Radio Mics

We used to hire radio mics from Entstech, but since entstech was shut down, the radio mics and stage blocks have been sold to JSS Audio. YUSU have an agreement to hire them back from JSS at the same rates that entstech charged.

The interesting wrinkle in this otherwise run-of-the-mill story, is that as of some time in 2011, the old radio mics will be 'obsolete' according to Jem at JSS audio. Apparently this is something to do with the digitial TV switchover and reallocation of spectrum licences. This means:

  • We may or may not be able to use them for the show in February 2011
  • We will no longer have preferential rates for hiring

Spectrum licences

AV have a number of spectrum licences for use with radio mics in lecture theatres on campus. They can provide a list of frequencies to use with hired radio mics.

We have to be very careful not to interfere with the frequencies in use in lectures during the day however.

The ideal solution would be for YUSU to buy additional frequency licences for campus, which would then only be used by student societies. They're not likely to do this of course. A 6-day licence for 9 channels costs ~£2301, although a permanent licence is apparently not much more than this (I've not investigated).

Microphone types

Radio mics come with two types of pickup: lapel and headset.

An expert should probably correct this, but the following is my understanding from talking to hire companies and sound people:

Lapel mics can be taped to the actor's face, which makes them less obvious. They are omnidirectional, and will pick up whatever is going on around the wearer.

Headset mics may give a better sound, since they position the microphone in the optimal place. They clip over the ear and old/cheap versions may be quite obvious. However, the technology involved continues to get smaller and lighter, some now called Earset mics as they are worn over one ear, and modern headset pickups come in flesh tones.
Here's a good article on head-worn microphones.

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