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Old September 27th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #1
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Really quiet and powerful mic preamp/mixer for reasonable ca 1k price?

Can someone point me to a powerful but quiet mic preamp.
Is the SD 301 and the like (SD 2 to 4 channels) powerful enough to capture hyper realistic (M/S) sounscapes - louder than real but without noticeable noise gain if possible?

I`ve had several pre amped recorders and external sound I/Os but none of them sounded like a genuine SQN or even H4 whitout the beep.

I have an AKG Blueline system and I really-really want to record pin drop like sounds without much amp noise added to utilize the low noise floors provided by the system.

Or maybe the Foley comes in here instead of the IRL on-set recordings.

Thanks in advance,
T
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Old September 27th, 2007, 06:40 PM   #2
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The kind of steady, broadband, low level noise you're talking about can be removed very effectively with a program like Sound Soap.
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Old September 27th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi View Post
Can someone point me to a powerful but quiet mic preamp.
Is the SD 301 and the like (SD 2 to 4 channels) powerful enough to capture hyper realistic (M/S) sounscapes - louder than real but without noticeable noise gain if possible?

I`ve had several pre amped recorders and external sound I/Os but none of them sounded like a genuine SQN or even H4 whitout the beep.

I have an AKG Blueline system and I really-really want to record pin drop like sounds without much amp noise added to utilize the low noise floors provided by the system.

Or maybe the Foley comes in here instead of the IRL on-set recordings.

Thanks in advance,
T
Well the problem is the blueline system. If you want to record ant gas at three feet, you need a mic that's more sensitive. The Sennheiser MKH 20-70 series are a good place to start looking.

The Neumann TLM 103 is a studio mic with a very low self noise AND a very high sensitivity.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 28th, 2007, 03:06 PM   #4
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Alright, I think I`ll give a last chance to 24Bit/192kHz audio recording via firewire i/o to laptop and will try to amplify that in post given that I can maybe cut the audio interface`s amp self noise with some software solution.
Damn, should have brought the right tools on first order, nuf wasted money already...

Cheers,
T
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Old September 28th, 2007, 03:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi View Post
Damn, should have brought the right tools on first order, nuf wasted money already...
I think a lot of people could have said that, have said, or will say it. I try to tell people to buy smart, but sometimes there is only so much money and cost always outweighs any other factor when making decisions sometimes.

Wayne
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Old September 28th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi View Post
Alright, I think I`ll give a last chance to 24Bit/192kHz audio recording via firewire i/o to laptop and will try to amplify that in post given that I can maybe cut the audio interface`s amp self noise with some software solution.
Damn, should have brought the right tools on first order, nuf wasted money already...

Cheers,
T
Once again Toenis, with mic self noise figures like:
17 dB-A 17 dB-A 17 dB-A 22 dB-A 24 dB-A 26 dB-A 26 dB-A 17 dB-A

Compared to the TLM 103 7dB-A

and mic sensitivity figures like:
(-40 dBV) (-40 dBV) (-40 dBV) (-40 dBV) (-40 dBV) (-38 dBV) (-38 dBV) (-32 dBV)

compared to the TLM 103's 23mV/Pa (do the math)

You can be using 4 x 10 to the 6th sample rate and 56-bit recording and you'll get a lovely recording of the blueline self noise and relative low sensitivity.

Do you not get this?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 28th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #7
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Yep. For super quiet/sensitive recording a great mic, pre and A/D are critical.

Yet, even then, you are likely to still need to apply some noise reduction.

I know a few music sample library producers. They do stuff like recording every note on a Steinway/Bosendorfer/Yamaha grand piano at 16 or more different velocities (dynamic playing levels). They stitch it all together into a library that plays in a sampler, allowing you to get the sound of a grand piano (more or less) with a cheap MIDI keyboard, a PC and a soundcard.

As you can imagine, they use top-of-the-line equipment in top studios, seeking the very best results.

At the loudest, they are recording a note at full hammer, letting the note die out for a minute or longer. They will also record the note played as softly as possible, until the note dies down to silence.

During a performance with one of these libs, the noise can really build up. Consider that you might play many notes with the sustain pedal down. As each note rings out, the noise from every note is additive.

Do these producers use noise reduction? You bet! It's part of the craft.

Still, you want to start with the cleanest possible signal. The heavier the noise reduction, the more colored and processed the signal will become.

Noise reduction doesn't mean you can get away with noisy equipment. But the best equipment doesn't mean that you can avoid noise reduction either. It all depends on the required gain, other sounds in the mix, and the end target.

Best...
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Old September 29th, 2007, 02:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi View Post
I have an AKG Blueline system and I really-really want to record pin drop like sounds without much amp noise added to utilize the low noise floors provided by the system.
Where do you plan on recording this?

The ambient room noise at most places would never let you get close to recording very quiet sounds. ( -60 dB if you are lucky )

The Sound Devices pre-amps/mixers offer 60+ dB of gain, with a dynamic range of 120+ dB, but you're going to have to record in a very quiet studio to be able to use this much range.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 01:26 PM   #9
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So maybe I shouldn`t sell my Blueline system after all :)...
I`m after natural but a bit hyperrealistic soundscapes in my scenes so any ambient noise from the location is ok. I just want to get the real sounds from the scenes I want to capture and emphasize one distinct sound from the scene to accompany the dialog or action.

Cheers,
T
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Old October 1st, 2007, 06:55 PM   #10
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Although you could afford a location system that would do it all for you if there were such a system, I repeat that the inexpensive solution, SoundSoap can take you as close to silence as whatever equipment you're processing with in post will allow.

Since you have such a low level of noise to remove, and since it's of a type that's very friendly to noise reduction process, the impact on the sounds would be minimal. Even if there were some minor artifacts, the ear wouldn't discern them in nature sounds.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:03 PM   #11
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I bought the AKG C480B ULS system and did not run into any problems regarding amp noise, it is sensitive and free. Maybe that is the difference the gain +/- on mice itself.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 08:14 AM   #12
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"So maybe I shouldn`t sell my Blueline system after all :)..."

The Blueline has pretty typical self noise at 77 dB. The Schoeps CMC6 amplifier (with MK41 cap) has a s/n ratio of 79 dB for instance. To do what you're trying to do it sounds like you really need a mic with exceptionally low self noise like the ULS series or Sennheisers already mentioned.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 01:06 PM   #13
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In addition to SoundSoap, you can consider GoldWave (free trial; $50 purchase) and SoundForge 9.

GoldWave actually works really well. I've found it to sound fairly neutral, but push it too hard and it sounds synthetic. The UI is from the stone age, but it works.

SoundForge 9's noise reduction is less synthetic, but when I push it too hard it tends to EQ the sound. I haven't tried the exact same clip with GoldWave and SF9, so this could be due to the nature of the signal (usually dialog) and noise (whatever we run into).

Both have free demos, so, if you run a PC, give 'em a try. That might give you a feel for how much to budget for a mic/pre vs. processing.
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