Print Page | Close Window

Breaking Mic Connectors

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Producing Theater
Forum Name: Lights and Sound
Forum Discription: Technical discussion
Printed Date: 12/07/23 at 9:03pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Breaking Mic Connectors
Posted By: colugino
Subject: Breaking Mic Connectors
Date Posted: 11/04/12 at 11:39pm
Hi everyone. I am having a major issue with actors breaking the connectors on our microphones (the connection at the end of the mic wire, not on the body pack (SO FAR!)). They are a mix of Audio Technica and Shure lav & over ear mics. I just finished a 3 week run where 5 microphones were broken and a show prior to that where I had 3 mics broken  - and of course the actors "swear" they did not do anything.
So my question is, does anyone know of a way to make the connectors more durable to being pulled to try and avoid wire damage?
We are purchasing new lav mics and hoping to find a way to make them last as long as we can.
Thanks in advance!

Posted By: directorjm
Date Posted: 11/09/12 at 8:20am
Although these mic cords are very fragile there are a couple of things I've tried with some (limited) success.
First, examine your routine for handling the cords. Are actors suspending body packs by the cord to feed the pack down their back? Are the cords being wrapped tightly around the pack for storage. Are cords left attached to packs and stored in a pouch that crimps the cord? Early in my career I saw all of these things and they are all murder on mic cords. Second, is education. Once you've decided on procedures, educate all actors on the hows and whys of handling mic cords. A last thought ... one company I work with does not allow actors to put on or take off the mic cords. Actors tend to do too much pulling on the cord to get it off, especially when the mic is taped to the actor.

Posted By: colugino
Date Posted: 11/12/12 at 3:22pm
At nausea I tell our actors that they are not allowed to wrap their mics. They must turn them into myself or my assistant only. But we still have our "know it all's" that wrap their mics and then throw them in their mic pouch (we have a hanging shoe rack where each person's mic is stored) or on a table. No matter how nice, mean, screaming and yelling or nicely asking to "stop wrapping your mics" they do it anyway. When the cast mics up we always check to make sure they aren't stretching their cords.. But doesn't do much good when they go backstage and do whatever the heck they want.

At night I make sure the wires are coiled up (not wrapped around the pack).

Unfortunately because we are dealing with kids, we make it a policy to not touch the actors - this came after a kid in our group accused someone of inappropriate touching (which was completely untrue). For the younger actors they do not tape their mics other than a piece of tape on their neck if we our using a lapel as an over-ear.

I was just wondering if we put heat-shrink tubing or wrapped the connector end of the wire with floral wire or something if it would even be worth it?

Posted By: Aimee
Date Posted: 9/22/13 at 5:47pm
I know this is old.. but I work at a high school as well, dealing with this issue too. We've done a few things, first, how are they being attached? Are they over the ear mics, or are they regular mics, being taped or pinned on. We had kids using bobby pins to connect them, and THAT was ruining the cables. so we started taping them to their foreheads.
Next we also created a "mic usage" document for all students, parents sign it too.. basically stating the wearer of the mic can be help repsonsible for breakage due to negligence. (as went so far as to put a $300 fee with it for replacement)
accidents happen and we've had that where the mic just got caught on something as the actor was making a quick change, and he was not held responsible..
but when they are jumping on each other, or being careless with the mics themselves.. then yes.. the student needs to be aware and responsible..
funny thing.. since then.. all the mics have been fine and we've only had one mic break since then.. and that has been about 4 years now


Posted By: dionysus
Date Posted: 3/27/14 at 12:03pm
I know this is an old post but I'd like to add one point that I've seen several times for anyone who may read this later.

I highly suggest staying away from packs with "headphone style" connectors for the microphones. These are designed for musicians to use lightly to connect their guitars/violins to easily without harder-to-find adapters you can get at any electronics/music store. I know many packs and mics come with this style of connector however they have a HUGE tendency to fail and break in body-miking situations.

I always suggest something with a TA4 for similar locking (and field-repairable) connector. They are FAR more durable, and may need a some solder to fix, but at least you CAN fix them cheaply and easily.

Posted By: colugino
Date Posted: 4/20/15 at 2:45pm
We use non-headphone / non-over the ear mics. All of our mics are lavs. The mics are being bobby-pinned into their hair, when possible, but the breakage is always happening at the connector end (we have Audio Technica micpacks with the 4-pin locking connector). I honestly do not know what the heck these actors do with their mics. We repeatedly beat into them about how to properly handle - not grabbing or holding by the mic wire (I have literally told cast members that if they are on stage and their micpack falls from their pocket and they cannot catch the pack, to let it drop to the floor rather than grabbing the mic cable to stop it). We have tried the threatening with forms to sign with replacement costs and so forth - trying to collect the money is pointless and people know its an empty threat. I fought with one parent because I watched their child horsing around and the other kid pulled the mic wire and the mic stopped working - the parent came back with "Prove it!"

I have tried several times to solder mic wires back to the connectors with little success. We still ended up with popping and cracking and such, even with being very careful not to solder pins together or wires, etc. We are currently at the point right now that all of our lapels have broken and need to be replaced as I don't trust them for shows anymore.

Ugh, the joys of theatre!! :-)

Print Page | Close Window

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums version 8.05 -
Copyright ©2001-2006 Web Wiz Guide -