I was at a rather popular shopping centre and I happened t notice the setup of the sound system for a roadshow below me. I found this pretty strange. For one, the speakers were jacked up pretty high. Secondly, look at the sound console. The mixer has a wireless mic receiver plonked right on it. I thought most of these things were racked but I think I know why they did that. First of all, the roadshow presenter needs to roam around but if that receiver was in the rack, along with its tiny antennas, the signal would drop out. Scenario number two could be that the original wireless mics were probably out of order and so they used an emergency one and seeing that the rack was covered up, they just plugged it on top. In any case for most roadshows, all you need is an output for the mic and a sound source like a plugged-in iPad for music. So it looks like having a receiver on top of this 16-channel Yamaha mixer should not be a problem
Just the other day, I received a call from someone asking me to come over to fix their wireless mic. I asked him what was wrong with it and he said that they have had it for some time and when they tried to power it up, it would not work. So I go over to their place and check out the mic and this what greets me. Boy…talk about ancient. This Telex FMR-70 receiver was installed in their premises and it was not working. The client asked me if I could get it repaired. I just said that Telex does not make mics like these anymore so it would be better to get a new one. he said he would think about it, paid me my consultancy fee and I was on my way. Yep…time to upgrade guys! VHF is out!
Just the other day, while I was doing an event, I had found out that I had forgotten to pack batteries for my wireless mic. I got bloody mad at myself, kicking myself for not following what I preached. So I go to a neighbourhood shop near the event and bought myself these Sony batteries for my AKG wireless mic. One thing I can say…luckily my wireless mic uses only one battery. That is because these batteries were shit. I know that they are not alkaline batteries like Energizer or even Duracell but even ordinary GP batteries are better than this one. Beggars cannot be choosers unfortunately so I ended up using all these batteries for the show. But I will say…a lesson learnt! o more Sony batteries!
About a week ago, in fact, a few days ago, I was at a client’s place to set up their room for a conference. What I had to do was to adjust their microphones, check them and make sure that all was OK. That is when I came across these Martin Roland UHF900 wireless microphones. Very little is known about them admittedly but I was very pleased with their sound and I dare say that these microphones look pretty affordable, for UHF units. I went to their website for the specifications of these and this is what I found out about them. There are 32 channels available for selection, which is the cool thing about them. They run on the UHF frequency of UHF 610 ~ 810 MHZ. Now, I do not know for sure if those are frequencies that will be phased out soon but it is worth a checking out. There is a balanced 3-pin XLR output, along with an unbalanced 1/4″ phone jack output. I do not know if you can use both at the same time but I am pretty sure you can.
After the test, I realised two things. The receiver can handle two of these microphones that came with it. They utilise 2 AA batteries and give about 4 hours of use. That is pretty draining on the batteries so make sure that you have heaps of them. Also, the receiver, as in the picture above, have two knobs so that you can control the input of each of the transmitters. The output from the receiver is summed up to a single XLR, as I pointed out previously. There is no individual XLR outputs so you have to do the necessary input controls from the receiver. So therein lies the problem if you have two users, each with different tonal requirements when they speak…you cannot control them individually as the inputs are summed up. But I bet that it is a really inexpensive option to get, not for events and such but for home use…maybe for karaoke. But for no-frills shows like roadshows and the like, these might be pretty good.
A couple of years back, I came upon this Shure wireless microphone case that was not used anymore. It was in a club that I was retrofitting with new consoles, speakers…the works. In any case, I found this jammed in a cupboard that many had forgotten about. I asked the owner if he needed it. He just said that he had no further use for it as the microphones that this came in had been sold already. So I took it back home and shoved in my toolbox or tool flightcase, giving it another case of “abandonment”. Then one day, I was clearing out my tool case and came upon this old Shure case. I then looked at an old DVD player that I had but was not using. I wondered…would it fit in the case? Bingo! Perfect fit! Now at least I have a case for the DVD player and it will come in useful to transport my DVD player in the future when I need a DVD player to play back DVDs or CDs.
A couple of weeks back, while I was attending an AGM, the sound company that provided the audio were using these Delta Audio speakers. They really sounded horrible and there was this low buzz emanating from the speaker. I have a funny feeling that they did not ground them properly or these active speakers were reaching the end of their shelf life. No matter what, it was causing me a headache…that low buzz and the accompanying hum that went with it.
A bit of advice to sound companies…have pride in your job and how you do it. A hum and buzz is a definite no-no when you are providing sound for an AGM. Also, test your equipment before bringing them down to ensure that they are in great condition. This company also had a problem with the wireless microphones, which sounded very crackly. So I will say it again…be professional.
My friend was hosting a show yesterday and he made a plea on Facebook, asking for anyone who had a spare microphone and cable to contact him. Apparently, the place where he was hosting his show, has this system pictured above. Apparently it was distorting pretty bad so what I did was to give him some advice on how to hook it up. He blamed the Line 6 wireless mic but as written in an article earlier, I have that mic and there were no issues with it whatsoever. I told him to check the gain structure which he did. In the end, he found out that the wireless mic was fine. It was the system set up wrongly. And check out the picture…nary a flight case in sight. So my friend gave his client some advice and the paramount bit of advice was…get a flight case!