“Face the Nation” Picks Sanken Lavalier Microphones
Audio Technician Greg Shaffir Employs Miniature COS-11D Mics
Washington, DC, April 2016 – Veteran audio technician and mixer Greg Shaffir is responsible for the excellent sound of the Sunday morning political interview show “Face the Nation.” The program was created by Frank Stanton in 1954, and is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television. To capture the voices of the host and numerous guests each week, Shaffir employs a number of miniature Sanken lavalier microphones.
“Each week we have a main guest and then a panel or two of varying different sizes and we have very little time to change from one setup to another,” explains Shaffir. As the A1 audio technician, he works closely with his A2 assistant, who puts mics on the guests. “The teamwork is very crucial when doing a live television show like this one.”
The current “Face the Nation” moderator is John Dickerson, who succeeded long-time predecessor Bob Schieffer in 2015. Each Sunday, the moderator interviews newsmakers on the latest political and socioeconomic issues, and delivers a short topical commentary at the end of the broadcast. The program generally broadcasts from CBS News’ bureau in Washington, D.C.
Shaffir offers some tips on the use of the Sanken lavaliers, “I like to use windscreens even if I am inside because it minimizes sibilance. Our first choice of position is in the center of the necktie, or on the lapel, about four inches below the mouth. That works best because if someone turns their head you get less drop-off and there is no change in coloration. I found that other mics have coloration problems when you get off-axis.”
After experimenting with various lavalier mics, Shaffir picked the omnidirectional Sanken COS-11D. “Our studio has a low ceiling and the lighting grid is low,” he continues. “It’s a busy and challenging environment. I previously tried other popular lavalier brands, but they were much larger and with a cardioid polar pattern I found that if someone made a quick turn of the head that the sound would suddenly drop off. I prefer the neutrality and the accuracy of the Sankens.”
Sanken utilizes an exclusive vertical placement of the diaphragm for a greater effective area within a much smaller casing. To create the COS-11D, Sanken combined extensive R&D with the world’s most advanced precision craftsmanship for the ultimate in sensitivity, natural sound and hidden capabilities.
“Face the Nation” guests include government leaders, politicians, and international figures in the news. CBS News correspondents and other contributors often engage the guests in a roundtable discussion focusing on current topics.
“You might say I’m old school,” Shaffir adds, “because I prefer to use hard wired mics, but we do have additional wireless Sankens that come in very handy when we have a number of guests coming in and out and someone has to be miked up at the last minute before going onto the set. If I have a full table with four people, and I have four more coming in quickly, I can do quick changeovers that way, with no loss of sound quality.”
Sanken’s wide frequency response, low noise and transparent audio meet the demands of today’s high-definition television audio. The omnidirectional polar pattern provides a generous pickup area while minimizing noise and feedback at the off-axis sections. The wide frequency response ensures accurate, transparent audio reproduction and its omnidirectional polar pattern provides a generous pickup area while minimizing feedback and off-axis noise.