Headset Mic

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Headset Mic

Postby Dave Doughnut » 03 Aug 2007, 19:30

I'm thinking of getting a headset mic for Punch.Plug straight into a coomber and away you go at the minute I use a Shure Mic in a holder which is ok.But I'm thinking a headset mic may be better for the job.

Anybody use one if so does it work Ok.What ones can you reccomend I have found a Shure one for 84-00 Pounds!!!Do you get problems using one of these mics I have never used one.

Thanks in adavnce for your replys

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Postby Professor Eek » 03 Aug 2007, 20:28

I use a radio headset and it's fantastic.

Main issue with headmics is the cable - you need to place over your shoulder or secure in some way so that your arm movements do not 'pull' the mic away from your face during the show.

At £84 I'm guessing the mic isn't radio but think about getting one of these - they allow you to work front of house amplifed and you can place your cable prior to doing any work rather than as you get in the booth.

Downside is they are more expensive and you need a power source for the - I use a motorcycle battery and an 'adapted adapter'.

I do have sources through my music, PA and Audio contacts if interested.

Anyhar - Try and 'borrow' the thing for a show to see how you get on with it.
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Postby lesclarke » 03 Aug 2007, 21:14

I've always used a radio mic and would not like to switch to a connected mic. I've used same one for 7 years. It was originally bought to use on a camcorder, it's by AZDEN. I added a cheapish headset mic to the transmitter. It's small, both transmitter and receiver about size of fag packets, this type has both units running off 9v batts, so no mains required. Some are 9v transmitter, with the receiver being mains or 240v.
Having no hair to speak of I've always attached the headband mic to a baseball cap, keeps it inicely in place, helps bit sun out of eyes. As Eek said, need to work out a route for cable from head to transmitter so it can't get tangled up in puppets. I route it behind head, across back of neck and down shirt. Some headset mics have boom on left, some right.
Compared to pro type set ups it was cheaper, but when I tried to but a back-up set a few years ago I found that these type of consumer level camcorder units were no longer marketed in the UK. At the time there were loads of models available in USA.
As a back up I bought a lower level pro type set up from Sennheiser,metal body etc, looks bombproof. I've used it and it's fine, but I stick to the older one.
I haven't kept up at all with the whole thing about the radio mic frequenciies being changed in near future, preferring to hide my head in sand.
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Postby lesclarke » 03 Aug 2007, 23:25

ERROR END OF FIRST PARA ..
should say,'mains or 12volt
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Postby billywand » 04 Aug 2007, 00:08

Hi Dave, hope you are well

At the moment I am experimenting with sound equipment, as I travel by public transport everywhere, and am getting fed up with carrying my coomber around.

Coomber have a headset mike, but I never got on with it, finding the sound a bit spluttery. I also found them to be a bit awkward to pack, cos of thier shape. I now use the handheld radio mike on a halter.

I have just bought a Fender Amp Can, which is my new toy. This is a buskers amp, very powerfull (ask my neighbours !!) I can plug a CD player into it , and a radio mic. As Eek says, you can power the reciever bit of the radio mic with a motorcycle battery.

ANYONE DOING THIS BEWARE. THE POSITIVE BATTERY TERMINAL GOES TO THE CENTRE PIN OF THE CONNECTOR, OR YOU WILL BE IN THE BROWN STUFF.

I have the idea of mounting the amp can in front of me under my shelf, so the sound comes from under the playboard. I will use a handheld radio mic on a halter, so I can work in front, or inside the booth.

Maplins sell a little tie clip mic. Another idea I had was to use the radio handheld out front, and use the tie clip mic clipped to the back of my scenery, as it looks very compact.

It can get so very complicated !!!!!!!!!

Have a good weekend all
Kind regards
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Postby Chris » 04 Aug 2007, 09:06

One or two extra points:

1. Coomber Amp. If you have one with the built in radio receiver then you only need to buy a mike - not an "outfit" which is how the cheaper ones seem to be being sold, that is michrophone plus a receiver unit to plug into your amp (eg at Maplins).
Depending on the age of your Coomber, you will need a VHF mike if it is an old model or UHF if it is more up to date.
If you got a hand held mike when you got the Coomber then look for a white label on the Mike - it will show the frequency you require (which can be one of four on a Coomber).
If you can't find the frequency then ring Coombers and ask. They will ask you a few questions to identify the model and will advise you. They are very, very helpful.
Armed with this info you can choose to buy your mike from Coomber, or from any other source who can supply the correct frequency.
Coomber supply UHF mikes - they can only supply
replacement VHF mikes, but these are in fact new.

