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Topic: When you practice your vent act...
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Sep 18, 2006 12:45PM)
Hi...I'm a new vent wannabe :)

When you practice your actual vent act, do you use your sound system?

In my case, for my shows... I bring my own postable sound system. (Peavey Escort and Shure headworn mic)

I figured it might be nice to use the sound system once in awhile so that we can measure the distance of the mic from our mouth and check the settings of the equalizer etc...

What do you think?


Message: Posted by: brooklyn (Sep 19, 2006 02:44PM)

Rehearsing is vitaly important; just like a musician practicing daily to flex the brain and muscles. Your idea of rehearsing with your sound system is a great one! Mic technique is, I believe, a good 90% of your performance success with vent.

I also video every rehearsal and performance and study it carefully for thing like:
1. Manipulation of the vent figures. (Do they really look alive?)
2. My vent technique. (How are the lips. Are they still or moving?)
3. Etc.

While very humbling, taping your performances and rehsarsals and using the mic in rehearsal will help to move you to consistent, professional quality before long.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 19, 2006 04:57PM)
Does anyone use a portable mic system for walk around venting?

If so, what is your system and recommended set up?

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Sep 20, 2006 12:20AM)
Thanks Brooklyn...I've tried doing videos and I enjoy doing it and I actually see my weak side and my good side :)

I'd like to video an actaul show hopefully this weekend :)


Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Sep 20, 2006 12:20AM)
Hi Jonathan,

A friend of mine has this mic and speaker strapped around his waist ala belt bag...sells for about $80...

I wouldn't really know if it works or if you actually need one for walk around. But I can only guess that it will make your job easier because it will amplify your voice :)

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 20, 2006 05:59AM)
Dear Wanlu,

Any chance of you speaking to your friend to find out the make and model number of the set up he has and if he is satisfied with it?

If he could provide a web link for thi sproduct, that too would be very helpful.

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Sep 20, 2006 09:34AM)
Hi Jonathan,

okay...I'll do that and will let you know as soon as possible :)


Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 20, 2006 05:03PM)
Thanks Wanlu!

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Sep 21, 2006 08:21AM)
Hi Jonathan,

So sorry to disappoint you but my friend only sent me an SMS saying that the brand is UKAI...it's like a belt bag that has the speakers in it and a mic attached to it.

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Sep 21, 2006 10:43AM)
Thanks for trying Wanlu.

There must be a thread about this on the Café.

I will fire up the search engines sometime soon.

Best regards.

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 3, 2006 11:02AM)
Hi Jonathan,

I found this, I hope it helps :)


Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Oct 3, 2006 11:27AM)

I bought this 10 years ago. Ronjo Magic still has it.
Message: Posted by: harris (Oct 3, 2006 02:34PM)
For a few years I have been using a Hisonic

15 Watts

180 x 300 x 110 mm

180-260 mhz.

It is fairly light weight and has a great sound. I got it used for about $75.

It can be used for small groups(such as library shows of 1-200, and light enough for walk arounds with a wrap around head set microphone.

Prior to getting the above item I used a waist belt system of 3-5 Watts.

Message: Posted by: DougTait (Oct 4, 2006 05:44PM)
Do a Google search for "waistband amplifier" and you will get a slew of similar product in the price range of $50 - $250.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Oct 5, 2006 11:08AM)
Maybe this is a dumb question (in truth, I don't have what it takes to do vent work) but if you have a sound system, (and it's obvious that your voice is miked) do you make a dummy mike for your figure? (Kinda drips with irony, doesn't it?)
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 5, 2006 10:15PM)
Lou Hilario's "Nacho" wears a headworn mic like the one Lou is wearing :)

Ony Carcamo uses a mic stand and a a working mic for his "Mr. Parley" :)

I don't do full vent acts but I'm working on a routine already, I figured having a mic in front of the puppet/dummy makes a better illusion of the puppet talking...

If I find an inexpensive headworn mic, I'll make my hard figure Lou wear one. As for my soft puppets Gonzo (Orangutan) and Troy (Pelican) I think they are doing okay without a dummy mic :)
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Oct 5, 2006 10:21PM)
On 2006-10-05 23:15, Wanlu wrote:
. . .If I find an inexpensive headworn mic, I'll make my hard figure Lou wear one. . . .

