How to use crown pcc-160

fhs-tech

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May 12, 2005
Can anyone give me some good operating guidelines for these mics? Such as how far downstage of action? Spacing? Everytime I try to use these they seem to be no help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

mbenonis

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In my experience, floor mics can be very difficult to use. When you use them, try to place them as far downstage as any action goes, so that nobody steps on them, but as close to the actors as you can get. As far as numbers and spacing, use an odd number if you can (with one in the center of the stage), and use as few as you can so you can avoid phasing issues. Otherwise, just set the gain carefully and mix carefully, and you should get decent sound out of them with a minimum of feedback.
 

soundlight

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I use three, all on the edge of the apron, because we always use all of the stage (all the way up to the edge of the apron). I always phase (polarity) reverse the middle one so that I don't have interference problems. Also, the balance between gain and volume level is VERY important and must be tweaked to perfection for these mics to work to their highest potential.
 

Andy_Leviss

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I always phase (polarity) reverse the middle one so that I don't have interference problems.
Polarity reversing the middle one isn't going to help you with phasing in that situation. The phasing that causes a problem in PCCs that are in overlapping pickup areas is over a much wider range than just being 180-degrees out of phase and is not linear across the entire bandwidth of the microphone. All polarity reversing does is produce an end result that is effectively the same as putting the input exactly 180-degrees out of phase across the entire bandwidth. It may help things minorly, it may do nothing, or it may make things worse. And then an actor can take two steps, and all the relationships involved will change.

The only way to effectively use multiple overlapping PCCs (or any other mic) is to actively mix them. Theoretically, a GOOD automatic mixer could work for a situation like a meeting, but for a play or other performance it's not going to be anywhere near as good as mixing manually.
 

PATech

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One little trick that I recently picked up from an old hand who's been mixing professionally since far before I was born is to incline the mic slightly towards the stage. He sets the mics up on a layer of foam that is slightly sloped (about 10 degrees or so) towards the stage. We used this technique when a touring tap-dance company came through and the increased quality of the pick-up and gain-before-feedback was impressive. With a few EQ cuts to take care of some hollowness in the sound, the PCC's picked up the taps faithfully and they sounded really transparent in the mix with the live jazz band in the pit. Has anyone else had success with this technique?
 
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Mar 15, 2006
The biggest problem we have with any pcc is to get too far forward on the stage. The reason for this is that we have a speaker cluster hanging just in front of the proscenium. Moving the mic down stage puts the mic pickup range too near the speaker output range. This doesn't allow for a lot of gain before feedback. We also have an hydraulic pit and the stage is hollow from pit edge to plaster line, so using floor mics we have to put foam under the mics to reduce the drum effect of the hollow stage.
Yes tilting the mics 10 deg. does help.
 

mbenonis

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I also place my PCC's on a piece of foam to reduce footstep noise. If you're wondering where to get foam cheap, you may not need to look further than your resident lampies. If they order Osram lamps, chances are they come wrapped in a piece of foam which is just the right thickness for use with floor mics. Just ask them to save it for you.
 
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cutlunch

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Jan 12, 2005
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Auckland, New Zealand
fhs-tech said:
Can anyone give me some good operating guidelines for these mics? Such as how far downstage of action? Spacing? Everytime I try to use these they seem to be no help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Have you checked out what Crown has to say about using their microphones properly.

The link below opens a PDF from Crown on the use of their range of PZM,PCC etc microphones.

http://www.crownaudio.com/pdf/mics/127089.pdf

This is the link to the info sheet for the particular microphone you have.

http://www.crownaudio.com/pdf/mics/101062.pdf

It is easy to put these microphones around the wrong way. PCC's have widest part across the stage whereas PZM have their narrow part across the stage. Also as these are phantom powered has the phantom power been switched on for the channels the mikes are on?
 
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mbandgeek

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Apr 1, 2006
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North Carolina
In a recent play for a middle school that i had worked, one of the actors was sitting on the edge of the stage very close to the floor mic. In haste to get of the edge, he knocked to off and it was just hanging there the only thing keeping it from falling was some tape to keep the cord down. A fall of a 5 foot high stage would probably have broken that mic, and from what i know is that they are not cheap.
 

jacobbiljo

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Feb 25, 2006
Location
Fonthill Ontario, Canada
from my experience with careless actors, the mic might actually have survived. it is common practise that when ever we lay down a pcc mic, we put a peice of tape across the from and back, holding the mic securely to the stage.
 

jimfellows

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Feb 2, 2007
Would these mics be recommended for the front of an elementary school stage to help pick up the actor's voices, in addition to hanging mics?
Also, any suggestions on hanging mics or any other way to amplify the
quiet elementary school kids?
 

