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Author Topic: Lavalier vs handheld  (Read 601 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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Lavalier vs handheld
« on: July 01, 2018, 11:07:44 pm »

So, another "I think I know the answer" question.  I know the issues with using a lavalier-tonight we had an outdoor service and I declined to take the lavalier because past experience says "bad idea".  Same special speaker we had in the morning and lavalier was a bust-he just didn't project enough-ended up using the pulpit mic and it was sorta OK.

This guy is a decorated Vietnam vet and the real deal-but has a hard time holding a mic in his hand due to war injuries, so he does something off the wall-takes our SM58 wireless and sticks it in his left shirt pocket.  Sounds fantastic.

I know I will get asked this week, "Why can't the lavalier work like the handheld-the mics are in the same place relative to the speakers mouth".
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Steve Swaffer

Lee Douglas

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 11:23:22 pm »

http://www.shure.com/americas/support/find-an-answer/which-lavalier-mic-should-i-use

It can.  They're available in omni or cardoid.  Neither one will work especially well if your speaker can't/won't speak correctly.  It's also important for your purchaser to understand the difference between the use of a lav on TV, where it simply gathered for recording/broadcast and live sound, where it is in the same space as speakers trying to reinforce it.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 11:45:23 pm »

Actually if I need to use a lav I would rather use one outside
instead of in a room that most likely is reverb chamber.

If at all possible look at using a earset/headset style mic, even a budget model will work better and more consisent than most lav mics.

Jerome Malsack

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 11:23:17 am »

When using a cardiod  lav it needs to be treated like the handheld.  Most of the time the omni Lav is placed where it fits and the mic head appears to point left or right and not up.  The cardiod when pointing up works ok until the person turns his head.  So you want the person to move his body and not his head.   

With the headsets are they omni or cardiod ? most are omni.  so again prone to feedback easily.   you will not now if you do not try to work with them.  Turn down the gain some and have them speak out and project the voice.  Ensure the body packs are not over loading and clipping. 
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 12:25:17 pm »

I know I will get asked this week, "Why can't the lavalier work like the handheld-the mics are in the same place relative to the speakers mouth".

A classic issue with lavaliers in a House of Worship environment is that proximity changes dramatically from when someone is speaking forward versus bowing their head.  FOH needs to not only ride the fader, but also the LF.

Headsets are definitely the way to go.  Which style of headset opens another can of worms.

Dave
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 01:47:07 pm »


With the headsets are they omni or cardiod ? most are omni.  so again prone to feedback easily.   you will not now if you do not try to work with them.  Turn down the gain some and have them speak out and project the voice.  Ensure the body packs are not over loading and clipping.

I generally like an omni headset better, cardiods can sound strange if they slip or get bumped out of position, omnis are more consistent.
Omni headsets have the advantage of only being a inch from the mouth that helps considerably on the gain before feedback.

Now how do we get everyone to "speak out and project the voice"
Is it just me or are people speaking softer these days when they do a presentation.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 08:30:26 am by Mike Caldwell »
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Ken Webster

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 08:11:52 pm »

We have used an omni lav, dynamic cardioid and head mic.

At the time we used a lav, the speaker would constantly bump the lead.  The shock traveling up the lead, either to the mic or plug wound make very loud banging noise.  Tried lots of things to alleviate this.  Some reduced it a bit but the speaker was a shocker for waving arms around, hitting and pulling on the lead.  Broke the lead a few times.  I'm sure part of the issue was stress on the plug as it was better immediately after repair, but it's a very delicate repair and you just can't do that every week.....


Our most successful setup with dynamic cardioid mics was to mount a pair in stands either side of the speaker and aimed slightly either side of them.  If we had them, it would have been better to use instrument rather than vocal mics for this due to their spectrum response vs proximity effect.  Even so, the vocal mics handled speaker movement pretty well and eliminated handling noise.  People would fiddle with and move the stands of course. ::)  So they had to be repositioned again for the preacher which was a major interruption and distraction.  I have seen dual mics attached to lecterns in this configuration but that again seems to be subject to people touching the lectern and moving books and notes around.  Bang bang scrape kick Sigh!


