I use an Heil ProSet 5 head set and foot switch for all my radio work. Boom mic's are OK but you have to stay in front of it with a head set you can adjust your amp or any other equipment in the shack and talk at the same time HANDS FREE try that with a boom mic. Almost all the top contester's use Head Sets. Since I started using head sets my scores have more than doubled the head set helps you hear better and and you do not have to keep your head in one position to use the mic.
Just 2 pennies worth
1st World 2010 CQWPX 20M SOHP Assisted Tri-Band and Wires.
Not to mention nothing is in the way, blocking your vision, and the mic is consistently the same distance from your mouth, less background noise because your mouth is an inch off the mic - it all adds up to a rather nice signal with good audio.
My kids and I use an Heil IC & 5 head sets and foot switch for all their radio work - except for the last Virginia QSO party... My daughter has a very distinct advantage over my son (her voice is excellent), but this time he was using a Headset and she was using the stock hand mic.
350 contacts for him (56k pts), she logged 280... working the same band, 10-50khz apart.
I see several obvious reasons:
a. try logging using a hand mic. just picking the darn thing up all day long is gonna slow you down.
b. It's seldom ever the same distance from your mouth, so your audio & power levels and clarity fluctuate all the time. One call you sound muffled (the mic is turned slightly, under your chin, in your cheek, ?etc), the next you're popping because the mic is right in front of your mouth - get the idea?
c. the headset w/mic combination is never in the way of the computer, keyboard, paper, pencil, etc., the cord is completely out of the way, so you can spin the VFO and log freely. With the mic always in the corner of your mouth, every transmission sounds alike.
Last year, she won the county, this year.... she'll probably place 2nd, and my son will take it.
Still, not bad for a 11yr old girl, up against a 15yr old boy.
A good mic can make an inexpensive radio (FT-450) sound rather nice, and a give you a HUGE advantage over a stock hand mic... regardless of what you do with the equalizer.
P.S. They really like you to continue using hand mics and booms....