2. Like Billy I personally prefer a hand held radio mike to a head mike. If using for magic I need hands free and so use a Lockwood halter which holds the mike in just the right position. In the booth I prefer not to work with an a mike attached to me. I like it suspended from the top, just behind the backcloth in a position where it won't get knocked by the action.
The advantages of a hand held type over a head mike are:
a) No cable or transmitter or battery to conceal - these are built in.
b) Much more robust
c) Can be worn in a halter or hand held for warm up, then clipped in position inside the booth for the Punch show.
d) Can easily be used by another person - eg. when questioning a child during the warm up you can amplify their amusing replies.
There are doubtless competing advantages for the radio headset.

3. If you only need a michrophone in the booth then a radio set-up is a bit pointless.

4. Somebody mentioned a tie clip mike. Beware! Unless you can get a unidirectional one. All the tie clip mikes I have seen are omni-directional. I suppose they have to be since they are designed as interview mikes. Omni-directional mikes present great problems of feedback - that dreadful howling when the mike picks up its own amplified sound from the speakers. Feedback is always a problem when working in close proximity to your speakers, especially if you are standing forward of the speaker position. The best mike for avoiding feedback is an uni-directional mike or one with a cardioid pattern.

5. There are various pieces of SOUND advice collected in Punchman's Tips on the main website. Have a look, there may be something relevant.
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Postby Tony James » 06 Aug 2007, 01:44

I play it both ways. I have radio mikes/transmitters AND wired mikes. The reason is simple.

If the radio receiver in the Coomber faults I can switch to a wired mike and bypass the problem. I still travel an old wired tie clip mike and a wired headset mike originally bought from Tandy - the UK long-gone arm of Radio Shack of America. They have a battery compartment on the cable to power the mike.

If you buy radio mikes/transmitters from Coomber check who is currently supplying them. It used to be Trantec and they are good quality.

Tie clip mike cables were always prone to breaking internally, at a point close to the plug. Trantec use a complex and expensive Swiss made plug known as a Lemo. They are very difficult to re-solder. You need a jig.

From one who has tried, don't be tempted to open the outer sleeve. Inside are a series of inner sleeves and half shells and you'll have one helluva job getting them to fit together and back inside the outer sleeve.

However, Trantec have an excellent service department and if you return the mike to them they will send you a refurbished mike and you'll save a lot of money over buying a new one.

My experience of Maplin has not been good. Their mikes - both the tie clip and the headset mike cables - also break close to the plug and then that's it. No repair service is available. They don't want to know.

What's more, unless you are very fortunate the cost of getting someone to remove and desolder the plug, shorten the cable and resolder is more than the cost of a new mike.

With the greatest of handling care I found they didn't last very long - weeks rather than months.

I still use the Coomber for schools and private parties but I have moved onto a Mipro system for heavy work. A one box job similar to Coomber but a lot more powerful and more suited to the increasing noise levels met with on modern showgrounds. Mipro radio mikes/transmitters are sturdy and they transmit a carrier code which the receiver recognises and allows through.

Any other transmitters working in the vicinity can't get through as they don't have the necessary carrier code.

These later style headsets have a band which rests across the back of the head (along with the usual ear clips) and stay firmly in place. With certain models you can adjust the boom from left to right. I prefer the right side and cable running on my right side because that side is mainly for Punch and involves less changeover activity than my left side. Fewer chances of snagging the cable.

There was an Australian system out the other year where the transmitter was attached to the back of the headset so there was no cable involved. Nice idea but not compatible with my Mipro coded system.

