A few weeks ago, I posted an article warning you away from some of the pie-in-the-sky marketing programs for magicians and other entertainers. I received many kind emails, thanking me for the article and also some horror stories from others who have bought these things.
I even received some good questions on marketing. I have decided to write a series of articles with marketing and general business ideas for the magician and performer.
One of the most important pieces of equipment to provide a quality show is a good sound system. Even with small groups of 30 students, I like to use a sound system. I know several actors that do school shows, (Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain, etc.) who do not like to use microphones even in auditoriums because they have been trained to use their voice, and don't think they need it.
I disagree. Not only is this hard on your voice, but you are missing out on a great audience control tool. I have noticed, both with children and adults, when I use a sound system, it changes the atmosphere of the room. The amplification of my voice draws positive attention and gives me authority over the audience. Whoever has the mic is in charge. Watch Jerry Springer work his audience. The microphone in his hand means that no matter what else goes on, he is in charge.
The microphone also gives you more vocal flexibility, you soften your voice or raise it. You can be dynamic or conversational. Most important, the audience must be able to hear you clearly. If they can't hear you, their minds will wander, they'll talk to each other and the young folks can get really wild. Don't skimp om sound.
You want a good sound system. One with enough power to fill an auditorium or a gymnasium. Ideally, you want at least 600 watts. I currently use an Anchor Explorer. Anchor has some very good portable P.A. systems that work on A/C or built-in battery. Many other performers swear by the Fender Passport 150. Brian Flora use to use a PigTail Amplifier with a microphone and claims it would fill a gym.
You also want a quality microphone. For magicians, handsfree and wireless are a must. I use the clip-on Lavalier style mic and I get great sound. Others like the Garth Brooks headset. The opinion of some is that the headset style gives better sound because the mic is closer to your mouth.
I recently saw a Countryman E6 microphone. It is virtually invisble, but is a headset. You can find them at www.geartree.com and I am seriously considering getting one next year.
To have a great show, you need agreat sound system. Don't skimp in this area.
If you have other ideas or questions on sound systems and microphones, please email me.