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Newbie Question: What Mic For Leading Uke Group? Dynamic Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Newbie Question: What Mic For Leading Uke Group?

Hi all,

I lead a weekly ukulele group which has grown now to about 45 players. We play in a large 500 seat club house in our park. I find I just can't vocally project enough for people in the back rows to hear me, either when talking or playing.

Sooooo, I'm thinking of something like a lavalier mic for the vocal. I have already a P'up for my uke which I could use.

I don't know much about lavalier mics, or even if that is a suitable thing. I'd like to avoid having to get a mic stand, because the amount of "crap" I already have to schlep is getting to be a lot.

I own two Shure SM58s and a AT 120 condenser, but of course, that would involve the stand...etc. which I am trying to avoid.

Q: If my budget was $100 bucks, what's a good lav mic?
Q: I assume they need phantom power ? Or do they?
Q: I am so far off base I should be called out? :-)

Any comments about how to do this neatly appreciated.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

No $100 lav is going to work as well as an SM58. I doubt any lav can work as well as a 58, without an exceptional sound system at the other end (which I'm going to assume you don't have).

You might get close with a head worn mic, but the ones I'm familiar with all cost more than your budget, and to be truly useful would need to be part of a wireless system, totally blowing the budget.
Since you already own some SM58S', maybe you should look at buying a mic stand that you don't hate. A nice K+M with folding legs and telescopic boom should come in well under $100.

Geoff
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Makes sense that a ukulele person wouldn't want to schlep stuff. Harmonica people are the same way. Maybe you could use a headset. Or would that be too "neo" in a room full of ukes?
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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avare's Avatar
 

+3 to the headset suggestion. The budget is restricting you. About the cheapest ones I recommend are from Microphone Madness.

Andre
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

There are pieces of the puzzle you are not describing. I guess we can assume there is some sort of PA system in this venue that you can use, right? Otherwise, you would be hauling one in yourself, and it would be odd to complain about a mic stand if you are hauling in a whole sound system.

If we assume there is a PA in the venue you can use, the odds are high that they have a mic stand and a mic you can use. Why not just use those?

Personally, I would rather just use a single mic for both speaking and playing, as opposed to using a lavalier mic for just my voice. But if you really want to use a lavalier, why not buy a wireless system? That way, you don’t have a cable that is attached to both your body and some part of the sound system. You just have a body pack with a battery in it. Shure makes some decent ones with very small receivers, and they are always available used on eBay.

I’m certain there are solutions, but we would need to know more to help you find them.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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I am trying to wrap my head around 45 participants playing ukes. I remember a 25 player ensemble from Japan playing "very orderly Bluegrass" under an open tent at the McLain family festival 42 years ago. The Bluegrass world is well known for parking lot participation that at times can approach a musical scrum: However 45 people playing ukes simultaneously must be making Arthur Godfrey roll in his grave.

FYI a mic of any type will be of no use unless there is some sort of FOH system to process and distribute your input. The nature of your request tells me you need to ask for assistance well beyond a mic of any type.
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

THANKS for all these responses. It's very helpful. I guess I did leave off some info...

1/ As the group grew, I have inched into sound reinforcement in a haphazard way. I have a Crate guitar amp with my smart phone plugged into it for playing examples of youtube songs for the group to learn. Simple, a bit grundgy but easy to do.

2/I have a TASCAM digital recorder I have used as a mixer into the Crate.

3/ So, I reasoned, "Gee, I get a lav mic, plug that into the mixer, I'm all set. Funky, I know.

4/As for 45 people playing ukes, it's a glorious exercise in mass musical energy. The Uke "thing" is about getting music into the lives of people who were not musicians. The "overall sound" is not so much the point as is the "overall music experience" for a group of people to sing and experience that joy.

Ok, back to the issue! I totally understand what the replies meant - - a lav mic is not the answer and I thank you all for saving from that mess!

Since I already have mic stands for the Shures, I guess I just have to bite the bullet and add that to my already overloaded wagon of junk I haul to the meetings.

Also, while waiting for replies, I went and bought a Behringer all-in-one PA to replace the kludge of the Crate/Tascam jury rig. So, I have a nice tidy, easy to lug small PA coming. That, and my existing mics and the dang mic stands should do it.

Thanks again for tolerating my dumb questions about this stuff!
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

I’m not crazy about the brands of speakered equipment you have bought (Crate and Behringer), but if they work for you, that’s what counts.

In terms of making the hauling easier, I have two pieces of advice:

1. Use decent quality collapsible tripod type mic stands, with booms. You can mic just about anything with that type of stand, and they can be collapsed and put in a bag. This leads to my second piece of advice.

