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Topic: Microphone use
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Jul 29, 2005 11:05PM)
I did a show last night. It went well but I realized that one area I need to improve is my microphone use. I have one of the holders that goes around your neck but when I put the microphone in that it of won't pick up the sound.

Does anyone or has anyone practiced using a microphne?

Thanks
Simon
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Aug 4, 2005 10:46AM)
Gday Simon,

In the FX thread here in the Cafť this is a regular topic there. I for one use a headset mike. For some strange reason I don't really like using a big mike that hangs from my neck. It just seems to be in the way all the time. There are some really nice new slim mikes that are available that are not too expensive. If interested drop me a PM and I can put you on to some.

All the best
Message: Posted by: jonthewierdo (Aug 29, 2005 05:49AM)
I'd second a headset mike for magic acts, unless youíre doing something like the Electric Chairs which requires off mike cueing of specs then a handheld radio mike is easier.

In any event a Radio Mike is a must these days.......

If the mike does not seem to pick you up when in holder around your neck, it could be as simple as turning the volume up on your amp and/or radio mike receiver so that the mike head does not need to be held as need to your mouth.

There is nothing worse than performers who seem to like "eating" the mike.

Rehearsal of your act at home whilst using the mike also helps immensely.
Message: Posted by: John C (Oct 18, 2005 07:51PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-30 00:05, aussiemagic wrote:
I did a show last night. It went well but I realized that one area I need to improve is my microphone use. I have one of the holders that goes around your neck but when I put the microphone in that it of wont pick up the sound.

Does anyone or has anyone practiced using a microphne?

Thanks
Simon
[/quote]

Countryman E6 - headset mic. The only way to go. A friend of mine in the AV biz lent me one for a few weeks (actually it was supposed to be a few days but I kept it a few weeks) and as soon as I returned it I ordered one. $278.00 Finally I'm free.

John
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Oct 20, 2005 07:15PM)
The Countryman is a dream to work with, to be sure!

The problem with wearing a mike around your neck is likely a number of factors. Turning up the gain will surely help, but of course you risk feedback at higher gains.

The pickup pattern is also critical. An omni-directional mike will have a much greater chance of noise and feedback than a cardioid mike.

I personally use a Sanken COS-11. It is very small and I tape it at my temple with medical tape. This way I do not have a boom to get in the way of a more "natural" look. (Although the Countryman is pretty unobtrusive). I wear the transmitter (Sennheiser) strapped to my body with a Wireless Pouch adn adaptor kit from Neotech (www.neotechstraps.com)so that changing costumes does not involve changing the mike pack too.

Also the importance of getting a good sound-check with the technician should never be overlooked.
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Oct 29, 2005 12:19PM)
Thanks for the advice.

Actually, after reading the book "Maximum Entertainment" I thought that it would be better to use a handheld mic. I like the look of performing with a handheld mic and it allows me to have better interaction with audience members. Still, it is hard when performing a trick that requires you to use both of your hands and doesn't allow you to stand in proximity to a mic stand.

I am rehearsing with a mic now. Forgive my ignorance but what angle and distance from your mouth is it best to hold a microphone? One problem I am having is that when the mic is in the mic stand and I turn my head to make eye contact with people on the sides I seem to lose some sound. I usually use microphones supplied by the venue so I don't know what types of mics they are usually.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Nov 14, 2005 01:18AM)
I go through this also and also resorted to hand held. I have a neck holder homemade and looking for a commercial one. I like the sound a lot better than the headsets. I do mentalism and kids' shows so there is something about having your hands tied up though. I'll sacrifice the lack of sound during these times just to have a nice clear sound when I have to have it.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Nov 22, 2005 08:06AM)
Absolutely a wireless headset for me. Even when I do stand-up comedy magic at clubs, I take my own headset so that I can keep my hands free. That stand always seems to get in the way of this bit or that. Try doing card to forehead or some such active bit with a wired, stationary mic...what a pain!

When I'm doing straight stand-up without the magic, I use the house mic & stand for the potential by-play and pauses.

My opinion & preference.
Skip
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Nov 22, 2005 08:39AM)
I move around too much to use a standard or wireless handheld mic. And if you are doing any routine that requires spectator prompting, there are headset mics with a kill button, or you can just switch it to standby.
Message: Posted by: Regan (Nov 22, 2005 11:25AM)
I'm a wireless, headset guy too. I use a Shure PGX wireless system.

