Lost Line of Sight

Several weeks ago I had a wedding in Syracuse. I had never been to the venue before, but the couple had drawn me a diagram. However, when I arrived things looked different then what I was expecting.

I was set up in a lobby, which was where the dancing would take place, but the head table was in an adjacent room. Though there was no door separating the two rooms, I did have a problem. The second room was the size of a gymnasium and had enough tables for about 120 people. Luckily I was able to place a speaker between the two rooms so it could be used for the dinner music, announcements, and dancing. Normally one speaker would not suffice for a room that large, yet the acoustics in the room where favorable and helped distribute the sound equally. I also cranked the volume on the speaker that was playing into the large room.

I did a sound check of both rooms and walked around with the wireless mic. Everything worked fine and I was not concerned. However, I was not mentally prepared for what would happen. When it came time for the toasts and grace, I shut off the wireless mic and walked past the speaker to the head table. I shut off the mic because I was afraid it would feedback as I past the speaker. feedback is a pet peeve of mine and I feel like it shows immaturity as a DJ. When I turned on the mic, I was not getting a signal, at that time I was behind the head table. (Which is completely out of sight of the wireless receiver).

I then spoke loudly and asked everyone to be seated (we had just announced in the bride and groom). I simply explained that there was some unforeseen technical difficulties and that I would try to remedy the situation quickly. I then invited the best man to begin his toast.(Because of the acoustics, the best man’s voice was able to carry through the room) I then when back to my booth and grabbed a 50′ XLR cable and mic. I was able to plug it in and get it to the best man just as he ended. The whole incident probably took three minutes but it felt a lot longer.

After dinner I went and apologized to the bride and groom and their parents. I told them that I did test the microphone before hand and explained a shortened theory of why it didn’t work. But here is what I believe happened.

1.) When I got to the venue, I never had the mic receiver re-scan for a open frequency. Though this was not a direct culprit, I still feel it could have had something to do with it.

2.) I shut off the mic. When I did this and walked out of sight of the receiver, it was unable to reconnect.

3.) When I did the test of the microphone I did not walk physically behind the head table.

From this situation I was able to learn a lot. Here are the highlights.

1.) have a back up. The extra wired mic and long cable saved my butt big time.

2.) Keep a calm composure. When I was going through the heat of the moment I continued to breath and stay relaxed. I actually received complements with the way I handled the situation.

3.) Put the receiver on the speaker. I love the QSC K series speakers. The duel inputs and preamp mic channel makes life so much easier. If I had put the receiver then none of this would have happened.

Situations like this make me love this job. Don’t get me wrong here. I hate it when something doesn’t go right at a event, especially for my clients sake. I always want to do my best for my clients, but this situation made me learn so much. I feel even more prepared for future events and can’t wait to gain more experience.

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