Double-miking the leads -- Trx placement?


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When you double up on the lead actors in a show, where do you place the two transmitters?

For the single wireless on the actor, I've made belt packs that place the Trx in the small of their back at waist height, much like:

So with two transmitters, do I place them side by side, one above the other, or in different places on the body?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I may try to use one of these in our current production.

Thanks. John


I've used a belt like the one in your link just with an extra pouch sewn in next to the existing one without any RF interference. More important than proximity might be the comfort of the performer and the safety of your packs, as long as your frequencies are intermod free.


Active Member
Some transmitters will cause horriffic sounding intermod when placed in close proximity. Some companies drop all their hand held wireless units in bread pans at the monitor desk to keep them isolated untill the performers pick them up. This can be more of a problem with VHF mics than UHF, and the newer ones may not have any issues at all.

If you've got frequency agile units, try and space the adjacent mics as far apart as possible in the spectrum. Before you go to any trouble, try a pair. You may not need ot do anything.


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To handle transmitter outages and/or signal issues. I understand this is pretty standard practice for lead actors -- if you have the equipment available, of course.

We have been fortunate to have had very few outages during performances, but the times when we did it was stressful to determine the issue and come up with a workaround. In Music Man, Harold Hill's mike went out just before 76 trombones, and we had to play the first half of the song (the singing part) ridiculously low so you could hear his unreinforced voice. During La Mancha, Sancho's mike went out during one of his solos -- fortunately he has a loud voice and it was "okay" although you could hear it was not reinforced.

For La Mancha I could have double-miked Cervantes, Sancho and Aldonza. But too late now -- closing weekend is coming up.

For Smokey Joe's I will have all nine actors body-miked, but since they are all leads I don't have enough wireless equipment (12 wireless total), so I will put two handhelds in pockets on either side of the stage for them to grab if their wireless goes out.

But for future musicals where we have only a few leads I would like to use double-micing as a backup strategy.


The bread plate trick you're talking about is to stop the transmitter and reciever from creating an audible frequency from being to close in proximity. Simply spacing out the frequencies you want to use won't correct intermodulation problems; for this seek out an online intermod. calculator.


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To handle transmitter outages and/or signal issues. I understand this is pretty standard practice for lead actors
On the great white way, yes.
In the kind of theatre we do, it's unheard of.


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Since this forum is focused on learning best practice, I will make the following comments

It is important to look at a problem or potential problem, and try to determine the fundamental issue and address that, look first at tried and proven solutions, and only after all else fails look at what I would call the RUBE GOLDBERG solutions.

There seems to be a pattern here, that at least warrants a caution

If you look back over a number of problems posed, and some of the suggested solutions, many of them seem to ignore the basics and move to the exotic

The issue of making the pre recorded music sound more realistic..
typical solution involves looking at the best quality that is practical from the speakers you have, eq'ing carefully, and being careful of speaker placement
Reverse facing into a baffle for reflected sound would typically be considered to be exotic

The issue of near fill for close in seats, in addition to the normal seating, is a very typical problem, and it has been solved thousands of times, by the use of near fill speakers, and the standard pa. Attempting to solve this problem via a wide pattern speaker where with pattern control is extremely difficult out side of line array designs, and introducing all sorts of other problems is again exotic.

The current issue. Typically this type of wireless gear if of decent quality on purchase, and if properly maintained, and properly protected and placed on the actor, is very reliable. The problem seems to be failures that would indicate a lack of maintenance. Cables and connections are delicate, mics are subject to a lot of sweat and need to be protected, batteries need to be changed before every performance.

What can be done in a no expense spared situation for a multi million dollar, hundred plus dollars per ticket situation is one thing, what is practical in a more realistic situation is another

On broadway, sure some situations double micing is uses, it is problematic and very trickey. Some shows especially thosed with canned musicians, actually have a multi track system with each of the vocal tracks pre recorded in time code sync with the abilty to instantly punch in in the case of a failure, or flubbed line or what ever.

In most cases especially for people learning the simplest solution is the best, coupled with an attention to detail on maintenance to prevent the problem from happening. Sharyn


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Sharon, I agree on all fronts. My "shortcuts" are primarily due to lack of money, resources and time, and trying to make due with the equipment, people and time that I have -- as well as my coming up to speed on the best practices and gaining enough clout to persuade the other production directors and managers of what I think needs to be done or should not be done.

I already do a lot of what you referenced (equipment care, etc), but a lot of it I haven't gotten around to yet or just don't have the time to do it right. And the theater, frankly, doesn't care too much ... they have so many other issues to deal with in the productions that sound falls low on the list of priorities. They definitely appreciate what I have been able to do in improving sound quality in our shows, but they aren't proactive in this area.


Well-Known Member
What you describe is a sad but common situation. One thing to consider is if the work arounds are really going to work, and also if you would get more respect and authority if you insisted on the correct correction to the problems. I sense that the people in charge are not all that technical savy (surprising based on your location), but a theatrical group that does not value the sound of their production is sad indeed. There is a danger in some cases of rube goldberging solutions, in this type of environment, where you have management that has probably learned to just say no to everything as a way to survive on small budgets, but also learn that at some point the "recomendation" becomes an necessity.

Back to the situation at hand, the current state of wireless IF you are looking at the majors, and not radio shack, or samson or azden lower lines, is reliable. The cables, connectors, batteries, and mics are delicate. Carefully checking the cables and connections, and the mics, and protecting them should make your reliability high.



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How could you forget Nady? I know, I know, you keep trying.:twisted:

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