KLOVER MiK FAQ
What type of microphone element can I use in the Klover MiK parabolic microphone?
Our largest parabolic, the Klover MiK 26 as well as our smallest parabolic, the Klover MiK 09 require the use of an omni-directional microphone. Omni-directional microphones capture sound from a 360-degree pattern around the microphone. The 360-degree pickup pattern of these microphones allows them to capture the sound energy reflected from the outer edges of the parabolic dish. Omni-directional microphones are available in standard cartridge style bodies, normally about 7/8” in diameter, or as lapel (lavaliere) microphones.
The shallower shape of our Klover MiK 16 parabolic, however, is designed to match the pickup pattern of cardioid microphones. The shape of the 16-inch parabolic dish is designed to align with the rear portion of the cardioid pickup patter so no sound energy is lost.
Please refer to our Compatibility page for a more thorough discussion of this question.
Do the Klover MiK parabolic microphones come with a microphone element or do I need supply my own?
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 customer’s with the maximum performance and flexibility. We do, however, offer kits, or packages, that bundle the parabolic microphone with the required electronics.
I’m not getting any signal from the parabolic microphone. What do I do?
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).
How do I focus the Klover MiK?
Each size of parabolic microphone has a specific focus point. The microphone element must be placed at this focus point in order to provide the maximum performance from the unit. Please refer to our Instructional Videos for a details explanation of the focusing process. You may also find the focus point for each model of parabolic on our Specifications page.
Is the Klover MiK 26 fragile?
No. We have designed the Klover MiK 26 to take the abuse of heavy use. However, we have also designed the Klover MiK 26 to absorb the energy of a collision much like the front of a car is designed to absorb the impact of car crash. We have spent considerable time improving our handle design to insure that the handles take the day-to-day abuse of normal use but yet fail in a controlled manner when involved in a collision with an athlete in order to protect the operator. In addition, the controlled failure of the handles protects the more critical parabolic dish so the unit can be quickly returned to service by repairing or replacing the modular handles or microphone yoke. We have yet to receive a damaged dish after being in use since the Fall of 2012.
Some operators will notice the flexibility of the handles that results from our patented construction method that isolates the handles from the dish itself. This isolation does allow the handles to move slightly but keeps any stress placed on the handles from being transferred to the plastic dish which would cause the dish to create its own noises such as creaks and pops. While it may seem uncomfortable, at first, to operators that are used to the older design of our competitors they quickly adjust.
The only critical portion of the Klover MiK 26 is the inside surface of the parabolic dish. Care should be taken when stacking dishes to align the pins on the rear side of the dish with the receptacles on the front of the dishes. Mating the pins with the receptacle will insure that the inside surface cannot contact the outer surface of the dish below it.
How can I mount the Klover MiK 26 so I don’t have to hold it for long periods of time?
If the Klover MiK 26 will be stationery for long periods of time we suggest the use of one of our mounting accessories. The “Monopod Mount” replaces the rear cross bar of the handle assembly and allows the entire unit to be mounted on top of a tripod or some other bracket as needed while still allowing the unit to be held by operator.
We also offer a pole mounted version of the Klover MiK 26 for permanent location. This optional version replaces the handle assembly with brackets that will mount the dish to a pole while allowing for adjustment about a horizontal and vertical axes.
Why do the handles of the Klover MiK 26 move slightly when I carry it?
Some operators will notice the flexibility of the handles that results from our patented construction method that isolates the handles from the dish itself. Products that mount the handles directly to the plastic dish often generate unwanted noise from the movement of the handles. The isolation of the handles from the dish allows the handles to move slightly but keeps any stress placed on the handles from being transferred to the plastic dish which would cause the dish to create noises such as creaks and pops. While it may seem uncomfortable, at first, to operators that are used to the older design they quickly adjust.
The microphone yoke (support bar) is also isolated from the dish to eliminate any noise that movement of the microphone may create.
Is there anything that can be done to reduce operator fatigue?
Our first recommendation is to mount the Klover MiK on top of a monopod by replacing the rear cross bar of the handle assembly with a “Monopod Mount.” Placing the Klover MiK on top of a monopod takes the weight of the parabolic off of the operator’s shoulders and allows the operator to simply “point” the parabolic in the proper direction. We feel this also improves the operator’s safety as the operator can simply let the parabolic fall to the ground if a collision with a player if imminent, instead of having to run from the collision with the parabolic still around their neck.
A second option, though untested, is to combine the proper use of the neck strap, as demonstrated in the Proper Operation video, along with the use of a “Bicep Curl belt” to provide support for the operator’s elbows.
Is there any difference in the audio performance of the Klover MiK 26 and the Klover MiK 26-TE?
No. These two models are functionally equivalent. The only difference between the two models is the shape of the flat flange on the front surface of the parabolic dish. The shape of the “TE” model allow the dish to be rotated slightly to fit within a waterproof (Pelican style) shipping case. It also allows the unit to fit within a slightly smaller shipping container which reduces its shipping cost.
Why do I have to be more precise in aiming the Klover MiK than with the Big Ears I used in the past?
