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Need advice on wireless microphone

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Sebastian Alvarez
Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 12:58:40 am

At work we have a fairly large conference room that sometimes is used for ceremonies where the speakers will be closer to one of the walls facing the rest of the room. I videotape these events and normally I have to setup with the tripod all across the room and there will be many people in between. The speakers don't have a microphone because everybody in the room can hear them quite well, but it's a nightmare for me because the camcorder picks up very little of the people speaking, and much more of every noise in between them and me, such as people opening up cans of soda, people coughing, and every other little noise because the camcorder is in auto-gain mode. So we need to buy some sort of wireless microphone with a receiver tha can plugged in my camcorder, but this needs to be a good ambient microphone that can be set on the ceiling tile border right above the speakers' area and that will capture fairly well what they're saying in an area of 4 or 5 feet around it. Since we are a non-profit organization money is tight so we need something pretty cheap. Any recommendations?


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Ray Palmer
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 3:15:10 am

[Sebastian Alvarez] "So we need to buy some sort of wireless microphone with a receiver tha can plugged in my camcorder, but this needs to be a good ambient microphone that can be set on the ceiling tile border right above the speakers' area"

First rule of wireless mics, don't use them unless nothing else will do.
Can you run a hard wired mic? It would be cheaper and a lot more dependable.



Ray Palmer, Engineer
Salt River Project
Phoenix, AZ
602-236-8224 office
There are three types of people in this world, those that can count and those that can't.


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Sebastian Alvarez
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 3:43:38 am

[Ray Palmer] "First rule of wireless mics, don't use them unless nothing else will do.
Can you run a hard wired mic? It would be cheaper and a lot more dependable."


I suppose I could, it would be more difficult but it can be done. Of course the microphone itself would have to be small because it would be hanging from the ceiling, in other words, no Shure SM58 type microphone. And it would have to be good at capturing voice in a wide area, rather than being directional. A circle of 10 ft diameter would suffice.


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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 2:27:53 pm

Hello Sebastian and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

Ray's right about wireless and hard wired. If the room is filled with cell phone, Blue Tooth, Blackberry toting folks, you can end up with swiss cheese for audio if you try wireless.

If you can get every one to power down (and not just go into standby) you may have a shot.

I like to mic presenters with a Countryman e6 and go wireless or hardwired to a mixer that feeds the camera or recorder.

Mic on the ceiling....hmmm well depends on how high the ceiling is and the ambient noise level. You can hear what I do by downloading the mp3 files in a folder called IPS on my Online Archive. These files have been processed to sound LOUD.

There are main and Q&A sections. That's a 20' x 40' room with 8' ceiling. On the main lecture, there's an intro (ceiling mic..and getting them to stay under it is difficult.) and then the main speaker talks. He's on a wireless Countryman e6. Great mic for presenters because even if they turn their heads to do a powerpoint, they are still right on mic. I try to keep the receiver close, but I still get some hash sometimes.

The Q&A is the e6 and one of the three lavs I have on the ceiling (depending on who's talking) I'm mixing in real time to bring up the Q mics and then pulling them back down for the A. Leaving the three ceiling mics on full would sound pretty bad.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
Watch Ty play guitar:





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Sebastian Alvarez
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 3:05:37 pm

[Ty Ford] "I like to mic presenters with a Countryman e6 and go wireless or hardwired to a mixer that feeds the camera or recorder."

I looked it up and that mic is over $300 and if I understand correctly each speaker has to wear one. I need something a lot cheaper and simpler. Just one ambient microphone which is decent at capturing voice (I know it won't be anywhere as good as a clip-on mic or a person holding one in their hand), and without the need of any extra mixer. I can see why the cable is a good idea, so I just need a wired mic with a long cable that I can connect to the mic input of my camcorder.


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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 3:52:00 pm

Sorry, I missed the "s" on speakers. Thought you only had one.

How tall is the ceiling?

Ty

Want better production audio?: http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
Watch Ty play guitar:





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Sebastian Alvarez
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 4:34:28 pm

Well, I haven't meassured it, but it's not too tall, probably 9 feet or so.


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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 5, 2008 at 11:18:06 pm

go for it

Ty

Want better production audio?: http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
Watch Ty play guitar:





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Sebastian Alvarez
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 6, 2008 at 1:23:42 am

[Ty Ford] "go for it"

Go for what?

Does anybody have a cheap but decent ambient microphone to recommend?



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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 6, 2008 at 3:40:51 am

the lavs on the ceiling

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
Watch Ty play guitar:





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Ray Palmer
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 6, 2008 at 10:34:05 am

What is that old saying? Every time you cut the distance from the mouth to the microphone in half you double the dB or sound level.
Keep that in mind when you place the microphones in the ceiling.
I have seen choir microphones that drop from the ceiling using their cable and can be painted to match.
They will never sound as good as a head worn microphone.




Ray Palmer, Engineer
Salt River Project
Phoenix, AZ
602-236-8224 office
There are three types of people in this world, those that can count and those that can't.


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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 6, 2008 at 1:11:26 pm

Thanks Ray,

To be more specific. Omni lavs clipped or g-taped to a ceiling tile or grid cease to become omni and become boundary mics. While not a perfect solution, in cases where you have a standard 8 foot ceiling, attaching them to the ceiling is actually better than suspending them from the ceiling because reflected sound can't get into them after having bounced off the ceiling.

Mics for stage or choir, where the ceiling is way up there and you dangle the mics to get them closer? Well that's a totally different set of acoustics.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
Watch Ty play guitar:





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Ray Palmer
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 7, 2008 at 3:43:09 am

[Ty Ford] "Omni lavs clipped or g-taped to a ceiling tile or grid cease to become omni and become boundary mics. "

I do need to try that. It sounds like a better solution that what I have attempted in the past.



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Ray Palmer
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 7, 2008 at 3:43:21 am

[Ty Ford] "Omni lavs clipped or g-taped to a ceiling tile or grid cease to become omni and become boundary mics. "

I do need to try that. It sounds like a better solution that what I have attempted in the past.



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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice on wireless microphone
on Jan 7, 2008 at 7:42:18 am

Hello Ray,

It's not a magic bullet. If someone opens a can of soda or sneezes you can hear it.

I have some audio up in a folder called IPS on my Online Archive. Listen to the Q&A files. It's a 20 x 40 foot room with 8 foot ceilings. The client isn't interested in amazing audio from the people asking questions. They just want the questions heard - CSPAN press conference style.

It's a rectangular room. The audience can range from 20-30 people who sit in rows with a small main aisle. They take up the middle 20' x30' of the room.

I clip three lavs to the ceiling grid in a pattern that gives me pretty good coverage. That leaves me one more input on my 442 for the wireless on the presenter. You can hear me mixing the levels because the presenter gets hollow until I pull the room mics down.

I also do some gain reduction (compression and limiting) on the final file.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: http://home.comcast.net/~tyreeford/AudioBootcamp.html
Watch Ty play guitar:





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