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Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

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Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby biczmusic » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:15 pm

Hi everyone.

I am going to mix theatre show in NOT theatre environment...
It will be in fairly small room, rather noisy and ringy...

Will us head lapel mics, and ... actors will be in front, behind, under, next to the speakers...

I know!!

But hey, challenge is challenge!
Have you got any advice what I could possibly do to avoid feedback and still be able to amplify some vocals?

Please, any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby Sheriton » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:03 pm

Use speakers and mics with the flattest response possible. (Note that smoothness of response and price tend to be directly related...) Any spikes in their responses will be the frequencies that feed back.
I've had actors with headset mics walk a foot in front of speakers whilst speaking without a hint of a problem. That's with very good speakers though - it certainly wouldn't work as well with <insert name of cheap bashable-brand-of-the-month> speakers though.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby Dave Rowles » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:10 pm

+1

You'll need to get the system as flat as possible!

In front of speakers is the only real problem though.I'd go armed with a graphic EQ, and be prepared to be riding the faders all the time.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby zenguitar » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:31 pm

A small room you say?

I remember when the absolute basic training for actors, amateur as well as professional, was in projecting their voice. If you can't make yourself heard, there's no point in shilly shallying around with motivation and all the rest of it.

My advice? Don't give them microphones, just tell them to get on and b!oody act, like actors should.

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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:39 pm

What a pain.

A little extra headroom might be gained by getting your speakers, particularly tweeters as high above the heads of the performers as possible.

Make sure mic elements are as close to the sound source as is practical. Decent pop shields will allow close micing (miking?) that might otherwise suffer from plosive and breathing problems.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:38 am

Just the obvious, really. Get the mics as near to their gobs as possible. Lapel mounting isn't really an option, particularly if others are going to be head-worn. Don't sabotage the sound by aggressive "ringing out", remind them that they're getting sound reinforcement, not PA, and still have to project. It can work. You'll probably have to be very hands-on with the faders.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:33 am

Consider putting your speakers (assuming your not using a full touring rig) at the back of the room facing in. Audience at the front of the stage will hear the actors anyway, it's the back that needs covering. Any FX you might add will still be effective.

Actors get the benefit of a little magnification without the lumpy sound you get sat under the speaker.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby Scramble » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:41 am

I agree with ZG. A 'fairly small room' should not require mics. The two big theatres in my city don't use mics for plays, and they're fairly large. I've given lectures to 200-300 people myself in large halls without a mic, and I have a quiet voice.

Mics are for noisy kids shows, or musicals.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby seablade » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:24 am

shufflebeat wrote:Consider putting your speakers (assuming your not using a full touring rig) at the back of the room facing in. Audience at the front of the stage will hear the actors anyway, it's the back that needs covering. Any FX you might add will still be effective.

Actors get the benefit of a little magnification without the lumpy sound you get sat under the speaker.

Please no. The phasing and listening confusion as you will never be able to image the stage properly is completely not worth any perceived benefit.

As has been stated, a headworn boom mic like an E6 or equivalent you shouldn't have much issue with. I have mixed larger shows (1500 seat houses) with B3s and MKEs in front of speakers and been able to do it(With a somewhat decent system of course). It is possible, but it might not be easy. Keep levels sensible, and if it truly is a smaller house I agree with others that have mentioned mics might not be the answer, but sometimes that isn't the sound person's call. But whatever the case they HAVE to project. Mics are not a replacement for proper projection.

Mix for a much more natural sound. In many cases for straight shows the only time you know the system is on when I mix is when the actors turn around and deliver lines not facing to the house(Not as bad as it sounds in a 3/4 Thrust house or theater in the round).

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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:55 am

seablade wrote:
shufflebeat wrote:Consider putting your speakers (assuming your not using a full touring rig) at the back of the room facing in. Audience at the front of the stage will hear the actors anyway, it's the back that needs covering. Any FX you might add will still be effective.

Actors get the benefit of a little magnification without the lumpy sound you get sat under the speaker.

Please no. The phasing and listening confusion as you will never be able to image the stage properly is completely not worth any perceived benefit.

As has been stated, a headworn boom mic like an E6 or equivalent you shouldn't have much issue with. I have mixed larger shows (1500 seat houses) with B3s and MKEs in front of speakers and been able to do it(With a somewhat decent system of course). It is possible, but it might not be easy. Keep levels sensible, and if it truly is a smaller house I agree with others that have mentioned mics might not be the answer, but sometimes that isn't the sound person's call. But whatever the case they HAVE to project. Mics are not a replacement for proper projection.

