Skip to main content

My daughter asked me to help out with her outdoor wedding. Among other things she needs me to do, I need to mic the minister and the happy couple. I don't have lavalieres and don't want to mess with cordless rigs. I'll be running the mics through a Mackie vlz pro 16, using the mixer pres. I can hang the mic/mics off the overhead pergola but she doesn't want them to show. I'm guessing the pergola to be about 8-10' high. I've used the nt5's flown over actors in a theater production indoors in the past and they performed pretty well. I'm leaning toward this kind of setup again...2 NT5's positioned overhead as spaced pair pointing nearly straight down...maybe one angled toward the minister's head and one at the couple? I've included my available mic's list to see if anyone might have a better suggestion based on what I have access to and considerations to being outdoors at 4pm...possible wind on side of hill. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!Ribbons:
Cascade Fat Head II
Royer R-121
Beyer M130
Beyer M160
Neumann U87AKG 414 xl IIAT 4050
Shure KSM 32
Groove Tubes GT55
Shure sm81 - 2
RODE NT5 - 2
Kel HM 1
Kel HM 2D - 2


Audix D6
Audix D2
Green BulletEV RE27
EV RE 20
EV 471
Sennheiser 441
Sennheiser 421 u - 3
Sennheiser 421 II
Sennheiser e865 - 2
Shure sm7
Shure sm57 - 4
Shure sm58 - 2


pcrecord Thu, 08/08/2013 - 03:12

Oh boy, you're in for a treat. Live sound reinforcement, with overheads at 10 feet, I hope you can put the speakers far enough so you don't feedback all the time. Overheads live are not a problem for a drum cause it's very loud, but if you need to push the gain for speak level... Danger, Danger Will Robertson!!! Oops a lost in space mind lapse! ;)..

I would take 4 overheads with WIND SCREENS, NT5 and SM81 and put them facing the floor. Assuming the speaking will be done in the pergola.. as for speaker, favor 4 or more low db speakers over 2 front loud speakers to avoid feedback.

Boswell Thu, 08/08/2013 - 04:54

It's not going to be easy to get reasonable reinforcement without any hint of feedback. I think I would favour using your four SM57s (fitted with wind shields) pointing down at an angle from the overhead pergola, and rely on the better feedback rejection of dynamics over condensers.

It's the sort of occasion where I hire out my Shure SCM810 automixer, as this selects the single mic that has the largest amplitude signal on it and gates the others out. You can get around 10dB more gain before feedback by using a box like that, which may not sound a lot, but it makes a huge intelligibility difference to the audience. For your purposes, the 4-channel version ([[url=http://[/URL]="…"]SCM410[/]="…"]SCM410[/]) would be more convenient, so I think it would be worth seeing if you could borrow/hire one of those for the day and run your 57s into it. It would also free you from having one eye and one hand on the Mackie during the crucial parts of the proceedings.

vibrations1951 Thu, 08/08/2013 - 08:19

Yes Bos, I was worried about the feed with the condensers especially. I really liked the suggestion about the SCM410 so I quickly checked it out. There is nowhere local (within 150-250mi that is) to rent from around here so purchase would be neccesary and perhaps worth it to have for potential future gigs (gear lust!). So....., I see it is possible but is it wise to take the XLR signal out of the SCM410 and feed it into a channel on the mackie?

One of the reasons I ask is that the mackie will also be handling (at various times during the ceremony etc) 4 other vocal mics, 3 guitars and a cd player besides the minister and the couple setup at the pergola plus.... all feeding through the same mixer, PA, eq, amp and speakers. I am also entertaining tapping off the mackie inserts for HD24 recording of the whole ceremony. Then I can take this back and do a mix to give my daughter later as a surprise gift after the wedding. This may be a bit much considering my additional roles as performer, MC and father of the bride stuff. I can't help myself...just an overdoer I guess.

vibrations1951 Thu, 08/08/2013 - 08:26

Hear ya loud and clear pcrecord! I'm worried the dynamics may not push but perhaps with the SCM410 bos suggested i can get there. i also have a 2-channel cloudlifter that may help as well. Unfortunately I will have to use 2 15" cabs for mains up front but hopefully away from the mics enough to help some. The pergola is a homemade job set into the ground as I understand it (haven't seen it yet and the wedding is on the 17th!) Gonna be a treat for sure!! Plenty of windscreens oh yeah!!

