FAQs

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PB-05M AND THE PB-05D?

Closeup of PB-05

The PB-05M (Mute) reduces the signal by -42db.

The PB-05D (Ducking) reduces the signal -16db.

These are approximate amounts and are dependent on the impedance of the microphone. These were designed using the most common vocal mics in the world.

WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?

First of all, you can’t go wrong with either one. On smaller stages with very loud volumes and with in-ear monitors, the PB-05D may be a better choice, since you may want a small amount of ambient bleed so as to not change your mix too much when the mic is switched off. They both work great. Some in-ear monitor users requested and preferred the PB-05D, however, both are very usable with in-ear monitors and this is a personal preference. You are welcome to contact us at sales@optogateonline.com with questions about your particular setup.

WHY DOES USING THE OPTOGATE MAKE YOUR SOUND SO MUCH BETTER?

There are a few reasons…

When open mics pick up unwanted signals from the instruments or the room, the sound of those signals (bleed) goes into the monitors and main mix. This, in turn, causes each instrumentalist to want to turn up louder to be louder than the bleed in the mix. This causes the dreaded, ever increasing, volume competition, which increases the volume of the bleed in an upward spiral of cause and effect. Louder stage volumes mean turning up the PA louder in the mains and monitors, making the sound in room and stage unmanageable and pushing you closer and closer to the ever-dreaded feedback problems and muddy sound we have all dealt with.

When you turn unused vocal mics off, your amps are no longer working to amplify unwanted sounds of the ambient stage volume (bleed). Therefore, your PA power amps have more headroom for other signals being amplified, like drums, keys, guitars, and other instruments. So, the sounds are clearer and your amps sound like much more powerful amps, due to their usable headroom and power reserves.

When your head is in front of your mic, and you are singing or talking, you are using the usable headroom of that mic, effectively blocking other signals, physically with your head and signal noise ratio with your voice. When you move away from the mic, you open up that mic to amplify other sounds and increased bleed occurs (see reason #1).
The more mics that are active on stage, the more your system is prone to feedback problems. You are reducing the gain before feedback of your system by leaving unused open mics on. The Optogate solves this problem.

Sound engineers—you know who you are—usually don’t mute unused mics for fear they will miss a cue and/or laziness (sorry). So here is a solution for the engineer and musician alike. The use of OPTOGATES will clean up the mix (monitors and FOH) and lower stage and house volumes. Your mixes will be clearer and cleaner for both the musician and the audience.

You and everyone in the building won’t be subjugated to punishing ambient sound being blasted through the monitors and mains (or recording). Instead, you will be much kinder to your ears. From personal experience of being in a rock band, there was no more ring in the ears at the end of the night once we started using these. You have to be smart and operate at safe levels. This will help, but you are still responsible.

WHY NOT JUST USE AN AUDIO GATE?

Well, they don’t work very well in live environments on vocals. They consistently get false triggers due to a guitar amp or snare hit and are opening and closing when you don’t want them to. The OPTOGATE microphone gate will sense your physical presence—no more false triggers and wrestling with threshold levels. Also, the OPTOGATE is small and ridiculously easy to use—no extra cables or bulky outboard gear.

Note: The Grateful Dead, pioneers in sound reinforcement technology, accomplished the same thing with trigger pads they would stand on, which would turn their mic on and then off the mic when they stepped off the pad. This is a great solution, however, it is very costly, bulky, requires significant setup time and outboard equipment and customization. The Optogate accomplishes the same effect, with almost zero setup time and a tiny device. A far more convenient solution to the same problem.

WILL THE OPTOGATE MESS WITH THE TONE OF MY MICROPHONE?

Nope.

WILL THE OPTOGATE WORK WITH DYNAMIC AND CONDENSER MICS?

Yes.

HOW DOES THE OPTOGATE WORK?

We have very tiny Oompa-Lumpas in there keeping a keen eye on you! Ok, sort of. It bounces an infrared beam and detects your presence.

HOW DO I SET THE OPTOGATE FOR MY STYLE AND VOCAL MIC TECHNIQUE?

Whether you are conscious of it or not, you DO have a vocal mic technique. A byproduct of using an OPTOGATEONLINE.COM is you will develop better mic technique, which is an important key to getting a good tone from your mic.

Plug in the OPTOGATE.

Run phantom power to the mic. There will most likely be a switch on your mixer for this. Nearly all mixers have these.
Click the bypass switch on top of all of the OPTOGATEONLINE.COM you are using, and dial in the PA for the best tone and gain before feedback with the OPTOGATEONLINE.COM bypassed. The mics are on, and the light stays on no matter where you are physically located.

Click the bypass switch again and activate the OPTOGATE. The light/mic turns off when out of range.
With a small screwdriver set the distance you want the OPTOGATEONLINE.COM to turn on/off. This will be based on your mic technique.

You’re done! You will now have better sound than you are used to hearing. It’s that simple.

HOW MANY OPTOGATES SHOULD I BUY?

One gazillion! Or one for every vocal mic on stage—yes, including singing drummers. Get one spare, because if for some reason you break one of them—even though they are very robust, but some of you people are abusive—you will not be able to live without it anymore. The sound will be that much clearer and cleaner.

USING OPTOGATEONLINE.COM WILL REDUCE YOUR STAGE VOLUME AND INCREASE CLARITY OF SOUND

Contact us if you have questions about setting up your OPTOGATE device. We proudly ship our products to customers throughout the world.