At Coast Hills, we're blessed to have some pretty good equipment to work with. Our wireless mics, for example, are Shure UHF-R—arguably some of the best wireless in the world. One of the things I like about the UHF-R is the interchangeable heads. We have a variety of mics in our locker right now—SM58, Beta 87, RC-22, RC-35—but I'm always on the lookout for other options. I'm a big fan of the Heil RC mics, the 22 & 35, and have been using them regularly for quite a while. Our worship leader sounds great on a 35, and I love the way a 22 will help a male tenor voice cut through the mix.
I've been hearing good things about the Audix OM line, and while it's possible to change heads on Audix wireless mics just as it is on a UHF-R, they're not the same thread size or connector pattern. Dave Rat of Rat Sound recognized a need for putting the really good sounding OM mics on UHF-R wireless and came up with a solution. It's called, simply, the AU-SH. It's a nicely milled anodized aluminum adapter that will convert UHF-R into an Audix-sized end.
Besides reducing the thread size for the smaller OM heads, it also contains a circuit board with spring loaded pins that do the necessary connector adaption. It couldn't be simpler to use, simply thread it onto the transmitter, then thread an OM head on that. Just remember to do all that with the mic turned off...
When it's all put together, it's a nice looking transition. It looks and fits so well that none of our vocalists ever questioned that there was any adapting going on.
Thanks to my super-friendly rep Daniella at Rat Sound, I was able to play around with four OM mics for a few weeks. We were shipped two Au-SH adapters, and one each of the OM3, OM5, OM6 and OM7. I suggest you visit the Audix website for a complete description of all four models. Since we had limited time and only two adapters, I focused on the OM3, and OM6. I chose those for background singers and my worship leader respectively. I went with the OM3 for the BGVs because the pattern is a little more open than the other three, though it's still very tight. All of the OM mics are designed for use in a loud, live stage environment and exhibit excellent rejection from the sides and rear. They also demand good mic technique.
The OM3 sounded very good on both the male tenor voices I used it on. The first weekend, we had a male singer who typically sings quietly, and I was concerned about getting a good enough level from him. The OM3 sounded excellent; very smooth and natural and needed little EQ. The mic did a great job of isolating a quiet vocalist (though we also have a pretty quiet stage now). This past weekend, I used it on another tenor who sings out a bit more. Again, the mic sounded very natural with almost no EQ. I would give it two thumbs up.
The OM6 is a different story, though not necessarily a bad one. Our worship leader noticed the difference right away between it and the RC-35 he's used to. The 35 has decidedly more low end to it, which he really likes to warm up his voice. Strictly speaking, the OM6 is more accurate, but perhaps not as good a fit for what we're going for with Mark's vocals. It is super-smooth and very easy to listen to, though Mark reported having to work a littler harder to get his vocals where he wanted.
This is due to the very tight pickup pattern of the OM6; it simply demands excellent mic technique. If you back off it at all, you go away. On a loud stage with lots of monitors and side fill, this is a huge advantage; on our quiet stage with all IEMs, it takes more work.
And that's pretty much the summary of my experience with those mics. They sound great if the vocalist is committed to staying right up on them, and when I say they sound great, they really do. I would put them against just about anything else I've heard. Like any mic, you might have to try a few models to get one that fits the vocal, but they all sound really good. On the other hand, if you have vocalists who like to back off, move around the mic or just don't stay on it, there are other options out there that may work better. The downside is you will get more bleed into the vocalist's channel. However, I'm impressed with the adapter, and am always glad to have more options for my wireless mics.
You can find the mic heads and adapters on Rat Sound's online store; prices are as follows:
- Audix To Shure Wireless Adaptor + Audix OM7 Wireless Capsule $269.00
- Audix To Shure Wireless Adaptor + Audix OM6 Wireless Capsule $249.00
- Audix To Shure Wireless Adaptor + Audix OM5 Wireless Capsule $219.00
- Audix To Shure Wireless Adaptor + Audix OM3 Wireless Capsule $179.00