Headsets revisited

headsetIt is that time of the year again. End of year concerts and presentations. So maybe time to re-visit headset etiquette as my ears recover. So what some of the “rules”?

1. Keep your mic off unless speaking.
2. Do not cough, sneeze, yawn, eat, etc  with the mic open.
3. Never discuss anything on headset you wouldn’t discuss in person center stage in front of the audience.
4. ONE person, usually the SM for a play, RULES the headset. Follow his/her lead. Once a “standby” for a cue is given, ALL conversation stops, unless persons or equipment is in eminent bodily harm.
5. Do not move or take off your headset with the mic on.
6. Warn everyone on the channel before plugging or unplugging the headset or beltpack.
7. The volume knob on your beltpack only affects the level you hear. If someone is too loud or too soft, ask them nicely to re-orient their microphone to match everyone else.
8. If using a multi-channel system, be certain you know how to use it properly, so as not to call spot cues to the fly-men, for example.
9. Keep the chatter to an absolute minimum.
10. Don’t shout with microphone on.
11. Make the testing of your station a part of your pre-show check-list.

Seems pretty simple but unfortunately not. We all have horror stories. The worst offenders are the folks that Stage Manage only one or two shows a year or the Mum or Dad roped in at the last minute to communicate with the technician, as they have suddenly discovered that techs cannot read minds. These sort of shows it is a good idea either to use a bullet proof set with a very solid beltpack or the oldest set that is still working. So the best idea is to try and explain to the SM the rules and have a copy of them laminated to the SM desk.

So hopefully you ears will survive another mad end of year season.


One thought on “Headsets revisited

  1. It always helps to have a extra PTT handset or two that can be placed for the person who needs to occasionally talk to the crew, but does not need to be “on headset”. I keep thinking that a inline PTT switch that can be inserted in between the headset and beltpack, would go a long way towards cutting down on the number of stray live mics in the hands of untrained persons.

    One of my rules is that a headset never goes into the orchestra pit, unless there is a technician down there who needs it, and who maintains control of it. A PTT handset is provided for the conductor/concertmaster.This is one of those places where an old style beltpack, without a mic switch, comes in handy, as it is one less thing to get turned off. A button for the call light, a volume control, and a PTT handset, are all that is needed.

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