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Old January 28th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #1
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One wireless house mic and reception audio....

I've had this happen at the last two weddings:

The reception venue has one wireless handheld mic. The soundboard has no XLR or composite outputs.
If I got out my wireless handheld, that would mean each guest and each speaker would have to hold two mics. That's kind of awkward. The house wireless mic was passed all over the large room for comments, toasts, and rememberances. Because of that, I could not mount my wireless or wired mic on a stand.

Accoutics were terrible. All speakers were in the ceiling. My wireless lav or digital recorder would not help either. I ended up using my shotgun mics on camera and getting close as I could get. The result
was very poor audio.

Suggestions please. Tks, Tom B.

Last edited by Tom Blizzard; January 28th, 2012 at 04:39 PM.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

You could try and tune in to the venue's wireless handheld mic with your receiver, but don't count on anyone being able to tell you what frequency it is operating on. Sometimes the cheap ones have a single fixed frequency (it might be on a sticker on the mic or receiver if you are in luck) or a small number of preset "channels" and a selection switch. If you have a smartphone you could try googling for a pdf of the user's manual if the equipment if unfamiliar.

Don't know how it is where you are, but in the UK such a venue mic could either be an old VHF one or a newer UHF model. You might have to see if you can find another receiver so that you could be able to pick up both types.

Another possibility is to use a radio scanner for this (if that's legal where you are) but the audio quality might not be as good.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 04:07 PM   #3
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

Trying to tune in with another receiver, while technically quite feasible, is not really practical. Even if your receiver happened to be able to tune the same frequency/channel (which is a very long shot), unless you have the same brand and model, the chances of incompatibility are very large. And a scanner would be more likely to be able to tune the proper channel/frequency, but again the scanner would lack the ability to handle any particular companding or other processing, and scanners are not made for quality audio.

I would have put my wireless mic on a tall stand (with a boom extension) up close to one of the ceiling speakers as the only practical way of picking up the venue system audio.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

I've successfully done this, strap a small wireless Sony ECM77BMP lav mic to the venue wireless mic. Position it slightly lower,
so untrained (read intoxicated) voices keep back from your lav. and don't blast it with breath pops.

I've seen 2 larger wireless handheld mics strapped together with a small foam pad fixed between them. Not ideal but it worked well.

In both cases, unless you edit the picture, in post you have to mute the hand noises while the mics are passed around, and cover it with room sounds.

Cheers.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #5
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Richard, your first suggestion is a good idea. I have done that in the past, and it did help. The speaker(s) were on stands though. Shouldn't matter.

Allan, I like your second suggestion. I've never heard of putting two handhelds together.
It should work though. Good suggestion. Your first suggestion might be a bit of a problem.
I use Sennheiser wireless lav and transmitter. The transmitter unit might be a bit of a
problem to hold onto with the mic. Does the Sony not have a separate "box" transmitter with their lav mic?
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Old January 28th, 2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

The mic boom stand and the taped-on radiomic are both very good ideas and would take little time to set up.

For the record, I have used a scanner succesfully. The audio quality was dire (distorted) anyway, and the sound was actually clearer through the scanner. It was a very cheap and nasty house PA!

My suggestion for listening in on another receiver has also worked for me, but only because I had time to experiment and try it out first. (Two receivers were tried before I found one that worked OK).

Perhaps more usefully, I have placed a G2 lav set in (not on) the ceiling ie resting on the top surface of the ceiling tiles with the lav hanging down about a foot beside the speaker and out of reach of inebriated guests. Don't ask how I got it there, but it only took about a minute to set up and it was nearly invisible when in place. Best done with permission and the correct access equipment.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 08:26 PM   #7
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

Relative to recording with your mic, placed near a loudspeaker from the house PA system...

I'm going to toss out a crazy suggestion here. I have never done this in the situation you describe but I have done it in a somewhat similar context.

Feel free to laugh, say it's crazy, say it won't produce the desired results... whatever. In my situation, it did not make the final product sound great, but it did make it sound better. I'm almost ashamed I had to do this, but I was handed a bag of c**p and had to polish it the best way I could.

Take with you an audio CD containing a long track of pink noise. Either before or after the event, while your mic is in place relative to the PA speaker, have the house sound man play the pink noise over the house system. Record that just as you record the event (also through the PA system).

When you get back to your studio, look at the realtime analysis of the pink noise recording, and you'll get some clue how to EQ the track to "flatten out" the response of the house PA system.

This will help you correct for the response of the house PA speakers, and for any overall EQ on the house system... maybe even to a small degree for any bad resonance in the room. But keep in mind that it won't make up for the EQ in the house mic channel, nor for the house wireless mic if it has a really bad curve. At least it's a start.

---

Of course you'd probably be better off tapping into the house speaker line, using a direct box, if you have that option. That eliminates all the non-linearity of the house loudspeakers (and cuts down on the background noise, too).
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Old January 29th, 2012, 12:38 AM   #8
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

Greg, we used to do that for the annual new car dealer presentations for Ford. We'd Pink Noise every venue around Aust. on a 2 month circus, er job,
using a big Meyer Quad speaker rig with 4 Bryston amps.

We used a pink noise gen. and equed the Meyers on site and it worked very well, though we had to warn everyone to vacate the hall first.
Loud PN drove everyone nuts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Blizzard View Post
Allan, I like your second suggestion. I've never heard of putting two handhelds together.
It should work though. Good suggestion. Your first suggestion might be a bit of a problem.
I use Sennheiser wireless lav and transmitter. The transmitter unit might be a bit of a
problem to hold onto with the mic. Does the Sony not have a separate "box" transmitter with their lav mic?
Yes they do. The ECM77BMP lavaliers are the ones we use having replaced our Sony UWP lavs for their transmitters.

That transmitter is *just* small enough to tape on the venue mic stand and wrap the cable too, tho you might have to sell the idea to a client
if it's to be an audience mic.

Killing the breath pops and any overload voice distortion is a huge advantage, especially as the evening wears on ;)

Another option is to carry the required gear and take an output from your wireless receiver and feed it to the house setup.

Cheers.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #9
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

I've gaffer tapes a small olympus recorder to the side if the wireless mike - works okay,
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Old January 29th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #10
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Re: One wireless house mic and reception audio....

Allan:

Yes, it would be great to EQ the house system before the event. But I think you misunderstood what I was suggesting.

I was going on the assumption that the house sound man will not want you to make any changes to his system, and anyway you've gotten stuck recording with your mic pointed at a house PA speaker.

I was suggesting playing pink noise through the system as it was during the event. Record that pink noise with your mic and recorder, positioned near a house speaker, exactly the same way you recorded the event (with your mic positioned near a house speaker).

Then take your recording of the pink noise -- as recorded through the house speaker -- back to the studio. Look at the spectral curve of that recording. And when you find the right EQ to flatten that curve, you will have taken one step toward flattening your entire recording.

As I said, it's very unorthodox, and a last-ditch attempt to fix something that "just ain't right." But I've done something like this in the past, when there were no better options, and the result was better than doing nothing at all.
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