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Mixing Wireless Microphones

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Hughesie, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone just quick question

    i have been mixing sound four years now and i have finally been asked to take the helm and mix WIRELESS MICROPHONES this is a big step for me because i have always just mixed overhead mics and foot mics and sometimes bands

    and i need some tips on mixing wireless microphones any tips
     
  2. audioslavematt

    audioslavematt Active Member

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    How many mics are there? What equipment is in your FOH rack? What console will you be using? Is that going to be a submix going to your main console?

    The first thing you need to do is patch everything for wireless and make the best use of your equipment. I'll help you out with that once I know what you have.

    The next thing you need to do is get an order for batteries. Multiply the number of mics by the combined number of performances and rehearsals. That will give you the number of batteries you'll need. I normally add an additional two for ever mic as spares. Change the batteries before rehearsal if nescessary and before every performance. If the actors are sweating a lot, see this thread http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3629.

    We'll get to seting things up and running the show once we know what we're working with.
     
  3. Soundguybs

    Soundguybs Member

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    There is not that much you need to do different. Just you know to stay on the ball during the show and don’t miss your cues and just run the show. You will be fine. I do shows with 24 Wirless, 7 Floor mic, and around 20 mic in the pit. I am the only one at the FOH a lot of the time during the show and I am doing everything from all of the SFX to all of the Wireless Mic’s and the Pit. You will be fine.

    I don’t know what you are running but if you only have at the most 2 or 3 Wireless up at a time you will be fine. As you add more open wireless, Rings will come a lot faster. Something you can do is to have a EQ just for your Wirless. (That’s if you have one that you can put there) This EQ is different from your mains and you just take out the Freq’s that are Ringing but just watch out how much you take out because you don’t want to take out to much and lose the clear sound.

    What kind of stuff are you using and what is this for?
     
  4. mbenonis

    mbenonis Wireless Guy Administrator

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    The key is to know the show. Once you know the lines reasonably well, you can mix line-by-line - that is, duck all of the mics other than the current speaker/singer by about 10 dB. This requires focus and practice, but it's the only way to get a good sounding show. Along with this, when two people are face-to-face, you should always kill one of the two mics. If you don't, you'll get comb filtering and the result will be terrible.

    Another thing to consider is where you will be placing your mics. You'll want to work with costumes and makeup to get the mics in the hair for anyone who has a decent amount of hair, and behind the ear for everyone else. Don't place mics on the lapel/chest, because it will sound really bad.

    Finally, get the mics going as early as you can. Ideally, start on the first full run-through (even if it isn't designated as a tech run). This will give you the time you need to get the show right.

    Good luck, and ask any questions that come up!
     
  5. AVGuyAndy

    AVGuyAndy Active Member

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    How do you guys attach the mics to the ear? I have a show coming up, and have always just put them on the chest, due to lack of time and annoying people.
     
  6. Soundguybs

    Soundguybs Member

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    I use a little Metal thing that I make it in a shape of a ear and tape the mic to that. Then you only need one peace of tape on the ear to hole everything. But that’s for guys. Girls sound best in there hair at the top of there forehead.
     
  7. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    As far as how to mount the mics, see this site...Jason's a sound guy out in Vegas who definitely knows what he's talking about (in fact, I was going to do a similar web page, but decided not to when I found Jason's, because his covers everything I was going to, with pictures and everything!):

    http://www.brightandloud.com/microphone-placement/.

    As for mixing, Mike's advice above is pretty spot-on, with one minor quibble. Mike says line-by-line mixing involves ducking the non-active onstage mics by 10 dB or so. In some situations, yes, I'll resort to that, but whenever possible, you should pull them all the way out (of course, we're referring to onstage actors here...all offstage actors are down all the way as a given).

    It's a lot of finger gymnastics, and takes some practice as well as knowing the script COLD, but it's the best way to get a good sounding mix. Start out as Mike suggested just pulling back partway, since there's a little more room for error that way (if you miss a pickup, the mic will at least be up, if not as loud as it ought to be). But, as you practice and get better, the end goal should be to pull the mic all the way down unless absolutely impossible--for example if there's a trio going on and you need to rapidly bounce between three mics, you can get the coordination down to duck the two that aren't currently active, but if things are going fast enough, you just won't be able to constantly pull the mics down.

