The idea behind checking microphones is not just to see if they work properly, but also to allow the person behind the mixer to figure out which one is connected to which channel and to set the gain level for that channel. For that purpose, you have to make a noise which is the maximum volume that will occur later during the performance, with the goal to eliminate peaking later on. Then you can go on making some S sounds to see if any hissing occurs.
Obviously, most musicians/roadies checking mics aren't very creative in the choice of their utterances; the most common phrases seem to be:
- test, test!
- one... two...
- check, check...
- pffft pffft, pah! pah! pop, pop, shhhhht!
- is this thing on?
- groovy groovy jazzy funky
- watson, we're about to have guests
- could you please turn the echo effect up ecct up ecct up ecct up ecct up ecct up?
However, there also are some nodeworthy, err, noteworthy exceptions, which i will collect here to help improving the quality of future mic checks (There are only two here so far, but i hope i'll get coming in some more over time.):