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Old April 14th, 2008, 08:39 AM   #31
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OK, my Sony Minidiscs are the MZ-G750 (single AA cell powered) and the MZ-R900 (internal Ni-mH cell). Both were brought second hand.

Syncing them up on the timeline is pretty easy as the waveform can be compared to bring them into rough alignment, then fine tuning is done to eliminate the echo denoting loss of sync. Any sharp noise (cough, snapping twig etc) is a great way to sync the start.

It sounds as if I will have to wish you luck, but sa I say, my Sonys and Panasonic camcorders have all synced beautifully together, and the Minidiscs have been no exception. That's why (after so many years of doing this) that I'm so dissapointed with the Zoom H2's (sync) performance. I assumed (correctly as it turned out) that recording on the H2 as wav files would improve matters over MP3, but then Minidisc is ATRAC compressed, so how do they manage it?

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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:33 AM   #32
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Sony Minidisc model

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Originally Posted by Robert Acosta View Post
Tom, The Sony portable minidisc you talked about sounds ideal, and if you could post a model # to refer to, I'd appreciate it. The information I've gotten so far on the sync issue has given me a better understanding of the possible probems I'm going to encounter and this at least will provide me with a good starting point. From some of these posts, it appears as if I can use post editing to make the audio acquired from the different recording sources, work using the stretching technique in edit. Having a sound that will "mark" the beginning of the recording seems to be an important requirement. Can audio between the camera and the secondary audio, simply be matched using the beginning of the dialogue at a low hushed level. For example, filming a nest of hummingbirds from 30 to 40 feet away, with someone mic'ed up a few yards from the hummingbirds, would require a hushed initial dialogue at best. Would this be enough to begin syncing the audio to the footage?
Hello,
As a Sony minidisc user I had to chime in with the model that I use. Its a HI MD MZ-M100. It records uncompressed 44.1 16 kz files that can be dragged and dropped/converted to WAV files via USB. There is a newer model out called the MZ-M200 which I'm sure is just an improved model of this one. Its very small and has an internal rechargeable battery as well as a single AA battery add on. This gives you a very long record time. The one gig HIMD discs hold two hours of stereo uncompressed audio and cost about $ 7.00 each. I've used it with its included stereo mic to record chamber orchestra in a large hall, and I've fed it line in from the mix out of my Sound Devices 302 mixer as back up. Don't have any info on staying in sync since I've not used it for long passages. The down side with this device is if you use the mic, you should employ the extension cable to get it away from the transport noise. You can plug the mic directly into the unit but you may hear the transport that way. Price is around $300 new.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 07:05 PM   #33
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Again, thanks to all for the info.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 09:59 PM   #34
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Robert--

First off, I use a Sony minidisc recorder with a giant squid myself sometimes, so I know whereof I speak.

Something else about minidisc recorders to keep in mind is that you can't monitor the audio while you're shooting. You may sit down to do some cutting and learn that your audio is way too hot and is clipping up a storm. Likewise, maybe the microphone is digging into your subject's chest hair for the entire three hours of your shoot, or maybe the mic has come unclipped from the subject's shirt, fallen, and has given you an excellent recording of the inside of his Fruit-o-the-Looms. You have no way of knowing if catastrophe has stricken until it's far too late. This is why a wireless is basically indispensable in situations where an XLR cable isn't possible or practical (like Steve was saying).

I've gone with the MD-recorder-and-Giant-Squid until I could afford the G2 wireless, which it appears I'll finally be able to get into my sweaty mitts very soon. Minidisc can be a somewhat passable, affordable workaround until you can get a halfway decent wireless system, but you have to be prepared to take a HUGE gamble on whether your audio will be usable or not. Every time I have to use the minidisc in this way, I get very nervous and curse the fact that I don't have a wireless. If I'm getting paid, I will not use this setup if the material being shot is essential to the project because if disaster strikes in a case like that, you're up sh*t creek--not without a paddle....without a boat. :)

To summarize: any wireless costing less than the G2 is almost certainly a waste of money, but a minidisc recorder with a Giant Squid (a setup that you can get your hands on for less than $100 if you buy used) can help you bridge the gap--but only if you're a gambling man.

P.S.: For what it is (a lav with a 3.5mm connector that requires 5v bias voltage), the Giant Squid omni lav is a surprisingly good mic. I recommend it without the least reservation if you absolutely have to go with a minidisc recorder. Darren is a great guy and makes good mics available for peanuts, and I love to support small businesses.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 02:33 AM   #35
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Jarrod speaks wise words but now he's scared me. I've been wiring up the groom with a Minidisc for years because the machine itself is so tiny and I can slip it into an inside pocket of his jacket. With a radio receiver (I have the Sennheiser and the Sony) I have to fumble about clipping it to his belt and this of course is in front of his arriving guests and when he's in a bit of a tizz anyway and generally I don't know the fellow.

I've not had a problem yet. Sync is maintained, the MD runs in the mono mode at full audio quality for well over 2 hours and it's so tiny he forgets it's there. But now I've been scared I think I'll leave the MD recorders on the pulpit lectern for the readers and near the choir for the singing.