Boswell Thu, 08/08/2013 - 08:56

It's no problem to feed the SCM410 into the mixer - use an XLR-TRS lead and take the SCM410 output into the jack input of one of the channels on the Mackie. Set the gain trim at or near minimum on that channel.

One thing I forgot to say earlier is that when you use an automixer like the Shure SCM410/810, you don't need to worry about the 3:1 rule for multiple microphones, since only one is selected at a time. You can put up sufficient mics to cover the dialogue area and know that you will not get phasing effects from having different mics capturing the same source.

I would strongly advise using good-quality DI boxes for the guitars, as the Mackie line inputs are only 10K Ohm impedance. You are presumably also aware that you will need specially-wired plugs to go into the insert jacks to tap off the signals for HD24 recording if you want PA sound as well. Don't be tempted to use the "half-click" technique - it will fail at the wrong moment.

It sounds like you will have fun mixing down all those channels into something to cherish.

vibrations1951 Thu, 08/08/2013 - 14:06

Good to hear that the SCM410 will manage any phase problems and can hook up line in no prob. For DI's I've got 2 countryman 85's, a fishman platinum and a radial j48 to choose from so I think I'm all set there. OK, I'll admit that I have used the "half-click" method before and been lucky...but you are of course correct. Why chance it on this one. So would it be fine to just take the insert ends on my 12 channel trs to trs snake and lift the tip wires and solder them to the rings with the existing ring wires and leave the HD24 ends untouched? Or do I need to keep it clean by going with 1 wire from ring on insert end going to the tip on the HD24 end? And yes, I really hope I can surprise them later with a nice mix...the key word here is surprise, just in case it doesn't work out well!

Boswell Fri, 08/09/2013 - 03:41

If you go for an SCM810, make sure it comes with the RKC800 XLR panel, otherwise you are in for an unexpected few hours (or days) of sourcing then wiring up the special plug-on terminal blocks on the rear of the 810. The SCM410s are equipped with XLRs on the chassis, and this may explain why they command a higher price per channel than the 810s, particularly an 810 without the RKC800 panel.

It doesn't apply if you are planning to use dynamic mics, but be aware that the SCM410 has only 12V phantom power, where the SCM810 has the normal 48V. I really don't know what was going through the heads of the guys at Shure when they specified that in the design of the 410. It's the main reason that I have the 810 rather than a pair of 410s in my hire stock.

For the insert take-off leads from the mixer to the HD24, if you already have some TRS jack leads with re-wireable plugs (rather than moulded), I would modify one end of enough leads for the number of channels you want to record. You can revert them after the event. What you need to do is disconnect the tip and ring connections on the ends that are to be plugged into the mixer, then wire the old tip wire to connect to BOTH the tip and ring, and the old ring wire to the sleeve (ground/screen). The HD24 ends are unmodified. Mark the cable in some way after you have done this, since it will still appear visually symmetrical. You can fully insert the modified ends into the mixer's insert jacks knowing that you are feeding the HD24 with the insert-level signal (usually 6dB below nominal) and that the FOH signal path will not be broken.

vibrations1951 Fri, 08/09/2013 - 14:20

Well I ended up going for the 810. Boswell, thanks for the heads up on the 410 12v as opposed to the 48v on the 810. I just might end up trying a mix of the nt5's and 57's if levels aren't what I need. I nailed an 810 with the RCK800 panel all hooked up for $250US shipped! I'm happy with that and it should easily get here in time. Your wiring advice is also greatly appreciated. I will definitely label it real good! I think that if I keep the Mackie pre gains up enough, I should get adequate signal levels to the HD24 but I do get how careful I will need to be in level setting overall. Again, so many thanks for all your help and great advice. The folks on this forum never let me bunch around! If you or anyone else has some further thoughts I'd love to hear them, otherwise, wish me luck...

Boswell Fri, 08/09/2013 - 15:28

That's a great price on an SCM810 with an RKC800. Rack 'em when you get 'em as the interconnecting cables can't take a lot of tugs.

