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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Using a handheld-microphone (29 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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sandsjr
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Without having read all of the comments I would say the mic should be transparent. It shouldn't be a consideration to the audience. A handheld can be used to hide things. And a handheld can be cumbersome ie; having to put it in a stand or under your arm etc. A handheld needs to be a consideration when developing an effect. You have to think about how you want to use it and then practice with it. Sound quality is a non issue as a good headset will do the job just fine.

With all of this said, I prefer working rooms where I don't need a mic. I enjoy intimacy when it comes to mentalism. The bigger the room, the further the tables are spread apart, the more diluted the mentalism becomes. The show has to change to accommodate the space if you wish to maintain as much attention as possible. A theatre is a different story (compared to a dinner with 10 seatrt round tables spread out in a banquet hall.) It's socially acceptable to talk amongst yourself at a table. Not so in a theatre. Of course this is generally speaking. I usually work for 50 people in a parlor situation which I MUCH prefer to larger banquets. I like connecting with people and the smaller audience allows me to do that. There are lots of variables but anything can work if you put the time, thought, and energy into it.
Sam Hagen
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I found the discussion here interesting as I've felt the similar problems Robb has stated before about handheld mic. It limits the movement (especially with cable microphone). The microphone can be bothersome at times.

I've thought about getting a headset mic, but hesitate after reading the responses that praised the usefulness of handheld mic.

I like the flexibility a headset mic offers, but will not sacrifice the sound quality over it. Might try to get a cheaper one to compare.

Thanks,

SH
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David McCall
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Quote:
On Mar 16, 2016, Alexxander wrote:
A few weeks ago I had a gig at a small restaurant/bar type venue. Intimate, but very nice.
During the sound check, the sound engineer and me just couldn't get my headset mic to work without getting horrible audio feedback.
So I was pretty much put on the spot there - I never performed with a handheld mic before. I was very nervous.
I thought about all the moments in my performance where I need to have free hands!
But the audience was already coming in, so I just had to wing it.


...And it actually went well!
Of course, there was some fumbling on my part, but I think I managed well (The audience even asked for an encore, which I did not expect at all!).

So I did two other gigs with handheld mic since then, not even bothering to try the headset.

I must say, there are a lot of benefits to it.
I can perform in a lot of venues with minimal preparation - they always have a handheld mic and usually have the sound settings already set up for it.
My participants can easily be heard by the audience because I can simply hand them the mic.
The sound quality is much better.
I can mute myself very easily if I have to cough, sneeze or want to do a stage whisper.

Of course, there are some things that I can't do with a handheld.. but I noticed that I don't always have to speak during an action which requires both of my hands... with body language and facial expressions I can still communicate what I need the audience to know in these moments.

I guess this is nothing new to many of the pros here, but maybe someone can take something from my experience.
If you always perform with a headset microphone, I would definitely recommend trying it once with the handheld Smile


Alex


There is also, I believe, a device you can get (or make?) to have a handheld around your neck. I've only seen it a few times, though.
Greg Arce
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David, I believe you are talking about this type of device: http://www.amazon.com/Close-Up-Magic-Sta......k+holder

Also, there are many variations of that device so you might want to search around Amazon and Music Accessory Dealers.

Greg
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eSamuels
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I prefer Betamax over VHS.
Go!
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Quote:
On Mar 23, 2016, eSamuels wrote:
I prefer Betamax over VHS.
Go!


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Greg Arce
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Quote:
On Mar 23, 2016, eSamuels wrote:
I prefer Betamax over VHS.
Go!


Actually, if you know the history of those two, Betamax was a better quality system. Unfortunately the first brands only let you put an hour of video on one tape. The VHS companies realized people wanted quantity and not quality and had the slower speeds you could set to tape full movies.

By the time Betamax realized that everyone wanted quantity it was too late in the game even though they also switched over to having slower taping speeds.

Just a bit of history.

Greg
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eSamuels
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You're correct (as is often the case), Greg.
Marketing means almost everything in the game.

Similarly, Blu Ray beat out HD DVD, not because of superior quality but because of smarter Blu Ray marketing (scoring Playstation for instance).

But, as you know, that wasn't the point of my post.
We seem to spend a lot of time on here (and elsewhere) trying to rationalize/legitimize opinions and preferences, as if this is necessary in order to validate them.
As I've often said, if you've (effectively) tried and tested various options and decided upon one that works best for you - little else matters.

As for my choice - after years of using just about every microphone setup known to man, I've recently decided to abandon all of them and simply yell at my audience at the top of my lungs.
Aside from saving time (no need for a sound check) and money (don't have to carry my own gear), it also seems to have cut down, significantly, the length of my performances.
Audiences seem to have had enough after my intro and often give me an immediate standing ovation. Or perhaps they're just getting up to leave. Not quite sure. But I'll call it a Standing O.

