okay im doing the show south pacific and we have 7 wireless mics running and i wanted to know what everyone does to listen to the mix through headphones while wearing a clear comheadset im having trouble with holding the headphones and adjusting everything if any one has sugggestions let me know
Get off the Cleancomm! Find someone you can have sit next to you and listen wear that headset (preferably a newbie). Don't wear your headphones the whole time either. Use them as a reference and to check things. Listen to what the audience is actually hearing. If you can use a smaller console for wirelesses and another for monitors, effects, and area mics, you'll make your life much easier and the mix better.
I had an idea a while back to invent a little box you plug your headset into, then has 2 leads: one 4 pin XLR to plug into your beltpack, and one TRS to plug into your console's headphone jack. Then just a knob to adjust the mix between coms and phones. I haven't thought far enough into the project to devise the circutry needed, but it might be easiest to just put a volume knob for each signal instead of a single mix knob. Then of course the mic would just pass straight through... unless you wanted to put a switch so you could use the box as your beltpack, you could then potentially run it as a beltpack off any headsetjack, be it on a base station or wall station or whatever. Hmm I should patent this...
Do not some console manufacturers include comms capabilities into consoles? I might be wrong, but I had thought that I had seen it.
It would not be hard to build the simple mixer Radman was describing. But, dependent on the connector used by your comms headset, you might only get mono sound and that could be a problem when using the mixer headphone output.
Now I understand that on some comms systems, you can just take the audio line straight and amplify it, so you could take a splice before the beltpack, feed it into the mixer on a spare channel or something along those lines. From memory, it is not a balanced signal.
If you could figure out which two pins are the recieveing pins it would be really easy to make a 4 pin XLR to TS and 4 pin XLR. Several manufacturers put comm circuitry in their consoles, but no one seems to use them. I've seen three or four consoles with this set up and the jack is always empty.
The answer is that you should NOT be on comms while mixing a show. You shouldn't be wearing headphones the whole time either. If cues need to be called, you need an assistant to run them.
Now, in the event that you do need to use comms and headphones at the same time, what I do is wear the comm headset (with one earmuff) and then wear the cans on top of the comm. It looks funny but works well.
I hope you don’t spend the whole time with the headphone on. You should be listening to what the house hears not what the headphones sound like, unless if a mic is not working right. But besides that, I put the Clear com on top of the board but where I can see the call Light. Then tell who ever is calling the show to flash the Call every time they need you and you pick up when it flashes. It does has it down side when other people hit it because they don’t know how to use a Clear Com. Just try to get the Box with the Biggest light so it really stands out.
The other option that I sometimes do is put the ear piece for our clearcom behind my ear and turn the volume way up so i can hear it without it being on my ear, or at least hear that someone is trying to talk, and then turn it down and put it on my ear to listen.
I'll definately second the fact that it's not a good idea to wear headphones while your mixing. Sure, listen to a specific mic once in a while, or maybe listen to a monitor mix for a second, but besides that, listen to the house.
The way it's done in most professional situations is to use a cue light and a handset on the com pack.
Cue light gives you: A)signal for playback cues that the SM needs to cue, B)call signal if the SM or somebody else needs to talk to you on Com (the SM will rapidly flash the cue light, to get your attention and distinguish it from a normal standby light.
Then on the ClearCom station you have a handset (looks like a telephone handset, but it has a big push-to-talk button on the grip. This way you can pick it up, hear what you need to, talk if you need to, and then put it back down and go back to mixing the show.
Somebody mixing a show should never, ever be on headset. An operator on a playback show, with no mixing involved, it's slightly more arguable, although at most it should be a single-muff lightweight so that at least one ear is open to hear the sound (particularly important in judging fade rates).
Do you have the base station in one of your racks at FOH? The show I just finished had the base next to the board, I just turned the speaker in the base on and got all my cues and mic assignments through that. Obviously you wouldn't do that during the show, but it works great during rehersals.
But yeah, don't mix while on the headsets, especially the double eared ones
I'm gonna say at the risk of being flammed that there are some times where it would be apporpriate for a sound guy to be on heads. Mainly for shows when sound is playback only, possibly with some area mics where little actual mix will be done. Also some mixers to have headset stuff built in, our mackie does, but we stopped using it after we found out our headset was being sent into a monitor on stage
But for a situation where you are mixing 7 mics you should be off any sort of headset.
as to the other part of your question, high light your script so you know where your actors enter and when. then make sure they know that they are "live" rightr before the go on. its a personal pet peeve of mine to have a line delieveered tehn the sound guy goes, oh right he's talking! and you only get 1/2 the line
The guy that runs for mics for our shows, keeps his headset around his neck the whole show, the person running music next to him always has their headset on so they just hit him when he needs to get on the headset.
When it comes to headphones, we don't really use them other than to check that the mics are working when we run out of time for a mic check, so we use the headphones to check them while the audience is coming in. During the show just listen to what the audience is hearing, they're what really matter.
Honestly, i dont even have headphones on the board for theater, even musicals. Its just a pain, and the sound is always compleatly different in the house than in the headphones anyways. As to comm systems, i actually stole this one from another guy. I found one of the handhelds that looks like a phone and has a big butten and light for the call butten response so u dont have to wear the headset.