    The hardest thing, as Mike hinted at, is mixing duets. One of the last off-Broadways I mixed only had three actors, so you'd think it'd be a simple show, but it was the most challenging show I've ever mixed in that it was all about duets. Every scene had a major duet, and in many of them the lead couple would be dancing up close while singing together, and then the woman would spin out (while still singing), then spin back in and immediately shout, "Noooooo, Gino!" right into the man's mic, then spin back out again...you get the idea. It just became a matter of fingers flying really fast, and learning which mic would pick up the opposite actor at which distance, so that I could make the transition from one mic to two back to one and have it sound clean.

    Again, though, while you avoid some of these problems with mixing floor and hanging mics, for a play, it's not all that different to how you should be mixing those fixed mics. Even with those, you want to avoid having more than one up whenever possible, it's just that there you're following the blocking first, and then the script, whereas with wireless you're primarily following the script, and then the blocking for things like duets.

    --A
     
  8. pattrick1

    pattrick1 Member

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    I briefly read through the thread, and I didn't catch what type of microphones were referring to, but assuming that their hand helds, I find it useful to identify a few key mics with color windscreens or vinyl tape. Why hand helds, for obvious reasons - they get passed around. If your having a full tech run, "assign" a color to certain performers and take a few notes on who is using what. It's more practical than guessing, but not nearly fool-proof. And a final thing I sometimes do, if you have an extra crew member, assign them to be incharge of microphone management on stage to ensure that the right performers get their correct microphone.
    Good luck, and like others mentioned, it's not that difficult. To me I have a tough time figuring out what microphone is where.
    Patrick T
     
  9. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Here is what i know and to awnser the question of all batteries and stuff that's sorted as for the patching of the mics it's fine

    here is some infomation you need to know to help me

    they are going to be sennheiser Generation two belt packs with the mic down the hair line for the girls and just behind the fringe on the left attached with a rubber band to their hair for the boys

    there will be 19 radios
    the desk is a Crest X8 (48 channel i think)

    that all i think
     
  10. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    I've done Wireless Mics for our musical two years in a row now, and the one thing you need to know is that it requires your full attention to the script and the stage.

    The more channels you have, the harder it is to set which ones you need at the right volumes at the right times and have them off when they're being exchanged to another actor.

    It gets easier each time though. Not a glory job.
     
  11. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    glory job at my school it is

    the highest job you can get
     
  12. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    Best advice I can give? Get to the theater an hour earlier than you think you should. This holds especially true in tech week(s) and for the first couple shows. The worst thing you can do is to rush yourself through setup and soundcheck. Take your time to try EACH mic out EACH night... don't just make sure you get sound through the system -- listen for cracks, pops, fuzz and feedback, talk into each mic and listen to the quality of sound coming out the speakers. Getting there early will give you the opportunity to troubleshoot (and hopefully fix) any problems you run into. If you don't find anything wrong? Great! Go and enjoy yourself -- go hang out with the other techs (or God forbid, the actors).

    Once things are setup and working properly, wireless mics shouldn't be any different than regular-old-corded mics. The only difference comes in how the signal gets from the source to the cable. Mixing the mics shouldn't require any different tricks than mixing non-wireless mics. Like other folks have said, (and this hold true for ALL mics, wireless or wired) *listen* to what's going on on stage and prepare, Prepare, PREPARE: know your script and cues inside and out.

    If things go well (and even if they don't, really) just make sure you have some fun in the process. Sound engineering is usually a thankless job -- if things go well, no one in the audience should know that you were even there. And be forewarned, if things do NOT go well, *every* one will know that you are there. There is typically no middle ground. If the role is something you enjoy, you never know, you just may make a career out of it!
     
  13. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    I just take the clip and everthing off a regular lav mic and run it over the ear and secure it with make-up clay.
     
  14. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    LOL...what I really meant is that I don't boast about it until I turn people green with envy having done a perfect job! :eek:

    Apparently I'm the best person for the job :twisted:
     
  15. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    i see it as a compleatly diffirent thing mixing wired and wireless i used to mix by sight if someone was near the mic i would turn it up

    i never read the script but by the fith night i knew the whole thing of couse that sucks becasue it was closing night anyway
     
  16. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone

    i just i would finish this story and add somethings that would i belive help other people that were in my position in the future

    1. KNOW THE SCRIPT (MOST IMPORTANT)
    2. KNOW WHERE YOU FADERS ARE not just oh on the desk but know so when rf 17 walks on the stage you don't have to look down at the desk
    3. don't drink caffinine before a show
    4. mix standing up (for the start of rehersals so that your legs get used to standing up for long periods
    5. Relax
    6. always check your mics are working (multiple times)
    7.don't remember these tips when you are meant to be mixing
    finally 8. have fun
     
  17. goodguy

    goodguy Member

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