When setting up a venue it is a must that you plan out carefully where you are going to situate the connections for the microphones on the stage.
The simplest thing to do is just drill a hole in the stage and screw them straight to the floor. This method is quick, but has a number of drawbacks that are worthy of mentioning.
Installing microphone sockets directly on the stage is not best practice for these three reasons.
- When a mic is plugged in it will become a tripping hazard
- Plugs can easily be damaged if stepped on
- The XLR socket terminals will fill with dust and grit when not in use
Floor pocket or stage pocket is the name given to a box that is usually made of plastic metal that contains services like power, data or microphone jacks so they are out of sight and protected from damage. These boxes come in all shapes and sizes and range in price from around $50 to many hundreds of dollars.
Cheap undesirable options
Because of this cost factor most amateurs will decide not to place microphone sockets in floor pockets and just opt for a less desirable option. One I have seen is a hole drilled in the floor and the lead threaded through. Another is to slit the carpet and recess some PVC pipe in the floor. Both unacceptable and jeopardize the integrity of the sound installation.
It is not that difficult to make your own floor pockets if you have a little skill when it comes to using power tools and cutting and assembling manufactured board.
Floor pockets for microphone sockets are best placed strategically across the stage so a minimum length of cable is needed to connect the microphones. Of course this is not always easy to predict, but if you have stage furniture that is setup permanently then you have the opportunity to plan well.
The microphone floor pocket can be shared with data and electrical although separation must be maintained to avoid low frequency induction.
Note: Services that require line power/ mains electrical work must be carried out by a licensed electrician.
If you are going to fabricate your own stage floor pockets then be sure to fit socket plates on mounting blocks to minimize exposure to the moist air under platform. Where this is not possible, a protective sheath must be used to cover the back of the socket.
Simple Affordable Options
There are two simple floor pocket designs that I have seen made that produce a professional finish. One is suitable for a carpet and underlay and the other for carpet tiles. See the section on “Constructing Floor Pockets”