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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » The importance of sound quality for kids shows (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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charliecheckers
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I am interested in opinions on how important sound quality is for performers of kids shows that choose to use sound systems. I personally use a Bose L1 for nearly all performances where I bring my own sound system. Some use inferior systems that are lower in cost or provide enhanced portability. Others choose higher end systems with reduced portability. This suggests to me that kids performers have differing views on the importance of the sound quality at their shows. The need for nearly perfect sound may vary between the type of show you perform or your target audience, so I hope to limit this discussion to performing for kids under the age of 12.
Michael Baker
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I'm not seeing where age matters. Sound, whether voice or music should be clear, of the correct volume for the audience and the venue, and of sufficient quality as not to be screechy, tinny, or otherwise an irritation to the average ear. Proper microphone technique is as important as the system.
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The Magic Company
TonyB2009
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As the majority of our shows are for crowds of twenty and less, a properly trained voice with good projection skills is vital.

I only use a sound system for the big gigs, but I hate when you arrive at an event and the DJ just hands you his microphone. As most are deaf in some degree, there is always way too much base on it, and the sound is always muffled. And often the microphone is rubbish as well. So I tend to bring my own mike to hook into their system, then cut the base right out.

For me an on-stage monitor makes a massive difference. I need to hear what the kids are hearing.
JoshLondonMagic
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I always use sound (Happie Amp) for audiences as low as 10 people.

I suppose I am so used to it I just always use it.

One time I almost lost my voice and had 7 shows for the weekend. I vowed to always use my Happie Amp from that moment.

I've also notice it comes in very useful when the kids get excited or talk during the show. Ben adults in the other room will talk during the show and having amplification helps drown them out. Once the show starts they will usually watch and pay attention.

Josh
Josh
TonyB2009
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When kids start chattering I lower my voice rather than raise it. They will shut up to hear me. And if adults start talking in the next room I will tell them to shut up or take it outside.
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Apr 3, 2014, TonyB2009 wrote:
When kids start chattering I lower my voice rather than raise it. They will shut up to hear me. And if adults start talking in the next room I will tell them to shut up or take it outside.
Right on the money, Tony. A battle for who can be the loudest never has a winner.
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Magical Michael

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TomBoleware
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I too agree with Tony. It's very hard to talk over kids.
It's best to calm them down by speaking in a lower voice,
or to just stop talking for a moment.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

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The Mighty Fool
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Quote:
On Apr 3, 2014, TonyB2009 wrote:
As most are deaf in some degree,


:lol: Lordy aint THAT the truth!!
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Ken Northridge
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I like to have a quality, dependable system because it helps me concentrate on entertaining. Plus, I use a lot of music and sound effects in my show. So, to answer your question, I think sound quality if very important---to me. I'm sure if you have the right kind of voice and the right personality, a microphone and music are meaningless.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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Starrpower
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Sound is important.

I currently have 5 different sound systems. I have never owned a stand-alone amplifier; I use powered speakers. About 25 years ago I bought a couple of Yamahas that are sold as monitor speakers. They have incredibly good sound quality and have lasted despite all the road abuse. Sometimes I use a mixer to help my control tone and volume. The two of them together fill any auditorium, gymnasium, or hall I have played during the past two decades, but fall a little short at outdoor shows.

I bought Happie Amp for the freedom offered by the battery operation and light weight. The funny thing is, I rarely use it due to the tinny sound. It's not bad, but I guess after 25 years of using better quality systems, I simply can't get myself to accept that big of a drop in sound quality. I also had the batteries fail in the middle of a show, so now I can't trust it.
garydunn
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Bose L1 Compact all the way. I have 2, but very rarely need to use both. I use this for every single show, with my Sennheiser hand held radio mic! Can't be beaten for quality in my opinion!
A Birthday Magician
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I have used a portable Mipro for 10 years...love it
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Lowering your voice...Great suggestion.

Sometimes when I am having allergy, asthma or other voice issues I use a mic.

Monitors are priceless, whether it is a magic,vent or music gig.

Harris
still 2 old to know it all Smile Smile
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Apr 6, 2014, Starrpower wrote:
Sound is important.

I currently have 5 different sound systems. I have never owned a stand-alone amplifier; I use powered speakers. About 25 years ago I bought a couple of Yamahas that are sold as monitor speakers. They have incredibly good sound quality and have lasted despite all the road abuse. Sometimes I use a mixer to help my control tone and volume. The two of them together fill any auditorium, gymnasium, or hall I have played during the past two decades, but fall a little short at outdoor shows.

