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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Time after time » » Microphone use (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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aussiemagic
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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
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Al Kazam the Magic Man
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Gday Simon,

In the FX thread here in the Café 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
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jonthewierdo
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I'd second a headset mike for magic acts, unless you’re 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.
John C
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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


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
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Frank Simpson
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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.
aussiemagic
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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.
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Decomposed
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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.
Skip Way
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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
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Bill Nuvo
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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.
Regan
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I'm a wireless, headset guy too. I use a Shure PGX wireless system.

Regan
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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
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Regan
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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
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aussiemagic
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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
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Frank Simpson
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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.
Michael Bilkis
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I've used a mic on a stand and a wireless headset. The wireless headset is superior and even hands free. Smile
Moth
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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
Jay Austin
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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.
Jay Austin

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Big Daddy Cool
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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.
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Justin Style
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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 don’t 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 won’t 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 doesn’t 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 don’t feel comfortable wearing it. I guess I’m too self-conscience? It’s 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!
Big Daddy Cool
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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.
Swing hard, swing often, and we'll catch ya on the Flip-Side!
John Pyka
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