I use a cellphone mic for my figure "Nacho". It is cheap, small and readily available in most phone shops. Look for the older models that look like the expensive headworn mics nowadays.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 6, 2006 02:01AM)

On behalf of Lou, thanks Lou :)

By the way, how do I attach it to the figure? Is super glue okay?
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 05:45AM)
Thanks guys... great suggestions and sources for mics!

Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Oct 6, 2006 08:26AM)
Wanlu, never do that to your hard figure--attaching the mic using a superglue. Hard figures are delicate. It can damage the paint. Ask Lou how he did it for his figure.

You're right, I just use a standard straight mic stand and a microphone in my vent acts. I place it as much as possible in BETWEEN me and my figure (to appear that we are both using one mic only). But I don't care that much if the only mic is just in front of me (see club act videos of Jeff Dunham, Ronn Lucas, Willie Tyler, Jay Johnson, etc--they usually use one mic only on a mic stand that's right in front of them--no mic for their figures). If the manipulation and dialogues are great, no one will notice the mics.

Old, classic style of performing, yes. But it has been working great for me for years.

Of course, if you're more comfortable with the head-worn mic, it's what you should use.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 09:25AM)
Are their many vents that "do not" use a portable mic (ie. belt-mic) for walkaround vent performing situations?
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 6, 2006 09:50AM)
Hi Ony,

Thanks for warning me about the super glue. I'll ask Lou how to stick the mic on the figure.

I saw you doing the "voice in the cup" routine... first at the Toyota Motor Show then next at Musikero Café...although both went very well, I will have to say that the one in Musikero Café was more convincing since you used an extrta mic directly in front of the cup... thus when you turned the cup around, the volume of the sound emanating from the cup changed.

You also used an extra mic for the "ant in the cup" ...which made it really more convincing. Well, that's aside from the fact the you are really one heck of a great Ventriloquist :)

I've seen great Vents who don't use extra mics for their figure and their acts are killers...but I don't think a dummy mic for a dummy will hurt :)


Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 6, 2006 10:04AM)
Hi Jonathan,

If one plans to do walkarounds with a puppet, I think the waistband amplifier makes great sense.

I'm not planning to do walkarounds but I would buy a waistband amplifier if I find one here just to help me practice without setting up my actual sound system...plus, I can use it when I show my puppets to my friends and house guests.

I saw one last December in a "Bazaar" but I didn't buy it because I was not yet into puppets then. I started working with puppets just less than a couple of months ago...

I'm going to a local "Electronics Haven " here in Manila next week. We call it RAON...I'm optimistic that I can find a waistband amplifier there. If the price is cheaper here including shipping to your place, I'll be happy to send you a unit if you want. If I find something less than $50 shipping included, I'll let you know.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 6, 2006 10:15AM)
Hi Ony,

I'm starting to practice using a regular mic with the Gim-Crack.

If by next week I would be able to buy a mic stand, I'll start practicing with a regular mic on a mic stand as well.

Better be ready for all possible gig scenarios right?

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 11:44AM)
Thanks for you rkind offer Wanlu,

Let me know what you find. Nt sure how much the shippin gto Montreal would be, but I woould still like to know the details (quality of the system, and price).

Although it is a bit costly,I like the one that Lou directed me to via the link to Ronjo: http://www.ronjo.com/page/R/PROD/S/M010033

I will also start doing searches on e-bay and google for a good "sound" system, as Doug suggested.

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 03:27PM)
I would be interested to know if a 15 watt waistband system (like the one Harris uses) is recommended for walkaround/mingling ventriloquisim, witin a corporate cocktail setting, where 4 to 8 guests maximum at a time.

Would a 3 to 5 watt system be sufficient?

Does the 3-5 watt waistband system weigh less than the 15 watt waistband type system?

I believe that Hisonic makes both.

Please advise.

Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 04:33PM)
Hmmm... one of our seasoned member was kind enough to point out that when he used the waistband model for walkaround venting, and kept the speaker psotioned on his backside, the sound appeared to be coming out of his.... "a_ _ hole".

Does ths mean that if the speaker system is positioned on the front-side of the performer, the sound will appear to come out from his _______ ....zipper ??!!!

Seems to be a no-win situation.

Perhaps I will simply need to project my voice more during walkaround situations where I often have to compete with ambiant noise (ie. nearby conversations, music from a nearby Jazz-trio, piped-in MUSAC, etc.)


Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 04:34PM)
One link to the Hisonic waistband (HS116 model,7 watts) system can be found at:
http://www.radios4you.com/hs-116-LG.html The weight of this system is not mentioned on this site, so I will need to do some more searching to find this specific info out.

One member has suggested the "Califone" waistband mic system is a lighter model than most. With the Califone, their 5 watt model is 19 ounces, and their 2 watt model is only 10 ounces... is 2 watts enough for walkaround with groups of 4-6 people around the ventrioquist?

Is anyone else familiar with this particular system?


From the specs and photo found on thier site, I find the shaope and size to be a bit awkward, I prefer the waistband Hisonic design, and would like to position such a system on my front-side to look like a magicians "card pouch" or money belt. However, it was also pointed out that if a waistband system is positioned at the fron, there is feedback caused by its proximity to the mic.

To resolve the feedback issue, it was recommended to position the speaker system on the performer's backside, which results in a muffled sound (it under a coat) or the sound seeming to come form the amgician's a_ _ hole...

Any recommendations to avoid the feedback issue and /or the "Row, row row your boat" effect?
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 06:26PM)
The MiPro system has also been recommended. Although it is significantly more costly, it is said to be a much better quality system.

However, when I try to do a google search for a MiPro waistband product,I cannot seem to find one. Perhaps MiPro does not make a waistband product.

Posted: Oct 6, 2006 8:40pm
My apologies to Wanlu (and others)for shifting this particular thread, entitled, "When you practice your vent act", into a thread focussed more on my particular interests in the value of purchasing a waistband mic system for walkaround venting.

Please not that I have "turned myself in" to the Magic Café Authorities, asking them to go easy on me and to consider making the extra efforts needed to shift my questions and all relevant responses over to a new posting entitled: Mingling Vent work: the value of waistband portable sound systems".

Hopefully this new Posting will be created and Wnlu's important discussion on how to prepare for vent act can continue on track.

Thanks to everyone visiting Wanlu's thread for your patience and understanding, and for the many excellent responses to my waistband related concerns.


Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 6, 2006 09:27PM)
Please note that I have copied and pasted our discussion on Mingling Vent Work: waistband Portable Sound Systems, under its very own category.

To view this new positing and continue our discussion on this particular subject please click on the following link:

I will notify the Magic Café Staff, requesting that they all delete postings on the waistband topic from Wanlu's current thread, "When you Practice your Vent Act".

Hopefully, Wanlu's topic and discussion can continue,and stay on track.


Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 7, 2006 10:28AM)
No Problem Jonathan :)
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 7, 2006 10:30AM)
BTW, if I do find a cheap one I will let you know and probably email you some pictures as well.

BTW...a cheaper unite might not be as strong as the expensive ones :)

Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Oct 7, 2006 08:24PM)
Correct, Wanlu, better practice with a standard mic and mic stand for your possible night club gigs. It's easier to set up this way in clubs, unlike head-worn mics.

You noticed that I didn't use an additional mic when I was using my figures, but I used one when doing the novelty acts (the "ant/glass and glass/echo" bits).

While it's true that an additional mic better the illusion, I don't always put an additional mic (on a stand) for my figure BECAUSE IT PARTLY BLOCKS THE FIGURE. In terms of priority, I would opt that the audience sees my figure clearly and watch my manipulation.

Although at times, I use two live mics also.
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Oct 7, 2006 11:00PM)
BTW, using or not using a PA system (such as the waistband type) during vent walkarounds is a much debated topic.

I would not use one during vent walkarounds, because I believe walkarounds should be a person-to-person, one-on-one (or one in front of a VERY few people) "show". No need to amplify the voice, just IMHO. It's like talking briefly to a person or small group, one at a time.

