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Author Topic: Condenser mics for live group vocals  (Read 8017 times)

Scott Bolt

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2015, 10:04:19 pm »

Why are you surprised at this? Lavs are still microphones, and subject to the same laws of physics. Instead of a handheld an inch or two from the source, you have a lav six inches or more from the source - so you have to increase the gain to get the same result. If you use a handheld at the same distance, you'd have the same issue. I suggest that you do some more studying before publicly questioning someone who's been doing audio for longer than you've been breathing. Dick is spot-on with his statements.

There are lots of guys out there that still swear by film cameras and record players  that have been doing their trade longer than I have been breathing.  It doesn't make them right, just experienced.

Before you give me the "go sit in the corner" lecture, I gave the OP feedback on his question to the best of my experience and understanding.  That is what forums are for.

If I were to ignore the OP's request entirely, and recommend placing microphone stand(s) on the stage, I still wouldn't pick the SM58 for such a task.  Would you?
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2015, 11:05:22 pm »


If I were to ignore the OP's request entirely, and recommend placing microphone stand(s) on the stage, I still wouldn't pick the SM58 for such a task.  Would you?

With the knowledge that they were already in the OP's possession I would.  The OP was going to place condenser mics (somehow).  This is a a potential (somehow) with existing mics that may or may not prove workable in his situation.  If it does come close, then an investment in a better quality mic coupled with the knowledge and understanding of utilizing a mics response pattern to your advantage might yield a very good result.  Certainly a more productive path, IMO, than just picking a condensor and hoping its pattern was what you wanted-and still trying to find a (somehow).

Or the OP may learn that putting stands anywhere on the stage won't work-without buying mics.

Most of the arguments with live sound (IMO) should not be phrased as much as "right or wrong"-but as better in this situation or that situation.
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Steve Swaffer

Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2015, 12:39:55 pm »

“The loudest thing at the mic wins” this is worth repeating over and over again.

I use hanging mics all of the time, usually with apron mics also. BUT this is only for chorus numbers where everyone on stage is belting out the number. And if you have a lead that is also wearing a mic and is on stage and really belting it out you need to figure out if they are being picked up on the hanging mics too much and you may need to drop them a bit on their body mics.

I think the mics we usually use are the Audio Technica 853 and to clear moving scenery they are usually hung a bit high. The other trick I use is I delay the mics to get a better time alignment with them. So the sound they pick up and send out of the speakers doesn’t arrive before the sound of the voices off of the stage would arrive. It helps to make it more natural sounding. And the main speakers are delayed to the edge of the stage.

I just finished doing a short run of Godspell 3 days ago and someone asked me how many speakers were in the system. I had to stop and count them. 11 covering the house all time aligned properly. One special hung at the back of the room facing to the front of the room for one sound effect. And 2 hot spot style speakers in the pit on mic stands for the conductor and a pain in the neck guitarist who had to hear the singers even though he was supposed to just follow the conductor.

I had a friend (former apprentice of mine) who came to the Friday night show and I showed him around before the show and I mentioned the one speaker that was just for the one sound effect. Afterwards he said he never heard the one sound effect. And I said to him did you hear the door slam when Judas ran out the back of the auditorium and when he came back in? He said yes and I said those doors can’t slam, that was a sound effect played back. He thought it was real. And it made the search for just the right sound worth it. It actually was 2 sounds played at the same time to get it to sound like what we wanted.

But for the type of thing that you are doing your best bet might be the human mic stand trick. It can be one of the singers in a small group where the mic is placed far enough away from their voice and where the actor/singer is centrally located with the other singers.

Also if you have an actor that has an important line (but just one line) and is miced because of that, it would probably be better if the director would have that actor deliver the line into the face of another actor with a mic and save their mic for other uses.

Depending on the show and the staging sometimes you can plant a wireless mic in scenery to enable it to pick things up.

Some of the shows I have done lately the musical director has us mic certain actors that are just select singers to give us a fuller sound for the chorus type of parts. And depending on the show you are doing handheld wireless sometimes can be used. In Godspell the handheld mics are written into the directors notes.

