Jump to content

Micing up a children's stage

Stu Mannix

Recommended Posts

I recently started a new job as technical manager at a local public school.

My first concern is hearing the kids on stage. Haven't had much success with any past techniques.

Does anyone have any help/advice/mic preference?

I have used Crown PCC160's but not enough volume before feedback.

I have flown condenser mics (set to omni) from fly bars, better result but not best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think, in all honesty, you have the answer to your question in the question itself.

NO amount of mic placement will help with kids who cannot project.

We've covered this several times here already so don't want to re-state old territory (have a search around the sound forum here) but there's no substitute for a properly delivered speech/singing voice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

as above, your best technique is to have a word with whoever directs the kids.


I had a very similar thing with Rock Choir recently at a high profile event (you know, one where people run for 22-odd miles round london)...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do this micing of the innocents every year for our panto and musicals.


We use a radio mic belt pack and a cheapo "Britney mic". These are the ones with the "baked bean" type capsule on a boom. The wind muffs always get lost but it does not seem to matter if the mic capsule is behind the mouth against the cheek.


The only technical "problem" on the mechanical side is reducing the size of the head clip to fit a small skull. The slap ladies sometimes use medical tape stuff as nec to secure the metalwork.


Owing to the "turmoil" of the frequency bands for RMs changing next year you will have to research the licences thing and factor this into the cost of course. Don't forget the cost of batteries either.


And, you may need to gen up on placement of the speakers if any of the action means coming close to them. You will need to gen up on the placing of the receivers and consider the length of cables and if your sound desk has sufficient inputs.


This will then lead to having the sound guy riding the faders as nec during a performance.


The business of having ambient mics...rifle, flown, plate etc etc. is very well covered in the forum, so you would be wise to read those "arguments" as well.


The notion of the voice projection is covered too but you may find that the local acoustics, for example, may mean that the kids would have to be regular Stentors for them to be heard by the doting M&Ds at the back of the hall.


Should you need to work on an outside performances, say, you would find that even Stentor would have a job.


All in all I would vote for radio mics as being the most versatile...but...they do need the most management, as in licences, frequency "planning", changing batteries, fixing to actors under or on costume, then collecting up and storing etc etc.


Top Tip is as always, read up as much gen as possible before buying any system...it may seem simple but as you can read above there is quite a bit more to it.


Of course that is presuming your school has the funds for them and are willing to stump up anyway, ** laughs out loud **.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rifle mics may be a perfectly adequate solution if the nippers don't move around, as in choir mode.


If you find the a member of staff of the relevant dept wants to do a drama then it is unlikely the polar pattern so to speak from the rifle mics would cover the entire stage...might get away with them for the chorus if they don't jump about and they might help with the atmos.


Do you have a budget for hiring or can you borrow some kit to see what works? Could save you a bit of cash, and, if nothing else is bound to be educational for yourself?



Edit, something went wrong (me?) with the italics function, ** laughs out loud **.

Moderation: italics fixed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well we do shows at schools every year and we always use the rifle mics and have never had one problem we have done Our Day Out, Les Miserables, Joseph, West Side Story and music shows and not once experienced any problems with picking up stage noise they pick up the vocals clearly as a radio mic would :) so yes we would advise to go and hire some and if they work then think of buying some for your school.


I would say you are lucky with the characteristics of the venue then, because my experience is the exact opposite. Maybe you have very good separation between the speaker positions and the stage, that helps a lot. Getting enough gain before feedback is always the problem with rifle mics, and they always have a somewhat "thin", distant sound.


edit: Paul beat me to it


Moderation: The person concerned is no longer a Blue Room member.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....and they always have a somewhat "thin", distant sound.


Primarily because the tight polar pattern works only down to mid frequencies on most shotgun mics. They can be great for video, but the strong lobes can cause havoc in live sound, and I deploy them with great care and not a little fear and trepidation.


I'll add myvoice to those who say shotgun mics are not superior to properly positioned individual radio mics, and to suggest otherwise flaunts both common sense and teh laws of physics...



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.