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Radio Mics?


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If you have read the Lighting forum, you will have noticed my posts about the Talent Show I will be lighting at school. I am also responsible for the Audio section of the show, and can't decide which will be "better" in terms of being able to hear the actors, singers, etc... We have 6 Sennheiser (spelling?) radio mics which we could use for the show, which then connect up to our in-house audio system. However, a number of live musical acts will also be appearing (hopefully). Is it worth using the mics OVER some guitar amps etc... Obviously size of speakers etc... matters, and I'm not really sure of the specs of the system. We have 4 speakers however, and some pretty hefty amps which, if we use the mics ought to be able to overpower some standalone guitar amps (which happen to have the speakers in them too!). If we don't use radio mics, would it be worth using mic's plugged into the guitar amps, or are radio mics on a proper professional sound system going to sound better?


Thanks in advance,


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I have found micing the kit up to be dead useful as you can then boost them if needed and record the show from the desk. I suggest that you set the amp levels low and then let the pa do the most work. then you can control the sound from FOH and eq the outputs. then use the radio mics for the people that move. all the rest you can mic up with standard cable mics. the way I usually do it (in importance order - kinda)


0. vocals

1. kick drum

2. lead guitar

rythm gtr


3. toms.

4. snare

5. crash/hi hat - omni mic to pick up cymbals.


all depends on the venue though. my one was a 350 seater theatre that needed also to use monitors onstage to counter the rigging of speakers.




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each type of mic is designed for a specific purpose, you need to think more carefully about what the requirements of each act is. There is no point getting 6 radio mics and trying to get a good drum sound.


I've worked on many of this style shows and again depending on venue/available kit this is what I would recommend. I'm assuming the venue isn't massive therefore spoken word won't need to be close mic'd.


2 x radio mics for people dancing and singing at the same time

2 x sm58's on stands for people just singing

2 x c1000 or similar which can be doubled up as overheads for the kit, and float mics for larger ensembles (if budget stretches get 2 c1000's and 2 rifles)

1 x D112 or similar for bass drum

1 x sm57 for snare.


if you can afford add 57's for the amps and a DI box for the bass but you should be able to get the amps loud enough (although this increases the need for foldback)


all of this depends a lot of the acts, as with all things there isn't a generic 'best' solution.


hope that helps

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The mics will be purely for vocals, the show is in my schools Drama Studio which can only seat about 100 people, so we aren't talking massive numbers here. I was thinking of using the mics just to amplify the presenter of the show, singers, people doing stand up solos etc...


The show is a variety of different acts, so dancing, music, comedy etc...

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...and some pretty hefty amps which, if we use the mics ought to be able to overpower some standalone guitar amps...


...schools Drama Studio which can only seat about 100 people...


At which point the audience run from the venue with their ears bleeding. ;)


Seriously though, you'll be surprised just how loud a 30w guitar amp can sound. Trying to get a PA over the top of them can get a bit silly.


1. Don't bother micing the drum kit, for anything less than 300 seats in a dead venue it isn't worth it.


2. Just use your mics and PA to do the vocals. Have a mix of radios and mics on stands. A 'spare' mic on a stand is always useful.


3. Try to get the guitars to point their amps back at themselves, this'll help to control the levels a bit (unless you're in the round).


4. Keep the band kit seperate from yours ie don't use band kit to amplify any of your mics. It'll save confusion when they swap stuff on and off stage. You don't want to be re-plugging mid show.


5. Good Luck.

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too true - my advice only held for a venue of around 300 seats.


if possible, keep a spare of each mic used; then you can do a quick change if anything drops out and can keep one mic for the mc.


the previous advice ignored the types of mic needed. if you cant get hold of any specialist mics for instruments, the humble old sm58 can be drafted in to do a surprisingly creditable service as most small band techs will testify.


if any acoustics are used, the gun condenser provides a good pickup.


* don't over amp the show - if you start quiet and then carry on, the audiences' ears adjust to the levels used and then the low power amps can handle the show easily. this means that open speech will be heard w/out amping and singing is easier to set.

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don't know if it was of any use for all that typing as I am really a sparks man who learnt sound by diffusion!


if it was of use, no worries. it seems to be the consensus that we all do what we can to avoid anyone having a lemon of a show when it could be avoided.



andrew clunie

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"Lighting" club also deals with smoke machines and backstage (erm, has someone missed the logic in club naming here <cough>MR BROWN</cough>)


Just as long as you don't also have to deal with refreshments


That was one assumption too far I thought back when I was at school.

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did that once - Very nice run of a show. all I needed to do was to order the drinks from the bar and it went on 'spilt drinks/damaged' tabs. Sweeeeeeet.



the best of it was that I never actually needed to staff the bar. thank god for the bribe to chorus members that they would get two free drinks out of it.





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