Regan
Message: Posted by: Caveat Lector (Jan 3, 2006 09:37AM)
The Countryman is by far one of the best mics you can buy. They are priced according to what type of unit you own. If you go to your local music store they should be able to help you out. Here is a link to the specs on the unit.
http://www.countryman.com/html_data_sheets/e6data.html
Message: Posted by: Regan (Jan 24, 2006 01:27PM)
You're right Caveat. The Countryman is supposed to be really good.

I am a singer also so I needed a headset for musical applications as well, so I went with the headset instead of the earset. I love the easy set up of the Shure I bought. I hope someday to get a top-of-the-line mic to go with the Shure receiver. Don't get me wrong, the Shure mic that came with the system is good, but AKG and Crown makes mics that are best for vocals. The AKG will adapt to my Shure receiver, so that is what I'd like to have. Crown may adapt also, but I'm not certain.

If you're wanting a wireless earset mic system strictly to amplify speech, the Countryman would be one of the best.

Regan
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Jun 12, 2006 08:57AM)
The countryman seems to be the way to go. I have heard so many people rave about it.

I mostly perform at hotels. Forgive my ignorance, but if I buy a countryman, is it just a matter of taking it to the hotel and plugging it in? Will this work in all venues?

Thanks

Simon
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Jun 14, 2006 02:47PM)
Sadly it is not quite that easy. The Countryman is just the earset mic, which needs to be "pinned" correctly for the wireless transmitter with which you intend to use it. The mic plugs into the transmitter, and the corresonding receiver unit (paired to your transmitter) is what plugs into the sound system. Then an entirely new set of circumstances come into play. High impedance, low impedance, connector types, etc. etc.

Truth be told, most rooms of up to about 200 people I don't even use a mic, as I am quite accustomed to projecting my voice (singing opera will do that to you!). As a rule of thumb, it is just too unpredictable to presume that the venue will have a decent sound system, let alone a qualified operator. When I need to use a PA I bring my own, as well as my own operator. This way we can EQ the room beforehand to make sure the sound will be great without any feedback issues.
Message: Posted by: Michael Bilkis (Apr 9, 2007 04:59PM)
I've used a mic on a stand and a wireless headset. The wireless headset is superior and even hands free. :cool:
Message: Posted by: Moth (Apr 9, 2007 09:28PM)
If you want to be working on a stand, you definitely are looking for an omni-directional (this was already mentioned once, but just in case you haven't decided for sure to go to the headset)

It sounds like you have a uni-directional - that means it'll only pick up in one direction. With an omni, you can "hit" the mic from all angles, so when you turn your head away from the stand it'll still get you.

As far as optimum distance? So you don't have to run it ridiculously hot, at least a spread hand width from your mouth to the mic - and if you spread your hand, place your index on your chin, and get the head of the mic to be intersecting with your pinky...well, that works for most folks.

Also - you'll want to speak at about 50% the volume you'd use to address the room if you were unamplified - so cut the audience volume in half, speak as if you're trying to get to the back row of THAT section - and you should be at a working volume.

-amanda
Message: Posted by: Jay Austin (Apr 18, 2007 10:50PM)
One advantage of using a wireless headset is that if you are going to preform something like hummer card or spun, you have a natural way to anchor your IT. It looks like you are adjusting your mic.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Apr 19, 2007 12:08PM)
I haven't read any of the posts so forgive me if this was covered. Forget the holder, forget headsets, forget lavs. Learn to do your magic using a corded mic on a stand. You will garuantee yourself that you will be able to perform anywhere, under any situations. Trust me, it can be done. For proof see my performances on youtube - just do a search for John Pyka - and you'll see what I mean.
Message: Posted by: Justin Style (May 10, 2007 10:52AM)
I have been using a lavaliere mic for 17 years. (Same one!). I like it; it's good quality and has always been dependable. I have a good receiver and run it through a mini mixer. I can keep the gain up to a high enough level so I can talk over the music and I put a windsock over the mic to reduce any noise. Before I go on stage I put the mic power pack in my back pocket then run the wire underneath my shirt. Then I clip the mic just below my top button. It looks OK and there are no wires flopping around on the inside of my jacket.

