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  #1  
Old 07-06-2021, 09:45 PM
wguitar wguitar is online now
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Default Headset mic vs SM-58 (or similar) for small solo gigs

Hi folks,

For my small venue solo gigging (restaurant, winery, etc.) I use an SM-58 on a boom stand. Have been wondering recently if a headset mic would be a good alternative. Would appreciate your thoughts, experiences, pros and cons, etc. to help me make an informed comparison.

THANKS!
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2021, 01:29 AM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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I know a few people who use, or have used, headsets. I’ve used them in theatre situations but not for gigging; the main reason is mic technique - you have very little control over dynamics and distance from mic (obviously).

Another issue is monitoring - a mic on a stand should be placed so that the monitor plays into the microphone’s least sensitive pickup area; headsets that allow a freedom of movement can also lead to your head (and therefore the mic) ending up in a sensitive area for the monitors and increasing the risk of feedback. Those who use a headset a lot can chip in with their experience though.

For me the main issue is mic technique. I like to be able to pull away from a mic on a stand when singing loud phrases and/or high notes - and I like to be able to be silent when not singing or talking!
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2021, 01:52 AM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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pieterh has really nailed all the main points but I would add everyone I know who used to use a headset now doesn't.
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Old 07-07-2021, 08:16 AM
tbirdman tbirdman is offline
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As someone with limited experience, I bought recently a Shure WH20XLR headset microphone. I love it. I love the ability to move my head around, look at the audience and not have to be careful of the mic placement and proximity to my mouth. I tend to be very animated when I sing. For singing louder or softer, I just sing louder or softer. For complete silence I have an inline switch which I just turn off.
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Old 07-07-2021, 08:57 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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I used a headset mic when I was with a party band and had to look in several different directions while singing to deal with my pedals, amps etc. That is the only advantage it offers (in addition to not needing a mic stand)

Disadvantages are several. You cannot work the mic as you employ vocal dynamics; it can become uncomfortable; it will amplify your breathing unless you place the mic exactly right; and . . . you look like a department store product demonstrator or an aerobics instructor. But worst of all is it gets ev-er-ry thing - sneezes, coughs, expletives if something surprising or untoward happens. You must remember to mute it if talking to someone off mic for any reason. I used to use a foot switch called a Cough Drop used by broadcasters. Very handy.

In short, my advice, unless you have an absolute yen to look like Garth Brooks or Madonna on stage, is don't get one.
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2021, 09:02 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wguitar View Post
Hi folks,

For my small venue solo gigging (restaurant, winery, etc.) I use an SM-58 on a boom stand. Have been wondering recently if a headset mic would be a good alternative. Would appreciate your thoughts, experiences, pros and cons, etc. to help me make an informed comparison.

THANKS!
I researched the same question a while back. My desire was to eliminate a larger mic and stand for doing Youtube videos, and eliminate the need to focus on keeping the correct distance from the mic. I'm also "frugal" and wanted to do it at a reasonable price. I decided on a Shure SM35 with the matching pre-amp / converter that allowed me to phantom power it from my Zoom R24 recorder.

I found this condenser mic to have a much better sound than the less expensive Shure dynamic headset mic, but at twice the price. The dynamic is dull sounding and I would not use it. The mic and XLR adapter/preamp was around $150.

The SM35 is much more obvious than the much more pricey headset mics like the Countryman mics, but it was a trade-off that I found acceptable. I didn't want to spend $500 or more to gain the advantage of a less visible mic.

The SM35 also does an excellent job of rejecting sound beyond your vocal, and has a cardiod pickup pattern. This rejects anything to the front even better, so feedback problems are minimized.

I have not used it for performing, but I've used it through my combo when playing with a couple of my music partners, so I'm sure it could be used as a performance mic without much problem.

The biggest drawback (for me) is the XLR converter clips on a belt loop which is a bit cumbersome. You have to remember to unplug if you're going very far away. This mic is actually designed to use with a wireless transmitter, so for live performance the wireless would eliminate that small problem.



