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cable for flying (hanging) mics?
Old 20th September 2003
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar

cable for flying (hanging) mics?

When flying mics in a theatre, how do you attach the mic to the cable? I will be working with mics that are FAR to large and heavy to be supported by the mic (signal) cable - they definitely need a support cable. But does anyone make a device that allows a thin metal cable to be attached to a mic mount? (with a swivel attachment?) And how do I then keep the mic (cardiod) pointed in the correct direction? I really didn't see anything on the AEA website and I don't know of anywhere else that carries location recording accessories. Any suggestions?

(If it matters, I plan on hanging from the catwalks over the front of the stage, not from the balconey rail)

Old 20th September 2003
Gear Maniac

make one

the important thin is to take the strain off the cable's connector

use whatever mic mount you use for the mic, and in it's 5/8" thread attach something that will be the cable holder

this way you can secure the weight of the mic by the cable, and not the XLR jack/pins...

try something like a mic clamp or a claw, and perhaps a touch of gaffers tape...
Old 21st September 2003
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Roland's Avatar
I use and have made various "flying rigs". A few years ago there was a device called the mic positioner, this allowed the mic to be directed via a radio remote, though I am not sure if this is still available.

With the home made rigs I have used these have ranged from a 2 point mount with a cross shaped arangement to the latest one that is a triangle with three mounting points to prevent twisting. This I suspend with nylon sailing rope (available in different thicknesses and breaking strains). This is relatively successful. I plan to add an additional triangle frame to the top that can be attached with lighting brackets to any standard truss.

One thing to note, some venues will insist that the suspension system is steel hauser, apparently to prevent it falling on someones head in the event of fire! (What someone would be doing sitting under it during a fire for the life of me I can't imagine), but rules can be rules and you don't want to find yourself in a situation where you get a visit from the fire inspector telling you to change it or remove it.

Good luck!


Old 21st September 2003
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar

Thanks for the replies, but I just learned that the production was cancelled. I'm kinda bummed as this was going to be my first chance to record an opera, live in a good facility. They have invited me to work on their next production, but it isn't scheduled until next spring. I was really looking forward to the challenges of this type of recording, but I should be better prepared (as far as gear is concerned) next spring. I guess I should be relieved that I found out today as I had planned on ordering a few 100ft mic cables next week - and I really have never needed cables that long on any of my other work (I have one 100ft cable and I've never had any reason to uncoil it).

As the opera season is coming up later this fall, I might consider offering a freebie to some smaller local company. Something tells me that I will learn a lot the first time I work on a project like this, and its probably better to get those lessons learned before you are working on a client's nickel. I know that I was getting in a little over my head with the now-cancelled job, but it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. But now that the original job is not gonna happen, I want to be really ready the next time this type of gig comes along.

Anybody out there done any live opera gigs with simple stereo mic arrays with, at most a couple of flanking spots? I understand that a complex production like an opera is usually recorded with an extensive amount of spots, but I have heard some remarkable 50's era recordings that were supposed to be done with just a single pair. I think that the challenge of trying to capture everything with a single pair would be more fun than throwing up a dozen mics.
Old 21st September 2003
Gear Maniac

Roland, any chance you could post some images of the mic hangers you built. Sound worth checking out as they could be usefull on some gigs.
Old 21st September 2003
Here for the gear
MartynH's Avatar

I recently worked on a recording of Scottish Opera's Wagner Ring Cycle at the Edinburgh Festival, with BBC Scotland.

One key requirement from the Opera's point of view was keeping mics out of sightline as much as possible - we ended up using five coincident pairs of schoeps cardioids, two hypercardioids, and two akg gun mics pointing upstage all on the footlights, and three pairs slung very high, and then chasing the singers around the stage with them.

We close-miked the orchestra, and then for main system, used DPA mini-mics (personal clip-on type) in a decca tree, suspended on a matrix of fishing line at the height of the dress circle. Add a few omnis/outriggers, there you go!

The results can be heard on BBC radio 3 (listen online at at 5pm GMT today (sunday), an for the next four days.
Old 21st September 2003
Gear Maniac

Originally posted by MartynH
We close-miked the orchestra, and then for main system, used DPA mini-mics (personal clip-on type) in a decca tree, suspended on a matrix of fishing line at the height of the dress circle.
Were you using the 4061s or 4060s?

Those little mics really do what they do well.

you can use them for AUD, or inside acoustics, or inside a kick - or anywhere a small diaphram omni might sound cool....
Old 21st September 2003
Here for the gear
MartynH's Avatar

Can't remember - will find out and let you know.
Old 25th September 2003
Gear Guru
jwh1192's Avatar

if it is down and dirty (how i like it) you can go to radio shack and get a podium / desk mount (the one that is around 2" diameter and has 3 holes for screws in it) and attach your mic clip to it and then use the holes to attach some safety wire, if you use t 2 wires it will hang where you want it to.

that and a McDonalds fry box and you are all set (i love that story)

peace john
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