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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Auctioneers and handheld microphones

Auctioneers should always use sound amplification equipment when bid calling. We wrote as much here:

Auctioneers generally use one of two types of microphones. The more traditional microphone is a handheld type and the other is the headset type.

We also wrote about handheld directionality and related subjects here:

Focusing on the position of the handheld microphone, in relation to the auctioneer’s mouth, is our subject today.

Handheld microphone technology has come of age and it’s clear the unidirectional cardioid microphone is the best for auctioneers. The construction of such allows for the handheld microphone to be held as we describe here, with good primary vocal sensitivity along with minimal extraneous noise.

The correct way to hold a handheld microphone as an auctioneer involves two (2) basic principles:

  1. Grasp it firmly in the midsection

  2. Point it directly at your mouth, about 3-4 inches away

We commissioned Peter Gehres, Auctioneer and Laura Mantle, Auctioneer, both instructors at The Ohio Auction School, to help us illustrate the correct way, and numerous incorrect ways to hold a handheld microphone as an auctioneer.

In our photo gallery below, you’ll note that both Peter and Laura display our two principles in the pictures captioned, “Just right.”

In addition, we’ll detail a bit the “Position 2,” “Position 3,” “Position 4,” “Position 5,” “Position 6,” and “Position 7” methods below. You can click on any photo for a closer look of that picture and others.

The “Position 2,” and “Position 3,” techniques result in a muffled sound and tend to hide the auctioneer’s full face, while the “Position 4,” “Position 5,” “Position 6,” and “Position 7” techniques result in unacceptable sound amplification, or no sound amplification at all.

As I tour around the country, serving as an auctioneer as well as attending other auctions, it appears proper handheld microphone use is around 20%. In other words, there seems to be a 1-in-5 chance I see it being held correctly, and at the right distance from the mouth.

Proper use of a handheld microphone enhances sound quality, as well as “the look” of the auctioneer while bid calling.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.

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