Currently using an omni headset.  This seems reasonably OK except, it's a single ear mount as the speaker can't abide a double mount. The stock mount allowed it to swing around out of place though so it has been modded to hold in place better.  Use the foam sock otherwise it gets breath pops even though it's well to the side out of the breath zone.  It does sometimes get skin friction noise, could be too tight against the cheek or maybe a shaving issue, not sure.  Even so, this is possibly the best solution so far as it doesn't get messed up before use and the mic has so much proximity, is fine at low gain so feedback is a complete non event.  Have to use a fair bit of parametric EQ on this channel but eventually did get it to sound clear and natural.


Ken
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2018, 10:45:28 pm »


Now how do we get everyone to "speak out and project the voice"
Is it just me are or people speaker softer these days when they do a presentation.

This is most of the issue-a huge part of what I fight is that an extremely high percentage of visiting speakers will start out with a bit of chit chat to get comfortable-that is usually soft-then when they start their message which they have prepared and are comfortable with their volume goes up a couple notches.  The problem for me is this preliminary chat time is when I need to get it set for that speaker.  (OK-I know it should be set ahead of time-but getting that done is a battle I haven't won for 25 years and isn't likely to change soon).

My preference, in order if they want to leave the pulpit, is a handheld mic (gives the speaker the most control over dynamics and sounds the best), then a headset, last is a lavalier. Some in our circles resist headsets as "too modern" in appearance, so often the choice is handheld or lavalier-and I try to cater to the speaker.

My surprise in this case was how much better the handheld in the shirt pocket sounded than I ever have gotten a lavalier to sound-even a directional lavalier.  Mic positioning is the same-but honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better sounding mic than what I got out of this handheld-I was always thinking the difference was proximity to the speakers mouth.
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Steve Swaffer

Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 12:52:34 pm »

Now how do we get everyone to "speak out and project the voice"
Is it just me are or people speaker softer these days when they do a presentation.

Before the advent of live audio amplification, one of the qualifications to be a preacher (or a public speaker) was the ability to "speak out and project the voice." While there were soft-spoken evangelists back in the day, they weren't the one preaching from the pulpit or leading revival services.

A lot of being able to project the voice is related to charisma. The same sort of people who can do this are often the same sort who can capture the attention of a crowd and energize them.

So, yes, people speak softer these days, because microphones allow them to. And, because of microphones, we let "just anybody" do a presentation.


ANECDOTE: My church was built in 1898; it seats about 100-120 worshippers (depending on girth). Sometime in the 1960s, probably coinciding with getting a soft-spoken pastor, the church purchased a PA system. Since it was the people in the back that couldn't hear, the speaker was mounted on the back side wall (firing across the seating area). Naturally, when a preacher would get up and see a microphone, there was a subconscious though that "I don't have to speak as loud." Now the people in the back could hear but the people in the front couldn't...

So an electronics-enthusiast member of the congregation installed some speakers on the front sidewalls. Unfortunately, he was also the deafest member of the congregation with severe loss of the upper registers, so those speakers sounded harsh and tinny to everyone (except him). This persisted until I grew up and learned enough to become the next electronics-enthusiast member of the congregation. Thankfully, I'm not deaf. Around 20 years ago I was able to improve the whole works with a single speaker at the front.

We're still using a dynamic cardioid mic on the pulpit on an Atlas gooseneck. It works well for us; we don't have any preachers that like to roam the stage. It's a quite conservative church.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 01:01:07 pm »

My surprise in this case was how much better the handheld in the shirt pocket sounded than I ever have gotten a lavalier to sound-even a directional lavalier.  Mic positioning is the same-but honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better sounding mic than what I got out of this handheld-I was always thinking the difference was proximity to the speakers mouth.

Maybe something like this is what you need:

Ali Express - Microphone Hands-Free Brace

Not exactly unobtrusive. And I can't vouch for it -- it was just what I found when I did a search.
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 04:07:30 pm »

Not exactly unobtrusive. And I can't vouch for it -- it was just what I found when I did a search.

Reminds me of the old sportcasters using Shure Commando mics hung around the neck by a shoelace (or similar support).