(seriously, I'm a two-mic guy. Headset for me, wireless handheld for helpers).

e
Greg Arce
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Oh, and e, I was not saying anything against your post, merely giving history on the two formats. Beta continued to be the industry standard when doing news and TV with the BetaMax format for many years later.

As for your choice in sending out your speech, cool... I vote for two foam hands I tape to my mouth to project the words... either that or I wear a Greek tragedy mask that has the mouth formed in a funnel shape. Smile Smile

Greg
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sandsjr
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FWIW, I know this might sound like a joke but just yesterday I heard that the porn industry is what drove the choice of VHS over Beta because that was it's format of choice. The same study said that either (I forget) 30 or 40 percent of internet consumption is pornography. It beats out (pun intended) all of the video viewing sources such as Netflix, Blockbuster and all the rest combined. Now, back to microphones...
Moderncelt
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Take this for what it's worth. I use a hand held with a cord because my system is small. I work small venues. I have Maximum Entertainment, and it is well worn. Two things that helped me quite a bit: I got Ian Kendall's Egotistical Opinions, with microphone technique, and the second was having a friend who does direction at one of the local theaters critique my blocking. I have a Gim-Crack mic holder, but I honestly don't use it as much as the mic stand.

Yes, lapel and over the ear mics are nice, they also breakdown easy. Ditto with wireless handhelds. Obviously not everyone is in my situation, and many want a slicker look. All good. I got the system that was right sized for me.

$.02
tgplano
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I generally use a handheld mic provided by the venue. To go hands free I bought a holder that goes around my neck. The mic is easily inserted and removed so I can use it either way. The device is called "The Gim-Crack" and available for a reasonable cost from www.TheGimCrack.info. I do not have an interest in this company.

Now to change the subject. I ran into a situation last weekend where I wish I had a "over-the-ear" microphone. It would have to be one that could be plugged into an existing sound system. I know nothing about this area so don't know what to search or what questions to ask. Help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Ted
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T.House
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I also take the Gim-Crack with me, but if I forget, I can put the handheld microphone in the breast pocket of my sport coat, even if the microphone has a cord.

Bruce
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I prefer a hand mike just because I can switch it on and off undetected.
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Davdo
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Just a disclaimer - I'm not a seasoned pro like many of those posting on this thread. That said, I have to give another thumbs up to the handheld. I perform mostly with minimal props, so not many problems with the use of my hands. Mainly, I value the availability (every backline has one) and having the control of being able to say things off mic to volunteers helps certain... principles...

~Dave
Alexxander
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I agree, but to be fair - most headsets have a "mute"-button which allow these ploys as well. But, it requires a lot of practice to be smooth with it..
Decomposed
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Will look at www.TheGimCrack.info, my WHITE neck holder getting dirty. Does it adjust for different size skinny necks?

Thanks!!!!!! Smile
jlevey
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Interesting and important discussion. More than a year has passed since the last posting, but still very relevant.
I am not certain why so many performers seem dislike the label lavalliere mic when is a top quality uni-directional mic like a Share lapel?

For years I used a head mic for myself and a handheld on a stand for volunteers, with much satisfaction and success. But after integrating a blindfold routine into my Mind Reading show, I quickly found that the head mic I wore got in the way, and had to be removed (actually quickly lowered abound my neck) solely for this effect, then at the end of this effect, quickly put back on. That's when two top Mentalists (each very successful and respected amongst the Mentalist community) strongly recommended that I switch the headset out, for a top quality uni-directional Lavallière mic. So I recently bought one (the Shure brand) and will soon try it out.

I am interested in understanding (more specifically) just why so many other pros, here on theMagic Café, seem to frown upon the Lav mic set up? Especially for the Mentalism type performances, where a Blindfold effect os performed.

Jonathan
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Last Laugh
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It's more of a practicality issue with amplification.

The headset mic sits right in front of your mouth.

The lapel mic is a number of inches a way. So that means more potential for feedback and other gain related issues.

Considering the varied types of venues and different speaker placement, the headset is just much less likely to have issues with feedback, background noise, etc.
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jlevey
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Good points , Last Laugh. Thanks.

If you go back and read my earlier post, you will see for years I used a head mic in combo with handheld on stand (for volunteers) for many years with much satisfaction and success. However, when I added th eBlindfold effect into my Mentalism performance, I found the head mic too awkward and obtrusive. This is why I began to search for a new mic arrangement that would prove to be an adequate compromise and solution. The Lapel (cardioid 130 degree) was highly recommended by two top pros. I realize it has its limitations, but I believe it could d prove to be the right solution for me. .

Others have given their reasons why they would not use a Law mic, and what their own preferences are, and why. I appreciate that this works for them, and their added insights.

Jonathan
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