[Callers] microphones

Amy Cann acann at putneyschool.org
Sat Jul 16 20:09:01 PDT 2011


My husband's an audio engineer who's run sound for plenty of callers at
NEFFA and the Flurry, I'll see if he has an opinion on models. (And Dan
Pearl should be chiming in any minute now, too)

Re: monitor for the caller: DO IT. Get a small, intense one -- an old Hot
Spot will work fine for more rough-hewn venues, if you want to go pricier I
can wax poetic about my Mackie srm150 (two channels, self powered, can
double as a micro-mini-sound-system for almost-acoustic gigs, works well as
a piano monitor as well, rugged, good sound, good controls, easy to use for
the non-cognoscenti, surprisingly powerful for its easily portable size,
gush gush...)

Put it on a stand and get it up at least to waist level, pointed right at
him (but not at any of the mics!) It might just help with the screaming.

It took me years of struggling (and probably annoying a lot of people, or at
least making them wonder) before I figured out that I can't screen
background noise very well, and especially not background verbiage. If I'm
at a loud cocktail party I have a VERY hard time keeping track of my own
thoughts or carrying on a cohesive conversation if the sound of my own voice
in my ears isn't a good degree-of-magnitude stronger than the rest of the
crowd. The temptation to TALK REALLY LOUD is incredibly compelling and it
takes a fair degree of sustained mental effort to talk "normally" and just
listen harder. It's actually quite exhausting.

There are plenty of people like me out there - and you can spot them as soon
as they get out their cell phones. Old phones have a speaker in the ear end
that not only carries the other person but also your own voice -- you have a
monitor, and you get to hear yourself from the outside. Cell phones don't,
the ear part is dead unless the other person is speaking. Older folks used
to exterior feedback can get really thrown off by this and start TALKING
REALLY LOUD; what often helps is to go stand near a wall or in a corner
where you get some bounceback from nearby hard surfaces. I've solved this by
using a headset type earpiece/gooseneck mic setup (like a telemarketer).

Is your caller a cell-phone shouter? Or comes on a little too big at
parties? Could be he's having a hard time tracking his own thoughts, and at
a dance when his thoughts/words are going to drive the action, he's going to
be grabbing for whatever support he can get.

On Sat, Jul 16, 2011 at 5:30 PM, JoLaine Jones-Pokorney
<jolaine at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi all - I'm considering a wireless headset mic.  It sure would be nice to
> have hands free when demonstrating, teaching the introductory workshop.
>  But
> I don't see many callers using them.  Is there a downside to this that I'm
> not seeing, or is it just the expense?  And if someone could recommend a
> good one, I would appreciate it as I know NOTHING.  Our local sound guy has
> recommended the SHURE brand, but doesn't know a specific model number.
> Also, what are your thoughts about using a monitor?  We have a visiting
> caller that SCREAMS into the mic and it was suggested that if he had a
> monitor, he might not do that.
> Any help is appreciated!
> JoLaine
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