Area Mics


Active Member
For our musical production in March, we want to use area mics as well as miking the band and the actors. We want to use our vocal jazz mics for the band (i can't remember what these are exactly), lavs for the actors, and none phantom power area mics. Our problem comes with, what mics can we use that aren't phantom power for area miking since the phantom power will fry our vocal jazz mics. Also, what is the best locations to place the mics so we don't pick up the dancing, and get a clear sound that we can mix with?
With my experience with sound I think you can buy a phantom power adapter and use it just for specific mics instead of using the phantom on your board.
JahJahwarrior said:
what exactly is a "vocal jazz mic" and why will phantom power fry them? I thought phantom power was called that because it gave power to mics tha tneed it, and the ones that don't never "saw" it (it would still be there, but it woudlnt' affect them)

of course, you could always use inline phantom power things, which are basically boxes with a battery in them that put phantom power on individual mic's.
I was thinking the same thing about the inline phantom power boxes!!
Balenced mics that do not need phantom power will not be harmed by it.

Any unbalenced mics will be destroyed by phantom power...

Someone else should explain why- I know it has something to do with the coils

Check the mics- most are balenced- I don't think i have ever used an unbalenced mic before.
ricc0luke is correct, dynamic mics with balanced connectors will not be harmed by phantom power. Line level devices plugged into an XLR input with phantom on it, however, will.

That said, if your console only has one phantom switch that controls all unputs, you can either make sure to use 1/4" inputs for all line level devices, or put a transformer like an IL-19 that blocks the phantom power in line with those devices that won't be happy with phantom.
i think the mics are unbalanced, but i have to make sure, we also have wireless lavs that need to be used. i'm pretty sure the phantom power won't affect them, but if i fry our jazz mics, then i pretty much get killed.

These "inline powers" how do they work and what do they cost?

I also need advice on where to put area mics, these would be preferably hanging. and how far apart should the be and how high for best sound quality?

also, where is the best place to put hte recievers for wireless lavs so they are out of sight, but still pick up the signal properly?
falcon said:
also, where is the best place to put hte recievers for wireless lavs so they are out of sight, but still pick up the signal properly?

I'll leave the others to the sound nuts.I just know where the faders are and how to work the mute buttons. <g>

Do you have a catwalk which is easily cabled to your equipment racks? What I've seen and done is drill & drop the antenna sticks through the ceiling, with RF runs back to the rack. Obviously, it's best if you antennas which are similiar color to your ceiling.

Whoever makes the wireless kits you use likely also makes units that combine the rf signal from some number of their recievers down to one RF cable. Telex calls these antenna extenders I believe, combiner would be another term. You can then run the cable out of there to whereever you're going to sink the final antennas.

If the combiner is of the active sort, you're not going to be able to run RF cable straight from the receviers to whereever your mount point is for the antennas due to signal loss. Conversely, if the combiners are not active, I suppose you could start your own Arecibo station in the ceiling.

Now, this is all well and good - works great in a permanent install. It's probably overkill for what you're doing though. If you're mixing from back of house, front of house, where ever, why not just stick all the antennas on top of the flight case, out the back, whereever and be done with it?
As far as I have always known, the only mics that suffer ill efects from phantom power are ribbon mic. However, to identify if your mic is balanced or unbalanced, look at it's connector. If it has a 3-pin XLR output, it is balanced, if it has a 1/4"TS it is unbalanced.

Never used an outboard phantom supply, couldn't tell you more on them.

Area mics now, best bet would be PZM's. Shure makes a great one SM98 I believe (or ninety something anyway). If your using these in conjunction with lavs I would recommend not hanging them, but placing them around your set (behind a vase on a coffee table, as an unused light switch, by doors that have lines said around them frequently etc...)
I would recommend finding a few nice condensers if the PZM's don't work for you. SM91, AKG1000 etc... Fly them maybe a foot over the tallest actors head (sightline permitting) but as long as you aren't using monitors and you're careful, you should be able to pump the gains up as high as you need.

Wireless recievers function best when closest to the mic it's picking up. If your SM has a desk directly sidestage, see if you can comandeer some room on it, just keep in mind you don't want any large solid object between the reciever and the mic.
I have used these inline phantom power boxes, and basicly the one that I have used have one or two mic inputs in the back, a gain dial on the front (although some probably dont have this feature) and then one or two xlr or 1/4inch outputs on the back (that ouput a regular mic signal or a line signal depending on the gain setting and what the plug is labled) I dont have the boxes I used with me (they are in NJ) and dont know exactly what ones they are, I just know the quality was great, and you couldnt even tell they were in the signal path (added noise wise).
locations for the area mics will depend on the mic, gain, where you can put them and what you are using them for. im not a big fan of floor mics because i find that they pick up extra noise both from people walking and audience members in front. if i use any i use hanging choral condensers, upstage SR Center and SL and downstage SR center and SL.
yeah, if you are using unbalanced mics, then that's jsut kinda sad. those are the kind you would find on a karaoke machine or a computer mic. Ribbon mics...those you probably don't have either. :)

reciever placement...I have found that I get better reception (less dropout or fuzz) with the reciever closer. We used to keep it in the booth, which was one floor up (no floor there, it's a huge gym,) and a basketball courts length from where the mic was. No real problems, just sometimes, like on a low batt. I mmoved it to the stage, and set it on the drum monitors, and it picks up better, except in one spot it seems to drop out, for some really strange reason. But only after a few hours use on the battery. If it drops out there often, we know to replace the battery :) It's my youth group wireless. Try to get them either on stage, above actors, in the grid, or right off to the side. That would be best.

Best area mic placement? read the manual of the mic you are using. That will help you alot! also tell us the mic and model number. I've only worked with a few "area" mics so I don't know much but someone else here mgiht have worked with it before and be able to help you out.

inline phantom....they are like tiny boxes. I got one with a rented mic. (PZM) and that's the only one I've used. You could probably rent them. call up your local sound company and see.
Since you are still looking at the phantom power supply boxes, its rather simple. You just plug it into and outlet, run a cable from your mic to the box, and run a seperate cable for each mic you have to your board. So, if you have four mics, you have four XLR's going in, and four going out. They are really simple. I don't have the cost on any of them off hand. I know that Wood Wind & Brass Wind (A music and recently a DJ supplier has them.
Maybe start there or any other big time sound place.

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