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Author Topic: Help needed making microphones more sensitive  (Read 2534 times)

Don T. Williams

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2019, 07:45:45 pm »

As with most things, it will only work as well as the weakest link allows.  Though not universally true, most hotel ballrooms/conference rooms typically have pretty low quality loudspeakers, usually installed ceiling mount type.  This makes getting very high quality sound tough.  As has been stated, getting the mics as close to the presenter, will help immensely.  In an interview, a very well know corporate event engineer was ask " what is your most important tool for getting quality vocals"?  He replied " I have a large sigh I hold up that says " get closer to the mic"".
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Cameron Peck

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2019, 08:11:01 pm »

Fun Fact, if you have seen a SM57 on a presidential podium in recent years, there is a very good chance it was a modified (upgraded) mic with much higher end components.
That is funny.  Oh well.


A mixer with a proper microphone preamp should allow you to get much more gain.   But I do predict that you will be posting again asking how to eliminate the feedback being created by your new mixer.
Would different microphones (in addition to adding a mixer w/ preamps) be a better solution?  I want to learn.  My ultimate goal is to provide good sound for the spoken voice with as little trouble as possible (while still doing it myself).
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Cameron Peck

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2019, 08:16:51 pm »

Mr. Peck,

I do wish you good luck and commend your willingness to learn audio engineering from the ground up.

It seems that you've been given the opportunity to learn that what you were paying for was not equipment.  It was the unique expertise of an audio engineer.

We know how to select, deploy, and operate the right equipment to deliver a desirable result.  Even the guy at the hotel does.  If he makes it look too easy to be worth your $, then he's undoubtedly worth multiples of what a hotel pays him.  And he doesn't need to be the person riding the faders during your event to have earned it.  His efforts that result in a system that can be satisfactorily operated by a novice may not be obvious, but they're precious.

The answers here are excellent, but nothing delivers professional results like an appropriately paid audio professional.  Believe me when I tell you that once you achieve the mic sensitivity that you desire, routed to an appropriate amount of amplification, your problems with audio will have only just begun!  You can learn this trade, no doubt.  But taking the bigger lesson here to heart will make you a better manager who puts on a better show.

I know that you are correct.  Please do not think that I am belittling what audio pros do.  I admire the people in the trade, it cannot be easy to get everything working just right, no doubt.  The organization has a pretty tight budget and I am just trying to be frugal where I can.  No harm intended.
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Cameron Peck

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 08:20:42 pm »

If you get a simple, cheap mixer, such as the Behringer Xenyx 802...

That sounded familiar, so I looked in my basement and realized that I had a Eurorack UB802 that I purchased for a project 10 years ago and never used.  It appears to be the predecessor to the Xenyx 802.  Is there any reason this will not work?
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duane massey

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2019, 12:54:29 am »

UB802 only has 2 mic inputs, but if that is enough it would (technically) work.
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Duane Massey
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Corey Scogin

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2019, 01:06:48 am »

Would different microphones (in addition to adding a mixer w/ preamps) be a better solution?  I want to learn.  My ultimate goal is to provide good sound for the spoken voice with as little trouble as possible (while still doing it myself).

Different microphones will provide minimal improvement over the SM57. Are there better microphones for this purpose? Sure, but I'd focus on just getting your gain structure right first.

That sounded familiar, so I looked in my basement and realized that I had a Eurorack UB802 that I purchased for a project 10 years ago and never used.  It appears to be the predecessor to the Xenyx 802.  Is there any reason this will not work?

That appears to be exactly the same thing as the Xenyx 802. Anything with microphone preamps will work to get you started.

Make sure the Main Mix level is down all the way then start by setting the channel gains to somewhere between 10:00 and 12:00. Make sure the channel peak lights do not light up when speaking loudly into the microphone.
Next, turn up the channel levels and main mix level as needed.

There's a way to set the gains more accurately on that mixer but I didn't want to distract from just getting it working.

One question...
How do you connect to the hotel sound system?
When you rented the hotel mics, did they plug in directly to the same place you plan to plug in the output of your mixer?

The reason I ask is that the output from any microphone is orders of magnitude less than the typical output from a mixer. You may still have some issues but they'll be on the opposite end of the gain problem if the only input to the PA available is one set up for a microphone.

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Scott Olewiler

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Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2019, 08:06:52 am »



One question...
How do you connect to the hotel sound system?
When you rented the hotel mics, did they plug in directly to the same place you plan to plug in the output of your mixer?

The reason I ask is that the output from any microphone is orders of magnitude less than the typical output from a mixer. You may still have some issues but they'll be on the opposite end of the gain problem if the only input to the PA available is one set up for a microphone.

Corey has just asked probably the most important question on this.

Knowing exactly where you're interfacing with the hotel system is going to be crucial to getting more detailed help from this forum. If it's just jack in a wall plate, you'll  need to find out where that jack connects on the other end.  Knowing whether your mixer output goes into another mixer input down the line (and whether it is a line level input or a microphone input) or an amp input, and whether or not there are upstream gain controls that may not be at the correct level for whatever you're sending determines the correct solution to your problem.



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John Halliburton

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2019, 09:53:33 am »

Sure, but I'd focus on just getting your gain structure right first.

Make sure the channel peak lights do not light up when speaking loudly into the microphone.
Next, turn up the channel levels and main mix level as needed.


One question...
How do you connect to the hotel sound system?
When you rented the hotel mics, did they plug in directly to the same place you plan to plug in the output of your mixer?

The reason I ask is that the output from any microphone is orders of magnitude less than the typical output from a mixer. You may still have some issues but they'll be on the opposite end of the gain problem if the only input to the PA available is one set up for a microphone.

Gain structure AND having the right equipment.  As you noted earlier, the difference between a line mixer and a mic mixer is significant.

As for setting the initial gain on a channel, one method used on gear with only a peak LED was to "bark" into the mic, adjust the trim until the peak light comes on during the loudest sound, then dial it back a bit.

And I'm also interested in how the OP patches into the hotel system, there may still be some issues at that point.

Best regards,

John

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Scott Helmke

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2019, 10:07:46 am »

So this sounds a lot like the "I'm an IT manager so they told me to fix the sound" thing I run into a lot these days.

Good news - Shure has some education content about the basics that might be very helpful in understanding the situation better.
https://www.shure.com/en-US/videos/events/webinars/shure-webinar-audio-basics-for-it-professionals
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Frank Czar

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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2019, 10:39:57 am »

I have a question and a suggestion for you.

The question is how are you using the SM-57's, as the President does, dual mics - one person speaking or are you using them as two separate sources?  I actually do not know if that is how the Presidents audio crew is utilizing the 2 mics, one mic may be there for redundancy. I believe though you will get better results with 1 mic, if you are trying to use two mics on one person, one mic would need to switched out of phase and a lot more tweaking would be needed than a single mic.

Everyone else is correct in stating you must know what you are connecting to in the hotel. You may want to consider purchasing a set of powered speakers. This way you always know what you are plugging your mixer into and it will give you a chance to set it up at home and gain some experience learning how things all work, maybe volunteer your services for an event where the sound is not crucial, like a family party or something like that.

Good Luck
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 10:46:52 am by Frank Czar »
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Frank Czar
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Re: Help needed making microphones more sensitive
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2019, 10:39:57 am »


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