You don't need high levels into an HD24. Keep the Mackie gain trims so the HD24 meters just go into the orange and you'll be fine. You can bring the levels up at mixdown if you need to, but you can't un-clip the "I will".

Sounds as though you will be all set for the BIG DAY. Just holler if anything crops up on your route there.

dvdhawk Sat, 08/10/2013 - 10:46

Congratulations to you and your daughter, but especially to the future son-in-law. (He's the lucky one in all this).

I've been a contestant in the outdoor wedding challenge before, it is a unique set of problems. One such job was remote enough to require a small generator, fun.

I have loads of wireless lapel mics and handheld mics at my disposal, so that helps. Of course you'll never get the bride to clip a tacky lav mic on her dream dress - but you can have the minister wear a headset mic, PLUS clip a lavalier onto the edge of his/her Bible, notebook, folder - facing the happy couple. Most modern-day clergy are tech savy to some extent - or at least technology tolerant. They almost always have some little book in their hands throughout the ceremony, it makes a nice place to hide a mic. As the officiant he/she will be doing most of the talking, but if the couple has written their own vows that would be a great thing to capture to your recording and amplify for the 'dearly beloved' that have gathered together. I've even resorted to hiding microphones (NT5's as it turns out) in flower arrangements for an indoor wedding where I was shooting the video (the NT5s were for recording only, independent of the live sound-reinforcement).

Outside, as has been mentioned, wind is going to be a big concern. You're stuck between needing very sensitive mics to pick up the voices from a distance and having mics SO sensitive the slightest breath of wind and you'll get nothing but unusable wind rumbling.

Pay attention to speaker placement/distribution to minimize feedback, because it will take a lot of gain to get the volume you might like outside. Especially since the circumstances don't really allow the participants to 'get right up on the mic'.

If I have anything that will make your life easier, don't hesitate to ask.

But don't forget the most important thing on the day of the wedding, she needs her daddy more than she needs a recording engineer.

vibrations1951 Sun, 08/11/2013 - 03:44

Thanks my friend. Yes my to-be-son-in-law is the lucky one but so am I, he's a tin knocker and helping with my studio HVAC install!!!Yes!! Lav mic suggestions were much appreciated but the wedding is the 16th (this coming sat.....omg!) and I don't have the access to them or much positive experience with them. We almost ended up with a generator (been there before...hate that!) but I convinced her mother (my "X") to get a tap off a line service pole. It's at the top of a relatively open field so I've got wind screens all around and keeping my fingers crossed. There will be a crowd of about 200 and my daughter hadn't even wanted sound reinforcement at all so hopefully she'll be happy with even modest amplification. As for recording + mixing, well that's a surprise present from me she doesn't know about...if it works that is!. The mains will be at least 10' in front of the mic line so that should help some. I greatly appreciate all the advice and offers to help. Your words of support are a big help and you are spot on about "the most important thing on the day of the wedding, she needs her daddy more than she needs a recording engineer". Best advice of all and I'll keep using that as my mantra! Well, time to go practice the 4 songs I'm playing for the pressure right? One would think that by my age reason and wisdom would trump enthusiasm and grandiosity and perhaps a bit of ego but...oh well - needs her daddy...needs her daddy...needs her daddy. By the way, how is your build doing?? Many thanks once again.

vibrations1951 Fri, 08/16/2013 - 02:19

Help again Please Boswell..DVD...others??

Update and quick question. The 810 should be here today finally. No way to test it all out yet! For overheads I want to try 2 NT5's over the happy couple (but maybe 2 sm57's), 1 angled to each of them from a wide stereo bar and 2 sm57's on a stereo bar angled toward the minister. I want to build in as much headroom before feedback as possible so here are the options I'm considering and need advice on: Signal chain is now Mics>810 (fed from the 810 2 channel output)> 2 individual channels of the Mackie VLZ 16. OPTIONS I'm considering. 1. Using both NT5's and sm57's ....put a 2 channel cloudlifter on 57's before going into the 810? 2. Using both nt5's and sm57's...put the 2 channel cloudlifter on the outputs of the 810. 3. Using all 57 overheads only...put cloudlifter on output of 810. 4. DON'T BOTHER WITH CLOUDLIFTER AT ALL? Perhaps I'm over the top??? Wedding jitters engaged!

