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Ive been asked to spec mics and sound for a outdoor mini theatre production. Involving 2 performers in a booth (think punch & judy lifeseze). Theywant to mic voices and add incidental underscore to speakers fixed to side or top of 2.5m x 1m booth (audiences 50-250). without an enginner on the mix or FOH... ahhh!

Any suggesttions greatly appreciated. I'm thinking: - Belt pack radios with either slim hedset mics or cardiod lavaliers, fitted into their masks (2 peice mask with clear mouth area). Problem is they duck up/down in the booth, ruff around play fight etc, hang in/out of booth.

Fixed mics seem impossible as the gain b4 feedback gunna be a constant issue so close to speakers, would have to be concealed aestheticallY and they twist and wrestle about alot so on/off axis..

Any suggestions?? and or recomended mics?

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worked with puppeteers including the amazing Kevin clash and they use headbands with a wired lapel mic attached pointing towards the mouth. This is also the technique used for the actors in Where the Wild things are. Rather than ADR it straight to mic they acted it all out.

Could be worth a try and that way you can use quite a directional microphone without it beng affected by head/mouth position.

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This is very doable. Here are some options: Wired Lavaliere (less expensive, movement restrictive but they are in a box anyway) Wireless Lavaliere (more expensive, more maintenance required, lots of freedom of movement)

Mount them in their hair above the mask, or near the edge of the mask by the mouth. Omnis will give you a more natural sound, but a cardioid will give you a bit more gain. Think DPA, Countryman B3, B6, something like that.

An earset would give you great gain, if you can work it around the mask and the aesthetics aren't ruined by the boom. Countryman E6, or use your favorite lavaliere with some floral wire to make your own.

A small mixer in the box with the performers would let them control levels and trigger fx. Add to that a pair of powered speakers and you should be good to go.

Even with omnis you should get a decent amount of gain if you have room to play around with the speaker placement.

  • Leaping off of this, I would most definitely recommend an omni over a cardioid, unless you are absolutely certain that you can control the positioning of the mic. If one of the performers jostles the cardioid slightly off-position you've changed your entire frequency response, and possibly lost the majority of your gain. Omnis tend to be more predictable. Just my 2¢! ~Matt – Matt Glenn May 12 '12 at 6:20
  • Thanks for these tips. Yes cardiod/omni is a trikcy one, but think good point re cardiod getting ruffed up and off axix in the action. I'm goin to do some tryouts with them tomorrow with a Sennheiser EW 122 G3 with cardiod & omni lapels MH2/4 and also a cheaper Omni hedset. Yes figuring on a mini mixer with faders in back of booth (althoug they have very hectic choreographed actions) . Also discovered Behringer SHARK FBQ100, which can auto-dip feedback of sorts (which may make for an invisible engineer, albeit clumsy) and at £70 is worth a go. – melta May 13 '12 at 23:36
  • typo I mean ME 2 /4 lavs. Partly dictated by what they can afford to buy. B6 or E6 would be great visually, if we can afford them (total mics budget inc wireless receivers/transmitters for them both is = £1K UK pounds. – melta May 14 '12 at 0:05
  • If you have the time, and can order from the US, there is a little company here in Florida that makes some rather decent (and extremely inexpensive) earsets at $100US or ~£62. They don't sound quite as good as a Countryman E6, but they do a decent enough job that a little eq makes them sound nice. I have 18 of their MM-PSM earsets. microphonemadness.com – TheFaderJockey May 15 '12 at 2:27
  • Also, be careful of the feedback eliminator route. It will auto-duck frequencies that feed back (working like a fast, automated graphic eq), not the entire signal level. They can also destroy your sonic integrity if they are forced into ducking too many frequencies at once. (If you push the signal higher than you should.) A feedback eliminator should be a safety net, not relied upon as a mixing tool. There are auto mic mixers out there that are intended for the installed conference room sort of market. Something like the Rane AM2 might be what you are looking for. – TheFaderJockey May 15 '12 at 2:30

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