-shirt, the installer peels off a double-side adhesive Sticky, then places the lav onto one side of the Sticky and the other onto a white version of the fur-covered Stickie. This sandwiched configuration is then placed on the skin of the talent under the T-Shirt.

The fur will insulate and eliminate much of the rustling or rubbing noise, and, from the outside, the lav will be invisible. This system also eliminates any plastic clips, the sharp metal teeth from vampire clips, so as the talent moves, stands up or sits down, nothing from the microphone will stick them or gouge them.

They come in black, gray or white fur. Depending on the color of the talent’s clothing, it is best to have at least two of the three colors in any sound kit.

A package of Overcovers begins at $12.95. These could save most sound operators hours of time in difficult situations when trying to get noise-free lav sound.

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