Mikes for Kids' Conservatory?

jkowtko

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I'm looking for low-cost options for wireless body mikes to use for our summer childrens' conservatory shows -- if the sound quality is decent.

I recently noticed the GEMINI UX-16L for sale on eBay, new for $85 a unit.

I also know Samson Airline 77 has a AL-1 mini-transmitter with built in mike so you don't need a lav cord at all, however they're in the $200-250 range.

Has anyone used these or any other low-cost UHF system and had any success with it? The Gemini will supposedly handle six simultaneous channels, however it does not appear to be a diversity so I'm thinking lots of dropouts, etc.

I would appreciate any leads on brands or specific units to check out. Again, something in the $100 range. Otherwise I will be fashioning ear hangers for our Countryman B3 and have adults mount and unmount them from the actors during the shows.

Thanks. John
 

avkid

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I'm looking for low-cost options for wireless body mikes to use for our summer childrens' conservatory shows -- if the sound quality is decent.
I recently noticed the GEMINI UX-16L for sale on eBay, new for $85 a unit.
I The Gemini will supposedly handle six simultaneous channels, however it does not appear to be a diversity so I'm thinking lots of dropouts, etc.
One word: no.
Gemini= cheap DJ crap(not even the good kind)
If it's not diversity you're asking for trouble anyway!
 

Thefoxygranpa

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I believe diversity is a must. Samson also makes the Stage 55 series which is Diversity, runs about $160 for the lavalier set, although is VHF. I haven't personally used these mics before, although I've heard they aren't too shabby.
 

gafftaper

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While they are hardly the top of the line Sennheiser gear I've had pretty good luck with Nady gear in the past. I'm a big fan of www.musiciansfriend.com when it comes to shopping for good deals on audio gear. They've got some UFH NADY's with Diversity for $90 each Here. I've never used them but the price is right. Order one and try it out. Musician's friend will take it back as long as you take good care of it.
 
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soundlight

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If you can find it any more for a reasonable price, the Shure TPS (The Presenter) Wireless system (With T3 reciever, not diversity, includes beltpack and WL93 capsule) is a really nice system. We've had some at my high school for six or seven years now, and they've held all the way through. They still come through crystal clear, even with the original WL93 capsules, and they are just great little systems. While they are not diversity, we have never lost reception in all six years, and that means going through a cinderblock wall and a few heavy stage drapes sometimes, with up to 150' between receiver and transmitter, not line of sight.

But, on the other hand, my church has some of the Nady diversity systems (don't remember what model), and they'll hold up fine if you're nice to them. I seem to remember that it was really good to keep line of sight with these systems for them to really put a good signal through. Just make sure that you change the batteries every night during tech week and shows!
 

soundlight

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And if you're gonna get a whole bunch of wireless, you might check out this Nady quad system. It seems like a good deal, and has about the same ratings as the other diversity system. It's not UHF, but instead VHF, but I've had no problems with VHF mics as long as you check out your local. frequencies before ordering.
 

6ftstudios

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1. remeber; you get what you pay for
2. try it before you buy it
3. I'd suggest you just use the B3's that you've got. They're going to give you way better quality than anything else that you're going to buy (for the amount you want to spend). It will only take a little extra effort and a couple adults to help. If it is putting them on that you're worried about, then rent the E6's you need.
 

gafftaper

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Hold on... I missed that last line in your original post. You've got countryman's kicking around and you're thinking about buying something else? I guess I see the point of not wanting the kids to mess up your good gear. But a little talk on how to care for the mics followed up with some good supervision backstage and you should be fine. Take the money you save and hire a couple of good people to work back stage and supervise mic safety.
 

tenor_singer

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Hold on... I missed that last line in your original post. You've got countryman's kicking around and you're thinking about buying something else? I guess I see the point of not wanting the kids to mess up your good gear. But a little talk on how to care for the mics followed up with some good supervision backstage and you should be fine. Take the money you save and hire a couple of good people to work back stage and supervise mic safety.
Hi Gaff...

I've never heard of Countryman. How good are they in relation to the other brands that are often bantered about here?

I have AT and Telex at my school.

I'll take any responses in PM so I don't hijack this thread further.
 

gafftaper

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Hi Gaff...
I've never heard of Countryman. How good are they in relation to the other brands that are often bantered about here?
I have AT and Telex at my school.
I'll take any responses in PM so I don't hijack this thread further.
<hijack> Countryman is one of those little brands that you don't hear about as much. I think it's because they are very specific in their use to theater applications and not concert and music. Plus most small theater operations can't afford them. But if you were talking to a Broadway audio engineer they would know them very well. They make some of the best small microphones available. I had a set of Countryman stage mics about 5 years ago at my old school that were Amazing. You can use them as both a boundry mic or a hanging mic. Amazingly hot pickup mics that are so small they are invisible. Check out how tiny these things are... http://www.countryman.com/ <End Hijack>
 
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soundlight

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We just ordered 15 or so more E6 earset mics from countryman for our production of Urinetown. We want to expand our inventory, so we bought this year. Oh, and Countryman also makes a killer DI box. I've seen a number of tech riders in my internet searching that say "Countryman DI box," not just "DI box with ground lift". The Countryman Type 85 Direct Box is simply awesome.

Oh, and about the Freeport wireless. I love Sennheiser and everything, they make great mics, great wireless, etc. But they have apparently failed when it comes to the Freeport series. They just did not put enough effort in to entering the low-budget market, and these units are known for failure and rampant signal and gain overload problems. Possibly the only thing from Sennheiser that I'd never reccomend.
 

jkowtko

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Redwood City, CA
Okay, yes, I already have the Countryman lavs and I'm not taking them for granted. They've proven themselves to be much better sounding and more reliable (Kevlar wrapped cord, for example) than the stock AKG lavs. And even more cost-effective on maintenance. (Countryman will replace the head/cord for $99 on the B3s, so once I make the initial purchase it will only ever cost me $99 to effectively swap out for a new mike)

So, if I use the B3s and build the ear hangers, does anyone have suggestions on materials and/or pre-made hangers I can use? I'd like to end up with something that looks like the DPA4066 -- a thin version of a plastic-coated coat hanger for the cradle, and maybe stiff clear plastic tubing that I can slit down the middle, tuck the mic cord inside, and then fasten the tubing to the hanger. Any ideas?

To 'Tenor Singer' -- according to the concensus I've gathered, Countryman is probably the 3rd of the top 3 mics used in professional theater, behind the Senheisser MKE-2 and DPA (Danish Pro Audio). Both Senheisser and DPA are much more expensive but I understand also even better quality than Countryman. Countryman makes one model primarily for theater -- the B3 . The B3 has fairly small head and is on a flexible cord, to be hidden in the hairline, or clipped onto the lapel. Countryman also makes a "tradeshow" or "lecture" mike -- the E6 -- which has a really tiny head but is also attached to an ear bracket so must be worn along the face like a telephone operator's headset (although it's very thin/small so hard to see). The E6 is also much closer in price to the Senheisser and DPA units. So, the Countryman B3 turns out to be a 'best value' for community and otherwise lower budget theater that wants really good mic sound.

Thanks. John
 
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