Helping A Bona Fide Genius With His Microphone

Hey, there!

Recently, I appeared on The Self-Publishing Podcast, a show about self-publishing for writers, and I had the opportunity to come face to face with a bona fide genius.

And here he was, in need of some help with his AT2020 USB Plus microphone.

I’m always happy to help a genius, especially with something that you probably have had to deal with yourself. Here’s what was wrong, and how we fixed it.

His name is Sean Platt, and, along with being an amazing writer, publisher and marketer, he also just killed it on Kickstarter with a campaign called Fiction Unboxed that raised a gazillion percent more than they intended.

Sean was interested in narrating his own books. And when he asked what mic he should use, naturally, I mentioned the AT2020 USB Plus.

He bought it.

He didn’t love it.

It didn’t sound just right.

And after listening to a sample, I knew just what to do to fix it.

And hopefully, the Skype session we recorded will be helpful to you when you need to adjust how you address, or “play” this microphone (and feel free to click/tap on the square box at the right end of the control bar at the bottom of the video to make it full screen):

[You can go full screen with this video – just roll your mouse over the video itself, and click on the box at the right end of the control bar at the bottom.]

So…45 degree angle to your mouth, talk across the mic, and be about 2 inches away to start.

After we balanced his microphone, we started talking about his performance, and I adjusted him there as well.

I’ll let you eavesdrop on that conversation next time.

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Hope this helps!


18 Responses to Helping A Bona Fide Genius With His Microphone

  1. Greg September 7, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Excellent David! Appreciate you sharing this!

  2. Kathleen Kosche September 7, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    This was SO helpful David. You would think after 2 plus years of classes I would know all this in my sleep – but NOT. Kept getting critiques on my equipment and was baffled- re-set mike several times but never quite sure. Now it is SO clear – thanks again as always for generous sharing and clear explanations. You remain the best–

  3. marlon braccia September 7, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Awesome! I’m bookmarking this page!

  4. Gina Manegio September 7, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    AMAZING video. Thank you, David. So specific!

  5. David Sumeray September 7, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Hi David,

    I’m just starting out…at 60… I guess the advice here applies to all condenser mics? I have mine uprig , slightly off centre to my mouth with the little heart on the front facing forward. It’s a Harlan Hogan mic. Non USB. Is that right?

    Love your VO tips and loved you in Heroes!


    • David H. Lawrence XVII September 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

      I can only speak to the microphone I recommend – not all mics. This works for the AT2020 USB Plus, and should work for other side-load mics, but what I show here is not universal.

      And thank you for your kind words about Heroes!

  6. Trev September 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    I love Sean and Johnny (and Dave), and actually just finished reading Write Publish Repeat. I listen to SPP show from time to time, and this video of two really, really smart guys hashing out the finer points of self-recording is fantastic. Thanks for what you both do!

  7. Bryant Sullivan September 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    This video and the follow up are very helpful. I’m curious why you have him positioning the mic they way you do horizontally. Is there a difference between that and the way you have it placed vertically in class and on your vClass video?

    • David H. Lawrence XVII September 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      As long as you’re attacking it from a 45 degree angle, it doesn’t really matter to the mic whether it’s horizontal, vertical sticking up, hanging down, whatever. In class, it’s just the easiest, but we could certainly lay the mic on it’s side horizontal.

  8. Pat England September 8, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    For a newbie like myself, this was incredibly instructive, David. In a world of many opinions, this sifted the wheat from the chaff! Can’t hardly wait to try this myself! Thanks for being so selfless and sharing your gifts.

  9. Mike Broderick September 9, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Hi David:

    I hope you’re well. Both video segments were great.

    in addition to the sock, can you recommend any additional approaches to reducing sibilance when using the AT2020 USB+ and Audacity?


    • David H. Lawrence XVII September 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

      I’d have to hear the audio in question to be able to agree or disagree that your sibilance needs to be reduced. Once you put a sock on your mic, you’re adding a sibilance reducer – and I wouldn’t want to dull your audio so much that it alters the sound appreciably. I’m very reluctant to offer sibilance reduction advice, since most people don’t have an accurate estimate of their own sibilance. Sibilance always sounds harsher to our own ears that it does to others’.

      • Mike Broderick September 10, 2014 at 12:36 am #

        Thanks David. That’s good to know. I’ll give the sock idea a try. I occasionally reduce very sibilant sounds in Audacity by -2 to -3 dB but it’s very time – consuming. I’ll see if the sock does the trick.

  10. Jerri Manthey November 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Hey David! Thanks for posting this video! Sooooo helpful! Perhaps you should tell your students this is MUST WATCH when setting up equipment…. it made everything easier…. and I wish I had known better how to “balance” the mic!! Once again, vo2gogo’s awesome website has all the answers I needed to questions I didn’t even know how to ask yet! : )

  11. Carl J. Street July 5, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks David — really helpful to see it in action.

  12. Kat November 28, 2017 at 1:20 am #

    Thank you for this! It makes all the difference listening to myself while I record. So glad I got a new microphone after 9 years! AT2020USB+ and Audacity and Vo2GoGo wisdom is amazing.

    And I love that you kept in his line about licking a ball. LOL!


  1. Helping A Bona Fide Genius With His Audiobook Narration Skills | - September 9, 2014

    […] That conversation is available here. […]

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