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Children's Musical, Lav, Headset And Handhelds Xd-v75


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#1 mosternaz

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:03 PM

We just set up a new system at our church, and are doing a concert this week and a children's musical next week.  This scares me!  I'm not a sound engineer and just want to confirm some basic information and beg for any assistance you can give!.

 

We will use one body pack with a Countryman E6, two body packs with the LIne 6 lavs, and the rest will be Line 6 handhelds.  We have good line of sight and the receivers are about 50-70 feet from the transmitters.  We are using the built-in antennas for the handhelds and the auxiliary antennas for the body packs. 

 

We scanned the channels and have nice clear channels.  We are on RF1 and Hi power.

 

I'm reading about gain.  Our units are set to unity.  Is this the best way to go?  We want to avoid as much of the pops, breath sounds and rustling noise as possible.  In testing the lavs, it seems that they are not as sensitive as the E6 or the handheld.  And they seem to be sensitive to movement.  It seem they sound best when taped to the sideburn area of the face. 

 

So, what can we expect when we pull this all together?  Should we set anything any differently?  I would truly appreciate any tips of the trade from you more experienced guys.  Please tell me anything you think I should know in setting up these mics.

 

With my undying gratitude.....

Monica


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#2 RonMarton

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:14 PM

Aargh...

 

As you've foreshadowed, the two Line 6 lavs will be the source of most of your grief, Monica.

 

You'll appreciate that, given a choice, we'd never use them for this application, but the lack of funds for three proper headworns is only too (two ? ) understandable.

 

So IMHO the best bet would be to "capture" them between a "rustle stopping" shock-mount that I'd try fashioning from a pair of flesh-coloured "band-aid strip" style dressings.

 

The aim would be to first tape the cable to the gauze-like absorbent padding, "inside" the strip, (against the "white side", using some of that moisture-resistant surgical adhesive tape) ...the actual "capture point" being as close to the capsule's base as is possible.

 

Then that adhesive strip assembly will sit with its "pink side" against the performer's temple, forming a small "pad" (cut down with scissors) that spaces the mic away from actual contact with the skin.

 

The actual "fixing" would then be achieved via further concealing, flesh-coloured surgical tape going over that entire "pad" assembly, securing it by an area that overlaps it all around, with a tiny length of the mic's cable still allowing the capsule a small degree of "bounce". 

 

Maintaining that placement will be absolutely critical, as the top of the mic's "pepper pot" MUST be pointed downwards towards the lips for any viable pickup to occur.

 

Line 6 lavs also conduct mechanical "rustling" along those cables, so it will be vital to secure the cable by dint of having the performers fully "togged" prior to miking-up, then asking them to turn their head to the side opposite the mic as far as they possibly can, in order to secure a "head turning loop" as close by as possible, on whatever "collar" is available on the garment in question.

 

Believe me, that rustle-preventing "collar" securing point MUST be very secure indeed for any chance of success.

 

...I'm reading about gain.  Our units are set to unity.  Is this the best way to go?  We want to avoid as much of the pops, breath sounds and rustling noise as possible...

 

Given the likely inexperience of your sound team, I'd probably suggest having the "Output Gain" setting at the receivers of those two lavs maybe turned up to around +6dB  to match the rest, again NOT something we'd normally do.

 

The last critical point is that you'll probably find the "foam" windgags essential for the "popping" you've already flagged.


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#3 dboomer

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:17 PM

Hi Monica

 

First of all, no matter how it works out, it will be all good to work with kids.  There' nothing better!

 

I would leave the systems at unity and if you need to make adjustments do that on the mixer.  That will give you the most headroom.

 

Sounds like you've done a thorough job of setting up and testing and I wouldn't expect any problems as long as someone doesn't bring in unannounced a new transmitter and set it up right near your antennas (like a walkie talkie).

