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Old December 30th, 2007, 04:29 AM   #1
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Multi-track audio for a talk-show

I'm configuring a set-up for a multi-camera talk-show shoot (not live) involving 4 to 6 wireless lav microphones and a small band. The video part (XDCam HD) is pretty straight forward but the audio is not my usual area of expertise and there seems to be endless choices.

The set-up is temporary as we will be shooting once a week and will be taking down our gear after each shoot.

The show is not going on air "Live" so work flow is important to facilitate post (Soundtrack Pro) as we edit in Final Cut Studio

I'm considering several options.

1. MOTU V3HD (to a MacBook Pro) seems to have plenty of audio inputs. For this option I'm not sure if i still need a board or pre-amp between the RXs and the MOTU?

2. AJA ioHD (to a MacBook Pro), only has 4 audio inputs for a band mix (2 tracks) together with a field multi-track audio recorder (Sound Devices 744T / Edirol R-4 Pro / Fostex PD606 ) to record the wireless mics separately as well as provide the master time code and wireless mic mix to the ioHD (2 remaining tracks) as a control track for editing.

3. AJA ioHD and some kind of non-field Multitrack recorder (Tascam DP-02 digital portastudio)

Soundtrack Pro seems to work seamlessly with Apogee hardware such as Ensemble but a MacBookPro only has a single FW port which I need for the video interface.

The AJA ioHD also has AES/EBU 8-channel unbalanced audio I/O but I'm not sure what mixer I could use to interface between the wireless RXs to obtain a AES/EBU signal? Still, such a solution would leave me with no audio back-up.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Kalunga Lima
PMW-350, PDW-F350, PDW-EX1, MacBookPro, MacPro 8-Core, Final Cut Studio 2, Canon 5D MkII
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Old December 30th, 2007, 09:13 AM   #2
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I'm curious as to why the interfaces you suggest have video HD inputs as well. Are you going to be importing the video after it's shot? Recording in realtime on location? I'd suggest keeping video and audio devices separate in this kind of situation - you'll be syncing the audio in post later anyway, and you need more flexibility than these devices allow. The V3HD and IoHD only have 4 analog ins apiece. I think it would be more trouble than it's worth to add another device to the chain for AES/EBU.

I'd keep all audio in two places - a primary with all channels, and a backup with all channels. Simplify whenever possible and you will thank yourself so hard when something goes wrong.

Sounds like you don't expect to need more than 8 channels. If so, MOTU 8-pre to Metacorder has everything you need - 8 universal ins w/preamps. The only problem with this setup is the metering is not ideal. For this reason the 828 (MOTU interface w/no preamps) and a board you like may be a better solution, though an 8-channel board with good preamps can get pricey very easily. Keep in mind that you'll lose an audio channel to timecode.

If you need more channels I believe all MOTU devices are stackable.

Timecode - use a Lockit or a Denecke GR-1 or what have you. Many usable options here.

Backup depends on your situation. If you end up renting a board with individual PFL outs you could go to something high-end like a Fostex 824. The 8-pre has an ADAT out you could use for something like an Alesis ADAT.

This setup should work, it's the band who are the wildcard in the equation . . will they have their own mixer? The reason I ask is, unless you can depend on having a perfect 2-track mix on site, you'd probably want more channels so you could mix them later.
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Old December 31st, 2007, 03:10 AM   #3
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The HD video input was because I was thinking that one of the cameras (wide shot) would feed video and TC into a laptop along with all the audio as a sort of control track onto which all the other cameras could be synched in post.

What is the advantage of Metacorder over Soundtrack Pro or Logic for direct-to-disk recording?

Keeping my audio in two places is my biggest problem with any type of laptop, which is why I wanted some kind of multitrack recorder. Film production multitrack audio recorders tend to go up to 4 tracks, beyond which they get very very expensive, which made me consider a portastudio-type multitrack recorder/mixer with decent pre-amps (I take it that wireless RXs need pre-amps) and a firewire connection for Metacorder like the Korg D3200.

Kalunga Lima
PMW-350, PDW-F350, PDW-EX1, MacBookPro, MacPro 8-Core, Final Cut Studio 2, Canon 5D MkII
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Old December 31st, 2007, 04:24 AM   #4
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If you have logic, there isn't any reason to go with anything else, you can record multiple channels keeping them separate, create mix tracks, etc. Pretty much the same thing you would do with Metacorder. However, if you don't own Logic and are seriously looking at Metacorder, then look at Boom Recorder instead.

Several mixers I know use it as a full backup of their audio, so they record everything to both their Deva and their Powerbook via Boom Recorder and a MOTU traveler.

Look closer at the Tascam DP-02, it looks like you only get four inputs, and two are unbalanced and designed for guitar and bass-style instruments. Probably not what you are looking for.

MacBook Pros have two Firewire ports, a FW400 and FW800 port. Did you mean MacBook? If you have a MacBook Pro, and need two FW400 ports, you can buy an adapter cable that lets you use the FW800 port with FW400 devices.

Wireless units. You mentioned you thought wireless receivers needed a preamp. I think it depends on the wireless. My lectro and Zaxcom units allow me to set the receiver output to either line-level or mic-level, typically you would use the receiver at line-level and you could get away without a pre-amp for the signal. However, you would probably still want some control over the levels. The transmitters allow you to set a level, but you'll probably want more control over these, so some type of pre-amp is probably required.

Based on what you've provided so far, I would have to say that if you need 8 channels of audio and have the MOTU V3HD, go with that and Logic, SoundTrack Pro, or Boom Recorder.

Mics: KMR 82 i, NTG-1, MKH418S, MKH8040, SR77, QTC1, QTC40, SR30
Recorder: Zaxcom Deva 5.8 & MIX-12. Wireless: TRX900 stereo, Lectro 411
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