Frequently Asked Questions
Audio Questions (Microphones, pickup patterns, etc.)
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions tab at the bottom of the individual product page.
We do, however, have a few general guidelines:
- We suggest using a water resistant microphone, such as the Countryman B3, if your parabolic mic will be used outdoors.
- Lapel microphones typically tend to be “bright” or slightly biased toward high frequencies. If weight is not an issue a small diaphragm condenser (pencil) microphone will usually provide a flatter audio curve.
- The higher quality microphone element that you use, the better the audio quality from the parabolic will be.
- Microphones with a higher sensitivity will provide greater range.
- Using a microphone with very little internal, electronic noise (self noise) is highly recommended.
We’ve designed our parabolic mics to allow the user to use whatever microphone element they might like so we do not include the electronics with our parabolic mics. We believe this provides our customers with the maximum performance and flexibility. We do, however, offer kits / packages that bundle the parabolic microphone with the required electronics.
The most common reason for not receiving any signal from the parabolic is not providing the proper power to the microphone element. If you are using a microphone with an XLR connector, check if the microphone requires “phantom power”. If your microphone requires “phantom power”, verify that the device you are plugging your microphone into is providing the required “phantom power” voltage (usually between 12 and 48 volts).
If you are using a microphone with a 3.5mm TRS connector, check if the microphone requires “plug-in power”. If your microphone requires “plug-in power”, verify that the device you are plugging your microphone into is providing the required “plug-in power” voltage (usually between 3 and 10 volts).
That is a very difficult question. There are many factors involved. The attenuation of sound, the natural loss of energy as it passes through the air, is affected by frequency, temperature, and humidity. In addition, the amount of energy that is reflected or absorbed by the surface between the sound source and the microphone, also has an effect on the amount of sound energy that reaches the microphone.
Another factor that has to be considered is the “signal-to-noise ratio.” In other words, how loud is the audio source that you want to capture in comparison to the ambient noise that you don’t want to capture. A parabolic microphone will amplify all sound energy (of equal frequencies) by the same factor. So you may be able capture a conversation from 500 feet in a nearly silent environment but it won’t be possible if the conversation is taking place next to a highway. The parabolic will not be able to separate the sound of the human voices from the road noise.
With all those factors being considered, we have captured conversation from more than 500 feet in quiet situations (relatively empty football stadium) using our 26-inch parabolic. In similar situations, we have captured conversations from more than 250 feet with our 16-inch parabolic. In the quite environment of a wedding service we have had customer’s capture wedding vows from 50 feet. If you are interested in capturing high frequency sounds such as bird noises, the range will be even greater.
The simple answer is that the pickup pattern looks like a cone. The best audio will be captured within a cone that extends 10 to 15 degrees on either side of the axis of the dish. This provides a circular area that has a diameter that is approximately half the distance to the dish. In other words, at 100 feet you will have a pickup pattern that is a circle approximately 50 feet in diameter. However, as the frequency increases the range will increase and the pattern will become smaller.
Please refer to our test curves under the “Test Results” tab at the bottom of the individual product pages.
Yes. To an extent. We’ve been pleasantly surprised, on several occasions, how much conversation can be captured when the speaker is not facing directly toward the parabolic.
While the maximum sound energy is available when the speaker is facing the parabolic collector, sound energy (pressure waves) radiate out from the side of the speaker’s head as well as directly forward. In addition, the sound energy is often reflected off a nearby person or object toward the parabolic.
In general terms, a shotgun microphone is a microphone element attached to the end of a cylindrical tube called an “interference tube”. This tube basically blocks sound energy that isn’t coming from directly in front of the tube. Unfortunately, small slots have to be cut in the side of the tube in order for it to function. The polar pattern of shotgun microphones will contain small lobes to the side corresponding with these slots and also a significant lobe to the rear of the microphone. The longer the tube is, the better the microphone will be at rejecting off-axis sound.
A parabolic provides a physical amplification of the sound coming from the front of the parabolic dish while a shotgun is simply blocking sound energy coming from the side. In addition, a parabolic will normally capture less sound from the rear than a shotgun. Both types of microphones will tend to work better at higher frequencies than at low frequencies. (This tendency led us to develop our “Equalized microphone.”)
