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Old July 9th, 2008, 07:45 AM   #1
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What's wrong with this audio?

A few months back I bought a DPA 4061 stereo pair. I meant to buy a 4060 pair but that's what the supplier got for me.

These mics are described as being good for musical instruments. As I was filming a music project at the time I liked that. They are described as being good for voice too. So I thought that I would stick with them rather than the 4060s.

However when I use them for recording interviews I have been disappointed. Here is a link to an extract from a corporate film I did last week. The first version is a Sanken CS3e. The second is the DPA 4061. It sounds muffled and a bit dead to my ears.

http://www.vimeo.com/1308522

I'd be grateful for second opinions. How does it sound to you. If it doesn't sound too good have you any idea what's up?

You can see the 4061 clipped onto the tie. The Sanken is on a fixed boom overhead. Both are going into a Fostex FR2 LE via a Sound Devices 302 mixer.

I've been back to the supplier who tested the mic and said it's fine as far as he can tell.

The DPA range confuses me. I understand that 4061 is a de-sensitised version of the 4060 but there is a 4071 also which looks the same but is said to be better for voice recording. Why have the 4071 as well as the 4061?
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Old July 9th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #2
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To be honest, it sounds pretty much as I guessed. The boom mic is characteristically bright, and picks up the background people chatting too - the additional hiss I'm putting down to lower output/more gain.

The tie-clip mic is, even in the un-eq'd state better. The diference you are hearing is the chest cavity effect - lavs usually need tweaking when used on a tie because of the large resonant cavity right next door. If you do a test, and record a voice with the mic on the tie and then at a similar distance on a stand, or even held in the hand by the cable, there is quite a big difference.

Although they're often used on string instruments, they are not normally used as a stereo pair. Nothing wrong with using them in that way, of course, but using omnis is a little common?

With a little eq, I would be much happier using the DPA as my sound source, than the boom mounted Sanken. There's nothing wrong with the spec of the mic, just that like many more directional mics, it has some roll off at the low end. The spec starts at 60Hz, but doesn't mention the sensitivity there.

To conclude - they both sound exactly like they should - but very different. Me, I'd use the DPA with a bit of extra at the top, and a bit sucked out somewhere between 600 and 2K(ish)
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Old July 9th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #3
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Really nothing wrong with your audio. As Paul said its just different. I wouldn't have a problem using either source. A few things to consider: How far away is the Sanken? If you move it as close as possible and still out of frame you will get a little more low end due to proximity effect. The framing I'm seeing should allow you to get pretty close. The DPA is a great lav mic and indeed can be used effectively for music. I've been an audio assist on some large choir concerts that used these for the march in while singing, and on a long row of concert bells. The only comment I would have is on the placement. Its a little low for my taste. I tend to put lavs on ties at around the level of the armpit. You might get a more balanced sound that way. What you have will be fine with a touch of eq. Also, learn how to do the strain relief loop on the lav. It looks more professional and serves to keep the cord behind the tie and stable so you not as likely to get cable noise when the talent moves.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 01:37 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for your advice. It's much appreciated.

Paul. It's early days with the 302. I'm still finding my way around it. I suppose that I should have reduced the attenuation more and then I wouldn't have needed to turn up the gain so much. However there isn't any hiss on the 4061 - hmmm.

I've read somewhere that DPA sell some kind of metal screens that modify the sound. Should I be using them in this situation do you think?

Not sure what you mean about using omnis being a bit common. We're not talking about a bit common as in not posh, surely ;-)

They actually come in a box as a stereo kit. I understand that they are matched pairs. I've used them taped to a coathanger with good results.

I'm going to try applying eq as you suggested to see what happens. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Bernie - many thanks too. I've looked up the looping business and will try that. And I will try a different mic placement next time.

Photo of Sanken placement enclosed in case you have any suggestions.

Generally, I still don't understand the difference between these three DPA mics. If anyone does I'd love to hear from you.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 02:33 PM   #5
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My fault for not checking what I've typed - I meant it's uncommon to use omnis for stereo.

I need to qualify that a bit, omnis used in a spaced pair, usually A-B format about two feet apart, produce a great stereo image for things like choirs, string quartets - stuff like that. The effect is a bit like natural human hearing. Bringing them closer and inserting a disk between them (A Jecklin Disk) produces an even more 'human' sound. The snag is really that when you listen on loudspeakers, the fact that they're further away, does tend to blur the image so that it's a little less easy to pick out individual sound sources from the 'whole'. Spreading the mics out, increasing the distance between them restores more directional information, but there is a danger of getting a kind of hole in the middle where sound sources just seem to vanish!