Sometimes, I donít bring my whole setup so in those events I bring a mic holder that goes around the neck. It has a little breastplate and the mic fits into it. This is good but I only rely on it when I need a quick holder and when I wonít be doing that much moving around. The mic has a tendency to swing, so to combat this and to minimize the movement, I take some invisible thread and tie it onto the mic, then tie that to my shirt button. This holds the mic in place and doesnít look weird. This also helps keep the mic cord going down instead of being pulled to the side.

We have a headset here at the studio but I donít feel comfortable wearing it. I guess Iím too self-conscience? Itís one of those things I think I will have to get used to. I guess its something like getting used to wearing contact lenses? Some people can put them right in and go, others need time to adjust.

Good luck, just remember; buy the best!
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (May 11, 2007 02:44PM)
Case in point:

This past weekend at the International Battle of Magicians in Canton, OH - Palace theater show - Chris Mitchell who was very polished as a performer used a lavelier mic with horrendeous results. Constant problems with feedback, muffling and rustling. Just horrible. Also the sound was so canned. It literally sounded like he was speaking through a tin can. Save thing happened with the Reed Sisters - horrible feedback.

Felding West used mic on a stand. Guess what? Not a problem once. No feedback, and crystal clear sound when he wanted it!

Russ Merlin used a handheld mic on a stand, and with a great around the neck holder that I have never seen before. I have seen these, but his was not like the ones you see in the magic catalogs. I think it must have been custom made, becuase it put the mic right on his chin (where it should be) and he moves A LOT and that mic never jiggled or wavered once! He moved it between his hand, that holder (only when needed) and the stand. It was poetry.

Please for the sake of all that is holy - Learn to use a good mic on a stand! And learn first to use a corded mic! Any other way is just unprofessional.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (May 12, 2007 11:42PM)
Agree totaly with BDC above!!

One area I was not as polished as other performers was in using a mike -on a stand, cord, & cordless

Now I have 3 I use in each show & the last year this has improved my show by so much just being familiar with using mics etc

Good thread!!!
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (May 13, 2007 04:17PM)
I do refer everyone to read Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber. He really goes into extraordinary detail about this subject, and his reason for not using a headset or lav go far beyond the technical - It has to do with the fundamental character of the magician!

Check it out.
Message: Posted by: Magic Mike Japan (Jun 7, 2007 06:58AM)
Allow me to add my two cents here. I've used Madonna mikes (wireless headset), lavaliere mikes (clip-on), and wired mikes. Nothing looks and sounds more professional than a good-old Shure 58 mike, hard-wired. It just takes time to get used to when you can and can't use it.
Message: Posted by: WizardB (Oct 19, 2007 11:56AM)
There is nothing more useful or important than good old fashioned voice projection...I learned this in a theater class in 6th grade. I only use mikes when the audience is talking during my act (at a fair or something), or the acoustics of the room aren't conducive (gymnasium, arena, etc.).
Brian
Message: Posted by: MagicMikeMartin (Oct 20, 2008 08:42PM)
I have been researching an audio solution for my performances and I remember a few having a line out which can be used to record your show.

This seems like a great way to capture your audio and music to playback later.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Oct 21, 2008 11:58AM)
All superb advice, but unless I missed it, one suggestion has been missed. Block and Rehearse your show using a hand-held, corded mic. Even if you have some electronic solution to the mic issue, the best electronics have problems. If and when that happens, I can tell you right now, better to use a house mic than to not perform at all. Using a house mic in a show that has never considered it is only marginally better then not performing at all. It's to easy a solution to a potential problem to not be accounted for. A 1 inch section of wooden dowel about 1.5 feet long, a small eye screw, and about 100 feet of sash cord make the perfect rehearsal set up. Build your fake mic and do your entire performance using it like a mic. First, you will be astounded that anyone can work with the stupid things. In time, you will augment your performance so that neither you, nor your audience, notices the mic. The next time you get to a performance, and nothing is going right, at the very least you will have that option was available.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jan 7, 2009 12:01AM)
Just this week gone - As a stage manager-we had a major convention & had numerous probs with pre checked lapel mics

Sure enough the trustworthy mic on a stand -great sound -no problems!!

cheers
Message: Posted by: ferrari (Apr 26, 2009 08:46PM)
Headset mic is what I use works great
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 13, 2009 01:53PM)
[quote]
On 2007-04-09 22:28, Moth wrote:
If you want to be working on a stand, you definitely are looking for an omni-directional (this was already mentioned once, but just in case you haven't decided for sure to go to the headset)

It sounds like you have a uni-directional - that means it'll only pick up in one direction. With an omni, you can "hit" the mic from all angles, so when you turn your head away from the stand it'll still get you.