Boswell Fri, 08/16/2013 - 02:57

You shouldn't really need additional gain (Cloudlifters) on anything, as the SCM810 has inherently 80dB of gain available, although it can be a bit noisy for the last 10 - 15dB. I'm puzzled by your mention of putting a Cloudlifter on the outputs (plural) of the 810, as it is a mono mixer and only has one output mix.

If you are having to use gains above 60dB for the SM57s, you may find that using Cloudlifters on those mics results in less pre-amp noise, although I would have thought that natural outdoor noises would be greater than that. I think it's a good idea to have a mix of NT5s and SM57s covering the ceremony area, but be aware that there may appear to be about 20dB difference in output between the condensers and the dynamics on the same source.

What is essential is that you do find time to patch up the SCM810 with at least two different types of mics beforehand, as its operation can be a little scary and disconcerting. You will have to set the switches on each channel (behind the input connector block) to select line/mic/mic+phantom power. I would run a pair of NT5s and a pair of 57s into the 810 and note the channel gain levels at which one input takes over from another on the same test source+distance, as the gain balance between the NT5s and the 57s may be the tricky thing to get right. Having said that, on-the-fly switching between a dynamic and condenser can sound a bit odd, so when installed in the final rig, you may have to do a test with a willing vocal volunteer to see whether the NT5s or the SM57s are going to be the best for giving your main sound. You can take non-gated direct outs from the output jacks on each SCM810 channel if you want safety channels for recording.

Enjoy the day, and don't get too panicked about the PA and recording!

vibrations1951 Fri, 08/16/2013 - 11:20

Quick update...unit arrived...Bos, my mistake on the 810 output, I was referring to the RKC800 xlr mult. I like the idea of redundancy for recording with the direct outs. I'm feeling KISS (keep it simple stupid!) is the best way to go right now and just use 57's. I downloaded the 810 manual so that will help too. Thanks for the advice and hints...ready to give a test run and then off to rehearsal dinner with hostile ex-wife and all!!! panicked???a wee bit! I'll get back to you when I can. ciao!

vibrations1951 Sun, 08/18/2013 - 09:55

Hey Max! Thanks for the congrats and I really like the pre-nup idea! Well the big day has passed and went relatively well. I have learned that signage is not enough for power supply. Next time my outlets will be duck taped and fool...lots of fools...proof! I was constantly pulling out hot plate plugs in MY BOX and then just before the start of things some idiot decided to do it again. Took down all the circuits...Sh@#$%^&T!1 So I finally get everything fired back up, no damage but...yup I forgot to hit record on the HD24. I finally figured it out and started when the minister did. Okay not too bad I thought. Let 'er run...9.5hrs @48HZ 16 channels...golden right? Wrong. There was a back up DJ to take over at 9PM. Time for me to power switched off...OH NO! I hadn't hit stop record on the nothin'. Oh well...saves me a lot of mixing later huh?! Well at least the recording was a surprise she knew nothing about. My son got it on video so we'll see. Bottom line is it all went real well with no disasters and the sound was damn near perfect! Many thanks to Bos, Pcrecord and DVD for the support! You guys are the best. I was dad first and that made the rest just fine...a few tears but they were happy ones all around.

MadMax Sun, 08/18/2013 - 17:25

There's a part of the utilities that lets you set the EOF = End of File... It's the length of the song (in Hr:Min:Sec:Frames) that gets written into the header of the file.

It's all in the directions/manual and pretty straight forward.

Not that I'mma HD24 x-pert... but if you run into anything and can't get a hold of anyone or find it in the forums/FAQ, gimme a shout.

vibrations1951 Sat, 08/31/2013 - 16:16

UPDATE!! To all of you thanks soooooooooooo much. Mark was a big help and I just finished transfering all the tracks to my DAW (Nuendo)! My son did a digital video and my hope is to put the sound track I got to the video and do this through Nuendo. I have no experience with this at all. Gonna have to get on a Nuendo forum I guess. Thanks again and again for all the help. I truly can't believe it! I got good tracks of the ceremony from the line out on the 810! Plenty good to work with. She will be so happy cause she doesn't even know I did any recording. wish me luck!