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Old February 24th, 2013, 01:24 PM   #1
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Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

I am responsible for acquiring audio in a small church hall for live PA, recording, and streaming. I am using wireless lavaliers with cardioid capsules with disappointing results. There is too much clothing noise and the capsules are under people's chins and too far away to sound good. I also need a system that can be passed from one person to another more easily. Currently, the speakers take off the lav and pass it to the next person speaking and that is a hassle.

What I want is a mic that sounds okay indoors, works from 10-12" away (chest level to be less obtrusive), and is wireless. I've imagined that a hypercardioid on a stand with a wireless transmitter would do the trick, but I'm not so sure how a hyper would be for live PA. I can't have a mic right in people's faces and there can be no cord. This is a Buddhist temple, so the people sit and remain fairly still. A short stand that they pass around would be acceptable, but a big SM58 in their face is not okay. The problem I see with this is the probable lack of sufficient phantom power from my Lectrosonics 100 transmitter (with ta5 to xlr adapter cable) and the unknown of using something like a hyper in a PA system. I've used the AT4053b indoors before and I'm quite happy with it for recording, but I have no idea what would happen with a PA. A plug-in XLR transmitter would have phantom power, but I don't want to spend $2000 just yet if this experiment fails. Does anyone have any ideas on how a hyper reacts in a PA system? Are there any hypercardioid or "indoor" shotgun mics that work on battery that won't be prone to feedback?
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Old February 24th, 2013, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

There's no issue with using hypers in this manner - in fact the BBC rather like them for live (or recorded) radio, where they need PA too. In proper PA terms, many people are switching to supercardioid, or hypercardioid because you get different (not better) feedback performance - depending on where the main PA speakers or monitors are. The downside is that the problem you have with the cardioid lavs (which is simply directivity) means that handing around mics as if they are lollypops never gives reliable sound. With any directional mic, and worse as the pattern narrows, going off axis make the audio thinner, and less useful. On top of this, a poorly handled directional mic can make feedback with the PA very simple. If you have an experienced sound op, it will be fine - but moving mics around is NOT set and forget. If you have uncontrolled users, then omni mics are more predictable, if they can be instructed to keep them close.

If they need to pass them around, then how about a bit of home construction? A standard lav omni (or a cardioid if you really must, and they can aim it) with the plug removed and threaded down a thin piece of tube, then the plug reterminated and plugged into the pack attached to a table stand base? A bit of ingenuity could work here. Passing lavs around, or to be very honest, passing any mic around, produces lots of nasty noises and again, needs a decent op.

If you have a decent PA, and operator, then there's no real problem, apart from the people using the mics getting it wrong. I do conference style work and often have up to 10 mics on the go - this means an attentive op can always find one that is in the right place, and the users have no need to touch them at all!
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Old February 24th, 2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

I thought about just putting the wireless cardioid on a gooseneck as that would be the cheapest solution. I suppose I should try that before spending a fortune on a hypercardioid and a wireless capsule.

Does anybody know of a small device that can supply phantom power if I decide I want to try a hyper over wireless? The next step of buying a wireless capsule increases the budget so dramatically that I would rather test the mic first over my existing lav setup. It has a mic-xlr conversion cable but I don't think it sends phantom power.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

There are numerous phantom boxes on the market. I use a Fat Boy box. It runs off of 2 9V batterys, has XLR in and out is a bit big but since I don't use it on the camera or ask anyone to wear it on their belt it works fine for the situations when I need it. I can either just set it on the floor or hook it to the boom stand. there are other smaller ones I'm sure.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 11:06 PM   #5
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Hello again, Marcus,

Just trying to get a good visual picture of this in my brain, in terms of mic mounting or stands.

You say the people (I assume you mean the "speaking people") will be sitting. Are they sitting on chairs, or sitting on the floor? And is everyone's head at roughly the same elevation, relative to the floor?

In selecting a mic, you have two conflicting issues.

• If you use a directional mic, especially a hypercardioid, the pickup pattern will be rather tight at 10" to 12" distance. If it's properly aimed at the speaking person, it will be fine. But if it is mis-aimed when it's moved around, or if the speaking person moves around, the directionality will become problematic.

• If you use an omni mic, aiming will be much less critical. However, at a distance of 10" to 12" from the speaking person, you may have to run the gain rather high, depending on how loud the person talks, and how loud the reinforcement is expected to be. (Hopefully they are just expecting very subtle reinforcement.)

