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Think Academy Awards or Golden Globes or Grammy's.

What's the best mic for a speech in a large hall setting with very (and I mean very) loud monitors on the stage? It will have to be used on bassy male voices and screechy female voices - voices of all types and frequencies.

Currently I'm using a hyper-cardioid pencil-mic capsule on a custom-built microphone stand, and while mixing the voice it's definitely hard and battling a lot of splash from the monitors and phase-cancellation issues from the podium.

I'm about ready to just ditch the condenser and place my AKG C5 mic I won in a contest. The amount of notches and dynamic EQ I am using is just absurd and shouldn't be that way for a simple podium situation - am I right?

Any suggestions?

Thanks - Ryan

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2 Answers

It would help to have a better understanding of the space and time you have for set up. I'm wondering why there would need to be stage monitors for a speaker at a podium.

Microphones:

  • For a nice sounding, basic (but not cheap) podium mic, Crown LM series is great. Either the 201 or the 301A (the same mic, just a longer gooseneck). More info here
  • Schoeps mics are generally the live show (like the Oscars) mic of choice. Mount a cardioid and a hypercardoid on the same bracket so you can compensate for tall, short, etc. The CCM Series small capsule mics are great, and they have a bunch of nice mic stand options.
  • If possible, go with a countryman headset mic or a crown. Keeps the mic close by the speaker and has great rejection at that range.

Mounting is where you can get fancy. There are a number of very cool podium stands, including the hydrolic ones they use at large award shows that adjust to the height of the speaker. If you have time to get it rigged, you could also put a choir mic on a servo reel from the ceiling. I use these often and it's a nice way to move the mic out of the way and adjust for different speakers.

Processing - you'll want to compress heavily, somewhere around 8:1 or more. Also, if you have the time, boost the gain on the mic when nobody is at the podium to create feedback. This will at least give you the worst area and let you hack that frequency out before it's an issue.

Hope this helps!

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@VCProd The event takes place in the Kodak Theater, Nokia Theater, Staples Center. One speaker at a time, male and female, all different types of voices... Like I said, "Think Grammy's and Academy Awards"... They usually give us about 5 days from audio load-in through rehearsals. Great answer. Thanks! –  Utopia Aug 26 '10 at 19:06
    
@VCProd I'm using an MK capsule right now. Is there anything you've found that sounds better? i.e. more rejection and more presence/body? I want something solid without all the colorations of hard surfaces and monitors - basically a studio quality recording on a live stage. Maybe it's not possible... –  Utopia Aug 26 '10 at 21:01
    
@Ryan Ah, yes, big big space. If price is no issue, I would get a Schoeps CCM 4 and a CCM 41 at the same time and switch between them. They'll probably come out a bit better than the single MK. Also might want to look at the Countryman Isomax 4RF - got some really great noise reducing features. I have not used it, but it looks like a great option and Countryman has some really nice sounding mics. Let me know what you end up going with.. are you recording this, or is it for the live house feed? That will change how you mix with mic phasing and compression live vs going over that in post. –  VCProd Aug 27 '10 at 18:07
    
@VC Well, what I've been using right now is an MK41 and an MK5 set to Cardioid on a custom mount - one in front and one slightly in back of it for pop protection. There is a live mix and then it gets remixed for DVD. I'm curious about the Countrymans. –  Utopia Aug 28 '10 at 2:35
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Dunno about 'best' but the AKG C747's are pretty good.

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Thanks. Does it have the same rejection and presence of a 414? I'm eager to get a demo and try it out. What have you used it on? –  Utopia Aug 25 '10 at 3:23
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