You can never have too much audio backup I find.

tom.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 07:40 AM   #36
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Jarrod and Tom, I'll be receiving my new G2 today. I wasn't aware that these mics operate on 3 basic frequency groups. They are identfied by Sennheiser with either A B or C in their model number and each letter indicates a frequency range that that particular radio/mic and receiver will receve the signal on. Local radio and Television stations broadcast on these frequencies and you have to find a frequency that is (at the time) unaffected by these broasdcasting radio/TV stations, or you'll get interfernce from their broadcast. I believe it is dependent on distance from the broadcasting Station ( a 70 mile radius) and their particular broadcasting signal strength. I have been told that there is a frequency locater tool, that you can use to identify, which frequency is most usable in the area that you are from or plan to use it in. The "c" band has been purchased by verizon and another company ( which I cannot remember at this time), and is no longer available for use. I'm not sure if this means that you cannot receive a clear signal for use, or if just opens you up to legal issues if you are found tro be using their frequency? This brings the usable/available frequency groups down to 2. The A band is used heavily in my area and thereby makes the B band the better option for me. With the potential for the remaining bands to also be bought up by other companies, it makes me more than a little nervous about losing the ability to use my new toy in the not too distant future. ( if compnaies can buy these frequencies, as has happened with the C band, whats to stop the remaining available frequencies from also becoming unusable?) Hoping I haven't purchased soon to be obsolete. radio/mics. I'm also wondering, what affect wireless cell phone towers will have on these frequenies and this will be the first test for my new unit, because I have one just across the road from my home. I'll know more soon and if/ when possible, I'll try to post any problems or lack there of when possible.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #37
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Robert, your fears are justified. In fact, when TV broadcasters switch over to digital broadcast signals next year, the part of the radio spectrum the analog broadcasts (and things like wireless mics) currently occupy will also be sold off--probably to cell service providers like Verizon, etc.

I don't think anyone really knows yet what all of this will mean for those of us who use wireless mics, but a few things seem clear to me--maybe someone more fully informed can chime in and add to this or correct me if I'm wrong: the switchover probably doesn't mean that your wireless will stop working entirely, but it may (or may not) mean that it will be harder to find a usable channel. Yes, it will technically be illegal to use your wireless on these frequency bands, but I'll point out that as far as I know it's technically illegal right now to use them without an operator's license from the FCC...but nobody bothers because the law is not enforced. It may be the same way after the UHF spectrum is sold off next year.

As I said, I don't really know all the details here and only have a sketchy idea as to all of this. It may be that there have been some recent developments I'm unaware of. Maybe Steve House or Ty Ford or somebody else can chime in and fill us all in on the state of things.

In the meantime, you've got close to a year to use your system under the current frequency rules. We'll see what happens after that.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 03:01 PM   #38
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Bernie,
Are you sure the MZ-M200 has an add on AA battery pack? I'm pretty sure that's the model I have (I don't have it handy to check), and it most certainly does not. In fact, that's my biggest complaint with it. Changing the internal battery is so simple, so I guess that's the next best thing.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley View Post
Robert, your fears are justified. In fact, when TV broadcasters switch over to digital broadcast signals next year, the part of the radio spectrum the analog broadcasts (and things like wireless mics) currently occupy will also be sold off--probably to cell service providers like Verizon, etc.

I don't think anyone really knows yet what all of this will mean for those of us who use wireless mics, but a few things seem clear to me--maybe someone more fully informed can chime in and add to this or correct me if I'm wrong: the switchover probably doesn't mean that your wireless will stop working entirely, but it may (or may not) mean that it will be harder to find a usable channel. Yes, it will technically be illegal to use your wireless on these frequency bands, but I'll point out that as far as I know it's technically illegal right now to use them without an operator's license from the FCC...but nobody bothers because the law is not enforced. It may be the same way after the UHF spectrum is sold off next year.

As I said, I don't really know all the details here and only have a sketchy idea as to all of this. It may be that there have been some recent developments I'm unaware of. Maybe Steve House or Ty Ford or somebody else can chime in and fill us all in on the state of things.

In the meantime, you've got close to a year to use your system under the current frequency rules. We'll see what happens after that.
Don't you guys in the US have somebody like this to keep you right on what's going on

https://www.jfmg.co.uk
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Old April 17th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #40
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Don't you guys in the US have somebody like this to keep you right on what's going on

https://www.jfmg.co.uk
Apparently not. :)
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Old April 17th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley View Post
...
As I said, I don't really know all the details here and only have a sketchy idea as to all of this. It may be that there have been some recent developments I'm unaware of. Maybe Steve House or Ty Ford or somebody else can chime in and fill us all in on the state of things.

...
I wish I could! I'm just as much in the dark as everyone else.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 07:37 PM   #42
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I wish I could! I'm just as much in the dark as everyone else.
I was afraid of that. I hadn't heard of any recent developments and was hoping maybe I'd missed something. Unfortunately, it looks like we won't know if we're screwed or not until after said screwing has already taken place.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #43
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When using the wireless mic with my PD170, I connect the receiver to the camera with the xlr cable and mount it to the hot shoe and connect to the xlr input 2
when transmitting, what should the on camera xlr settings be and am I using the shotgun mic on input 1 and the wireless receiver on input 2 simultaneously? Is a mixer necessary to utilize both mics at the same time or will they record to the camera simutaneously on seperate tracks. Any pre recording settings necessary in the menus prior to beggining?
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Old April 18th, 2008, 01:07 AM   #44
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Robert - your PD170 has two completely separate audio channels so you can feed whatever you like to either, have them on manual or AGC independently and have one phantom and the other not.

So yes, feed the radio into one (phantom off) and the shotgun into the other (I recommend phantom on even if the mic's able to be internal battery powered). No need for mixers at all.

tom.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #45
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I received the G2 wireless today and only had a short time to test this system but it was pretty impressive. I shot from inside an all metal bldg. that tends to render my cell phone signal useless and I went about 200 feet from the camera and was getting great sound from the system. Can't wait to do more testing with it. Just hope the unit doesn't become unsusable in the near future.
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