“Look ma, no wires!” Ryan demonstrates a complete set-up; speaker, music, and microphone, which can help you to play big anywhere you may go.
Let’s take a closer look at this gear…
The Yorkville EXM Mobile is a 60-watt, battery operated speaker that delivers a good punch for a long time. To my ears it sounds better than the popular “busker amp” from Traynor.
The battery will easily manage a full day’s work of multiple shows on a single charge. Rated for 5.5 hours of action, or 48 hours standby.
It’s a great little unit. The trade-offs are limited control over your EQ, and the battery-saving sleep mode can cause a 1-second delayed start on your music cue if it sits quiet for more than a few minutes.
I recommend renting speakers. I’ve been trying out this little speaker by renting it from the local music store. I got it for one month. At that rate, I could rent it for 15 months before I’ve paid the same as a purchase. With the rental fee it also means instant replacement if it ever stops working, plus theft insurance, and an easy swap if something better comes along.
The smartest thing about renting speakers is that you will always get the right speaker for your venue. This little guy is a workhorse for small shows, but if I was in a large hotel banquet room this wouldn’t cut it. Renting gives me the best results every time.
Of course, this personal policy is based on the amazing rental department at Long & McQuade music stores across Canada. Your mileage (or kilometerage) may vary.
The Microphone System
I’m using a bodypack microphone that is designed for a video camera. That way both the transmitter and receiver unit are battery powered, where as most wireless mics have a receiver that plugs in to the wall for power.
This particular unit is brand new to me, and it’s a bit of an experiment. It’s not recognized brand, and comes direct from China. If you want to investigate, or try it out yourself, the model is Mailada WM-9. I did my research, and the specifications check out as a quality unit, but it’s too soon for me to give a personal recommendation.
However, it was hundreds of dollars less expensive than the big brand name, and it can run two microphones from that single receiver unit.
The Earset Microphone
The system above comes with a clip-on lavalier mic which is not worth using. I swapped it out for a Pyle Pro Ear-Hanging Omnidirectional Microphone. This retails for about $30, and I’ve been using them for years!
They come with different connectors, so make sure you get the right one to plug in to your transmitter. (The Mailada uses “Sennheiser style” locking 3.5mm)
I’m still shopping for a Unidirectional headset microphone to use for outdoor events. This earset style can create feedback issues if the situation is not just right.
I wrote more about choosing the right microphones in an article last month.
The Music Remote
The remote control system I use is one that I built myself. It’s a previous model, not the “dream music remote system” that I’ve been working in… still in progress.
It’s functionally similar to the Audio Ape system, using an RF remote and a receiver that sends a keyboard command to my Surface Pro tablet.
I’m using the Show Cue System software to control my music cues. It is an in-depth theatre automation software for Windows, similar to Q-Lab for Mac. Honestly, if you are new to running music cues, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s complicated. However, if you’re looking to step up your cueing game (and you prefer Windows over Mac) it’s very powerful.
That’s Walter Blaney’s Great White Hoop. Perfect for when you want a speaker that is both wireless and levitating.
A Practical, Portable System
I’m really happy with the collection of gear, and it covers probably 80% of the performances I do. It’s the easiest option for any outdoor performances, but even for indoor events it makes you entirely self-contained.
No more hunting for power outlets, no hazardous wires across the floor. You can walk in, do the gig, and pack it all out with far less set-up time
This is exactly the kind of practical stuff I love!