That would make it more personal.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Oct 8, 2006 12:10AM)
Fantastically insightful point Ony.
I too like the intimcy of doing walkaround vent work without a mic.

It's been more than 30 years since I last did my vent work (I was 15 years old at teh tiem), Having only recently taken my Danny O'Day figure out of moth balls to bring him back to life in front of an adult audience has been great fun.

I just find that as I near age 50, my vocal chords are beginning to quiver and strain against competing nearby sounds (ie. adjacent conversation, jazz trio music, etc.) and thus tire more easily. Perhaps I am not using my diaphram muscles effectively to project my voice (like I dis in "the old days").

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 9, 2006 02:43AM)
Nice point regarding the extra mic Ony...I've seen plenty of vent acts and the good ones really don't have extra mics in front of their figures...
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Oct 21, 2006 10:59AM)
I just saw Willie Tyler and Lester on the Letterman show! I'd forgotten how good he (they) were. Lester had a little microphone on his jacket! Also, in the music number, he swayed and waved his arms to the music!
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 22, 2006 07:45AM)
Hi Mandrake,

I saw a small mic at Ebay...its a small lapel mic with foam, I think that will work. Ill just clip it on my figures shirt :)


Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 23, 2006 01:13PM)
If you have time, please check out my short act...not much but I hope you'll like it. Do let me know if you have suggestions please :)


Wanlu and Troy the Pelican

Wanlu and Gonzo the Orangutan

My hard figure Lou
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Oct 28, 2006 12:02PM)
On 2006-10-22 08:45, Wanlu wrote:
Hi Mandrake,

I saw a small mic at Ebay...its a small lapel mic with foam, I think that will work. Ill just clip it on my figures shirt :)



I didn't think it would have to be a "real" mike, just something to give the people a reason why the figure's voice <also> sounds amplified.

Of course, I'm just talking out of my hat! :D I don't do vent work myself, I don't have the patience.
Message: Posted by: Chatterbox41 (Oct 28, 2006 01:30PM)
On 2006-09-18 13:45, Wanlu wrote:
Hi...I'm a new vent wannabe :)

When you practice your actual vent act, do you use your sound system?

In my case, for my shows... I bring my own postable sound system. (Peavey Escort and Shure headworn mic)

I figured it might be nice to use the sound system once in awhile so that we can measure the distance of the mic from our mouth and check the settings of the equalizer etc...

What do you think?




There is a difference between practice and rehearsal... you practice in part and rehearse as a whole of your act.

I never use a mic during a practice session when I'm working on a new routine, character, etc. Usually I sit in front of a mirror or video camera and work on lips, manipulation, voice inflection, emotion, etc.

when I rehearse, I do use a mic and sound system, even if only set very softly. It is also when I run through the entire act from walk on to final bow without stopping to correct anything. I also usually video this so I can go back and view what I need to work on in my next practice session.

As to a mic for the figure, this is something I haven't done, but plan to. Dave Boiano used to have directions on his web site to make a wireless lapel mic for the figure. It actually had a box he could wear on his belt that had a little switch and a red light so you could start the act with the figures voice being soft and distant and then turn the mic on for his regular voice. The benefit to me is that you don't block the figure with another mic and stand, you can have the real mic near you and it won't look strange to hear his voice coming out of the P.A., and there's really nothing to get in the way of the figures movements.

Hope this helps,

Message: Posted by: Chatterbox41 (Oct 28, 2006 01:32PM)
Almost forgot in my previous post, the dummy lapel mic is made primarily from Radio Shack parts and you should be able to build it for probably $30 or so.

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 29, 2006 06:36AM)
Thanks again Gary...

I learned a lot from you today :)

and I'll try it out as soon as possible...

Rehearsal sessions added to my list of things to do to improve my vent act...Thanks much :)

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Nov 8, 2006 03:14AM)
Lou with his lapel Mic

Found an old cellphone mic at S.O.S. (Surplus store) P100 only...that's about $2... I converted it into a lapel mic imitation :D