Confessions of an Audiobook Microphone

27 Sep 2018 3:17 PM | Neil Gardner (Administrator)

Hello…I’m Mike R. Fone, your friendly neighbourhood microphone. You know, the super-gorgeous slab of metallic loveliness you spend so much time in front of. We spend a lot of quality time together, and I reckon we’re friends, right? So I’ve got a few insights to share with you…considering it bonding time!

[1] Don’t Stand So (Close To Me)

I love our time together, really I do, but you really don’t have to be quite so close to me. I’ve got some mad skills and can hear you and your gorgeous voice without you needing to be stroking your lips up against my grill (can’t blame you, I am rather gorgeous!) A good rule-of-thumb is to be a hand’s length away from me, and to be speaking just under me. When you need to do a spot of shouting, back off a bit and turn slightly off to one side. And when you need to whisper…well, just whisper…you really don’t need to lean in and caress me like that. If you lean in, you get louder and warmer…which sounds a bit odd, really!

[2] Say It, Don’t Spray It

I love a good rainy day, but airborne moisture in the recording booth isn’t something I’m a fan of. We all love to accessorise, don’t we? So would you mind slipping a nice protective wind-shield on me, and add a lovely tasty pop shield an inch-or-so in front of me? Spittle on my delicate innards will damage me, and affect the quality of your vocal recordings. So it is always best to double-bag me…wind-shield AND pop-shield. The additional benefit is these help cut down on plosives too!

[3] You’ve Got To (Not) Move It, Move It

Now you may not know this, but I am TOTALLY AMAZING and I can hear so many things. You’d be shocked at some of things I’ve heard…but worry not, I can keep your secrets! But when you are using me to record, I have to let EVERYTHING through, and this means, and I hate to ask this of you, that you need to sit still and be as quiet as possible. You actor types can be so amazingly expressive using your bodies…but when I am switched on, you need to stop all that and sit on your hands! And don’t forget to think about what clothing you are wearing, the sort of seat you are sitting on, how the headphone cable is dangling, and what you feet are up to. I can hear ALL OF IT, and so it is worth keeping it in mind.

[4] Cleanliness is Close to…

Every time you come and see my I get the joy of seeing you all spruced up, clean and gorgeous…you are quite the beauty! So, every week, would you mind giving me a little scrub behind the capsule? Well, what I mean is grab a small disinfectant spray and give my wind-shield and pop shield a wee spritz and spray. I personally like a spray with a little perfume to it. This will keep everything fresh and safe and means I won’t become home for any nasty bugs or germs.

[5] Plug-In Baby

I do so love being plugged in, and there’s a whole heap of sexy boxes you can insert my jack into. But for every great-sounding amplifier, compressor, audio interface, there are also many bad ones. Not that the boxes themselves are necessarily bad, but you do need to do a little research to ensure my hot date is a good match! Whether you choose the digital ‘plug-ins’ route, or the old-school outboard gear route, ask around, get the facts and I guarantee I’ll be hooking up in a way that will make you happy.

That’s your lot for now…I’ve got to pop back into the booth and have a few terse words with an XLR cable about offering a more balanced opinion on audio matters! I’ll be waiting for your next award-winning vocal session…you bring the voice and I’ll supply the signal chain!


Mike R. Fone works exclusively in Studio 1 at Ladbroke Audio in Croydon for Neil Gardner.

Neil Gardner is the managing director of leading UK audiobook production house Ladbroke Audio, and independent audiobook publisher Spokenworld Audio. He has 30 years experience in radio and audio, is an international award-winning producer/director/writer and loves nothing more than making audio for all ages. He is also an Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator, as well as a sound designer and author. In summer 2018 he founded the Audiobook Creators Alliance .


  • 27 Sep 2018 4:56 PM | Fan of Mike R. Fone
    Hey, Mr Mike,
    I 'own' one of your brothers and while I've bought him a pop shield I didn't know that a foamy wind shield was considered 'de rigueur'.
    Should I get him one? (He's only Australian (!) but says he's related to you). They're not going to muddy him up are they?
    A Fan
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    • 28 Sep 2018 11:04 AM | Miss A K G
      I was going to ask the same question ... My human does have a lovely pop screen - and she did buy me a nice foam jacket - one of the posh ones ones from Rycote - it's lovely and tick and bulky. Do I need to wear it all the time - she doesn't spit at me very often?

      Miss AKG - Derbyshire.
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      • 18 Apr 2019 11:37 PM | Brianna Colechin
        He is a very good writer and has many experience of life. I like his story books and novels. He is a good person himself and has best ability to write stories on a very good topics about hope in life.
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