Last time, I told you about my friend’s wedding, and the faux pas with the microphone and audio system, and the feedback that ruined a very special, once-in-a-lifetime moment. Since, I have had, yet another experience, on a much larger scale, with poor audio that could’ve been avoided.
My friends and I were attending a concert in a major metropolitan city, and there were three bands. Being an audio visual (AV) specialist, of course I pay attention to that as much as the music we’re there to hear.
The first band was good, and I could discern the lyrics over the instrumentals pretty well. The second band, however, was a real struggle to hear any of the lyrics against the music, and there were only a few words in a few songs that my friends and I could even distinguish as to what they were actually playing, The lyrics were so garbled against the instrumentals, that it was not one bit enjoyable for this AV guy.
Fortunately, the headliner band had a top-of-the-line AV show that kept us all favorably entertained. When we left the show, of course we talked about the performances. We all gave kudos to the headline band and their show, and even the opening act we weren’t particularly looking forward to seeing. What seemed prevalent to my friends was the distortion in the second act that ruined their segment of the event.
The point is bad wireless microphone selections and set-ups can ruin an event, large or small. In this case, I think the second band should’ve done their due diligence to select and set-up a wireless microphone that would have accommodated their needs in a large stadium venue with 50K people.
My team and I have nearly two decades of experience selecting and setting-up wireless mic systems for venues on a smaller scale across the Tampa Bay region. Churches and theater groups, wedding receptions and business conferences, no matter what the event, a wireless microphone gives the user freedom to move without fear of tripping over cables or being stationary for an entire presentation, which often times is not possible. The key is selecting the right mic for you and the event, and setting it up properly to reduce or eliminate cut-outs and feedback.
When selecting a wireless microphone to work well with your AV set-up, consider these factors:
What kind of wireless mic is best? Different mics are available for different needs. A handheld wireless transmitter works well when vocals are the only consideration, like used at my friend’s wedding. However, it is recommended fitness and dance instructors, singers who dance, keyboardists and drummers, for example, use a headset and body pack. Stage actors, worship leaders and awards presenters should use a lavalier with a body pack. Each type performs well without cabling, but it depends what you’re doing as to which type will serve you and your audience best.
How good do you want your audio to sound with the wireless mic? Of course you want the best sound possible. Headsets and lavaliers are generally sensitive enough to deliver more natural audio without breathing noises.
Where are you going to be using the wireless mic? Whether your venue is a large open sanctuary like Southside Baptist Church, or smaller like Pinellas Park Auditorium, no matter which type of wireless mic you’ve selected, it must be set-up properly to avoid issues like drop-outs and feedback. A clear path to the receiver without obstructions like columns, drum sets or large numbers of people, should keep even an inexpensive wireless mic from cut-outs, distortion, and feedback, within a fair distance from the receiver.
How do you set-up a wireless mic for ultimate performance quality? Once you’ve selected the right mic, the proper set-up between the components is crucial. We’ve established the transmitter (mic) should have a clear path to the receiver. Metal, equipment, walls, columns, people, or anything that can interfere with the signals between the wireless mic and the receiver can cause audio challenges.
Receivers are generally alike with all the same components, no matter which type of mic you choose. Make sure you have all the equipment: the microphone and body pack; the receiver box; and antennas. Start by plugging in the power supply to the receiver. Next, connect the XLR cable to the sound mixer or speakers. Attach the antennas to the back of the receiver to catch signals.
Once the receiver is powered up while the mic is turned off, you’ll want to select a clear channel for least interference from other sound waves. You will see a meter to the left of the main screen that will indicate channels in use. From the settings menu choose “advanced,” and find “tune”. There you can hit the button several times until the meter on the left is blank or clear, and you know you have a channel you can use. At that point, select the channel and store with another touch of the button. [You can escape the set-up menu by hitting the power button once.]
Once the receiver has a clear channel set, you’ll want to sync your wireless mic to match the same exact frequency as the receiver. Match the small window on the transmitter to the channel window on the receiver, holding them close to each other, and hit the sync button. This will match the frequencies between the two. Once they’re lined up, you’ll see a check mark on the receiver, and you’ll see a full signal on both sides.
Next, the sensitivity of the microphone is very important. On the body pack, select the “advanced” option to adjust the sensitivity to fit your needs. Once you have the proper sensitivity, you’ll select it and it’s stored. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the mute button on top of the body pack, so you can control when the mic is actively transmitting sound.
After these steps are followed, you need to connect the receiver to the mixing board or speakers. Now you’ll be able to control the output, depending upon how much sound you need coming through the board or speakers. Now that it’s set, you can escape set-up and hit the power button. You’re good to go!
I want your AV experience to be the best it can be, whether you are performing at Ruth Eckerd Hall or Tarpon Springs Community Theater. Selecting the proper wireless microphone can be a game-changer when it comes to the level of enjoyment your audience experiences.
If you have questions about selecting a wireless mic for an event, or you could use some advice about setting it up, give us a call: 813-775-2557, or visit our website, wirelessmicrentals.com. We really want you to succeed, and we’re here to make that happen!
CHECK OUT THIS WIRELESS VIDEO!
Posted on Tue, August 8, 2017
by Drew McMullian