As far as optimum distance? So you don't have to run it ridiculously hot, at least a spread hand width from your mouth to the mic - and if you spread your hand, place your index on your chin, and get the head of the mic to be intersecting with your pinky...well, that works for most folks.

Also - you'll want to speak at about 50% the volume you'd use to address the room if you were unamplified - so cut the audience volume in half, speak as if you're trying to get to the back row of THAT section - and you should be at a working volume.

-amanda

[/quote]

I couldn't disagree more on almost all points.

1) Use a cardioid mike. Practice with it like you would any other instrument or prop. Then you will know how to turn your head so you can hit the mike when you want to.
Using an omnidirectional mike invites feedback.

2) Don't run the mike as hot as you think you need to. If you speak at half volume, as Amanda suggests, you lose the excitement in your voice. It will make you sound like an FM DJ. If you do run the mike hot, back off from it and aim your head toward it. Some performers will run a series of cardioid mikes along the edge of the stage so there are several hot zones. Then the mikes will pick you up from almost any position. Just turn your head in the general direction of the mike and speak up.

3) Do not set your PA system to overcome your vocal deficiencies. Many performers tend to run their amps with high bass and low treble. This makes them sound boomy and muddy. If you want to err in one direction or the other, cut the bass a bit and increase the treble. Treble will cut through the crowd.

4) Do a pre-show check. Then MAKE SURE THAT NOBODY MESSES WITH THE SETTINGS. I can guarantee you with 90% certainty that in all of the cases where the sound was horrible on the wireless units, that someone fooled with the settings OR they were bad units in the first place.

I've been working amplified for a good 45 years. Get a good set of mikes and learn how they work. Don't buy junk. The ones I use are broadcast quality, not second line junk.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who will invest megabucks in an illusion show and will cheap out on their sound systems.

BTW, your sound system is one of your props. Take it with you. Don't use a house unit unless it is your ONLY option. You wouldn't use someone else's Zig-Zag or Impaled, would you?
Message: Posted by: MagicalDuda (Jun 15, 2009 01:50PM)
Maximum Entertainment = Excellent book
Message: Posted by: corsufle (Jul 27, 2009 01:39AM)
[quote]
On 2009-06-15 14:50, MagicalDuda wrote:
Maximum Entertainment = Excellent book
[/quote]

I agree about Maximun Entertainment. Also, speaking as an audio engineer, I agree with almost everything Bill Palmer said above.

I'd advise keeping it as simple as possible so there will be fewer things to go wrong. Specifically, a mic on a cord is simpler than a wireless mic. A dynamic mic (e.g. SM-58) is simpler than a condensor mic. Learning how to speak loudly and clearly is simpler than trying to use EQ or effects to make up for deficiencies. Avoid audio equipment that requires batteries.

Obviously, different people have different preferences and special situations require special considerations. If anyone disagrees, that is OK with me.

My last piece of advice is to learn some basic troubleshooting skills so you can quickly find the bad connection or cable or gear and swap it out. Also learn what causes feedback (usually pointing the mic at a speaker or having the gain too high) and don't do that.

Sorry if I rambled off topic.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Apr 29, 2010 03:03AM)
[quote]
On 2007-05-13 17:17, Big Daddy Cool wrote:
I do refer everyone to read Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber. He really goes into extraordinary detail about this subject, and his reason for not using a headset or lav go far beyond the technical - It has to do with the fundamental character of the magician!

Check it out.
[/quote]

Agree totally-Great Advice in this book

The most problems Ive seen in many shows is poor head set Mikes quality or interference etc..
and what has always saved the day
is a reliable old Shure Mic in a stand as mentioned here, headsets sound is never as good-always muffled to some degree

Keep it in a stand when using your hands & take out when talking to the audience etc.. Looks great for what we do

All the comedy clubs use a Mic in a stand-why?-Reliability

Cheers
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Feb 29, 2012 07:06PM)
Here is a guy who will teach you to use a stand up microphone correctly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfTZjJRJ0wg&feature=related
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Apr 16, 2012 07:39PM)
[quote]
On 2005-08-29 06:49, jonthewierdo wrote:
I'd second a headset mike for magic acts, unless youíre doing something like the Electric Chairs which requires off mike cueing of specs then a handheld radio mike is easier.