I don’t know if you do mic swaps at all but with the proper planning you can make better use of your mic resources if you can swap some of them out during intermission. It helps to have mic wranglers to handle all of that. For Godspell I hardly even touched a wireless mic. I had a crew of high school kids handling all of the mics, putting them on the actors and taking them off. We have trained them over the years and we get the older ones training the younger ones with our oversight. I have one kid going into his senior year that will really be missed when he graduates. But I have had one of these types of kids almost every year.   
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #33 on: July 28, 2015, 12:55:26 pm »

Tim,

It was my assumption, although I didn't state it, that the reasoning behind the better behaviors you describe was due to the lower mass of the transducer in a condenser mic.

You do have a point about the noise floor though.

It is still quite common for choir stages to use suspended condensers for this kind of application.

Yes, but it's not inherent that they be condensers, that's why I mentioned Heil as being acoustically similar even though they are dynamic mics.

I've used hanging AT853 (as Kevin M mentions below) in conjunction with PCC160 or the newer Bartlett apron mics for ensemble pickup, but they're pretty much useless for trying to get the kids that don't project.

It is what it is - complaining parents not withstanding.  Actors are not trained to project these days and I'd love to set up a date with Vlad the Impaler for any director who tells the talent "don't worry, the mic will pick you up."
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #34 on: July 28, 2015, 01:02:58 pm »

“The loudest thing at the mic wins” this is worth repeating over and over again.

I use hanging mics all of the time, usually with apron mics also. BUT this is only for chorus numbers where everyone on stage is belting out the number. And if you have a lead that is also wearing a mic and is on stage and really belting it out you need to figure out if they are being picked up on the hanging mics too much and you may need to drop them a bit on their body mics.

I think the mics we usually use are the Audio Technica 853 and to clear moving scenery they are usually hung a bit high. The other trick I use is I delay the mics to get a better time alignment with them. So the sound they pick up and send out of the speakers doesn’t arrive before the sound of the voices off of the stage would arrive. It helps to make it more natural sounding. And the main speakers are delayed to the edge of the stage.

I just finished doing a short run of Godspell 3 days ago and someone asked me how many speakers were in the system. I had to stop and count them. 11 covering the house all time aligned properly. One special hung at the back of the room facing to the front of the room for one sound effect. And 2 hot spot style speakers in the pit on mic stands for the conductor and a pain in the neck guitarist who had to hear the singers even though he was supposed to just follow the conductor.

I had a friend (former apprentice of mine) who came to the Friday night show and I showed him around before the show and I mentioned the one speaker that was just for the one sound effect. Afterwards he said he never heard the one sound effect. And I said to him did you hear the door slam when Judas ran out the back of the auditorium and when he came back in? He said yes and I said those doors can’t slam, that was a sound effect played back. He thought it was real. And it made the search for just the right sound worth it. It actually was 2 sounds played at the same time to get it to sound like what we wanted.

But for the type of thing that you are doing your best bet might be the human mic stand trick. It can be one of the singers in a small group where the mic is placed far enough away from their voice and where the actor/singer is centrally located with the other singers.

Also if you have an actor that has an important line (but just one line) and is miced because of that, it would probably be better if the director would have that actor deliver the line into the face of another actor with a mic and save their mic for other uses.

Depending on the show and the staging sometimes you can plant a wireless mic in scenery to enable it to pick things up.

Some of the shows I have done lately the musical director has us mic certain actors that are just select singers to give us a fuller sound for the chorus type of parts. And depending on the show you are doing handheld wireless sometimes can be used. In Godspell the handheld mics are written into the directors notes.

I don’t know if you do mic swaps at all but with the proper planning you can make better use of your mic resources if you can swap some of them out during intermission. It helps to have mic wranglers to handle all of that. For Godspell I hardly even touched a wireless mic. I had a crew of high school kids handling all of the mics, putting them on the actors and taking them off. We have trained them over the years and we get the older ones training the younger ones with our oversight. I have one kid going into his senior year that will really be missed when he graduates. But I have had one of these types of kids almost every year.   

Golden.
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Scott Bolt

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #35 on: July 28, 2015, 06:14:16 pm »

Yes, but it's not inherent that they be condensers, that's why I mentioned Heil as being acoustically similar even though they are dynamic mics.

I've used hanging AT853 (as Kevin M mentions below) in conjunction with PCC160 or the newer Bartlett apron mics for ensemble pickup, but they're pretty much useless for trying to get the kids that don't project.