For Punch, I wouldn't willingly work with anything other than a radio mike.. The flexibility it provides is just wonderful.
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Postby johnstoate » 06 Aug 2007, 13:34

Famously, (After Huddersfield!) I use a 'Trantec' radio mike, which has let me down only once in over three years! - No prizes for guessing when that was! - I couple it to an ex-navy sound amp, which was originally used for the speaker system in gun turrets, These cost the navy around three thousand pounds each! - I bought a couple surplus, brand new, for fifteen pounds each!!! :D - They work on 24 v.dc., 240v. mains or 110v. dc. This makes for a heavy, but (Usually :oops: ) reliable set-up. One thing I do find though, is that the trantec tends to 'take over' other radio mikes, which means that on occasion I can 'use' the main PA. facility on fairs & such. Can be fun!! :lol: I use a pair of horn speakers, Which are second-hand, 100v. ex factory 'tannoy' system, with the transformers removed. The whole thing is mono, and connected with good, old-fashioned, 5mm. (1/4 inch) jack plugs, Apart from me, virtually foolproof! :lol: My back-up, (Which is now back in the big doll box, instead of the van) is a little battery-operated system I bought from (Oddly enough, after Tony's comment) Tandy. - Neat little set-up with a radio mike, and mini amp, with built-in 15watt speaker. Mind you, I was impressed by Les' set-up, very handy and compact, ideal for a light-weight fit-up!.
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Postby Tony James » 06 Aug 2007, 14:44

John

Your Tandy sounds like my old one which is hidden in the loft somewhere, just in case. used to plug it into the car cigar lighter in the days when you could have the car directly behind you.

!5 watts - and there are times when i struggle with 75 watts. Shows how events have become noisier over the last thirty years.

I was at a show the other week and a lorry nearby had a massive fairground generator in it. All right if the door was shut but open and it throbbed. And what did he need it for?

The lights on a cheap sweet stall. Plus a candy floss machine.. he could have lit the entire village with it!
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Postby johnstoate » 06 Aug 2007, 16:26

Sounds like it's the same unit Tony, Yes, it struggles, but it's better than nothing! - I usually work 'Van behind' still, in fact I have a tent which connects the two, giving me the ultimate 'conservatory extension' - great in a summer like this! - Beyond which, on the 'background noise' front, That's why my setup works in mono. I think that a mono system copes better with the problem, and if you don't use a lot of music & such, works fine. I would be interested to know what others think on the mono/stereo subject though.
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Postby Tony James » 06 Aug 2007, 17:26

I don't understand quite what you mean by stereo. That implies two separated speakers to produce that effect and then it can surely only be with reference to any music involved.

A Punchman is a mono speaker - unless you have two mikes, one each side of the playboard. That's surely impractical.

A Coomber is mono as are all the other all-in-one-box speaker-amplifiers.

Even with a pair of horn speakers it's mono. They plug into a single socket via a two way adaptor.

trouble with horn speakers is the thin, tinny, shrill output. You have to take all the bass of it and up the treble or the sound is too muffled. Result is a shrill, tinny note which at least penetrates the tremendous noise present at certain shows.

It's only on these occasions when I use them.
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Postby Professor Eek » 06 Aug 2007, 18:39

My little busker amp only has one speaker - so I guess mono is what it is ...
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Postby johnstoate » 07 Aug 2007, 12:28

Sorry, Tony, just to clarify, As you may recall I experimented with tape to save my voice a few years back, still do on occasions, and the stereo effect worked well then. - I note though, that most sound gear now has stereo plugs, great for music &c but then as you say, all our speil is in mono, which in my understanding means that it will only use one speaker, or possibly switch between the two in a stereo equipment situation. Hence the query.
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Postby Tony James » 07 Aug 2007, 14:33

I hadn't realised you had worked to a pre-recorded script. The only shows I've seen doing that are quite different.

Two way participation has to be live so you can slow and speed up according to response and anyone who tries to use a pre-recorded standard script will find themselves often ahead of the audience - or behind them.

Stereo would work with two mikes fixed left and right but practically they would have to be well in from the left and right sides. When you think about it, we spend a lot of our time centre even when the figures are well apart,

For the audience to appreciate any obvious stereo effect the speakers would have to be well apart, probably on stands rather than fixed either side of the showfront which is generally only three to four feet wide.

And then one would lose what I rate an important aspect. Keeping the sound coming directly from the frame, from the puppets themselves.

I've heard show where the speaker/s is/are a distance from the frame itself and the resultant sound seems detached from the action. Down by your feet or up by your head and the sound and the action are compatible.

Does anybody work a stereo sound system? Or even if the system has a stereo capability, do they use it as mono?
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