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I have actually two (closely related) question, please tell me if it were better to split the question into two.

  1. I plan to give life performances some time in the future, not really professional level, but I want it to sound good. The problem is that I play the (electronic) piano and sing. I obviously can't hold a microphone, and I tried to do it with a microphone on a stand, and it quite doesn't work (I do move my head a lot while playing). So it seems that I'll need a headset microphone. How do I know if a certain device is suitable for my needs?

  2. Closely related, most headset microphones I saw are intended as wireless microphones. Can I use them as a wired microphone? Will I need some pre-amp before I plug them into the mixer? Could I eventually use TASCAM DR-05 as a pre-amp? My idea is that I don't mind the wire (I'll be seat on a spot the whole time) and I can get cheaper without the transmitter and receiver set.

  • hi tohecz, although i believe you can possibly find an answer here, it's off topic for a sound design site. have you tried gearslutz? – Arnoud Traa Aug 21 '14 at 13:37
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    @ArnoudTraa - how does this differ from a question about what mic is appropriate for recording high frequency sound? The question is a bit basic, but what should be looked for in a mic for one context is just as design related as it is in another context, even if the answer to this one is more commonly known. – AJ Henderson Aug 21 '14 at 15:21
  • i think the correlation (both are mic's) is besides the point i'm making. the microphones purpose in that case was to design sounds and that is a common practice in sound design (foley/sfx). this question is regarding music-recording. but my main point is that we can't serve every question that concerns a 'sound' aspect, music or sound reinforcement is were we could draw a line, because those answers are easier to find elsewhere. this site services a small group that cannot find answers anywhere else that easily / is less "commonly known". – Arnoud Traa Aug 21 '14 at 15:32
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The biggest thing with a headset mic is going to be looking at the pick up pattern (you want it to be cardioid facing you to avoid feedback), size (large mics can look funny) and sound quality/response (small mics tend to either have limited response (countryman) or limited quality. You want a mic that gives good frequency response along your vocal range and also maintains good high quality without breathing noise (which also will depend on properly positioning the mic.) Often you will be looking at a trade off between quality and size when dealing with a headset mic and depending on how far out it sticks, it will also likely still need a windscreen to prevent popping.

Most of the time, the best balance is going to be a condenser mic, which leads in to the second part of your question, yes, it is entirely possible to use a headset mic wired, but condenser mics require power and processing circuitry. Normally for small condensers, such as LAVs and headsets, this circuitry is placed in a belt pack for both the wired and wireless variety. If you use a wired pack, there will normally be an XLR jack that you can plug in and either run it off of a battery or phantom power to provide the electricity needed to operate the condenser mic and it's processing circuitry. As long as you have the belt pack, the output will be a standard mic signal and won't need anything special between it and the mixer.

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As for suggestions, I am a big fan of what countryman offers. They have a few models out there that I have worked with all of which I have really liked. They are durable and can take quite a beating. They will fit your standard shure wireless pack nicely for live use.

As for connecting them I assume you intend to use this to record (in a studio setting), I will offer the following. It is possible, you simply need a box to deliver phantom power to the mic and convert the mini socket to a standard XLR cable but the truth is most Lav mics are not very good for recording. I find that they sound very "metallic" or "Tin like" when recorded and played back. For recording get your self a proper vocal mic and you will be much happier.

  • (1) it's not for studio work, it's for live performance. (2) I have considered standard microphones, but they don't allow me to wiggle around while playing the piano, which simply doesn't work. Last but not least, for studio work, I could have done the piano and the voice part separately. But thanks for the suggestions. (And it's not a classical unidirectional Lav, I consider these as well, but they have a pretty bad quality for singing, I hope to get a better quality with headsets.) – yo' Aug 29 '14 at 17:03
  • Do you have any particular countryman's you like for singing? I've never found a countryman that I particularly liked the sound quality of for anything more than speech. I love them for that, but hate them for singing, unless they've gotten a lot better since I last tried one for singing. – AJ Henderson Sep 1 '14 at 15:56
  • I used their E6 Model for a few Musicals I mixed with really nice success. They are not perfect but they are very rugged and the sound to price/durability ratio is nice. – Dave Sep 2 '14 at 15:19

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