In cheer, nothing is more important than engaging the crowd. A cheerleader needs to be heard loud and clear to get people participating, but at times it can be hard to cut through the crowd noise. Thankfully, megaphones can help you project your voice and keep you in command of the audience.
What are cheerleading megaphones used for?
Megaphones are used to engage with the crowd and direct them to participate in a cheer. Their funnel shape allows them to focus and project noise in a targeted area, thereby amplifying the sound for loud and clear communication. Electric megaphones make use of a loudspeaker and amplifier to raise volume even more. Usually, one cheerleader is in charge of the megaphone to communicate as clearly as possible.
Acoustic megaphones are the traditional form which have been used since cheer's beginnings in the 1880s, while electric megaphones have been popular since the 1960s. The type of megaphone a cheerleader uses should be catered to the size and noise level of the crowd. It should not be distractingly loud or so quiet that most of the crowd can't hear it. Acoustic megaphones work best for smaller events, while powered electric megaphones are better equipped to handle a larger, louder crowd.
Things To Consider
When looking for a cheerleading megaphone, you'll want to consider the following:
- How much do you want to spend on a megaphone?
- What type of megaphone are you looking for?
- What size megaphone do you want?
- How long do you need the megaphone to last?
- How loud do you want the megaphone to be?
Megaphones can either be acoustic or electrically powered. Below are the types of cheerleading megaphones available.
Acoustic megaphones consist of a simple funnel with a mouthpiece, handle, and no electric powering. The cone shape of the funnel amplifies the voice and aims it in a targeted area, projecting cheers at a moderately higher volume in one direction. They're ideal for smaller crowds and events with less surrounding noise.
A battery-charged powered megaphone projects the voice using a microphone, amplifier, and loudspeaker. It can amplify sounds significantly louder than the natural voice's volume, with high-wattage megaphones projecting further. They're ideal for cheering in front of large crowds and noisier events.
Acoustic megaphones are a simple funnel, but powered megaphones are comprised of several parts to amplify sound.
- Funnel: The funnel is the cone-shaped body of the megaphone that directs and slightly amplifies sound. Acoustic megaphones rely on the funnel alone to project the voice.
- Amplifier: The amplifier in a powered megaphone is a circuit that converts the voice into electric pulses and amplifies the sound.
- Microphone: The microphone is an attachable accessory on an electric megaphone that allows cheerleaders to speak through the mic for the bullhorn to amplify their words, rather than holding it in front of their face.
- Loudspeaker: The loudspeaker is mounted inside the cone of a powered megaphone alongside the amplifier to further amplify sound.
Most brands catering to cheerleaders have a selection of high quality megaphones to choose from.
- Superior Cheer: Superior cheer offers acoustic megaphones that come in a wide range of sizes and can be customized for your personal team. They also offer powered megaphones.
- Varsity: Varsity is one of the oldest and most renowned cheer brands worldwide, and its megaphones are frequently used in competitions. They offer a good range of both acoustic and electric megaphones that, while slightly pricier, are great quality.
- OmniCheer: While most famous for its uniforms, OmniCheer offers good value, durable acoustic megaphones that come in a selection of colors.
Some important things to consider when looking for cheerleading megaphones are durability, cost, and size.
Both acoustic and electric megaphones are made of extremely durable plastics that are capable of falling from significant heights without shattering. Electric megaphones use disposable or, more commonly, rechargeable batteries that last between 6 to 9 hours. Higher-watt or lower quality megaphones usually mean a lower battery life. Both acoustic and electric megaphones can last for years.
Simple acoustic megaphones are less expensive, costing from around $10 to $30 depending on the size. Powered megaphones are more expensive, with lower-wattage (and therefore softer volume) items costing around $60 and higher wattage, louder megaphones costing around $200 to $300.
Electric megaphones will all be roughly the same physical size, but they come with volume levels that range from around 5 to 60 watts. Acoustics come in a wide variety of sizes from 12 to 32 inches long. The power of an acoustic megaphone's volume is proportional to its funnel size.
What are the differences between a megaphone and a bullhorn?
A traditional megaphone is the acoustic version which does not use a battery, whereas a bullhorn uses electricity to amplify a cheerleader's voice. The term bullhorn is used interchangeably with megaphone (or powered megaphone), especially as it's become more popular in modern times. An acoustic megaphone's power is proportional to its funnel size, whereas a bullhorn's volume is proportional to its wattage. A powered megaphone can also be dialed up or down in volume while an acoustic has a set amplification.
How much does a megaphone cost?
Acoustic megaphones are typically cheaper than powered megaphones at around $10 to $40. They can be personalized for a team at an added cost. Simple lettering is relatively inexpensive, while a full customization of a team's colors, name and mascot can cost around $100 to $200. The most inexpensive powered megaphones are around $50 but tend to have a worse battery life and quality of sound. A high quality powered megaphone will cost around $100 to $250.
What are the cheer cones called?
Megaphones have a lot of uses across different occupations, but in cheerleading specifically they can be known as cheer cones or spirit cones. The term "bullhorns" used to refer to electric megaphones specifically, but today terms are used interchangeably for acoustic and powered megaphones alike.