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Old February 18th, 2013, 02:52 PM   #1
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? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

Let me start off with my question :

Is there a system (wireless mics (handheld & lav), p.a./mixer brd. and speakers) that could adequately amplify a speaker in a room size mentioned below and can give me reliable robust audio ?

My recent experience that inspiring me to get my own p.a. system.

Last week was on the Videographer team for a 3 day conference.

Was assigned one of the rooms for breakout sessions after the keynote Speaker. Since an A/V company was not hired separately I was responsible for the audio in my room as well as video recording the session.

The room was approx 20' x 50'.

The setup was a 6 channel amp/mixer, 2 speakers, a wireless lav and wireless handheld.

Not sure the brand names of each item. The problem experienced was static chirps or audio fading in and out especially when the handheld mic was used. Each of these things were distracting to the speaker and the audience and embarassing to me.

I had both audio channels on camera dedicated to the board feed and sometimes when a question or comment came from an attendee i couldn't hear it in camera especially when handheld mic used.

Would rather own my own system that I trust instead of someone else's that is a crap shoot.

Any recommendations ?
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Old February 18th, 2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

Ken
I can only tell you what I end up using here in my area and please keep in mind that I don't own any of it. I contract to a few different AV company's to set up and run when their gear when they get hired be it video or audio.
Around here the standard seems to be the Shure SLX wireless. The kit usually has both a HH and a LAV. Best? no but for 99% of the seminars they work out OK.
Speakers...I seen and used JBL, Mackie, ElectroVoice and QSC. For a room that size 1 set should do the job of course 2 might be better.
For mixers I've used Mackies and Berhinger. To my ear, for seminars they both sounded the same. For that gear a lot depends on budget. IIRC the last one I did I had a Mackie ProFX12 and ran 4 sets of Shure SLX bases with 1 set of JBL speakers. Room was probalby about the size you talked about (20X50) about 100-125 people and the seminar was extremely boring. Something about chemical compositions of ??? Heh, I can't even tell you.
Anyway, for plain old seminars I think you're pretty safe with any good combo of speakers and a mixer with 6 inputs-12 would be nice but most seminars a 6 should do it. IF it's something bigger than that then the AV company should supply the mixer and mics. BTW, I think 4 sets of mics should also do the job. Again a bigger seminar, the AV company needs to supply the gear. that's what they're getting paid for.
As for audience mics you either need someone running around with a HH to get to the person asking the question (2 people would be better) or set up 2 or 3 HHs on stands in the center aisle and the presenter has to tell people to go to one of those mics to ask the question because it'be being recorded. For a small group, I've used 2 hypercaroids on mic stands in front of the audience facing to them of course and that has worked but again only for a smallish group. No more than say about 25 people in a fairly small room.
HTHs
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Old February 18th, 2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

Ken,

First, it sounds to me like the lav and the HH may have been on the same frequency. Did you check both of the receivers to confirm separation. The drop outs also could have been caused by a mic on the same frequency in another room close to yours?

For the sake of durability, portability, and economy this is a fair solution for you:

Fender Passport 300 Pro Portable Sound System 069-4403-000 B&H


It is a portable all in one unit (wireless mics not included). Mixer, amp, speakers, wired mics, included. I had one for about ten years until the amp went out. It is not high quality sound but by far good enough for corporate conferences. There is several different models.

I too am in Phoenix. Corporate video and AV productions are my specialty. I have done gigs at just about every resort in the valley. I know lots of good technicians and guys with GOOD gear, including me. If you would like to exchange contact information send me a PM and we can talk about ways we might be able to benefit each other.

Steve
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Old February 18th, 2013, 07:29 PM   #4
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

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Originally Posted by Ken Beals View Post
...Not sure the brand names of each item. The problem experienced was static chirps or audio fading in and out especially when the handheld mic was used. Each of these things were distracting to the speaker and the audience and embarassing to me.

I had both audio channels on camera dedicated to the board feed and sometimes when a question or comment came from an attendee i couldn't hear it in camera especially when handheld mic used.

Would rather own my own system that I trust instead of someone else's that is a crap shoot.

Any recommendations ?
Ken, I am not in your market but would strongly suggest you connect with some good AV companies, and why not fellow DVInfo-er Steven D.

I mean, really, sorry if this sounds blunt, but if you don't have the skills and experience to spec and run PA, why are you doing it?

Good PA work is done by professionals with skills and knowledge. Imagine if the situation were reversed, and a sound for meetings pro was making the same comments about his/her bad experience with the crap shoot of renting a camera? What would you be advising him or her? You'd be saying "if you don't have the experience to spec, rent, and operate a good camera, maybe you should find someone who does!"

There are good AV and meeting PA people out there, and Phoenix is a huge meeting and events center, get some referrals, get some local support. Maybe you *will* buy your own rig, but you'll still benefit from some good local dependable connections while you're learning more about it.
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Old February 18th, 2013, 08:04 PM   #5
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

I'd agree with Seth. I started out as an audio mixer for bands years ago and now I'm a video engineer, as well as having done independent video work for over 30 years. Both sides of the street. Even with that background, (or because of it), I'd hire separate audio tech with their own gear.

Because, drops in audio can be caused by everything from other wireless signals 'stomping' on your signal to putting a lav on the right lapel when the speaker keeps on looking over his left lapel at the power-point on the screen behind him/her. And speakers themselves often will start a sentence with a strong voice and finish it very quietly. Or the mic not be right for that particular situation...and a host of other reasons

Sound guys will know the best gear to use, know which wireless frequencies are best for the area, will have good podium mics, can ride levels and take care of all sorts of stuff that you cannot while shooting. Find someone you like working with and add him and his/her gear to the budget if you want control over the audio quality.
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Old February 18th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #6
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

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Originally Posted by Eric Lagerlof View Post

Because, drops in audio can be caused by everything from other wireless signals 'stomping' on your signal to putting a lav on the right lapel when the speaker keeps on looking over his left lapel at the power-point on the screen behind him/her. And speakers themselves often will start a sentence with a strong voice and finish it very quietly. Or the mic not be right for that particular situation...and a host of other reasons
Now that is a voice of experience. You don't know that stuff unless you have "been there, done that" thank you.

Steve
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Old February 19th, 2013, 12:03 PM   #7
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

Where I am working now, there are Shure PGX wireless systems and I am not happy with them. It sounds like Darth and Obi Wan are having it out in the background. The Shure ULX sounds good, but they only have one of those. I am supplementing with my own Lectrosonics lav, but those are expensive. I also had no luck with a Sennheiser EW100 system in the same room and that mic is highly rated. I kept getting loud popping dropouts that I could reproduce by walking through certain spots in the room. The Shure ULX and Lectrosonics both work fine but they cost more than the PGX.
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Old February 19th, 2013, 09:52 PM   #8
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Re: ? Best audio/pa system for breakout class session ?

So Appreciate the feedback !

I totally agree it would be optimal to have the audio handled separately and by a pro.

This was one of those awkward scenerio where although hired to just video record the session I ended up being responsible for audio too.

Always like to go into a gig with a plan B or even a plan C ... in this case I didn't even have a plan A.

With that in mind I was looking for basic gear I could take with as somewhat of a life line in case find myself in similar situation again.

Hope that helps give a clearer picture of the situation.

Again big thanks for the responses and recommends !
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