Quote from: Stephen Swaffer
My surprise in this case was how much better the handheld in the shirt pocket sounded than I ever have gotten a lavalier to sound-even a directional lavalier.

I wonder how much of that might be due to sheer size of element/diaphragm?

Dave

EDIT:  Everything old is new again:

« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 04:13:36 pm by Dave Pluke »
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2018, 08:39:03 am »

This is most of the issue-a huge part of what I fight is that an extremely high percentage of visiting speakers will start out with a bit of chit chat to get comfortable-that is usually soft-then when they start their message which they have prepared and are comfortable with their volume goes up a couple notches.  The problem for me is this preliminary chat time is when I need to get it set for that speaker.  (OK-I know it should be set ahead of time-but getting that done is a battle I haven't won for 25 years and isn't likely to change soon).


To be honest having the presenter kick it up a little when they get into the presentation would not be a problem for me. I would consider it a good problem to have to re adjust for some who is actually speaking up and projecting.


This is what I really meant to say in my original message
But I think you figured out what I was going for, yes I need to proof read before posting!
"Is it just me or are people speaking softer these days when they do a presentation."
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 08:42:30 am by Mike Caldwell »
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 12:43:44 pm »

I would agree-and for years I have gotten along fine.  I just learned to be patient and let it come together.  Now another piece of tech is coming into play in an annoying way.  This last week, while working through things-knowing it was "okay but not great" and working on getting little more-the pastor's phone got "blown up" by text messages saying "we can't hear" so he punted and went to the pulpit mic-which was OK when the speaker stayed at the pulpit-not so much when he backed away.  Experience in this room tells me it would have been fine and better with the lavalier-but what good is experience?  I found out one of the people saying it was too quiet was standing in the back corner of our auditorium-well outside of the speaker coverage and a spot we can't cover without creating other problems.

Jonathan, one other thing that probably came into play sometime around when the first speakers were added was air conditioning.  Take a building that wasn't made for either amplified sound or AC and try to fit both into the building and you have dueling technologies.  It's amazing how loud AC is when there just isn't space to design the AC to be somewhat quiet.
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Steve Swaffer

Mike Caldwell

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 06:36:49 pm »


Jonathan, one other thing that probably came into play sometime around when the first speakers were added was air conditioning.  Take a building that wasn't made for either amplified sound or AC and try to fit both into the building and you have dueling technologies.  It's amazing how loud AC is when there just isn't space to design the AC to be somewhat quiet.

I work in a couple of newer schools in their gyms and the noise the HVAC systems is crazy. One has an air return system that runs all the
time filling the gym with a droning 200hz, the other cycles on and off and sounds like a jet winding up for take off at least twice during every event I'm in there for, perfect background for the elementary kids choir concert. 

Ken Cross

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2018, 12:35:21 am »

I've had great luck with Countryman ear worn mics. The closer you get the mic to the sound source (mouth) the greater acoustic gain you can get before feedback.
A mic worn at the corner of the mouth can have fantastic gain without feedback. The Countryman mic all by itself is near $280 - $400 depending on which model you choose. There are however lots of other brands these days. The biggest issues I've seen with them are when someone wears glasses they tend to not stay in place. To help this have them remove the glasses, install the mic and then return the glasses. The second issue is they are a bit delicate. The wires are tiny. Be careful with them.

Ken
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Lavalier vs handheld
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2018, 09:25:44 pm »

I have a couple of Countryman E6s & dPA fine's at my disposal.  OP was not about how to get good hands free sound.

Frankly, I was curious if mic element size played a role-perhaps affecting my choice or decision to try a different lavalier.

There are those in our "circle" that are opposed to headset/ earworn mics- many opposed lavaliers a couple decades ago.  Admittedly irrational- but a product of some who allowed technology to change them.  This was a unique situation where a physical impediment made a handheld impractical- at the same time making it awkward for someone unfamiliar or uncomfortable with a earworn mic to be introduced to one.

In this application, seeing the lavalier is imaterial.  if a larger lavalier can-because of the physics involved- perform better, then I would like to pursue that option.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 09:50:38 pm by Stephen Swaffer »
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