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    Overhead Mics for stage performances?


    I realize it's pretty much taboo... to try and record vocalized sounds from overhead. It can be done I think but the results we get at our local theater are far from ideal. Someone on the board listened to a salesman and the results stink IMHO ($300 each was the price I heard.) I'm the one who has to chew on it but I really can't determine which mics were purchased (6 of them) and whether they are omnis or unis or what. There is no phantom power requirement and they are goose-necked. With a just a little gain they squeal like grandmas pig at feeding time and with someone walking around on stage the resounding clops are overbearing to the actors voices. I tried putting small paper cones on the ends of the mics and that added about 3dB but increased the lower freqs even more. What should I recommend they use? They MUST hang from overhead. Thanks.

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    In order to figure out what went wrong, we need a little more information. You have to find out what these mics are and what characteristics they have, what sort of pickup pattern, what sort of frequency response, etc. You say you are "the one who has to chew on it", i.e., someone wants you to fix the problem. Well, tell that someone that you can't fix it unless you get some necessary information. Someone bought those mikes and there is paperwork from the sale, etc.

    Small paper cones on the end of the mics? That might make an omni more directional, though it would degrade the frequency response. A directional mike will become LESS directional if you put a paper cone on the end of it--sort of like a vocalist cupping their hand around a vocal mike.
    Resounding stage clops? Sounds like a stage resonance problem, and ANY distant mike pickup (as opposed to lavs mounted on the actors) will pick that up. All you can do is roll off the bottom end with an EQ so the footsteps sound less heavy.

    If you were just using the mikes to make a recording, they would probably get OK results. But you are using them for sound reinforcement, where avoiding feedback while getting adequate gain is the name of the game. Bottom line: overhead microphones simply may not work in this situation. If that is the case, no amount of fiddling with the brand of mikes or pointing them this way or that will really help. There are reasons why body mikes were invented.

    Robert Auld www.auldworks.com

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