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Thread: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

  1. Default Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Like the title says, a question for the theater guys. Wondering what the best wireless headset mic for singing musical theater is right now. I tried using my sennheiser g2 series mh3 headsets but I'm getting too much breath and motion noise. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Hal

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    It all depends on how much you want to spend. I've had good luck with products from YPA and YAM brands which are cheap enough to be disposable. I like the $75 YPA double earhook headsets the best of all of them.. they're quite adjustable. Sound quality is good, perhaps not as good as Countryman or DPA but for the price I have no complaints.

    Countryman and Galaxy both make versions of their single ear headsets with a very short boom which keeps the mic element a little farther from the mouth... I'm told those are popular with theater too, but they've been a little out of my price range. I have both an E6 and a galaxy headset in my collection (I have 10 or 12 different types), and I think the YPA headset is a little better than the Galaxy and perhaps not quite as good as the countryman, but I like it better than the E6 on some voices, so it does vary with the performer a bit.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Honestly breath and mouth sounds are nearly unsolvable issues with headset mics unless you start putting big ugly filters over them. Curious, have you ruled out lavs worn on the face for any reason? It's the standard musical theatre mic placement.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Countryman E6 and the DPA (sorry don't know the model number they are way out of my price range in the companies I work for) are the defacto standards used for musical theatre type applications.

    I have also used one of the AT models (sorry I don't remember the model number, I only used them because that is what the rental shop had) and they sound pretty decent as well.

    They can be tricky to use. But one thing I would note is that you don't want the cardiod units. There will already be enough variation in sound from night to night based on how close the mic is to their mouths without adding the extra variable of being more or less on axis to the element, so not only does the volume level change but also the sound color. Major pain!

    Mouth and breath sounds are not big problems for me unless they are put in the wrong spot. At least in the theatre world we don't put them out in front of the actors mouths. It is more of a cheek placement. Just behind the mouth. If it's in front of the mouth or two close to the mouth... you're doing it wrong.

    My main issues with using these have been keeping them on in shows with heavy dancing, maintaining the mic placement from night to night relative to the performer's mouth and wind noise when they start to run around the stage. The Countryman units have tiny little wind screens you can put over them to stop the wind noise. But some directors don't like seeing them. Plus they also fall off and get lost easy. So you must have extras!

    I have also solved the wind noise by putting a very tiny piece of material cut out from sheer pantyhose and either taping or using very tiny dental rubber bands to hold it on. It can work like a wind screen or more similar to a popper stopper used in a studio.

    If you're poor I have also rolled my own headset style mics just using the theatre's stock of B3, B6 or Sennheiser MKE2 units. I do this by using floral wire to make my own earpiece with a small boom (using one gauge of wire for the loop around the ear and a thinner one for the boom) and attach the standard lav mic to it. I sometimes will use a Hellerman tool and sleeves to hold it together and other times I've used heat shrink or if I was in a hurry, just tape.
    Last edited by RBIngraham; 06-07-2014 at 11:14 PM.
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  5. Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Like others have said Countryman and DPA are probably the best sounding headset mics. Breath noise can usually be eliminated by proper mic placement. For musicals/theater I would not recommend a single ear type. I do a few high school musicals a year and single ear types have to be taped in place or they move. Double ear types usually stay in place unless the performer is really animated. I also use sub $100 headset mics and they sound fine. I find sound quality is more a question of mic placement than quality of mic. Always keep the mic element slightly behind the corner of the mouth and you should not have breath problems and have the mic element just off the cheek to eliminate most of the movement problems.

    Larry B.
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    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Double ears are nice for staying in place, but looks typically trump sound, at least in the big boy theatres. You're lucky if the will let you use an earset mic, unless it's supposed to look like a rock show, even though they would never let you use a real rock show headset mic.

    If you read and follow countryman's instruction properly you can ussually get buy with no tape or only one or two small pieces. What tape you use will make all the difference and how you apply it as well.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Check out the new CAD 1610 system it comes with a very good sounding headset and an OK lav less than $300 street best low cost system I have used

    Butch

  8. Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    Quote Originally Posted by RBIngraham View Post
    Double ears are nice for staying in place, but looks typically trump sound, at least in the big boy theatres. You're lucky if the will let you use an earset mic, unless it's supposed to look like a rock show, even though they would never let you use a real rock show headset mic.

    If you read and follow countryman's instruction properly you can ussually get buy with no tape or only one or two small pieces. What tape you use will make all the difference and how you apply it as well.
    I don't do any big boy theater. Mainly high school musicals and community theater so they pretty much get what I give them. The headsets I use are double under the ear and are prety unobtrusive. Never really had any complaints about the looks. I am lucky that in my world being heard trumps looks. If I have to use tape it is "flesh" colored or clear micropore medical tape, depending on skin tone. Of course the Tammy Fayes make that tough.

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    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    That Earset mic on the CAD system is just an AT model rebranded. Which doesn't really surprise me since they two companies are maybe 20 mins away from each other or so. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire wireless system is just a rebadged AT unit.
    Richard B. Ingraham
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Best current wireless headset mic for musical theater

    We've had Countryman E6, Anchor Audio EM60t and MMAudio single and dual ear PSM models. Countrymen are great, but pricey and stiff (which can be a good or bad thing). The $80 Anchor Audio was crap...huge mic element and easily distorted (basically anything above a strong talking voice). The MMAudio stuff is what we settled on for our norm.

    MMAudio is the OEM supplier for Point Source, so it's the same mic for a fraction of the cost, beween $115 and $170 depending on style and capsule type. They have Countryman B6-style lapels suitable for hairline mounting, E6-style earsets and H6-style headsets with slightly thicker cables (like the 1mm Kevlar cables Countryman has as an option). They're not nearly as stiff as the Countryman stuff, which can be good or bad, but they are rated for being near indestructible from bending. We do typically have to put a piece of tape on for motion-heavy uses, but can usually get away with not if you bend it tightly, maybe just a piece of tape on the behind the ear part.

    I find them very close to the Countryman mics but warmer (less crisp) and with proper placement, and using the Omni varieties, I don't have any problem with movement or breath noise or pops. I find movement noise comes from using cardioids, which are why the typical theater mic is an omni.

    I did recently hear the Galaxy Audio HSD dual earsets side by side with the Countryman E6's at the Baltimore Symphony's "All That Jazz" production (a variety of famous jazz-themed Broadway musical numbers). The Meyerhoff tech said he'd used the Countrymans on the ladies and the $200 Galaxies on the men and was pretty impressed. They were using Sennheiser EW300's and an Avid Venue for the show. The Galaxies were a little darker than the Countrymans, so he preferred them on the men, but was overall impressed with their performance alongside the Countrymans. I couldn't have told you which was which otherwise.

    HTH,
    Jeff

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