With an omni, high gain might lead to feedback issues. This depends on the location of the loudspeakers and the room acoustics in general. [We've talked about FBEs previously -- not the ideal solution, but if you don't have a good, dedicated PA operator, it might be better than frequent howls.]
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Old February 25th, 2013, 03:37 PM   #6
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Greg, everyone sits on mats on the floor. The mic height will vary somewhat for different people speaking, but I think a short gooseneck will allow them to adjust quickly enough. I think what I am going to do to test this out is to try a super cardioid dynamic mic with a cord before I destroy my budget on a wireless setup that may not be the right choice. I know that a condenser hyper will have a tighter pattern and a stronger signal/noise ratio but I think this will help a bit to at least know if a mic with a tight pattern will be good. If the test with a super cardioid goes well, I'll get a hyper or super cardioid condenser and a wireless capsule that provides phantom power. I can use those for other things anyway but I'd rather spend money on things I know will work for this situation now. Omni mics are nearly impossible as the room is very prone to feedback so I'm going to try to determine a useful directional mic profile. I install the feedback controller tomorrow, but I want to mainly use that as an emergency backup and rely more on proper mic type and placement to really fix the issues.

The one benefit that I have working with Buddhists is that they have good posture and are very deliberate in their movements. They also have patience to take the time to work with the mic but I want something that will be easier to get consistent performance. The difficulty is that the room is very reflective and even just a bit of feedback is very intrusive.

Last edited by Marcus Marchesseault; February 25th, 2013 at 04:20 PM.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 12:48 AM   #7
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Here's what I'd do.

QuikLok A-341 Short Tripod stand (short and light and movable stand)

Anchor Audio Councilman LM-618
or
Countryman M4CP5RF24E Isomax 4RF Podium Mic (podium mics with long reach)

Audio-Technica Microphone Isolation Stand Clamp - AT8471 (to mount it to the stand)

Use an XLR cable to test, then if you're happy, switch to a wireless snap on TX and Receiver.

YMMV.
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Old February 27th, 2013, 02:16 AM   #8
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Bill, those are interesting suggestions, but I've gone a slightly different way with the stand. I don't have a mic picked out for sure yet. I ordered a stand with a round weighted base and no boom. I added a 6" gooseneck extension so people can have a little freedom in positioning it for themselves. I wanted something that was visually simple so the round base with no boom hardware seemed best. I didn't think about getting mics that were goosenecks themselves, so this is something I have to consider. I don't want them to have to put the mic too close so I'm not sure a cardioid mic will reject feedback enough 6" away from the person talking. Hmmm...I think I need to get an adjustment to the laws of electromagnetic energy. This whole inverse square business makes things too difficult.
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Old February 27th, 2013, 10:25 AM   #9
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Actually, it's the laws of acoustics you're fighting with, not electromagnetic energy.

As I said before (when you posted basically the same question in an earlier thread a few weeks ago), churches seem to believe in miracles, and want to disregard what we have found to be basic truths of good sound: you can't disregard the laws of physics, and you need manpower to get good results.

So now you find yourself in the self-appointed position of miracle worker. Just remember, if reality intervenes and you disappoint the church, they may well decide it's your fault that the miracle didn't happen.

Have fun.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 01:56 AM   #10
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

This is related to the earlier discussion but narrowed down a bit towards mic type or placement. What it really boils down to is mic placement. No mic has a strong signal from a foot away and mics with a narrow pattern are great for recording but they really just change how they will induce feedback and don't eliminate it. A weak signal from a distant mic may sound better on a recording with a great mic and a pro operator, but a live situation with no boom operator means the mic is in the wild fending for itself.

I think I'm going to get a Countryman headpiece. There is no substitute for mic placement. Tonight we had a lady speaking that turned her head frequently to make eye contact with the audience and she dropped out every time. The lav also has too much clothing noise. I suppose the headpiece will also have its own issues, but they can't be as bad as a mic placed a foot away under someone's chin.

Greg, I should mention that the last video I did went better as I ran the board myself and have had more practice in the location since the first outing. I'm trying to simplify the mic setup so maybe there will be less mixing and signals that can add noise. Because of the slow pace, I think I may be able to get something presentable. The first thing to do is tackle the embarrassing audio problems. It's slow going with more setbacks that I want, but it will get there partly due to everyone's help here. Thanks!
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Old February 28th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #11
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Headset mics work well for integrated PA/recording, however if there are multiple speakers, there could be a problem switching the headsets between presenters.. especially if they are inexperienced and/or twitchy, so an A1 would be needed to assist wrangling the headsets on and off folks.
Regarding the integrated PA/recording, in this type of scenario, and if I have the option to re-configure the console, I send a pre-fader mix to the house, and 'mix-to-tape' off the board's main linear faders, this gives the option of 'reaching' for something without affecting the house mix. ie: inducing feedback.
Or.. pray for a miracle.

