How can you make your station sound less “flat” and “dull” when it’s doing it’s most useful stuff? In my experience of several Community Radio stations, the most common issue is related to where they (supposedly) do best: Being a local voice for people, groups and causes. The issue affecting many of the stations is their microphone setups are less than ideal.
Of course, it’s not always possible to have a fully isolated and treated studio that is acoustically “sound” as the big boys/girls down the road, but there are ways to improve things: The most noticable problem is during an guest/interview slot when 2 or 3 microphones are active – If adding further acoustic treatment isn’t possible, then a Behringer MDX4600 Gate/Compressor (or similar) can be used on the insert-points of up to 4 microphone channels. This would allow each microphone level to be slightly, and automatically, attenuated when not passing sound. This, in turn, would reduce the overall echoey sound during the interview as well as remove the people’s breathing sounds, the office phone ringing etc.
A little bit of compression also helps compensate for guests that are a little “mic shy” and even cope with a live performance (eg: singing vs acoustic guitar). Operator errors such as forgetting to PFL a mic level can be masked with this device, too – all the more important when some presenters are still learning and a little unsure of the finer points of “driving the desk”. For around £130, this 1U rack box would make the speech output a little easier to listen to as well as cope with the majority of operator errors… and getting your sound right at the source can make all the difference to how it sounds “on-air” 🙂