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Author Topic: Mic sensitivity vs gain  (Read 12668 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 09:49:09 AM »

The first few rehearsals in situations like this -inexperienced actors ( its a school so they are learning) and even those who are unsure of their lines is that your source "signal" will (usually) be very weak and will naturally come up as they gain confidence in rehearsals.

Your (my) urge is to push everything up and get it perfect the second rehearsal.  I've learned it is better to work with the director and focus on projection and mic placement first.  Then as they gain confidence and project, you can manage your mic levels better- hopefully only having 1 or 2 challenging actors to try and maximize their volume.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 03:40:35 PM by Stephen Swaffer »
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Aaron Kennedy

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 11:59:38 AM »

I really appreciate all the advice. I've already learned quite a bit from this forum. I have no doubt that the mics are not placed in the same place each time, and you're right that they are students and learning (just as I am the teacher learning to operate a Pro board) I still don't know why a school has a Midas Pro 2 instead of something easier to use...  In any case. The mics, unfortunately are omni directional lavs placed at the hairline. The good news is that I have toned them out so the feedback issue isn't coming from the monitors. Surprisingly, most of my feedback at this point is low frequency coming from house speakers. 
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 12:15:51 PM »

I have some over ear wires that mount my lav mics (Senn MKE2).
It puts the mic right beside the mouth.
I don't remember where they came from, though.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 12:21:14 PM »

I really appreciate all the advice. I've already learned quite a bit from this forum. I have no doubt that the mics are not placed in the same place each time, and you're right that they are students and learning (just as I am the teacher learning to operate a Pro board) I still don't know why a school has a Midas Pro 2 instead of something easier to use...  In any case. The mics, unfortunately are omni directional lavs placed at the hairline. The good news is that I have toned them out so the feedback issue isn't coming from the monitors. Surprisingly, most of my feedback at this point is low frequency coming from house speakers.

First - high pass filter the individual mics.  Except for a bass singer you can probably start around 150Hz for men and 200Hz for women.

Second, don't put body mics in monitors, especially ensemble performances.  It makes a big wash of vocals that don't time align to the mains and individual singers will never hear themselves so what's the point?  If your solos/duos/trios can't hear themselves ask yourself WHY?  Is the pit too loud?  That's a MUSIC DIRECTOR issue that needs to be addressed by the MD and and play director.  If the band/orchestra is that loud on stage, guess what the actors microphones are picking up?  Loudest sound at the mic is the winner...

Third, click on Kevin Maxwell's name* and from his profile, click on "show posts".  He's got lots of tips and suggestions for working in musical theatre and his writing is worth finding.

* Edit PS - use the member directory to find Kevin's name/profile.  I mistakenly thought he'd replied to this topic.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Keith Broughton

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 01:20:31 PM »

Having re-read the OP, I have some thoughts. Get the system gain structure in  order to start with.
First, the mic gain or sensitivity on the wireless transmitter pack is set so you get a good solid audio level to the receiver (with that actor)but not so much as to overload the pack.
Then, set the input gain to the channel to get a solid level to that channel without clipping the channel input.
Neither of these will reduce feedback but this is a good place to start.
You mentioned low frequency feedback so don't be afraid to high pass those channels aggressively!
Now you can apply the needed channel fader gain to start mixing but, as indicated, don't get caught up in getting the "perfect" sound during rehearsals.
Audio like this can be tricky but remember this is supposed to sound natural and just "lift" the voices up enough to be heard....that's all.
The audience should have to listen and you can't beat them over the head with lavs.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 03:26:50 PM »

If the Pro2 is too much for you, I have a simpler mixer I'll trade you straight across for..... just kidding.

OMNI mics will have a hard time with monitors at the best of times so don't feel too down on yourself.  Good on you for seeking out advice, and those who have spoken before me have offered great advice already. 


If your primary issue is low frequencies from the backside of the mains (the lower the frequency, the longer the wavelength and the harder to control pattern) you might benefit from more aggressive high-pass filtering on the inputs (reducing sensitivity to those problematic frequencies) or (if possible, and it's probably not) changing the deployment strategy of the main speakers to reduce LF energy on stage. 

In your first post you said "two different sets of monitors".  Do you mean different locations, different brands, different configurations...?  In the world of gain-before-feedback, having all of your monitors match (brand/model) will give you a consistent pattern and frequency response on stage and makes your job of keeping feedback at bay a lot easier. 


When I went from a selection of hodge-podge mis-matched monitors to all matching models/brand wedges, I found it it was much easier to tame the feedback on stage for the work I do (which is not theatre, full disclosure, but the theory still applies).
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Aaron Kennedy

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 05:59:43 PM »

Once again. I really appreciate the replies. I can't tell you how helpful this forum has been. I've been on many other forums for various topics that aren't even 10% as helpful. Mostly, I appreciate that you didn't come on here and just slam me for being a novice.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 06:15:43 PM »

Regarding omnis vs cardioids in lavs.... I can get my cardioid WL185 WAY louder than my Shure CVL omni lav mic before feedback and tend to use it much more over the omni for that reason.
I agree with Jeremy that your job would be made much easier if you switched to cardioids where possible.  Even with my headset mics where the mic is literally touching my mouth, I can get the cardioid much louder than the omni before feedback.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 07:12:43 PM »

Once again. I really appreciate the replies. I can't tell you how helpful this forum has been. I've been on many other forums for various topics that aren't even 10% as helpful. Mostly, I appreciate that you didn't come on here and just slam me for being a novice.

What, the Welcome Committee missed you?  They'll find you eventually!

Dave Stevens, the founder of the original Live Audio Board forums conceived of it as a community.  Like any real community there are folks you like having as neighbors and a few who don't get it, whatever "it" is.

Most of the folks here want to help but that help comes in different flavors and much of it comes with some schooling - hopefully you get more understanding instead of just an answer.  Stick around and meet the regulars, use the forum search (or use google with the " site:forums.prosoundweb.com " filter to find topics you're interested in.  Between the current forums and the archived, read-only FUD forums there are roughly 14 years of forum posts.  That's a whole lot of reading enjoyment/rabbit holes. ;)

And the memo to the Welcome Committee about missing your newbie abuse... 8)

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 10:20:21 PM »

Regarding omnis vs cardioids in lavs.... I can get my cardioid WL185 WAY louder than my Shure CVL omni lav mic before feedback and tend to use it much more over the omni for that reason.
I agree with Jeremy that your job would be made much easier if you switched to cardioids where possible.  Even with my headset mics where the mic is literally touching my mouth, I can get the cardioid much louder than the omni before feedback.

Provided you can control how the mic is positioned.  I tried a cardiod lavalier at our church a few years back,  with somewhat better results- until one speaker decided he liked it clipped sideways to his tie. :(
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Steve Swaffer

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Mic sensitivity vs gain
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 10:20:21 PM »


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