Wireless, was: mic cables

Bob's right on the money.  If you need a cable longer than 20', you should
seriously consider wireless.  If you walk the audience (and you REALLY
should - it's great showmanship), a wireless is pretty much mandatory.  If
someone trips over your cable, you could have much more to worry about than
your JT-30.

FIRST THING to know about wireless is to get a unit on a different frequency
(AKA channel) than anyone else in your band or that you'll be working with,
including in ear monitors and ANY other wireless devices you all might use
on a gig.  Most wireless are single frequency.  Some have

There are cheap wireless units, and they do a great job, but "you get what
you pay for".  The cheapies tend to be more delicate, not as well shielded,
etc.  The higher end stuff (i.e. rackmount UHF diversity, or better yet,
spread spectrum) generally works better, is more immune to interference and
such, and usually has more channels (what do you do when the guitarist shows
up with a unit on "your" frequency?)

The basic wireless has a transmitter that goes on the musician, and a single
ended receiver (usually with a single antenna, although Audio Technica has
one model with a pair of antennae that is not diversity) placed within cable
distance of the PA.  These work well enough.

To minimize dropouts, some receivers use a second antenna and receiver front
end, and a "voting" circuit to choose the better of the two signals.  This
will ALWAYS have two antennae and ALWAYS be called "Diversity".  Shure calls
their "MARCAD Diversity".  As far as I know, it's the same.  Because the two
antennas are a little distance apart, there will be times when one antenna
has a usable signal and the other does not.  In my experience, this helps,
but not tremendously.  If your signal is marginal, you're much better off
moving the receiver to a higher place with less obstructions between you and

Spread spectrum is even better.  These hop from channel to channel at very
high speed.  If there's interference on one channel, even if it's VERY
strong, the unit will still work just fine.  As interference increases, the
"channel" (actually a group of them) degrades much more gradually and

Cellphones use spread spectrum.  If they just assigned a single channel to
each phone needing it, they couldn't accommodate nearly as many
conversations.  Yes calls are dropped, but it would be MUCH worse if they
used discrete channels for each conversation (you'd need two - one transmit,
one receive.).

What do I use?  Three Nady cheapies.  A pair of Wireless Ones, and a
Wireless 3D (diversity).  I currently use just two, one for harp, one for
guitar.  The sound quality is quite good.  Nady uses compression, which
keeps noise levels low.  I can get out in the audience, although sometimes
not as far as I'd like.  Mine are permanently mounted in my rack, and this
limits my ability to place them for optimal coverage.  If I could move them
(like to the top of a PA speaker on a stand), I'd have plenty of coverage.
But even in my rack, they work well enough.

BTW some LIVE tunes by The IronMan Curtis BonTemps Blues Band:
(and - hint hint - we're looking to tour)

Live video of IronMan http://www.studiocam.org/rplayer/rplayermc56.htm

Health care for blues musicians?  Sign the petition!

- -IronMan Mike Curtis http://www.ironmancurtis.com *Southland Blues Magazine
http://www.SouthlandBlues.com TU 8pm jam Starboard Attitude, Redondo pier
Every Sun, 2pm Stagger Inn, 9018 Alondra, Bellflower, except:
Last SUN, LARHA HarpJam, Tia Juanas, Irvine
Sat Sept 27, 10-11pm Canters

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