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Author Topic: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers  (Read 401 times)

Jonathan Hiemberg

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Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« on: December 02, 2019, 11:21:29 am »

Good morning,


One of the venues I work with is a larger church with several staff pastors. The installed system is a fantastic, well-performing system.


The senior pastor is now quite advanced in age, and as such is getting quieter and quieter. Our best results right now are with DPA ear worn mics. Unfortunately, there are still times when it is difficult to get enough gain from him.


Since he has been slowing down, he is almost always behind the pulpit/podium - probably 95% of the time.


So, I have been thinking through the possibility of installing one or two directional mics in the podium adjusted for his height and position, and creating an auto mix group (mixer is dLive C series) with those two mics and the ear worn mic.


Before I dive in Im looking for recommendations on: technique, mic choice, or possible other solutions.


Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 11:54:59 am »

So, I have been thinking through the possibility of installing one or two directional mics in the podium adjusted for his height and position, and creating an auto mix group (mixer is dLive C series) with those two mics and the ear worn mic.

Had to admit, I winced a bit when I read "Solving and 'elderly'" in your subject line  ;) .

There may be phasing issues when Automixing the same voice through multiple microphones, but it's worth a try.  Do you have mics on hand you can try before committing budget?

There is rarely room on Pulpits and, one must be careful with "tappers" and "pounders", but a Boundary mic (like Crown PZM) might be a workable solution.  And, I shudder to mention it but, perhaps a lavalier closer to that Pastor's chest cavity / throat might do the trick?

In any case, I would not deploy two additional mics right away.  Try one first.

Dave
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 03:52:38 pm »

If you are having problems with a over the ear DPA mic, which is very close to the speakers mouth, I can't see any other solution that will improve GBF.
Perhaps a cardioid headset mic that will give you a bit of proximity effect and help "round out" the tone.
See HSP4 Sennheiser...https://en-ca.sennheiser.com/hsp-4

The automix idea is not a good solution.

Basically, not enough in and you won't get enough out! Doesn't matter how good the system is.
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John Penkala

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 03:59:16 pm »

Good morning,


One of the venues I work with is a larger church with several staff pastors. The installed system is a fantastic, well-performing system.


The senior pastor is now quite advanced in age, and as such is getting quieter and quieter. Our best results right now are with DPA ear worn mics. Unfortunately, there are still times when it is difficult to get enough gain from him.


Since he has been slowing down, he is almost always behind the pulpit/podium - probably 95% of the time.


So, I have been thinking through the possibility of installing one or two directional mics in the podium adjusted for his height and position, and creating an auto mix group (mixer is dLive C series) with those two mics and the ear worn mic.


Before I dive in Im looking for recommendations on: technique, mic choice, or possible other solutions.


Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Is the DPA omni or cardiod?  If cardiod, make sure the element is pointing the right way. If omni, try cardiod.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 07:47:43 pm »

I use a Shure 418 gooseneck mic for our funerals. It gives me tons more GBF vs the DPA headsets. It helps a lot when those that are speaking are either not public speakers, or are breaking up emotionally.

Having the gooseneck pointed upstage and not moving lets you ring it out for amazing GBF, vs the headset which might get moved into a bad area or pointed right at the speakers.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 08:01:59 pm »

I use a Shure 418 gooseneck mic for our funerals. It gives me tons more GBF vs the DPA headsets. It helps a lot when those that are speaking are either not public speakers, or are breaking up emotionally.

Having the gooseneck pointed upstage and not moving lets you ring it out for amazing GBF, vs the headset which might get moved into a bad area or pointed right at the speakers.

My experience with lectern mics hasn't been as good.  It was a Countryman Isomax with a tight pattern, and if aimed well and EQ'ed well - worked well.  But if people looked away, stepped away, re-aimed the mic, etc - the benefit was lost.  It also needed to be close to the speaker's mouth with a great windscreen, and compressed quite a bit (to keep levels fairly similar) thus lowering GBF.  My experience with DPA headset mics has been great. 

Maybe try to demo a couple DPA lectern mics for a couple weeks, working with the pastor to get and stay close, keep mic aimed correctly, etc. 

Can you move the lectern upstage a couple feet?  Can you play pink noise and walk from the downstage center lip, moving slowly upstage, to see if there is any noticeable difference in SPL?  A couple dB here and there really help.

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Tim Weaver

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2019, 08:07:35 pm »

My experience with lectern mics hasn't been as good.  It was a Countryman Isomax with a tight pattern, and if aimed well and EQ'ed well - worked well.  But if people looked away, stepped away, re-aimed the mic, etc - the benefit was lost.  It also needed to be close to the speaker's mouth with a great windscreen, and compressed quite a bit (to keep levels fairly similar) thus lowering GBF.  My experience with DPA headset mics has been great. 

Maybe try to demo a couple DPA lectern mics for a couple weeks, working with the pastor to get and stay close, keep mic aimed correctly, etc. 

Can you move the lectern upstage a couple feet?  Can you play pink noise and walk from the downstage center lip, moving slowly upstage, to see if there is any noticeable difference in SPL?  A couple dB here and there really help.

Caveat: We have Danley speakers as our mains. So the pattern is well controlled. Even so, our pastor wearing a headset always finds a good spot to get some feedback going.

If you have some kind of line array or column speaker it may well be better with the headset. It all depends on how much spill there is on the stage.
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Jonathan Hiemberg

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2019, 08:44:49 pm »

Caveat: We have Danley speakers as our mains. So the pattern is well controlled. Even so, our pastor wearing a headset always finds a good spot to get some feedback going.

If you have some kind of line array or column speaker it may well be better with the headset. It all depends on how much spill there is on the stage.


Thanks so much for the help so far.


So the system is a Danley system (a reasonably large one - I'm hoping to do a write-up about it one of these days) and very well behaved.


My hope (dream?) was that we could get a solution that would solve for when he's at the pulpit (good lectern mics) and also for the very rare times he walks away from it (headset). Also, the stage is half-round, so it's not unreasonable to expect that he will often turn his head to address the sides of the audience. But it sounds like the consensus is that my idea of mixing mics was ill-conceived.


The biggest issue is just that he's gotten quieter and quieter as the years go by.


Another thing I've considered is building a matrix that would allow me to send a little less of his preaching microphone into the down-fill speakers in the main array. That would likely help the overall GBF for him, of course at the expense of difficulty for the front rows.


The other difficulty is it is 3.5 hours away from me so I'm not there often, but I've gotten a few requests for help on this issue. I will be there again this weekend so I can take a look at it closer and hopefully get a better idea of what's going on.


Thanks again for your input.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 02:06:18 am »


Minimizing the center down fills will likely help.  The horns aren't very tall vertically, so there is a bit of 2kHz and under wrapping back underneath them. 

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Re: Solving for quiet/elderly speakers
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 02:06:18 am »


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