Mix for a much more natural sound. In many cases for straight shows the only time you know the system is on when I mix is when the actors turn around and deliver lines not facing to the house(Not as bad as it sounds in a 3/4 Thrust house or theater in the round).

Seablade

Sorry SB must disagree based on:
1) my own gigging experience - in a small room in Wigan notorious for crap sound on and off stage. Speakers too close to musos and no coverage due to odd shape. Lots of "suggestions" (complaints) In desperation I put the speakers in the far corners - all problems solved, no more "suggestions" or complaints from the audience, even about image stability, phase problems or listening confusion. They are not robots, they adapt their listening.

2) local school assembly, feedback at the front, muddy mush at the back. They were using cheap hi-fi speakers as suggested by a helpful educational installation supplies outfit. I happened to notice they had connected then L-front, R-rear. A simple turn of the balance control and rolling off half the bass, all problems solved, no phasing, image etc. issues.

Maybe because the levels were low but that's how it was.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:03 pm

I'm assuming here that it has already been judged that projection will not be enough but the job is not so big as to justify a more professional solution.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby seablade » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:49 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
seablade wrote:
shufflebeat wrote:Consider putting your speakers (assuming your not using a full touring rig) at the back of the room facing in. Audience at the front of the stage will hear the actors anyway, it's the back that needs covering. Any FX you might add will still be effective.

Actors get the benefit of a little magnification without the lumpy sound you get sat under the speaker.

Please no. The phasing and listening confusion as you will never be able to image the stage properly is completely not worth any perceived benefit.

As has been stated, a headworn boom mic like an E6 or equivalent you shouldn't have much issue with. I have mixed larger shows (1500 seat houses) with B3s and MKEs in front of speakers and been able to do it(With a somewhat decent system of course). It is possible, but it might not be easy. Keep levels sensible, and if it truly is a smaller house I agree with others that have mentioned mics might not be the answer, but sometimes that isn't the sound person's call. But whatever the case they HAVE to project. Mics are not a replacement for proper projection.

Mix for a much more natural sound. In many cases for straight shows the only time you know the system is on when I mix is when the actors turn around and deliver lines not facing to the house(Not as bad as it sounds in a 3/4 Thrust house or theater in the round).

Seablade

Sorry SB must disagree based on:
1) my own gigging experience - in a small room in Wigan notorious for crap sound on and off stage. Speakers too close to musos and no coverage due to odd shape. Lots of "suggestions" (complaints) In desperation I put the speakers in the far corners - all problems solved, no more "suggestions" or complaints from the audience, even about image stability, phase problems or listening confusion. They are not robots, they adapt their listening.

2) local school assembly, feedback at the front, muddy mush at the back. They were using cheap hi-fi speakers as suggested by a helpful educational installation supplies outfit. I happened to notice they had connected then L-front, R-rear. A simple turn of the balance control and rolling off half the bass, all problems solved, no phasing, image etc. issues.

Maybe because the levels were low but that's how it was.

Suffice to say I will disagree but am in meetings at the moment and can't type a full response. I will say my disagreement is very much based on my experience mixing theater especially, and having to deal with all of the above, sadly repeatedly.

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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby biczmusic » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:40 pm

Thank you very much for all your responses.
I could not agree more with all you say.

I will have to compromise with quality, direction and level... (as I expected)

...yes, I don't have final say...
...yes, it is musical...

All I can do is to wish myself good luck.

Thanks again.
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Re: Tp and tricks, please - mixing with performers in front of the speakers...

Postby Scramble » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:17 pm

Well, good luck.

I could also mention that in the days before on-stage mics became common I did lots of University revues, in which a bunch of very silly billies with no theatrical training or acting talent managed to make themselves heard in large theatres, usually with 750-1000 people in attendance. And that included a few musical numbers singing over a small live band. Projection training consisted entirely of the director -- almost always chosen for his comedic skills rather than any background in legit theatre -- sitting towards the back of the theatre at dress rehearsals shouting 'Speak louder, your voice won't carry as far when this place is full of warm bodies'.

So perhaps just keep it turned down as much you can.
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