 

If you have the luxury of assigning someone to wrangle mics, make sure the right one is on the right kid.  Make double sure where your backup batteries are ... thats always the biggest gotcha.  You can use them down to the end in rehearsals but have fresh ones installed right before curtains.  The other things I would caution you about is that especially with kids you will need to plan for breaking some mics.  They are considered expendables by the pros although churches usually have to watch their pennies, you may break some.  Cables on lavs and headsets are delicate and they don't take a lot of abuse ... and kids are kids.



#4 mosternaz

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 06:42 AM

Thanks to both of you for such great advice.  This can't be any worse than the last musical we did before getting our new mics.  You couldn't hear the kids at all!  I'm excited to have the new equipment.  I've assisted at a ton of live sound events, but never at the board.  I'm competent to set up mics, cables etc. and feel confident with how the mic system works, but the board is confusing.  Hubby set it up for me  - he teaches sound recording but doesn't have theatrical experience an d HATES lavs and headsets for many reaosns.  And he is committed at the community college to a major maintenance weekend where they tear all the boards apart.  With these great tips, I feel much more confident.

 

The children and I will have a little talk about how to handle the mics. The kids get so wired right before the show and there is always running and wrestling, so the kids with lavs may be put in a different room.  They are the older ones and would probably think that is cool.   I already have fresh batteries and each handheld has a colored tape at the bottom, so that should help too. 

 

Thanks so much for your assistance.  I'll let you know how it goes.


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#5 mosternaz

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 04:12 PM

So, thought you'd like an update. 

The three leads were 10 year old girls, one of which had a nice robust voice, and two spoke like mice.  But they were well behaved little grils, so I decided to use the Countryman headsets as the lavs really weren't cutting it.  I had a little bit of ring at first, but was able to reduce the highs and ride the volume to control it.

 

But, there was one issue...... kids!  The three leads started out in street clothes.  I taped in front of the ear, behind the ear, clipped at the neck, and clipped the body pack securely to the waist.  The leads were to leave the stage and return as wise men after about 8 minutes.  I had arranged for a mom to help with the transition.  45 seconds before the girls were to come on as wisemen, one runs up to me (I'm in the back of the house) saying "this fell off".  She has the entire unit in one hand!!!!  There was no time to get it back on, and I'm running sound too!  Fortunately, I had a spare handheld set up, so handed it to her and off she went. She adapted well and the show went on.

 

Later I found out that the mom wasn't there and the girl decided to take off her sweater and skirt before putting the robe on!  That is how it "fell off"!  Not sure what her thought process was......

 

For our second performance I found a more reliable adult and told the girls that NOTHING comes off their bodies for the robe.  They did it perfectly the seond time.

 

Thanks for your help and advice.  I think we will use the lavs for adults and loud speaking kids only.  Merry Christmas.


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#6 RonMarton

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 07:31 PM

…And all the very best of the Season to you and yours, Monica...

 

(You've obviously been a "good girl", so I'm certain that Santa will be kind…)  :)  :lol:

 

regularly face the mic and beltpack problems you've documented in miking up children. (In my case, often disabled children…)

 

My favourite solutions for the quick wardrobe changes you've documented, especially given that many costumes do NOT provide any attachment points for belt-clips, are the eight of these that I own:

 

 
The "trick" is to first use a Philips head driver to reverse the belt-pack's stainless clips, whereby they act as "stand-offs" for the transmitting antenna, (keeping it clear of potentially sweaty bodies) before "squeezing" the beltpacks into the pouches of Tune Belts.
 
Not only are those wetsuit-material belts amazingly cheap, washable and durable, but they also
  1. Easily adjust and securely clip on to to all (even the tiniest) body sizes,
  2. Provide shock-resistance and security from the accidental opening of battery hatches,
  3. Allow the belt-pack to remain enclosed, with easy access at both "ends" for switching and/or re-connection to mics …and...
  4. Provide a "platform" for the really obvious "labelling" (via white PVC electrical tape and black permanent marker) that's required for the instant identification of given transmitters in the poor lighting that's an inevitable consequence of backstage work. 

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