The microphone is one of the most essential tools for musicians, singers as well as broadcasters – in short, entertainers and modern performers. This professional studio and stage heritage is strongly reflected in most microphones available on the market today.
Apart from improvements on the technical level or the way they are connected, microphones still look, feel and are built the same way they used to be. They've never really evolved over the past few decades - simply because they didn't need to.
While the microphone itself didn’t change much, its users changed and diversified a lot – with the ever-growing group of ‘content creators’, like gamers and game streamers. In the past, a whole team of professionals worked together to bring a performance to life – producers, technicians for light and sound, camera operators and the performers themselves.
This is now achieved by a single person, who at the same time engages with the community – all done live. Streamers are usually self-taught ‘Prosumers’, fluently leveraging a wide range of mostly seamlessly intertwined physical and digital tools, that evolved with their target group throughout the years – with the exception of microphones.
Being caught up in the heat of the moment when recording a gaming session or live broadcasting, the sound recording quality often does not live up to what today’s microphones are capable of – simply because there is a lack of feedback about how your live recording actually sounds to your audience.
The Jester Microphone has some smart guiding features built-in, giving constant visual feedback about the recording status and quality, to make sure the recorded live performance comes across to viewers exactly as intended.
For example, the 360° light distributed through the translucent shock mount structure indicates whether or not users have the perfect recording position for optimal quality, by changing its color in real-time.
The Jester Microphone is designed to seamlessly integrate with the workflow and the digital tools content creators use today, getting rid of redundant physical controls and connectors. The two remaining touch-sensitive ‘quick control’ surfaces on top of the Jester Microphone can be freely assigned with the functions that are needed, and are large enough to allow fast and precise control.
The microphone’s plug & play character combined with advanced software controls, effects and improved routing give creators more room for creativity and experimentation, while they are able to monitor exactly what their audience will hear.
The Jester Microphone smartly integrates elements into the design that were separate before – with the use of contemporary manufacturing methods. The shock mount of the Jester Microphone is completely rethought – the 3D-printed flexible structure is now directly integrated into the body, and therefore absorbs unwanted frequencies even better.
The skin of the microphone is a fabric woven in a similar way that modern sneakers are – being more flexible where it needs to move with the shock mount and being denser where it needs to integrate pop-filter capabilities. The overall design results in a fusion of the aesthetics of high-end audio equipment and lifestyle products – which is a perfect match for the target group.
From the beginning on, the goal for the Jester Microphone was to create a product vision with superior user experience and an innovative design that is evolved in every aspect – so our approach had to be multilayered.
Starting from foundational research and product testing, we quickly went into interviewing and observing real streamers. Analyzing the use, workflow, and the different parts of the microphone itself led to insights about opportunities for innovation.
Those insights were infused into the design process, and in a fast-paced iterative interplay of ideating, refining and prototyping various directions in parallel, the microphone was shaped and refined until it was just right.