I bought Happie Amp for the freedom offered by the battery operation and light weight. The funny thing is, I rarely use it due to the tinny sound. It's not bad, but I guess after 25 years of using better quality systems, I simply can't get myself to accept that big of a drop in sound quality. I also had the batteries fail in the middle of a show, so now I can't trust it.

Starpower - thanks for this response. In my post I was trying to have a discussion along these lines. Trying to strike a balance between quality, price, portability and convenience can be tricky. I think it is important for us to know what we are giving up when we comprimise in a particular area. You seem to have an appreciation for the benefit premium sound affords your show. It seems many of us jump into something never fully exploring the options and educating ourselves on sound. I asked the question because many of us seek portability and lower cost because we do more shows at lower costs than those who preform in other areas of magic. Could this impact the perception of those who hire us? Are the higher end speakers too costly and/or cumbersome? This is the discussion I was trying to have when I asked "how important is sound quality"? I believe that when one chooses "happy amp", it suggests that sound quality is not that high on their list of concerns. You would be more concerned with portability and cost and are willing to comprimise significantly on sound quality.
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Apr 9, 2014, charliecheckers wrote: I believe that when one chooses "happy amp", it suggests that sound quality is not that high on their list of concerns. You would be more concerned with portability and cost and are willing to comprimise significantly on sound quality.


I disagree.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
charliecheckers
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Quote:
On Apr 6, 2014, Starrpower wrote:
Sound is important.
I bought Happie Amp for the freedom offered by the battery operation and light weight. The funny thing is, I rarely use it due to the tinny sound. It's not bad, but I guess after 25 years of using better quality systems, I simply can't get myself to accept that big of a drop in sound quality. I also had the batteries fail in the middle of a show, so now I can't trust it.

What Starrpower shares is a common perception among those who have explored higher end sound systems. Michael, have you looked into higher end equipment and found the Happy Amp to deliver similar quality? I am not even saying it is a poor product, only that it leans heavy on the advantage of cost and portability while compromising on sound quality. Nothing wrong with that necessarily, in my opinion. I believe you cannot have it all ways ( low cost, portable and high quality). I have landed on a Bose system as a fair compromise, while others find it to be an unacceptable compromise in quality and instead use systems that are more cumbersome because they prefer higher quality.
Snidini
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Charlie, you know how to "pack small-sound BIG" with the Bose system. The L1 is the ideal system for any size crowd for vocal quality. I actually had the opportunity to see a magician friend use the "happy amp" last year at a fundraiser and he sounded like a "barker" at the local fair. He was having problems with it getting his voice to be heard over a noisy 200plus crowd and it just wasn't working well. I think his mike may have had something to do with that also. He ended up using the DJ's small Peavey system (another great portable PA) and only then, he sounded professional and could be heard. I know the Bose systems are mega-bucks but it will serve you for any event small or large you may perform. I also love the fact you can set it up in 2 minutes.
garydunn
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You guys have it cheap in the US. Most dealers have it in stock for $999 ( just under £600). In the UK, the L1 Compact is £899 - just over $1500!!
wwhokie1
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Quote:
On Apr 10, 2014, Snidini wrote:
Charlie, you know how to "pack small-sound BIG" with the Bose system. The L1 is the ideal system for any size crowd for vocal quality. I actually had the opportunity to see a magician friend use the "happy amp" last year at a fundraiser and he sounded like a "barker" at the local fair. He was having problems with it getting his voice to be heard over a noisy 200plus crowd and it just wasn't working well. I think his mike may have had something to do with that also. He ended up using the DJ's small Peavey system (another great portable PA) and only then, he sounded professional and could be heard. I know the Bose systems are mega-bucks but it will serve you for any event small or large you may perform. I also love the fact you can set it up in 2 minutes.


Your comment about the mic is a good point. A bad mic will make a good system sound bad. A bad mic with a bad system is disaster. If you go for an upgraded system, don't forget a quality mic as well.
Michael Messing
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I have owned numerous PA systems over the years and, like Mark (Starrpower), I owned 4 PA's at once. (Mark outdid me by 1!) These days, I keep it to two. I have a Carvin StageMate and extension speaker for larger shows and outdoor shows where there is no electricity available: http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/S400D It has a nice sound for a 10" speaker. (It's not quite as good as the JBL Eon G2 10 speakers I used to own but the sound is pretty good.)

For my smaller shows (libraries, birthday parties, etc.), I use a Roland CM-30. I use a lot of music in all my shows and the CM-30 was the best combination of sound and portability: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CubeMon30/ The CM-30 does a remarkable job of reproducing music for such a small speaker. I tried a bund of small PA systems before I settled on this one. I have considered trying out the Samson Expedition: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/XPExpress/ It uses a rechargeable battery so that would be one advantage over the CM-30.
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