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Clip on wireless mics


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I have recently taken over a drama department and we have our musical coming up. I need to mic 5 students with the usual school production budget (or lack of) and have no idea where to start.


Is anyone able to offer any advice as to what I need in order to support the 5 soloists?


Any advice would be greatfully received.


Thank you

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Hi, sounds like you need to hire 5 radio microphones... when you say lack of budget do you actually have nothing if so your going to find it really difficult to get anything because hire companies arent in the game of giving stuff away for free. couple of questions:


what kind of show is it?

is there a lot of movement?

do you have someone who knows about mics who will be able to set them up and monitor them during the performance?

where in the country are you?



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Have a detailed read through of the script, and see if you can get away with less than five radio mics. Obviously, if all the soloists are on stage at the same time, you have no option. But if they each have a song, or maybe two of them doing a dialogue, you could swap mics between cast members during the scene changes.


The big advantage is that you save on mic hire, the drawback is that you need to be quite slick with the changeovers. What we sometimes do in these situations is give out multiple headsets, so that the headset can stay on each cast member, and only the beltpack transmitter is moved.


Even if you could get the total down to four, that would be a result. Radio mics tend to be supplied in multiples of four, so you're more likely to get a set of four systems, with aerial distribution etc., in a neat package.


The other thing worth mentioning is that "school show season" is amongst the busiest times of the year for radio mic hires. Don't expect to be able to negotiate much discount...

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Echoing what's been said before - if its only the solo they need to be mic'd for and they come off stage between solos then mic changeovers are the way to go, you might even be able to get away with just one system.


If you were to update your profile with some location details the members here might be able to help you out with possible stockists - although you won't be getting quality kit for free!

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This is a topic one could write about in great length; indeed it has been already although finding useful nuggets on this forum isn't always easy.


The first thing I would suggest is to not consider "clip on" mics. I imagine you're referring to tie-clip style mics which are of little use in a theatre setting. Whilst the traditional approach is mics hidden in the hairline, this isn't always quick and easy to do so I generally suggest discreet headset mics. They're very quick to fit and by virtue of their proximity to the mouth, will pick up a good signal even on quieter singers.


Using radio mics is never a set & forget operation. You need an attentive operator on the mixer to balance levels and mute when required. Don't ask the cast to switch their own packs on & off - some schools try this approach - it never works. If swaps are feasible, plan these fully in advance and ensure everyone knows the drill. Some form of communication between backstage and the person on the mixer out front is useful in case someone ends up with the wrong mic or anything else goes awry.


You can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £50 per mic per week if that helps with your budgeting. Don't go for cheap & nasty systems - good radio mics are expensive for a reason. Cheap ones will just cause you headaches by sounding awful, picking up interference, feeding back easily, cutting out and so on. Most hire companies will stock Sennheiser G2 or G3 systems - they strike a very good balance between price & quality so are very popular. Don't skimp on batteries; use decent alkalines (never zinc carbon) and put in a fresh set for each show. Many systems will last for two shows but unless someone is really on top of switching all the packs on & off at the start & end of the show, it's just not worth the risk of them running out half way through.


It's also worth mentioning that the mics are only one part of the sound reinforcement system. Even if you have the best mics in the world, if the speakers are poorly placed or are of particularly low quality, the results won't be good. For example, it's not unusual for drama spaces in schools to have speakers mounted in the corners of the room - OK for playback but of little use for microphones.


Feel free to come back with any more specific questions and as others have suggested, if you fill out your profile with your location, we may be able to recommend hire companies nearby.

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