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Miking a theatrical performance Condenser Microphones
Old 31st August 2007
Gear Head

Talking Miking a theatrical performance

Hi, everybody. I was posting because I was asked by my girlfriend's aunt to mic one of the plays at her school. This is really not my department, but I told her I could do it and I'm always trying to expand myself a why not? Anyway, I just needed some suggestions for how to go about doing it. What I was basically going to do was to boundary mic the stage with my nicer mics (2 AKG 414 B-ULS and 2 AT 4040). Unfortunately, I don't have any pencil condensers right now, so this is basically what I have to work with. If this is a completely ******** way to go about this, let me know....but please include a way I can make it better too!

Old 1st September 2007
Gear Maniac
Barnabas's Avatar

Are you micing the play for sound reinforcement or for recording?

The best boundary mic I have used on stage is the Crown PCC160. What you have could work if you get the diaphragms as close as possible to the stage so you don't get the sound reflecting off the stage at a delay from the sound going straight into the mic.

For the mics you mention, you might need to turn them upside down to get the diaphragm closer to the stage.

Put a thin piece of foam padding between the mic and stage to keep the vibrations to a minimum.

Cut the bass to about 100 Hz or higher to cut down on the stage rumble. If there are no low (bassy) voices, cut the bass up higher.

Be careful of phase cancellation if you use more than one mic. The best recordings I’ve done were with one mic at center stage.

If you need more than one mic, try to position the mics where the majority of the dialog is occurring. Try to mute the mics that are not where the dialog is occurring. If the sound of the actor reaches two different mics at different times (because one is closer than the other) then certain frequencies will cancel out and the sound will be thin.

The worst situation is when the actor is standing between two mics. In that case, you have to mute one of them.
Old 4th September 2007
Gear Head

Thanks a lot for the response. I will try all of that out and I will definitely pay attention to the 3 to 1 rule when miking. This is for live sound only, so the phase cancellation might not matter that much though. Thanks again! thumbsup
Old 5th September 2007
Lives for gear
Shure Beta 91s or the older 819s work great at the downstage and upstage boundaries. Hanging mics are generally a big letdown unless you're dealing with a loud source that just needs a little reinforcement, like a choir.

For plays, we generally used lavalier mics with Shure WL93 elements coming down a couple inches over the ear towards the mouth and taped into place with either medical tape or skin-colored Band-Aids. That works excellently, and is a good substitute for the more expensive Countryman mics of the same style.

I system teched a week long run of "Stomp", and they used mostly shotgun mics, all over the stage and hidden in the set/props. That was a really cool show.

But yea, PZMs would be easiest/cheapest choice for a low budget production. Just don't expect to get insane volume out of them. Give yourself some time to ring them out really well... if it's little kids performing, the volume of the dialog is going to be pretty low to begin with, so that doesn't help you. Good luck.
Old 5th September 2007
Gear Addict
Gravity's Avatar

My favourites (and the standard aroudn here ) for stage mics, are Crown PCC 160's. They just sound awesome, pickup in a nice wide pattern, I've used 3 of them to cover a 40ft wide stage with a large fly gallery.

If the stage is smallish, use two fo them, in the centre of the stage in a V configuration. If it's larger, use 4 in two V configurations, about 10ft to either side of centre. If its really big, use 6 in three configurations, evenly spaced across the stage (the last time I needed 6 the stage was 100+ft across and 60ft deep)

They pick up really well for chorus applications, and WAY better coverage then pencils or shotguns. You may still need spot mics or wireless lavs on principles, but this will giv eyou great coverage of the stage.
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