In any event a Radio Mike is a must these days.......

If the mike does not seem to pick you up when in holder around your neck, it could be as simple as turning the volume up on your amp and/or radio mike receiver so that the mike head does not need to be held as need to your mouth.

There is nothing worse than performers who seem to like "eating" the mike.

Rehearsal of your act at home whilst using the mike also helps immensely.
[/quote]

I agree. I have been through so many mics and now use a handheld with a neck holder. I find a handheld just cannot be beat. Just have the dee jay turn up the volume.
Message: Posted by: jcss (May 28, 2014 08:52PM)
The problem is that the lavalier is easy to engage the sound
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Apr 29, 2016 08:09PM)
[quote]On Feb 29, 2012, Jim Sparx wrote:
Here is a guy who will teach you to use a stand up microphone correctly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfTZjJRJ0wg&feature=related [/quote]

Unfortunately, this link no longer works. Can you please post a working link, or a t least post the name of the performer that has taken the time to speak on this important subject so that we might do our own Youtube search and locate his tutorial video on the art of using hand mics effectively? Many thanks.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: M. Tesla (May 25, 2016 01:24PM)
When I did my stage act I used a wireless mike and a mike on a stand for volunteers (the stand had a holder on it for the mike, so the mike could be slipped out and put in the hands of someone if necessary). When I played large venues I used m own sound system; two tower speakers, a mixing board, a wireless mike for me, and a mike on a stand for volunteers...I could handle a 10,000 square foot hall with this equipment. When I performed stand-up, per se, at a grocery stores, promotions, malls, whatever, and other similar types of performances, where I stood in the same spot with a table in front of me, I used a small amplifier, a small sound board, and a smaller wireless mike set up. I have two tower speakers, the mixing board, a better wireless mike, and a stand mike, but I also have a large single speaker amplifier, and a smaller single speaker amplifier, and several wireless mikes of varying degrees of size and quality...I guess the sound equipment I had (and still do) could handle quite a bit...I never found an around-the-neck mike holder that was worth a c*r*a*p...
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Aug 30, 2016 02:40AM)
6 years ago I wrote in this thread and many hundreds of corporate shows later still use a top of the range shure mic on a stand and PA system ,which I do a thorough sound check at every show with my own gear...main reason for me is better quality of sound in the mic and settings as mentioned in many of the great posts above..I havent tried very often a mic in a neck holder that's worked really well..I am very comfortable with a stand and have no problems doing effects in my hands.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jul 15, 2018 12:10AM)
[quote]On May 12, 2007, Big Daddy Cool wrote:
Case in point:

This past weekend at the International Battle of Magicians in Canton, OH - Palace theater show - Chris Mitchell who was very polished as a performer used a lavelier mic with horrendeous results. Constant problems with feedback, muffling and rustling. Just horrible. Also the sound was so canned. It literally sounded like he was speaking through a tin can. Save thing happened with the Reed Sisters - horrible feedback.

Felding West used mic on a stand. Guess what? Not a problem once. No feedback, and crystal clear sound when he wanted it!

Russ Merlin used a handheld mic on a stand, and with a great around the neck holder that I have never seen before. I have seen these, but his was not like the ones you see in the magic catalogs. I think it must have been custom made, becuase it put the mic right on his chin (where it should be) and he moves A LOT and that mic never jiggled or wavered once! He moved it between his hand, that holder (only when needed) and the stand. It was poetry.

Please for the sake of all that is holy - Learn to use a good mic on a stand! And learn first to use a corded mic! Any other way is just unprofessional. [/quote]

Agree with above comment, As a Professional corporate entertainer Ive been using a mic on stand for years,uni directional and the sound quality is excellent. Ive been part of and seen too many shows ruined by headset mics and poor quality sound & feedback even with professional techs and they all end up using emergency mic on a stand in the wings etc.

I know using sound is personal for each performer but you can rehearse your act using a handheld mic and a stand,Ive never had a problem and know my routines so well the mic is just an invisible accessory, Fielding West is so good with his show and Mic. Cheers