Microphones for Tournament

My school is moving towards being able to live stream our tournaments. We were going to put a microphone near the field so that people watching the stream can hear the clashing of robots (or more often the border)

We were thinking about mounting it on the camera stand, a nearby table, or on the outside of the field perimeter. What is a good microphone for this? I have done some research but figured some of you might already be doing this or otherwise have some recommendations. Ideas?

Generally, if you use the field camera mic, should be good enough for ambiance sound. However, do consider:

  • if music is played in venue and picked up by mic, streaming services may mute the audio if it detects copyrighted music
  • do not place the mic so it picks up conversations by teams or volunteers

I use USB cameras and I use the audio from those cameras as well to get ambient sound. You can’t really make a ton out, so that’s good for the background noise. Then make sure that your MC’s mic goes straight to the live stream as well. If you balance those out properly it should work well enough until you are ready to buy some serious equipment. The only person you can clearly hear should be the MC, and it Charlie Brown’s everybody else.

I’m still probably a year or two out from that myself. But when I have a couple grand I don’t know what to do with I will upgrade it all.


What are some of the serious equipment you’re referring to?

Here’s what we do for our livestreams:

We use entry/mid-priced pro-audio equipment, as listed in the document


Hello again I just realized we have talked on a different thread. I noticed that some of your links weren’t working:

https://www.samsclub.com/p/ion-total-pa-supreme-bluetooth speaker/prod24652183
https://www.amazon.com/Peavey-Escort-6000-Channel System/dp/B00BTJHXQK/
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BLXHS31-H10--shure-blx14-pga31-wireless-headworn microphone-system-h10-band
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SM58--shure-sm58-cardioid dynamic-vocal-microphone
https://www.harborfreight.com/folding-side-tray-for-4-drawer-tech-cart-green 56440.html
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GFWMICCLMPBM9--gator-frameworks-gfw-mic clmpbm9-adj-angle-9-inch-clamp-on-mini-boom-interlocking
https://www.amazon.com/4-Pack-LNB9272S-Vari-Focal-Bullet Listen/dp/B07LGHG2P8/
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MG12XU--yamaha mg12xu-12-channel-mixer-with-usb-and-effects
Amazon.com), Router (Amazon.com

Sorry for the long list of links. It’s weird since you first sent that in a previous question I’ve had, it’s like it all had a whole new meaning. Both times I read it 2 or 3 times, but this time I understood more of it and had more questions. I have been trying to get my club to make something like this for when I leave, it’s too much for me to do alone when I have to set the rest up. As a student thought, it was hard to get them to listen to me. So I truly respect how much work you’ve put into this and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate it. It gave me a place to start on my own and I’ve done it all but the individual field mics and such.

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No apology needed…I’ll see about doing some updates. I first wrote the paper a couple years ago, and it’s hard to keep them updated over time.

The bulk of our technical work is done by a couple of our students, first when they were in HS, and now they are on our U-team. IMO, the “field mics” are one of the more important things to creating a good livestream, and the small-diaphragm condenser mics work really well when place close to the field tiles. We’ve been mounting them on the field monitors, lately, just a couple feet above the tiles.

Thank you! A bunch of people said, “Just throw some un copy written music in the background” and then I saw in your paper that you wanted to have the real sounds. I agree I think that should be more normalized. (the having mics on the fields not the music in the background)

So right now I have three usb webcams with extensions. Those should be replaced with POE cameras and separate microphones. New switch with POE ports. Better mixer to accommodate the mics, or something like that. I look into it until it goes well over a grand, realize I have other stuff to buy, and put it on the back burner.

Honestly, the quality isn’t terrible with good USB cameras. Here’s a live stream from Friday using just regular old webcams and a handheld mic. You can hear the ambient noise from the audience, that’s coming through the cameras. The mic then sounds clear. For a low-budget solution, it works pretty well.

I always remember my audience… It’s the parents and grandparents that want to see their kids. I always position the camera to show the kids as well as the field as much as possible. I get a little annoyed when they have a tight shot of the field, as the people at home would have to know their kid’s team number and letter to know they are even playing. They want to see the kids.


That’s something I’ll have to keep in mind when setting up our cameras. And trust me, I know. The system I have designed is over $7,000. I will post a copy of the design with some things changed because I’m not sure how much of it I can say. I’m not sure if it will help you at all but it may give you an idea of what things you could use and how much they are. Here’s the Link

If you do buy stuff to upgrade, make sure to buy a good brand and have space to upgrade, so you don’t have to replace parts later. I’m not sure if it’s an option for you, but my club holds a tournament for the district where middle schools compete for free. The most recent event I made sure they noticed where we could improve our systems and gave some new ideas to have it more entertaining for the audience, and got them to pay for a little less than 3/4ths of the bill. If that’s not an option, then maybe try to get a company as a sponsor. But either way, you have to get students involved! I am a student and I did most of it but I didn’t have the time to learn how to build a computer or learn about an audio system/mixer. So I reached out to people and got help from them. Now I know way more about all of this and could probably do it myself. But it’s taken a few hundred hours of asking questions, talking, and watching videos for me to get here. (Which I didn’t have time to do when I first made the document. Please let me know if the spreadsheet helps or if you have any other ideas, and thanks for the help.

Is that what you plan to buy or what you already have? My biggest piece of advice, especially if you plan to do more than one event a season, and especially if you plan on ever doing events at different locations, is that you want everything rack mountable and you want a rack mount road case to put it all in. Settings things up and plugging all the stuff in and then taking it all apart and moving it all individually is such a pain, it’s so much nicer to be able to roll in a box and have a good chunk already good to go, way less worrying about where that one little key piece disappeared to during teardown last event or whatever. And also, the thought of using a tempered glass PC case at a robotics event terrifies me…

Get a road case like this

A PC case you can rack mount like this

and a mixer like this (or bigger, as your input needs/budget dicates)

and have it all powered by a rack mount power strip like this

Get as much as you can in the box and prewired, so you can just roll it all in in a big box with wheels already hooked up and ready to go

This is what our setup looks like


That seems like a great solution. What we are going to do is have those two rolling cabinets with most of it in there. The issue is we already have the PC bought. If I had time ti redo all of this I might get together with a few friends and do it that way. It took us a month of school and all summer to get it where it is now. Sadly, the people paying for most of it need to do it now and they can’t wait another month. What kind of switch do you guys have?

Switch is a Ubiquiti POE switch. Although I would say that you’re fine with just getting pretty much any POE switch from any reputable manufacturer, especially if it’s a rack mountable one in case you want to move to a rack mounted setup in the future. We moved to using a Ubiquiti switch and router for the upcoming season because we already used a wireless access point from them, and having a single really user friendly GUI to do anything network related should make our lives easier. That kind of flexibility is really important for us in particular because we help run… I think it was over a dozen events at like 8 different venues last season? So we really need that kind of flexibility and ease of use, but the one you have in your document seems totally fine.