Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fast Switching A Backup Mic

I just had a bit of an epiphany. This may already be common practice but I've never seen it or heard mention of it so I guess I'll go ahead and pass it on. 

There are certain situations where you need a hot backup mic. This is particularly true for a wireless mic on a lead actor or lead singer. In a professional setting it's not uncommon for an actor to wear a second mic in case the first one fails during a scene. Likewise on a music gig it would be the height of carelessness not to have a second hand held wireless mic waiting for the lead singer. 
 
The trick is making the switch really fast when a failure happens. Easy enough you say, just mute the one and un-mute the other. But what if you've made any adjustments in the mean time. You could always touch the back up channel every time you touch the primary, but I think there's a better way. 

The trick (on a digital console anyway) is to set the two adjacent channels up as a stereo pair. Then you've got common controls, any EQ or dynamic adjusment you do on the fly automatically applies to both channels. The pan knob in the case of a stereo pair acts like a balance in most cases, so panning all the way to the left will give you all primary signal and nothing from the back up.

Wait, you say. Doesn't that leave you with your lead mic panned all the way to the left in the house? It would. So the last bit of the trick is to route it through a mono bus, panned straight up. If you need to place the mic somewhere other than center you do it on the bus. If and when the mic craps out, just grab the pan knob and swing it hard right. Now you're hearing just the back up (with all the same settings) and it's still right there in the middle of the mix.

I'm not sure if this one is going to change the world but for myself anyway, any little thing that can help with redundancy in a zero fail type of situation is a big deal no matter how small a trick it is.

1 comment:

  1. nice little trick! i think I would do it via soft patching but your method sounds quicker and smoother

    ReplyDelete

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