Over the years I have had the privilege of touring with many well known comedians, raconteurs and actors, performing one man/woman shows in theatres and concert halls. Very often it has been said to me…. ‘One Man and a Mic…. How hard can that be?’ Well this is my reply……………… If I am mixing a band and the guitar is a bit low in the mix, or doesn’t sound too great, most people probably won’t notice, and certainly no one will complain. If on the other hand a solo voice sounds wrong for 2 hours, or even worse people can’t hear properly, then all hell will break loose! Not only will droves of people complain, they may even demand their money back ! The human ear is fine-tuned to the sound of human speech and in the case of a well known performer, the entire audience knows exactly what that person should sound like!……….. Therefore ‘One Man and a Mic’ requires a level of expertise and perfection not found in other types of performance. It has to sound right from every seat in the house!
Whilst all the links in the audio chain in a theatre are important, there is none more so than the choice of microphone. Get that wrong and everything else is down the pan!
Many performers like the freedom of a lavalier radio mic. As with any mic it may be necessary to EQ the system in order to counteract anomalies caused by the loudspeakers or the acoustics of the auditorium. Also if the mic is pinned on the performer’s chest there may be a certain amount of chest resonance to deal with. Female performers very often prefer the mic fixed to their forehead with micro-pore tape and covered by their hair…….. which nicely solves the chest resonance problem! Wearing the mic on a headset is a great way of getting it close to the performer’s mouth and thereby greatly increasing the possible gain. Unfortunately I have seldom worked with a solo performer who likes wearing a headset!
Over many years the Sennheiser MKE2 has become an industry standard in British theatre. The MKE2 delivers an almost flat frequency response from 20hz to 20Khz (apart from a gentle presence peak at around 12khz) and has a superb transient response due to its tiny size. Also being omni-directional it is capable of sounding very neutral and uncoloured, with no proximity effect.
Sennheiser MKE2=4 Gold Tech Spec.