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Tech: cordless handheld microphones

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PaulBobbyBuzz 06 Jun 03 - 01:42 PM
pavane 06 Jun 03 - 02:08 PM
Bassic 06 Jun 03 - 04:03 PM
NicoleC 06 Jun 03 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,JohnB 06 Jun 03 - 04:51 PM
pavane 06 Jun 03 - 05:39 PM
fiddler 06 Jun 03 - 07:06 PM
Bassic 06 Jun 03 - 09:22 PM
Bernard 07 Jun 03 - 07:16 PM
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Subject: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: PaulBobbyBuzz
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 01:42 PM

We're looking into buying a system. Our band does music ministry concerts to various groups in hospitals, churches, mental health hospitals, etc., and my wife LOVES to get out there and interact with the clients and residents, encouraging them to sing along. Our ministry is non-funded and non-profit, so we're looking for the best equipment at the best price. Any advice??? Thanks pbb

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: pavane
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 02:08 PM

You don't say where you are! UK, USA?
Mrs Pavane has recently bought two systems here in Wales, one Sennheiser (high quality), for £360, and one in Maplin for backup, for £120. The latter is probably OK for most situations you describe.
Won't be much help if you are not in UK though.

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: Bassic
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 04:03 PM

I was always told by sound engineers that cordless mikes were definately one of those things where "you get what you pay for". Interfearence from other radio and e.m. sources and feed back control being just two things that a system has to work hard to overcome, much more than with a conventional "wired" mike. Admittedly this was 8-10 years ago and as with all things electronic, development and cost changes rapidly. So, in the absence of more up to date or expert advice, I would go for the best you can possibly afford and if you have to cut corners, dont do it with the hand held! Good luck.

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: NicoleC
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 04:42 PM

Interference is most frequently a problem when in very urban areas. If you are out in the suburbs or in rural areas, provided you are comfortably within the receiver's range, you probably won't have many interference problems. Interference usually occurs right in the middle of the first act of a big charity benefit when everyone is in a tuxedo and paid $1000 to be there...

That said, a bad wireless mic sounds quite a bit worse compared to a good one than a when dealing with a wired mic. A bargain basement wireless mic will almost always be worse than no mic at all. Expect to spend at least $500 for the mic and receiver. Look for a dealer who will let you try it out for a few days, or offers a money back guarentee. What sounds good in the store may not sound good for you -- or might require processing equipment and expertise you don't get to take with you.

If you have a good wired mic, consider looking for a setup that has a transmitter pack, instead of a mic. You might save some money that way.

This is tantamount to audio geek heresay -- but I'd go to Radio Shack first, buy a wireless setup, and test the heck out of it for a week. They're pretty lenient on returns, and some of their in-house audio gear is a great value for the price.

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 04:51 PM

Beware of wretched feedback problems which can occurr when these things are placed in peoples hands. I saw one band and the singer was all over the place, in front of speakers and other places where you should not tread. They were using a Behringer feedback deystroyer. Maybe check out something like that too.

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: pavane
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 05:39 PM

We don't seem to get feedback problems from either of ours (although we do keep away from the speakers), and the £100 one does quite adequately for most things.
To overcome interference, you need a multi-channel setup, but they cost more.

(PS Mrs Pavane has a gig tonight at Laugharne Park resort, right beside Dylan Thomas's Boat House here in Wales)

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: fiddler
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 07:06 PM


I have a Nady - which now requires a licence in UK - massive range does not fee back even form in front of a speaker (other than Bose systems with Bose graphics)

I have a Madonna headset (beyer) which is good and does sometimes but not often.

Both over 300 notes and brill quality I can talk sing or play in to them. Teh Nady is years old and the Beyer is due for replacement but both still very sound.

I think you do get what you pay for pay peanuts and get a cheap nasty system. Spend as much as you can afford.

OOPS I also have a tie clip for workshops - that does feedback very tricky to set up and onlly cost about 150 squids.

coming back down to earth that is my two penneth!


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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: Bassic
Date: 06 Jun 03 - 09:22 PM

Sounds like the advice I got still holds true, good stuff aint cheap!

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Subject: RE: Tech: cordless handheld microphones
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Jun 03 - 07:16 PM

These days, most radio microphone systems, even cheap ones like the AudioTechnica Liberator series, have a 'tone key' circuit which significantly reduces interference. You can expect performance comparable with systems costing five times as much only a few years ago!

The microphone transmits a constant tone in addition to the audio modulation, and the receiver 'hears' the tone and opens the squelch to let its own microphone through. This is one reason why you cannot interchange transmitters and receivers of different makes. You cannot use two different makes together on the same frequency, of course.

Many modern systems are 'synthesised' and have switchable frequencies, which is handy if you find the aerobics studio next door to your gig has a headworn radio mic system!

You will get more flexibility if you choose UHF rather than VHF, as there is a choice of 16 channels (on group 2) as opposed to the four VHF unlicensed channels (in the UK). Okay, there are five VHF, but 174.8MHz causes problems with the other four, so is usually disregarded.

The most important consideration with a radio system is the 'line of sight' between the transmitter and the receiver aerials, and a 'true diversity' system with two aerials avoids a lot of the 'drop out' you get with non-diversity systems. If you are working within a few feet of your receiver, this is not usually much of a problem, and the correct squelch setting will solve most drop out problems.

Batteries are another issue. Alkalines are okay (never use zinc carbon), but can become quite an expense as you can only expect about five hours' use on most systems. NiCad rechargeables are not really suitable, but I would recommend you use NiMh rechargeables - particularly as they do not lose their charge when not in use. Have a set in the transmitter and a charged spare set, and you'll be fine... the same applies with digital cameras, too.

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