Theatre headset mics can be a bit of a minefield. People have different ideas of what works best, and what does not. As with most things to do with sound, the primary and most important tool is your own ears. Equipment is important, but medium quality equipment with a good quality sound engineer is a much better combination than the best equipment with a mediocre sound engineer.
A couple of things to bear in mind while using theatre headset mics.
General care and operation, and avoiding damage.
– Placement is key. People have different sized heads, different sized ears, different sized mouths. The ideal placement for our head microphones is approximately 1-2 inches from the corner of the mouth, out of the path of air coming from the nose.
– Damage to headsets is usually caused from fitting and removing the units. They tend to be fine once a user is wearing one comfortably.
– Make sure when fitting a headset mic that both the headset and belt-pack are securely fixed. Some people prefer to wear mic pack in a pouch, and this is also fine and often a better option if people have lots of costume changes. However, we do find that our belt-packs work just fine when clipped on to belts / bra straps / pockets.
– The easiest bit to damage on a headset mic is the cable where it joins the connector, and where it joins the head mic. Ensure that strain on these parts is minimised as much as possible to minimise the chance of any problems during a show.
– With EQ, our belt-packs have built in optional LF roll off. We recommend turning this on as it is unlikely to affect any vocal reproduction but will minimise the chances of feedback from the microphones. In our experience the headsets tend to benefit from a small HF boost to maximise vocal clarity.
– Frequency selection is important. Incorrectly selected frequencies can result in dropouts, crosstalk, and interference. The frequency bands that can be safely used are as follows:
- 606.500MHz – 613.500MHz (Channel 38, up to 12 radio mics can fit in this band)
- 823.000MHz – 832.000MHz (Partial Channel 65/66, up to 14 radio mics can fit in this band)
- 863.000MHz – 865.000MHz (Free band channel 70, up to 4 radio mics can fit in this band)
- 1785.000MHz – 1800.000MHz (1.8GHz band, up to 23 radio mics can fit in this band)
– Nearly all radio mics (including ours) come with pre-defined frequency bands. Using these frequencies ensures you are less likely to experience what is called ‘intermodulation’ on your channels. This is where the output from one mic is picked up on a channel other than the one it is supposed to be. Always use the pre-set frequencies in the banks provided where possible.