Footer

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Saratoga Springs, NY
Ya, PCC will help, depending on your speakers positions. PCC pick up great what gets to them in the first place, and you have a pretty small amount of head room with them. PCC help reinforce, but they will not come close to them talking into a SM58. Hanging mics (I usually use the CM31) work pretty well if you can get them about 7' or so off deck and upstage of the proscenium. Both of these options will help, but really if there is not much coming in, your not going to get much coming out before you get feedback.
 

SHARYNF

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Sep 3, 2006
The connectors on these are a weak point, also I had one fail in a soft way where one of the components in the mic as part of the system failed, so the output level was very poor. Crown fixed it but it was a couple of hundred bucks.

Is it that you are not getting any signal level? or is it that you are not getting the pickup you need? reason is that these of course work by picking up on the reflected sound from the floor. In a lot of school productions, the actors are simply too close to the front of the stage to pick up enough. The problem of getting them too far forward and creating feedback from the pa speakers is an issue also.
Sharyn
 

mixmaster

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Aug 30, 2007
Location
Iowa
Can anyone give me some good operating guidelines for these mics? Such as how far downstage of action? Spacing? Everytime I try to use these they seem to be no help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
What is your application? I have successfully used these mics for a couple of years. Generally speaking, I space them about 8 to 10 feet apart, with the offstage mics pointing directly away from any speakers. (the speakers need to be in the null of the mic or you just pick up your program material. I typically also use the pads on my mixer channels as these are rather hot mics. Sometimes I flip the phase on every other one for spacing closer than about 5 feet but that only helps some of the time in my expeirience. Use foam pads under the mics. Make sure you have appropriate phantom power also. They seem to operate best with at least 24 volts. Older boards my not supply enough power.
Tell us more about how you want to use them and we may be able to give you more specific suggestions.
Best of Luck
 

pacman

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Jul 14, 2004
Location
Atlanta, GA
These are also great mics to use on grand pianos. Just use gaff tape to tape it to the underside of a grand piano lid. Make sure you use good gaff tape, casue it's not a happy thing if the mic falls off on the strings during the performance. It may take some experimentation, but finding the right spot for placement on the lid will be pretty apparent.

This is a good solution when you need a low profile on the piano so as to not block a chorus, etc.
 

mixmaster

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Aug 30, 2007
Location
Iowa
These are also great mics to use on grand pianos. Just use gaff tape to tape it to the underside of a grand piano lid. Make sure you use good gaff tape, casue it's not a happy thing if the mic falls off on the strings during the performance. It may take some experimentation, but finding the right spot for placement on the lid will be pretty apparent.
This is a good solution when you need a low profile on the piano so as to not block a chorus, etc.
I have also used ours on a Grand Piano also. You're right Pacman, it is much less obtrusive. I do mine a bit differently though. I tape mine to the wall of the piano inside the curve, right by the holes in the soundboard. I found I picked up less ambient noise that way. I usually pick one of the the holes that are near the middle of high strings and one of the holes that are near the middle of the low strings, but I have also had some luck with the "low" mic all the way at the end. I use two mics for stereo imaging and usually find myself rolling off a bit of the mids at the eq. This also has the advantage of not requing one to risk dropping the mic on the piano strings in the middle of the show. (this can be hard on the mic, the strings, and the soundguy's career.:rolleyes:)
 

Jonrob

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Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Does anyone ahve any advice on teh sound board to use in mixing with the pcc-160. We have an ancient sound board that we are going to replace. Brand new boards do not seem too expensive. Any thoughts on brands and other factors? Thanks. Jonrob
 

Sayen

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Jun 13, 2008
Location
Phoenix, AZ
The connectors on these are a weak point,
The connectors are terrible for a mic that you could probably run over with a car, and the cables are not cheap. I built some bases for ours, a square piece of heavy duty dark foam and then glued a black piece of metal tubing at the right spot for the cable. Run the cable through the tube, and then tape the mic to the base (and base to the floor at the same time) and they're almost actor proof.
 

Chris15

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Jul 15, 2005
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Sydney, Australia
Nothing to stop you building your own cables for the PCCs, they are only TA3F connectors on the output, wired pin for pin for XLR...

Here inlies the problem with the cables, the TA3F connectors...