2. There needs to be a bag or case for everything, and everything needs to go in a bag or case. EVERYTHING. Mic stands and music stands are not excluded. You will drive yourself to an early grave trying to haul lots of nitpicky music equipment around without bags/cases. In your situation, bags are better than cases, because they are soft, light, and they don’t move around in your car.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
I’m not crazy about the brands of speakered equipment you have bought (Crate and Behringer), but if they work for you, that’s what counts.

In terms of making the hauling easier, I have two pieces of advice:


2. There needs to be a bag or case for everything,
Absolutely great advice. Thank you. I'll make some carry bags.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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brockorama's Avatar
 

Uke 47
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brockorama View Post
Uke 47
Winnah!

Out of the question, though. It not only needs a stand, it needs an extra hefty one.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Addict
 

If it's just for talking, Audio Technica and Shure make under $100 lav mics that will do the job. That's what lavalier mics are designed for. Headset mics will work as well, although the sound won't be as natural. If you opt for the lav, you must attach it to a place where you won't brush the mic/cable when you're playing as that sound will be picked up.

Last edited by blue439; 1 week ago at 09:58 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 

One point in the lav mic's favor is that since it is attached to you, you will never be off-mic. With a fixed mic, if the speaker happens to turn away from the mic while talking their words will be lost. Happens all the time at our venue. People get carried away, don't speak into the mic, no one can hear them.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue439 View Post
Headset mics will work as well, although the sound won't be as natural.
As if 45 ukulele players in the same room is natural.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

45 is more than six of these all at once:

YouTube
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
As if 45 ukulele players in the same room is natural.
Actually, there's nothing unusual, uncommon, unnatural, or untoward about 45 ukes playing in one room. Ukulele groups are everywhere, and many I've been to are bigger than 45. It's hugely popular, especially among seniors, and adults who have not previously been musicians. People have tons of social fun and enjoyment - - which is not a bad thing.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
Actually, there's nothing unusual, uncommon, unnatural, or untoward about 45 ukes playing in one room.
Of course not. There's also nothing unusual about getting teased around here. Thanks for being a good sport. :-)
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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To the OP: please forgive our opportunity to have a little bit of fun at your expense. You are absolutely right: I am 78 and have been a performing musician for most all of my life: I started out playing a uke when I was 6 years old. What you are doing is perfect therapy for old folks like me that need a musical tool to connect with their past. I applaud your efforts in this endeavor and hope you will be able to continue your celebration of song and strumming.
However the sound reinforcement request you make will require a lot more gear and expertise than you probably posses so stick with what you know how to do well and ask for some volunteer help for the FOH needs you have. There are probably several folks in your area that can and will help if you diligently look for them.
Hugh
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
Actually, there's nothing unusual, uncommon, unnatural, or untoward...
I mock ukulelists, it's true. But I also am one.

As an olive branch, I offer up my own "Opus Number 4 for Ukulele and Fingers." Please note the unusually acceptable intonation at the very end.
Attached Files

Opus_4.mp3 (2.21 MB, 107 views)

Old 1 week ago
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
To the OP: please forgive our opportunity to have a little bit of fun at your expense. You are absolutely right: I am 78 and have been a performing musician for most all of my life: I started out playing a uke when I was 6 years old. What you are doing is perfect therapy for old folks like me that need a musical tool to connect with their past. I applaud your efforts in this endeavor and hope you will be able to continue your celebration of song and strumming.
However the sound reinforcement request you make will require a lot more gear and expertise than you probably posses so stick with what you know how to do well and ask for some volunteer help for the FOH needs you have. There are probably several folks in your area that can and will help if you diligently look for them.
Hugh
Thank you sir! I don't mind the ribbing at all. I am very accustomed to uke jokes. Admittedly, I wasn't sure how serious 1 or 2 of the uke comments were!

I'm a fast learner. And, I have a rather prosaic experience in electronics in another genre, so I think I can learn enough on the PA side to at least make it a little better. We'll see....I guess.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I mock ukulelists, it's true. But I also am one.

As an olive branch, I offer up my own "Opus Number 4 for Ukulele and Fingers." Please note the unusually acceptable intonation at the very end.
That's a very tasty piece of plukkin - - thank you! Seriously nice.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Here for the gear
 

So, I'm now the proud owner of a Behringer MPA40BTPRO luggage-handle-all-in-one-PA. More after I try it out.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwoodguy View Post
That's a very tasty piece of plukkin - - thank you! Seriously nice.
Thanks. It sounds harder to play than it actually is, though. Like House of the Rising Sun or Chopsticks.
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