The Big Ears, which has been widely used for many years, did not provide a true parabolic dish. The dish was more similar to a hemisphere. This shape provided a wider, less focused pickup pattern than a dish with a true parabolic shape, like all of the Klover MiK models, will provide as well as less defined, less crisp, audio.
Why do only have one focus point while the Big Ears I used in the past had a range of focus points?
The Big Ears, which has been widely used for many years, did not provide a true parabolic dish. The dish was more similar to a hemi-sphere. A true parabolic shape, like all of the Klover MiK models, will have a single focus point determined by the shape (depth and diameter) of the dish.
Why do you build your handles out of carbon fiber?
First, carbon fiber is very light and strong. Second, and more importantly, when a carbon fiber tube breaks it turns into small weak strands. Handles made from PVC are strong but when they do break they create very sharp jagged edges which basically create a spear. Handles made from metal tubes or plates are so strong that they will not bend or fail until they have done serious injury to the operator or athlete that may have collided with it.
Parabolic microphones are involved in many collisions during the course of a sports season. We take the safety of operator and athletes very seriously and have done all we can to provide the safest products possible.
How do I mount a lapel microphone in a Klover MiK 16 or 26?
The Klover MiK 16 and Klover MiK 26 are both shipped with an “adapter tube” that reduces fit inside the center hub of the microphone yoke and has an inside diameter that is significantly smaller. The common methods of mounting a lapel microphone inside this tube is to thread the microphone through the adapter tube, wrap the lapel microphone with a strip of foam rubber, and then release the foam rubber once inside the tube.
We are currently experimenting with a plastic microphone clip that snaps onto the outside of the lapel microphone and then expands out against the inside of the adapter tube. If you are interested in testing one of these clips send us a note on our Contact page.
Is the Klover MiK 16 fragile?
No. The only critical portion of the Klover MiK 16 is the inside surface of the parabolic dish. When stacking dishes be careful to align the pins on the rear side of the dish with the receptacles on the front of the dishes. Mating the pins with the receptacle will insure that the inside surface cannot contact the outer surface of the dish below it.
Is there any difference in the audio performance of the Klover MiK 16 and the Klover MiK 16 Hard Mount?
No. The two models of the Klover MiK 16 are functionally equivalent. The way that the dish is mounted is the only physical difference.
Is there any difference in the audio performance of the Klover MiK 16 and the Klover MiK 16 Sound Shield?
Only if there is ambient noise behind parabolic that may affect your audio. The two models of the Klover MiK 16 are functionally equivalent but the Sound Shield Mounting Bracket will provide another layer of isolation between ambient noise behind the dish and the microphone element. The way that the dish is mounted is the only physical difference.
Is the Klover MiK 09 fragile?
No. The only critical portion of the Klover MiK 09 is the inside surface of the parabolic dish. We suggest transporting the unit with the dish attached to the aluminum frame to reduce any chance of scratching the inside surface of the dish. The unit can be carried a pouch of a camera bag or you can purchase our carrying bag that is a perfect fit for the 9-inch parabolic.
Is there any difference in the audio performance of the Klover MiK 09 and the Sound Shark?
There is no functional difference between the Klover MiK 09 and the Sound Shark version. There are two primary differences between the two products.
The first difference is the microphone mounting hardware. The KM-09 has two spring clips holding the microphone that are located using hex nuts. Mounting the microphone with this system takes more effort but the location of the microphone is very stable. Its position is unlikely to move even if dropped or handled roughly. The Sound Shark uses a simple spring clip to locate the microphone. The microphone is very easy to install and locate but the microphone is likely to move if dropped or handled roughly.
The second difference is that the KM-09 includes a cylindrical mounting adapter that allows the KM-09 to be mounted where a shotgun mic is normally clamped in place.
What is the real range of the Klover MiK?
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 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. (We are currently working on developing frequency filters and noise cancelation technologies but they will not available be available for some time yet.) So you may be able capture a conversation from 600 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.
What does the pickup pattern look like for your parabolic microphones?
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 on our “Performance” page.
How large are the Klover MiK parabolics?
Please see the dimension on our “Specifications” page.
How heavy are the Klover MiK parabolic microphones?
Please see the weights on our “Specifications” page.
Do you have dealers?
Yes. A list of dealers is on our “Dealer and Rentals” page.
Can I rent a Klover MiK for a project?”
Yes. A list of rental locations is on our “Dealer and Rentals” page.
Do you ship outside of the United States?
Can I listen through walls or windows?
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.
Can I hear someone speak who is not facing the parabolic microphone?
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 as well as directly forward. In addition, the sound energy is often reflected off a nearby person or object toward the parabolic.
How does a shotgun microphone compare to a parabolic microphone?
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.
Don’t parabolic microphones make the audio sound “tinny”?
Lower frequencies are absorbed more than higher frequencies. That is a fact that can’t be ignored. However, the loss of low end response for parabolics is not nearly as bad as some would have you believe. We have a short video on our Klover MiK Video Gallery page that 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 sample video will demonstrate that this is not the case.
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 of 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 that when used with a standard lavaliere microphone element. Find more on our Equalized Mic here.
Can I use a parabolic to listen to my neighbors?
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 applications.