Here's the SM35 being used as a live performance situation mic:


Last edited by Rudy4; 07-07-2021 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 07-07-2021, 09:21 AM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wguitar View Post
Hi folks,

For my small venue solo gigging (restaurant, winery, etc.) I use an SM-58 on a boom stand. Have been wondering recently if a headset mic would be a good alternative. Would appreciate your thoughts, experiences, pros and cons, etc. to help me make an informed comparison.

THANKS!
I assume you play guitar. If you don't wander off into the crowd, or don't play keys, I'd say stick with a mic on the boom stand. Just get a better one. There's lots of great mics out there if you're looking to spend money on gear.

Headset mics worth buying are about $100 for a wired one, let alone the cost of a wireless rig for it. Then you've got twice as many cables and another power cord to plug in.
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Old 07-07-2021, 04:56 PM
Lost Sheep Lost Sheep is offline
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As shufflebeat said, pieterh nailed it. I have only one point to add. A mic that comes in from the right might suit a guitarist better than the more commonly found mics that come in from the left. The better not to interfere with your left hand and guitar neck.

There are some that can switch sides as well.
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Old 07-09-2021, 11:58 AM
tbirdman tbirdman is offline
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Has anyone used a battery pack to power a wireless receiver?
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  #10  
Old 07-09-2021, 12:40 PM
columbia columbia is offline
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SM58/SM57 also looks a lot cooler than a headset mic.
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2021, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wguitar View Post
Hi folks,

For my small venue solo gigging (restaurant, winery, etc.) I use an SM-58 on a boom stand. Have been wondering recently if a headset mic would be a good alternative. Would appreciate your thoughts, experiences, pros and cons, etc. to help me make an informed comparison.

THANKS!
Hi wg

Kill switch or else…
  • Never cough
  • Never sniffle
  • Never sneeze
  • Never give directions to others on stage
  • etc






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  #12  
Old 07-10-2021, 10:41 AM
TedBPhx TedBPhx is offline
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This thread just killed my uninformed GAS for a headset.
Thank you AGF for saving me a few pennies and the space for another dust gatherer.
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  #13  
Old 07-10-2021, 02:13 PM
tbirdman tbirdman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi wg



Kill switch or else…
  • Never cough
  • Never sniffle
  • Never sneeze
  • Never give directions to others on stage
  • etc















Easy to add an inline switch. Played an open mic last night and could imagine go back to a stationary mic. I guess I’m too animated to be anchored to a stationary mic.



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Old 07-10-2021, 06:39 PM
krisls krisls is offline
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Maybe I'm just weird... but I've been using a headset mic quite successfully for a few years when I go busking, saves dragging a mic stand around.

It's an AKG c555l w' a little 9v beltpack for power. Can be used w' phantom but I've never bothered to get the bit to do so.

I run it left side, it can be shifted. Does not interfere with anything. If I wish to chat or cough or swear or..whatever.. hey I cover the mic with my left hand.

Personally I like it and it makes things on the street easier. Each to their own.

Kris
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Old 07-10-2021, 07:29 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisls View Post
Maybe I'm just weird... but I've been using a headset mic quite successfully for a few years when I go busking, saves dragging a mic stand around.

It's an AKG c555l w' a little 9v beltpack for power. Can be used w' phantom but I've never bothered to get the bit to do so.

I run it left side, it can be shifted. Does not interfere with anything. If I wish to chat or cough or swear or..whatever.. hey I cover the mic with my left hand.

Personally I like it and it makes things on the street easier. Each to their own.

Kris
That makes a few of us who are just weird!

I decided to get my SM35 when I posted a Youtube and someone said the mic stand and SM58 totally obstructed me in the video. I'm not much to look at, but I thought it was a fair point.

After using mine I realized how much it freed me to play and not be concerned in the least about the microphone placement.

I think it makes perfect sense to use a headset as a busking mic, but as @columbia said, you'd look a lot cooler dragging around a stand and a SM58 . (NOT!)
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