Shotgun microphones tend to pickup wind noise and often require “dead cat” or “blimp” covers to reduce the rumbling wind noise. Parabolic microphones tend to pick up less wind noise as the microphone element is located inside the parabolic dish.
”Sound on Sound” has a great article explaining the workings of a shotgun microphone that we would suggest you read if you are interested in a more thorough explanation. Shure also has a good video explaining shotgun microphones and their operation.
Lower frequencies are absorbed more than higher frequencies. That is a fact that cannot be ignored. However, the loss of low end response for parabolic mics is not nearly as bad as some would have you believe. We have a short video that was shot during the setup of an outdoor music event. The low frequencies of the music (being used to setup the audio system) was picked up quite well by a 9-inch parabolic.
In addition, nearly every mixing board and video editing software package will allow you to add base and reduce high end frequencies to equalize the audio input from the parabolic mic to suit your taste.
Most audio experts, including people we respect very highly, would tell you that a 9-inch parabolic will not capture (amplify) any audio below 2,000 or 3,000 Hertz. The white papers and formulas that we have found in our research would confirm this belief. However, if this were true very little of the human voice would be picked up by a 9-inch parabolic and the low frequencies of a bass would certainly be below this threshold. Our second sample video demonstrates that this is not the case, as it shows how well the small parabolic mic captured the low frequency sounds generated by WWII aircraft.
Our theory is that most of the research on parabolic reflectors is relying on the properties of electromagnetic waves, particularly the wavelength of those waves. These types of waves are applicable to satellite dishes or antennas but not to audio. A parabolic microphone is capturing pressure waves, not electromagnetic waves so the wavelength is not relevant in the same way as it is to electromagnetic (radio) waves.
As mentioned above, we cannot ignore the way that different frequencies react differently when reflecting off a surface. Parabolic collectors (microphones) do a better job of amplifying higher frequencies that lower frequencies. In order to provide a more natural sound we have joined forces with Countryman Associates to create a microphone that is specifically equalized to match the acoustic characteristics of the KLOVER MiK 09 parabolic collector. The equalization also works extremely well with the KLOVER MiK 16, giving each a flatter, more natural sound then when used with a standard lavaliere microphone element. Find out more about our Equalized Mic here.
Application Questions (Usage, etc.)
We do not recommend using a parabolic microphone for recording music. As mentioned throughout our website, parabolic microphones do have a bias toward high frequencies so the music will not sound “pure.”
Yes and No. Because parabolic microphones are so sensitive, feedback is a huge challenge. Great care must be taken with the location of the parabolic mic relative to the speaker.
When possible mounting the parabolic at an angle to any flat surfaces, such as walls, will help to reduce this feedback.
No. In spite of what you may have seen on television, or in the movies, that’s just not possible. You must have a more-or-less clear path between your subject and the parabolic in order to capture the sound energy.
Yes, and No. While our parabolic microphones will probably capture audio from your neighbor’s yard, you will be taking a huge legal risk if you do so. If you record a private conversation, you are in danger of being accused of not only eavesdropping on the conversation, but wiretapping as well. Our parabolic mics are intended for broadcast, sound reinforcement, and law enforcement / security applications.
Business Questions (Availability, Rental, Exporting, etc.)
Klover Product Inc. Limited Warranty Policy warrants all products to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the date of purchase unless otherwise stated.
If your KLOVER MiK doesn’t provide the great audio you expect, return it within 30 days for a full refund. The product must be in like-new condition to qualify for a full refund.
Please see full details on our “Terms & Conditions” page.
Yes. A list of rental locations is on our “Dealer and Rentals” page.
Typical order processing times are detailed at the bottom of the “Cart” and “Checkout” pages.
The estimated delivery for the available shipment methods are listed on the “Cart” and “Checkout” pages. These estimates do not include customs clearance for international shipments. Typical order processing times are also detailed at the bottom of the “Cart” and “Checkout” pages.
Yes. While we do have a network of dealers (listed on our “Dealer and Rentals ” page) we can ship directly to our customers.
The shipping cost quoted on our “Cart” and “Checkout” pages do not include any broker fees, import duties, tariffs, etc. for international shipments. The customer is responsible for all such fees.