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Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup

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Nathan Jones
Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 6, 2012 at 10:59:39 pm

OK, heres my problem... My friend and I started an Improv group doing local comedy, and now it has exploded, and our venues are getting too big to just "project" our voices on our own.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to the best over the ear wireless mic setup we could use for our productions? we need 8 mics, and are on somewhat of a limited budget right now... we need to keep it under $2000 but that may change after the first of the year... any suggestions are much appreciated.


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Michael Paul
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 6, 2012 at 11:52:35 pm

You're going to have a hard time finding 8 channels of wireless with headset mics for that price.

Entry level systems from Shure or Sennheiser start at around $450 per channel (and you need eight)

Maybe look at Azden or Audio Technica, but remember that you need to get 8 seperate channels that have to work together so if the system you're looking at is a fixed-frequency unit, you need to make sure that there are 8 seperate pre-coordinated frequencies that you can get, and that those frequencies will not only work without interfering with each other, but that they operate on frequencies that will not get stepped on by local TV broadcasts in your area.

Most UHF systems these days are tuneable, so you can create frequency groups that work where you are, but there are no guarantees.

You could look into used units to maximize your budget, or rent wireless until you get called up by Lorne Michaels

Michael Paul
Location Sound Corp


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Nathan Jones
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 7, 2012 at 4:57:00 am

Thanks for the advice, do you have any other ideas on how to amplify our voices?? maybe something other than wireless mics? we have to mics on stage right now, but they dont seem to pick up anything


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Jim MacD0nald
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 8, 2012 at 2:46:56 am

Nathan 2 or 3 shotgun mics will cover a 12 by 8 foot stage. You can turn them on and let them go. With wireless don't forget you'll need someone to turn the mic on at the mixer. There is a lot of used gear out there. But if you buy, make sure what you buy is something you won't have problems selling in case you move to Second City. 3 or 4 shotguns and stands is less to, carry around than 8 RF mics and recievers. Have a good show.


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Bob Kessler
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 7, 2012 at 5:51:02 pm

The issue is always going to be budget versus quality and reliability.

Even a head worn mic of modest quality, Audio Technica or Shure, for example, will set you back $100 to $200 per unit; something "nice", like Sennheiser or Countryman, will be $400 to $650 per unit. And that's just the headset! You haven't even touched on the wireless transmitter/receiver system.

The Sennheiser G3 system is the "entry level" professional wireless system, about $650 per trans/rec set. The really good stuff, like Lectrosonics, is $1,200 to $3,500 per trans/rec set, just to give you a little perspective.

You'll have to research not only what headset mics fit your budget, but also what will stay on your heads and be "unobtrusive;" most ultra-low budget headset mics are rather clunky looking, or so flimsy that they would not be effective as on-stage units.

One of the few affordable semi-reliable UHF systems is Samson at $200 each - that's already $1,600, leaving you less than $400 for headset mics or only $50 per unit.

You can go with VHF wireless, but even if you put the receivers right on the front of the stage you will still be prone to EM/RF interference, static, etc.

Another issue that has not been discussed... Would the venue(s) at which you are performing be able to handle eight (8) discrete inputs, or do you need to supply your own mixing and/or amplification?

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Nathan Jones
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 7, 2012 at 5:58:06 pm

would there be a better way to put 2 or three mics on stands to pick up the vocals? they have 2 up there now, but they are about 2' off of the ground, which is virtually pointless... the stage is about 12x8, its not very big, but we are also starting to be picked up at a lot of local restaurants and christmas parties... just trying to find the easiest and most efficient way to get our voices out there without yelling


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Bob Kessler
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 8, 2012 at 7:06:24 pm

Not an optimum solution, but you may want to consider hanging or "choir" mics. Although usually ceiling mounted I'm sure that you could get two or three up on VERY high mic stands above and in front of you.

Choir Mics

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Hanging/ci/8547/N/4210544023

Boom Stands

On-Stage Stands SMS7650

Ultimate Support MC-125

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 9, 2012 at 2:00:14 pm

Don't waste your time or money on distant mic techniques. You didn't state it specifically, but we are assuming you need microphones for reinforcement, not for recording. Even for recording any kind of distant technique will give you poor-to-awful pickup, and NONE of the distant techniques will provide ANY USABLE gain-before-feedback for reinforcement.

If your troupe can't project in venues you are playing (remember that most of the history of theatre was pre-electricity!), then you need acting/speech lessons or smaller venues/audiences, or rent the necessary equipment.


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Nathan Jones
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 9, 2012 at 6:03:05 pm

yes you are correct about reinforcement, not recording... as far as your other suggestions, many of our performers are trained professionals with years of theater experince, the problem is not projecting, the problem is that our main venue is a large restraunt, not a theater... so you have the added noise of the bar, the wait staff, people enjoying their meals... it is a lot of extra noise that drowns out what we are saying before it makes it to the people in the back of the room... on top of that, the regular sunday night crowd is getting so big that the owner is wanting to move us to the banquet hall that seats 300 people... when that happens we will most deffinately need mics... we are having a production meeting this week, i will bring all of your imput to the table and suggest that we increase our budget for sound... all of the larger improv groups i have been researching lately seem to use lapel mics, so i will look into those as well

thanks to everyone for your imput


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Eric Toline
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 9, 2012 at 9:44:41 pm

Once you move into a larger space and budget for all the gear don't forget to budget for a sound mixer, not the mixer equipment but someone who has the experience & knowledge to setup & operate it properly. Nothing ruins a performance like feedback from your PA system.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Richard Crowley
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 10, 2012 at 7:49:34 am

Yes, of course I meant to cast no aspersions on your actors, but only to make the case that in situations where natural projection doesn't cut it (as in your scenario), you need the proper equipment, or else don't waste your time/money.

Unrelated to your situation, I have run in to situations where amateur, untrained (and even unrehearsed) individuals were called on to support speaking parts in a stage play and they had no concept of "stage presence". They mumbled to the point that even if you were standing next to them, they would be difficult to understand. They expected the microphones to perform miracles. Never gonna happen.


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Max Palmer
Re: Need buying advice for Wireless Mic setup
on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:41:12 pm

So I was able to take some advice here, and borrow some G3's from another department, who surprisingly had these things! They're working out really well. Although I posted in another thread about what I can only refer to as "audio spillage" when using them both at the same time.

Thanks for all the advice everyone.


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