Bad Audio Diary BAD 6: Boris Johnson moves his microphone in the House of Commons

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of

Thursday September 12, 2019

In this episode of Bad Audio Diary, I demonstrate what could potentially go wrong if a performer touches the microphone. This is, I think, about as bad as things can get...


Are there any rules in sound engineering? I mean actual rules, not mere guidelines. Well yes, one such rule is that the performer should not touch the microphone, either during the performance, or to adjust its position, which is the engineer's job. Obviously this does not apply in the case of a mic that is intentionally hand-held, so this is the exception that proverbially proves the rule.

But what could go wrong if the performer touches the mic? Well here's an example. The venue is the UK House of Commons, where Parliament is discussing important issues. The performer is Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who feels that the microphone is not positioned correctly.

Here's how things should go...


Nothing wrong with that. The mic appears to be a vintage AKG D222 which has probably not been touched in the last 30 years.

This is what happened next...


Oh dear. Well at least nothing happened to disrupt the audio, and it easily could have.

So better send in someone to put things right. After three quarters of an hour of the mic stand sitting on top of the dispatch box. I don't know who this is - maybe a politician, maybe a member of House of Commons staff, maybe someone who is actually on sound duty, but I don't know.


That's better. But still things are not quite right, so maybe, after a while longer, make another adjustment...


Oh, and let the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn have his say...


The moral of the story? Don't let the performer touch the microphone.

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