Last edited by Rick Reineke; February 28th, 2013 at 03:52 PM.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 02:43 PM   #12
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Rick, that's a good idea to have the PA and recording on completely different mixes. I plan to do this with a new mixer that has direct outputs and sub channels.

Switching headsets between presenters is certainly a huge hassle. There is a person to assist during the service and they can help but I will need to get more than one headset. Often when there are multiple speakers it is acceptable for some of them to use a handheld mic that they can pass around. I ordered a small stand for that purpose. I think I can get by with two headsets and two decent handhelds on stands. There are two room mics overhead that can work in a pinch to get audience questions.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 10:32 PM   #13
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
I've used the AT4053b indoors before and I'm quite happy with it for recording, but I have no idea what would happen with a PA. A plug-in XLR transmitter would have phantom power, but I don't want to spend $2000 just yet if this experiment fails. Does anyone have any ideas on how a hyper reacts in a PA system? Are there any hypercardioid or "indoor" shotgun mics that work on battery that won't be prone to feedback?
Hello Marcus,

Hypers are used in live sound all the time. Where they or any mic fails is with monitors when the mic is pointed in such a way as to provide sound into the rear mic lobe. Poorly designed PAs that are too close to the mics can also be a problem.

More than you want to pay, but absolutely wonderful sounding and very low in profile are the Schoeps colette tubes and CCM stands.

Stands and Tubes - SCHOEPS.de

Either the MK4 cardioid or MK41 supercardioid is what you want; probably the MK41. Depends on how wide a pattern you want or need to cover the action. And, of course, how close you can get to the person speaking.

It is possible that you have an untenable situation with the existing PA and acoustics. If that is the case, you will find that your arguments against the laws of physics are futile and you will have to make changes either in your approach, the acoustics or the PA; perhaps all three.


Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 05:23 AM   #14
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

I'm still unclear on a few things.
Can you let us see the room - so we can see where the participants are, where the loudspeakers are and how it's all laid out? It does seem to me that the vital missing element could simply be a sound op who is experienced with this type of event. I get the feeling you're after a kind of set and forget system, which I doubt will work. A few mics and fast fingers on faders seems the best bet for the PA, and if the op is on the ball, maybe a separate feed for video won't be needed at all. My conference kit has 10 cardioid/hypercardiod mics on table stands with goosenecks, and works fine for 1400 seats. The key feature is good ears and eyes to make sure a minimum of mics are open at one time - our own system means active participants have their faders up to working level, and the others are not muted, just kept open but low, so if somebody suddenly speaks, they can be heard a little, and a look at the desk meters shows who is speaking, so the mic can be faded up. I guess this is what you might have to do if it gets complicated.
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 05:00 PM   #15
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Re: Mic for indoor PA and live streaming?

Ty, the Schoeps stand and tube does look exactly as I described what I wanted at the beginning of this post. It is out of the budget right now and I've realized that the only thing that will likely work is a headset mic. Everything I've tried has a serious drawback and it's coming down to the fact that I just need to get the mic closer. The reason I no longer think a hyper on a stand would work is that the person speaking turns their head frequently because of the layout of the room and their seating place. It is a wide room so much of the audience is to the presenter's left and right so they turn their head frequently. A cardioid lav capsule helped with the feedback, but I now have voice dropout every time they turn their head.

Paul, I don't have a photo right now but you may have read above that it is a wide room with lots of reflecting surfaces. The speakers are mounted on the ceiling. The person talking sits in the middle and often looks far left and right because that's where much of the audience is. You are partially right in that an experienced op is missing as I am also the camera guy. I realize that a sound system can't be set and forget, but I need it to not be right at the edge of going critical all the time. I think the only way to achieve this is with close mic placement and that means a headset. Everything I've tried and all the knowledge of the people here point to that. Fortunately, I've been given the go to try that out. I will still be responsible for running a (stationary) camera and the board at the same time, but I can manage as long as the ugly demon of feedback isn't constantly ringing out it's roar.
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