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Author Topic: Too Many Mics  (Read 3201 times)

Bill Miller

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Too Many Mics
« on: July 18, 2011, 06:18:27 am »

Our music director feels the more mics and singers the better the sound. We have gone from 5 mics to now 12 vocal mics for singing. The problem now is everyone's mic is interfering with the other and picks up all sound from around it, including the drums ( I could turm the drums off and hear them fine.
He wants to get some wind socks for all of them. I suggested getting a mic and let 2 or 3 people use the same mic. Just let the main 2 or 3 lead vocals have their own mic. Please give me your thoughts and suggestions on this issue. Thanks
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Michael Galica

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 11:54:09 am »

Our music director feels the more mics and singers the better the sound. We have gone from 5 mics to now 12 vocal mics for singing. The problem now is everyone's mic is interfering with the other and picks up all sound from around it, including the drums ( I could turm the drums off and hear them fine.
He wants to get some wind socks for all of them. I suggested getting a mic and let 2 or 3 people use the same mic. Just let the main 2 or 3 lead vocals have their own mic. Please give me your thoughts and suggestions on this issue. Thanks

Teach him how to mix.  No really, it's the best way to show him that having 12 open mics in that environment likely isn't a good idea.  You can even sell it as helping him better understand an aspect of his ministry, which it would do.

Barring that, ask him if you can do an experiment at a rehearsal, and show him from the mix position the difference between his way and your way, and trying to find a compromise together.

Edit: fixed a few spelling oopsies that spellcheck didn't notice.
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Mike Galica
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Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Brad Weber

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 12:04:53 pm »

The problem now is everyone's mic is interfering with the other and picks up all sound from around it, including the drums ( I could turm the drums off and hear them fine.
A great example of an "it depends" situation, however I think the above statement indicates which direction this one goes.  Miking individuals can certainly make it easier to blanace them as well as to potentially get better gain before feedback in live sound applications, however when you start getting into interference, phasing, etc. between mics then you can be seeing the negative aspects of multiple microphones.
 
It's also not just the number of microphones but the microphones involved and the application of them.  Mic patterns, aiming, location and so on can all be factors.  There could be a big difference between having a dozen headset mics in use at once and having a dozen omni mics on stands on stage with the mics closer to one another than they are to the performer using the mic.
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Ryan M. Fluharty

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 01:05:42 pm »

I suggested getting a mic and let 2 or 3 people use the same mic. Just let the main 2 or 3 lead vocals have their own mic. Please give me your thoughts and suggestions on this issue. Thanks

Bill,
I believe that having vocalists share microphones may make the problem worse.  The microphone would have to be further from the vocalists mouth in order to pick up multiple vocalists evenly.  You will find that you would have to turn the microphones gain up, which would also make any background sound like the drums louder as well.

This may be a good time to make sure that vocals use proper mic technique (mics close to mouth) or look at reconfiguring your stage layout so that the offending instruments are further away from the microphones if possible.
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Matthias Heitzer

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 11:08:21 am »

depending on the worship style and your room, it could be an idea to make a choir with ten of the vocalists. Place them as far away from the drums and other loud sources as practical. Use as few mics as possible. The vocies will blend into one sound before they enter your console This will also give you a good excuse if someone can' hear his wife/husband/son/daughter/....
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 11:29:32 am »


This may be a good time to make sure that vocals use proper mic technique (mics close to mouth) or look at reconfiguring your stage layout so that the offending instruments are further away from the microphones if possible.

While the style of music will make a great difference, the above is getting down to the heart of the matter.  The oft quoted "loudest sound at the mic wins" adage cannot be questioned.  So mic technique is paramount in achieving success.

If your voice(s) are strong and working the mics closely you'll minimize the amplification of any other sounds on stage.  This gets into point 2 from above:  relationship of the "choir" mics to the other sound sources including on-stage amps/drums and the mains speakers/monitors.  Tighter pattern mics with optimum off-axis rejection will help, but the tighter the mic, the closer it must be worked to stay "on axis" and get a full vocal sound.  This means more mics total.

If you're using something like the venerable SM58 (cardioid) you can easily get two voices/mic.  But you're probably looking at "cheek to cheek" proximity for each vocal pair for maximum efficiency.

The more isolation you can get on the choir (from stage wash/mains return), the more voices you can get on each mic.  My practical limit for high-energy vocal ensembles is around 4 voices/mic with the mics chosen specifically for each purpose.

And I would note that it is usually best to use matching mics.

So it comes down to a balance of mic technique, mic choice, stage positioning and operator experience at the mixer.  All portions of the system must be optimized to work efficiently together for you to succeed.

It's not necessarily a question of "too many mics" but all of the above.
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Bill Miller

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 05:12:38 pm »

depending on the worship style and your room, it could be an idea to make a choir with ten of the vocalists. Place them as far away from the drums and other loud sources as practical. Use as few mics as possible. The vocies will blend into one sound before they enter your console This will also give you a good excuse if someone can' hear his wife/husband/son/daughter/....

  I have suggested putting the drums back into the soundproof room where they were.  We didn't have all these issues then.
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Bill Miller

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 05:16:25 pm »

A great example of an "it depends" situation, however I think the above statement indicates which direction this one goes.  Miking individuals can certainly make it easier to blanace them as well as to potentially get better gain before feedback in live sound applications, however when you start getting into interference, phasing, etc. between mics then you can be seeing the negative aspects of multiple microphones.
 
It's also not just the number of microphones but the microphones involved and the application of them.  Mic patterns, aiming, location and so on can all be factors.  There could be a big difference between having a dozen headset mics in use at once and having a dozen omni mics on stands on stage with the mics closer to one another than they are to the performer using the mic.

  Thanks Brad, I agree.  Our music pastor can be hard to deal with at times.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 05:19:41 pm »



  I have suggested putting the drums back into the soundproof room where they were.  We didn't have all these issues then.

The classic definition of a "no-brainer"..........
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Bill Miller

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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 05:21:16 pm »

depending on the worship style and your room, it could be an idea to make a choir with ten of the vocalists. Place them as far away from the drums and other loud sources as practical. Use as few mics as possible. The vocies will blend into one sound before they enter your console This will also give you a good excuse if someone can' hear his wife/husband/son/daughter/....
  I like your way of thinking Matthias for excuses.
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Re: Too Many Mics
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 05:21:16 pm »


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