It is what it is - complaining parents not withstanding.  Actors are not trained to project these days and I'd love to set up a date with Vlad the Impaler for any director who tells the talent "don't worry, the mic will pick you up."
LOL.  Point taken.

Thanks Tim.

Kevin,

Great examples.
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jesseweiss

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2015, 11:31:08 am »

“The loudest thing at the mic wins” this is worth repeating over and over again.

I use hanging mics all of the time, usually with apron mics also. BUT this is only for chorus numbers where everyone on stage is belting out the number. And if you have a lead that is also wearing a mic and is on stage and really belting it out you need to figure out if they are being picked up on the hanging mics too much and you may need to drop them a bit on their body mics.

I think the mics we usually use are the Audio Technica 853 and to clear moving scenery they are usually hung a bit high. The other trick I use is I delay the mics to get a better time alignment with them. So the sound they pick up and send out of the speakers doesn’t arrive before the sound of the voices off of the stage would arrive. It helps to make it more natural sounding. And the main speakers are delayed to the edge of the stage.

I just finished doing a short run of Godspell 3 days ago and someone asked me how many speakers were in the system. I had to stop and count them. 11 covering the house all time aligned properly. One special hung at the back of the room facing to the front of the room for one sound effect. And 2 hot spot style speakers in the pit on mic stands for the conductor and a pain in the neck guitarist who had to hear the singers even though he was supposed to just follow the conductor.

I had a friend (former apprentice of mine) who came to the Friday night show and I showed him around before the show and I mentioned the one speaker that was just for the one sound effect. Afterwards he said he never heard the one sound effect. And I said to him did you hear the door slam when Judas ran out the back of the auditorium and when he came back in? He said yes and I said those doors can’t slam, that was a sound effect played back. He thought it was real. And it made the search for just the right sound worth it. It actually was 2 sounds played at the same time to get it to sound like what we wanted.

But for the type of thing that you are doing your best bet might be the human mic stand trick. It can be one of the singers in a small group where the mic is placed far enough away from their voice and where the actor/singer is centrally located with the other singers.

Also if you have an actor that has an important line (but just one line) and is miced because of that, it would probably be better if the director would have that actor deliver the line into the face of another actor with a mic and save their mic for other uses.

Depending on the show and the staging sometimes you can plant a wireless mic in scenery to enable it to pick things up.

Some of the shows I have done lately the musical director has us mic certain actors that are just select singers to give us a fuller sound for the chorus type of parts. And depending on the show you are doing handheld wireless sometimes can be used. In Godspell the handheld mics are written into the directors notes.

I don’t know if you do mic swaps at all but with the proper planning you can make better use of your mic resources if you can swap some of them out during intermission. It helps to have mic wranglers to handle all of that. For Godspell I hardly even touched a wireless mic. I had a crew of high school kids handling all of the mics, putting them on the actors and taking them off. We have trained them over the years and we get the older ones training the younger ones with our oversight. I have one kid going into his senior year that will really be missed when he graduates. But I have had one of these types of kids almost every year.   

Thanks Kevin, a lot of great info.

Usually we do mic swaps to save resources, and then about half of the featured singers wear lavs and we are fine since I have crew (plus adults back stage) that handle all the mics.  This last show (Adam's Family) we couldn't do swaps and we didn't use the remaining very few lavs for the featured singers (my daughter was one) because we weren't sure how it would work with just 2 or 3 mics for 8 kids not always right next to each other.

I think that we'll just make do with the lavs we have moving foward (possibly with Dick's human mic stand idea), and worst case use the wireless SM58's we have being held by the singers (or a stand hidden somehow).
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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #37 on: July 29, 2015, 11:36:12 am »

Jesse...

It's easier to hide wireless lavs in/on bits of scenery than trying to hide and orient a wireless 58.

I've used potted plants, edges of flats, tables (works like a boundary mic) and all sorts of other bits of stage dressing.
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jesseweiss

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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2015, 01:57:19 pm »

Cool, thanks.  I would have to get another lav, but that's doable.  Doesn't have to be wireless, could run to a mic jack in the wings (there are tons from the unused overhead mics that don't work).
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Re: Condenser mics for live group vocals
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2015, 01:57:19 pm »


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