outdoor live sound equipt w/ lavaliere mics

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by tomislav, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. tomislav

    tomislav Active Member

    Hello all!

    So every year I do live sound for a summer camp theatre program, and they used to rent their sound from some dude, and had me come in to actually run the sound. Next year they'd like to ditch the rental guy and buy their own equiptment. That's where I need some assistance!

    I need to learn more about lav/wireless mics/transmitters. They're planning to buy about 10, and I need to present a mid-level and expensive set. Can someone fill me in on what kind of specs I should be looking at?

    Also, what kind of amp would I need to power what kind of monitors? What are some specs with that? What about hooking up stage monitors?

    And what's some good techniques for fighting feedback? ESPECIALLY with stage monitors!!

    I know I'm throwing alot out there, but answers to any of this questions would be extremely helpful.


  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I know that I'm being the "devil's advocate" here, but sometimes renting a sytem is better than buying one. For starters, maintaining a system-from broken cables to blown speakers- is the vendors' problem, not the users'. And this "dude" probably has a LOT more experience dealing with the typical headaches you're asking about. Trust me, wireless lavs are absolute HELL when used with amateurs. And you say 10 of them?!? Some people are masochists, but...
    OK. So a "mid-level" wireless lav choice might be a Shure....at $695.00ea, that $7K....and that's cheap. A nice Sony or Sabine is easily double that. I use the Sabines because they make the BEST anti-feedback circuits in the industry. So good that Shure and other wireless manufacturers license the Sabine technology. There is a lot of homework to do on getting the right frequencies lined up between the different mics so that they don't interfere with each other. Some models may not be available in enough different frequencies (you said 10) to accommodate your requirements, too.
    As to "specs" for stage monitors, well, numbers alone are meaningless. A smaller wedge with a 10"woofer and a CD horn will work with the vocal range better than a bigger speaker will (in many cases, at least). You don't need LF response down to 30Hz, 100Hz will be adequate. Build quality is more important than size, especially if you are expecting this investment to last more than the summer. There is a WHOLE lot more to owning a successful live sound system like the one you have described than folks realize. And it's more than "just the gear". I haven't even touched on 1/10th of he issues you have to know how to deal with.
    I would suggest that you get the November 2006 MIX magazine and read about the new wireless systems and the FCC. Next, go to the MIX Bookshelf and "Live Sound", find the book "Guide to Sound Systems for Worship". BUY IT! READ IT! Don't let the "church" aspect fool you. That book is great, and the same basics apply, no matter what the application.
    Oh, and...GOOD LUCK!
  3. tomislav

    tomislav Active Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    Since these people aren't too knowledgeable in sound equipment, and I'm not pro at it either, I think I'm going to suggest to them to keep renting, but I need to find a better rental place.

    The reason I suggested buying all of the equiptment to them was the fact that the last rental guy was a mess, didn't take care of his equiptment and alot of the mics didn't work correctly. He wasn't too reliable.

    So lets change the subject around here then...

    (First I'd like to say that this is a children's theatre show; ages 8 to 14. outdoors, under a pavillion. not the greatest.)

    Say I was to rent from a reasonable person. Is 10 lavs absolutely too many? Is having that many lavs causing the feedback?

    I'm thinking of a simple setup like... 2 powered monitors, a wedge, and a board. with the 10 lavs and a wireless handheld.

    How would the wedge be powered? & How would I run three monitors out of the one board?

    How can I reduce feed back with the wedge now in place? The two monitors would be furthest away from the stage as possible and facing away from the mics...

    I'm only in college and I'm learning by doing this, so don't completely bash my lack of knowledge. Hehe.

  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I'm not bashing your lack of knowledge. But you also have to have some base for it. he book cited will help you with that.
    So many questions, so little time. First off, I don't know the production you are doing, but in the productions I have done with young people in church plays, etc., kids are tough to mic up. I might suggest that as an alternative you think about another way to go: boundary mics. A pair of Crown PZM's (properly placed) across the stage may very well be your answer. Sometimes shotgun mics, but I've had pretty good results with the PZMs. These look kind of like a PC mouse, and you mount them on a flat surface (wall, floor, or plexiglass panel). I strongly recommend these for live plays. You can Google Crown Audio and find the PZM section. Read and absorb all that you can find.
    I think that by your statements of "powered monitors" and "wedge" you are confusing yourself. By description, a "wedge" is a stage monitor (it gets the term 'wedge' from the fact that it's side profile is shaped like a wedge). These come in all sorts of varieties, both powered and non-powered. Your description of the "powered monitors" sounds like you are referring to the "house" (or FOH for "front-of-house") speakers. Am I correct in this? There are many products on the market these days that will fit both criteria. Check out the Mackie powered speakers at the Loud Technologies website. You can have 3 of the same box-a self-powered speaker cab that may be pole-mounted for FOH (x2), and that can be laid on its side as a wedge (stage monitor). This would be a good solution to your problems. A Mackie Onyx makes a great PA/recording mixer, check thse out while you're on the site. Stay cear of the cheesey CFX (or whatever the letters are for the mixers with the built-in EQs and effects). The Onyx have MUCH better mic inputs for the gain you'll need to pick up little peoples' voices. And you would use the "Pre-Fader Auxilliary Send" control(s) on each channel to set the mix level going to the stage wedge(s).
    And, no, I am not a big fan of a bunch of wireless mics onstage, especially those "budget" (under $1K) models. Too many mitigating factors, and with that many up there, they are a soundman's headache to track and mute. And mute you will be doing for sure. You'll only forget to do that ONCE when a little kid runs offstage to go to the restroom! I would consider the PZMs and then "reinforce" those with a FEW wireless mics for the "central stars". That will make things much easier all around.
  5. tomislav

    tomislav Active Member

    No no! Don't get me wrong. I wasn't saying that you were bashing what I knew. Sorry if you took it that way.

    Yes, by powered monitors I'm referring to the house speakers, and when I'm talking about the wedge I'm talking about the stage monitor.

    With a pair of PZM's, what would be proper placement? I stage is just plywood, so I'm assuming I would have to tell them to sound treat it so it doesn't sound like they're banging on a timpany everytime someone takes a step, right? I've seen boundry mics used in budget tv studios before. I'll do some googling for some alternative placement options.

    Thanks for all of the tips! Its alot of help. I've already done two of these shows and I know what you mean when you try to juggle 10 of those damn wireless mics. Haha.
  6. proactive

    proactive Active Member

    Very impressive - please advise me on similar aspect

    Hi Moonbaby - Very impressive - please advise me on similar aspect

    I volunteer for a spiritual org from India. We have only one male speaker and speaking to about 60-80 audience in a small hall (feedback was a big issue).

    Currently we use sennheiser evolution g2 100 with audio technica lavalier mic, and the speakers vary depending on location but are not one of those high end ones. Sometimes we connect a Beringer Mixer.

    NOW - the sennheiser evolution wireless system works better than all we tried so far. We are looking for a second wireless unit.

    Please advise
    1) anything that's better than this, in the same price range.
    2) anything that is good for our setup - exactly reproduce male speaker voice, small space (should not give feedback)
    3) please also suggest anything that will help us improve the whole system, even the speakers. cause what you mentioned below about smaller speakers makes more sense.



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