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Old March 12th, 2011, 07:24 AM   #1
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How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

It seems that many people do not know how to correctly mount a tie microphone and run into lots of problems because of this.

The first important point is that you have to decouple the microphone from the cable to prevent any cable noise getting to the microphone itself.

The way to do this is to make a small loop and trap this by the teeth of the tie clip - if the mic. is pointing up, loop the cable up and then down again behind the clothing and trap the cable in the jaws of the crocodile clip (some clips, like the one supplied with the Sennheiser MKE 2, have a special cable slot on the end of the jaws to do this so the cable is not bitten by the teeth). This means that the cable beyond this point is totally decoupled from the mic. itself and any clothing or rubbing noises are not transmitted up the cable to the microphone.

The attached picture shows this - I clipped an MKE 2 to a frosty plastic sheet so you can see the cable both front and back.

If the mic. is pointing down, it's a single loop rather than a doublke loop - but the effect is the same.

This even stops the noises from the steel cable of the MKE 2.

Also - you could tie a loose knot in the cable. Surprisingly this also helps reduce cable noise.

If a tie mic. has to be hidden, the best way is to use Rycote Undercovers or Overcovers. If you use these, I would use two - the first to hold the microphone and a second a little way down the cable to decouple the cable. This does the same job as I described above - any cable beyond the second Undercover/Overcover is effectively isolated from the microphone itself. But make sure the cable between the first and second Stickie is not too tight.

I hope this helps.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Excellent advice, John, and very succinctly given.

May I be so bold as to ask you to give your advice for positioning the transmitter/bodypack as this also causes difficulty for many people when using wireless lavs at first?
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Old March 12th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Good advice John and good to know I have been doing it right for the past 30 years, now who wants to see the pictures of how to clip one onto a ladies bra ;0)
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Old March 12th, 2011, 01:48 PM   #4
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Well Gary, as you know, I like to keep abreast of all the best practice...
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Old March 13th, 2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Here is some more info on how to mount Lav. mics in various situations.
Location Sound Corp. -- Tech Tips
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Old March 13th, 2011, 05:37 AM   #6
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
Excellent advice, John, and very succinctly given.

May I be so bold as to ask you to give your advice for positioning the transmitter/bodypack as this also causes difficulty for many people when using wireless lavs at first?
The important thing about body-worn transmitters is to keep the antenna off the body.

If the antenna touches the body you can attenuate the signal by as much as about 70dB - however, getting the antenna off the body by as little as 1cm gets back most of this loss.

Sometimes turning the transmitter upside down (eg: unclip the wire clip of a G2 or G3 transmitter and put it on the other way up) so that the antenna goes downwards often helps.

Also, be careful of clothing - especially with women - as metallic threads or wired bras can adversely affect transmission.

The transmitter needs to be put where it is most comfortable and unobtrusive with as much air round the antenna as is practical.

I hope this helps.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 05:36 PM   #7
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

You on occasions may see a lav mic "upside down" on a news reader or presenter, this is done to eliminate the wind noise of downward breathing through the nose. Being an Omni mic it works well.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 06:35 PM   #8
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

John,

Just want to say that is an excellent photo, so much better than I have seen on any manufacturer's website. Thanks for taking the time and effort to post that!
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
You on occasions may see a lav mic "upside down" on a news reader or presenter, this is done to eliminate the wind noise of downward breathing through the nose. Being an Omni mic it works well.
Yes - a tie mic. is so small it is omni at all audible frequencies and this works very well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
John,

Just want to say that is an excellent photo, so much better than I have seen on any manufacturer's website. Thanks for taking the time and effort to post that!
Thanks - I'm actually surprised that manufacturers never seem to give proper info. about how to put on a tie mic.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #10
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

John,

Thanks for this terrific info. Really appreciate this and it will get printed in put in my education file.

Jonathan
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Old March 17th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #11
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Yes John....Thanks!
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Old May 8th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #12
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

this place has a wealth of information thanks guys
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Old May 8th, 2011, 03:48 PM   #13
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

INstead of those Rycote stickies, I get moleskin at the drug store and cut it into strips. It holds well, helps prevent clothing noise, and actors love it because it doesn't hurt their skin. I had one actor tell me about a sound guy who used gaffer tape to stick on his lav...That's just kind of mean! Down side with the moleskin was the time I had to lav an actor who liked to use ALOT of lotion on his chest for some reason. Moleskin didn't stick so good on that mess! I took to carrying those little alcohol wipes to clean the lotion off before I taped the lav on.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #14
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Great information. I just tried this out listening to an ME2 Lav on my shirt, through headphones while tugging on the wires, in three different wire routings:

1, Wire through the wide part of the clip then clipped in the jaws as the original post suggests.
2. Wire through the wide part of the clip but not clipped in the jaws, as you often see.
3. Wire not through any part of the clip.

I found 1 and 3 to be quite similar in wire tug noise levels, with #1 being slightly quieter. So I will follow the OP's advice when lots of movement is to be expected. But I do have two concerns with it:

- It's not easy to see the backside of someone's shirt (on female blouses where modesty is important for instance) so this is a bit more fumbly.
- With smaller clips and/or stiffer cables, the cable loop between the alligator clip and the wide part of the clip will tend to loop out and away, making for a less than tidy appearance.

So I think I'll go with #3 in some situations. This post was definitely useful because it made me realize that #2 sounds the worst (probably because sliding friction of the cable against the clip is transmitted through the clip to the mic) yet that is what I was doing most of the time in the past.

As long as I was experimenting I decided to test out how much adding loops helps with cable noise. To my big surprise it didn't help at all. I made a loop about 1.5" diameter by simply tying a loose knot, and that actually increased cable noise as I tugged! I think with each tug the parts of the cable next to each other were sliding against each other as the knot got smaller and smaller, transmitting the sliding noise up or into the cable.

A loop about 1.5" secured with gaffer tape rather than a knot sounded the same as no knot at all. I suppose though that in real life situations a loosely tied or loosely taped loop might help to relieve tautness that didn't exist in my test. This might be useful in extended wear situations, so that you only get noise once as the loop gets smaller, rather than tautness increasing noise more of the time.

By far the best solution was to tape the cable to my skin so that the tugs were resisted and dampened by the skin. That improved the sound much more than any of the wire routings involving clips or loops.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 03:51 AM   #15
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Re: How to use a Tie Microphone (Lav)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
...- It's not easy to see the backside of someone's shirt (on female blouses where modesty is important for instance) so this is a bit more fumbly.
- With smaller clips and/or stiffer cables, the cable loop between the alligator clip and the wide part of the clip will tend to loop out and away, making for a less than tidy appearance.
....
Unless you're putting the lav right in her cleavage (a common location, BTW) modesty shouldn't be much of an issue when putting a lav on the button seam in the usual spot. You don't need to reach THAT far under the shirt.

Professional talent is used to costume changes in crowded coed dressing rooms, getting mic'ed up, etc, and if one is respectful it may often be less of an issue than it might be with "civilians." If need be you can possibly arrange for someone from the wardrobe department to help out with the mic'ing.

If the portion of the cable between the alligator jaws and the wide part of the clip is going "out and away," you're making the loop too big.
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