Some time ago I decided that I wanted to offer a truly premium wedding DJ experience. And in doing so that certain investments would need to be made to allow me to achieve this goal. Something that would allow me to constantly deliver repeatable successes, support other players in this event (namely videographers) and push my services to the top of the game. Below are the key components to that and references to the in-depth articles for each to get you to an advanced ceremony setup.
Control Via A Digital Mixer
No matter how good your mics are, without proper control you are selling your investment short. I needed something that would allow me to step away from my rig, something that would allow me to EQ my mics (called ringing out) and deliver a quality sound in any environment, and the solution was clear; a digital mixer.
After trying out a few I decided first on the Soundcraft Ui16 and then an upgrade to the Soundcraft Ui24R. Not only did it meet those original criteria, but also enabled things like recording or multi-track recording depending on the model, and more finite zone control to help me out with cocktail and dinner sound. I may sound like a broken record but I still believe to this day the Digital Mixer is the single best-enabling component in my lineup.
And it’s absolutely critical to be able to use a multi-band EQ (31-bands preferably) to ring out your setup.
Quality Mic Transmitters and Receivers
Any mixer can make a mic sound better, but if you are looking to step up your game then some quality handhelds and lav packs are going to be a critical investment. Now you don’t have to spend a fortune, but the reality is the more you invest the more capable the mic is. I invested in Sennheiser G3 transmitters/receivers which are now replaced by the G4, EW-D, and EW-DX lineup. Other mics from Audio Technica and Shure can match in performance. If money was no object I would look at the Shure AD4Q lineup but that comes with a hefty price tag.
As for lapels, while the stock Sennheiser ME2 mic is good, you really step up quality with the Sennheiser MKE2 Gold (I have one for the primary of the couple) or the Countryman b3 (I have one in white for those white dresses and suits) are great investments.
And a point to note, RTFM to learn how to use your mics properly. Frequency selection and proper settings are critical to get the most out of your mics.
Speciality Mic: Over-The-Ear
The over-the-ear microphone has been an amazing investment. 99% of my ceremonies has the officiant wearing the over-the-ear for a good reason, and in my case, that is the Countryman e6 Flex. A great omnidirectional mic that can pick up the officiant and couples voices, there are cases where I can only use one mic and this fits the bill
Some DJs prefer to just fire a speaker loudly from the side of a ceremony. At one point I decided that I would prefer having the freedom to place the speakers wherever the best sound would produce, typically from the front. So I needed to find something that could be elegant enough to be front and center and not be an eyesore. That also means battery power was a critical need.
Enter in the Maui 5 Go. Great sound, ultra portable, sleek column array design, and I could get an entire event’s worth of power out of it beyond ceremony use.
If my speakers are to be free of power cords, so should the ability to broadcast sound to them. While they are Bluetooth enabled, it’s just not a technology I would rely on for any level of distance or rely on not cutting out. And while I had an Alto Stealth Wireless setup for a while, it failed me enough times that I needed something I could truly rely on.
That is why I turn to the In Ear Monitor solution from Sennheiser. Rock solid, dependable, and I use the same model transmitter to broadcast out for cocktails, dinner, and dance fills. A truly great investment and a must if you want to go wire-free.
The last bit of this is the ability to use my setup in less-than-desirable conditions. For ceremonies in my area that can mean an area without power. Luckily after discovering some UPS models with pure sine wave outputs for helping out in reception brown/black-outs for reception, I gave it a try as a stand-alone battery and it worked like a charm. Then by 2021 a litany of new power stations came out with Pure Sine Wave outputs and I am now working with an Energizer 240Wh device.
Wheel It In
I recently put together a “Big Wheel” Ceremony Cart out of 80/20 materials to be able to egress through some of the roughest terrains while retaining my modular design. The end result is an easy to navigate solution for all my ceremonies.
Investments Pay Off
Since I started offering these more robust ceremony solutions over 80% of my events are now ceremony and reception. Some love the idea of recording sound, some take a piece of mind with battery power, some need large mic needs. And with my modular approach to it all I can deliver a truly mobile solution.
What People Think
And don’t think that the clients don’t notice, and guests don’t notice when quality is delivered.
I work as a sound engineer for broadway shows and honestly your ceremony was the best sounding ceremony I have heardGuest at Ariane & Jonathan’s Wedding 5/26/2019