The most common method of recording stereo sound is with a couple of cardioid mics, crossed in an X/Y format. The difference is that the stereo info in an A/B pair of omnis is that the left and right signals arrive at different times because they are further from one mic than the other. In the X/Y pair, because they are directional, the different origins of the sounds arrive at different volumes. This has the advantage that if you turn the two stereo tracks into mono in the edit for any reason, the mono sound tends to still hold up. The A/B sound may produce nasty phasing sounds or some things may vanish altogether when mono'd. The A/B sound is more realistic, the X/Y has limited stereo width.


The reason X/Y is more common is simply that you can mount 2 on a T-bar, they can be pointed at the image you're recording - so two people talking in an interview while moving still generate stereo. You can do this with spaced omnis but it is more awkward, hardware wise.

If I was recording a choir, in say, a church, omnis are a great way to go because they really capture the sound of the space, collecting sound in all directions, so you get great ambience. Two people talking to camera in a busy street, where you want separation - I'd go cardioid crossed. You can also cross rifle mics if you cannot get mics in close.

In another life, I was the Principal Examiner for a Music Technology A level - and part of the job was listening to thousands of recordings using stereo techniques (not multi-tracks) and in a rubbish sounding room, cardioid crossed pairs in X/Y produced better results than semi-or fully spaced omnis. However, if the recording was in a decent acoustic space then omnis scored higher every single time.


Last thing was the 3 mics you were considering. I guess the simple way to describe them is :
4060 Normal tonal balance low sensitivity
4061 Normal tonal balance hgh sensitivity
4071 Presence boosted version - helps voices cut through by boosting a tad the speech frequencies - but this makes music a bit harsh
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Old July 9th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #6
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another note, the shotgun doesn't have a screen on it. having a windscreen on it would of dulled it slightly... and you should have a screen on it since HVAC systems can really push air around quite a bit in some buildings.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 05:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Thanks guys for your advice. It's much appreciated.

Paul. It's early days with the 302. I'm still finding my way around it. I suppose that I should have reduced the attenuation more and then I wouldn't have needed to turn up the gain so much. However there isn't any hiss on the 4061 - hmmm.

I've read somewhere that DPA sell some kind of metal screens that modify the sound. Should I be using them in this situation do you think?

Not sure what you mean about using omnis being a bit common. We're not talking about a bit common as in not posh, surely ;-)

They actually come in a box as a stereo kit. I understand that they are matched pairs. I've used them taped to a coathanger with good results.

I'm going to try applying eq as you suggested to see what happens. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Bernie - many thanks too. I've looked up the looping business and will try that. And I will try a different mic placement next time.

Photo of Sanken placement enclosed in case you have any suggestions.

Generally, I still don't understand the difference between these three DPA mics. If anyone does I'd love to hear from you.
Glad to help Richard. From your photo it appears that the DPA started out farther up on the tie and the cable was dressed correctly. Did the mic slip down before you shot the video? It does appear that you have enough room to get the mic in a bit closer. If you can listen to the placement as the talent rehearses it gives you a chance to try a few different positions and get one that makes the most sense for the mic/talent combination. I've tried aiming while sitting in for the talent and once the real person comes in I end up moving it anyway. Eyeballing it gets you close, but listening is the way to really find the best sounding position.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Thanks guys for your advice. It's much appreciated.

Paul. It's early days with the 302. I'm still finding my way around it. I suppose that I should have reduced the attenuation more and then I wouldn't have needed to turn up the gain so much. However there isn't any hiss on the 4061 - hmmm.

....

What attenuation are you referring to: the setting of the 302 output level, an attentuator on the camera input, or something else? Were you sending from the 302 to a mic level or a line level input on the Fostex?
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Old July 9th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #9
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Wow. So much feedback. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

Paul - thank you for the lowdown on stereo recording with omnis. That all makes sense.
From what you have said about the 4060 family of mics it sounds like mine is the most versatile so I don't feel so bad about not changing the 4061s for 4060s.

Steve O - thank you. I have never considered putting a windscreen on to dull the mic. I will try that. I've only got a softie for that mic but I imagine that should work as well or better than a foam. BTW we turned the HVAC off while we were filming but I'll bear that (windnoise from the HVAC) as a possible nuisance in future. Thanks.

Bernie - you attention to detail is better than mine. Of course, the talent had to get up a few times and I let him put the mic back onto his tie! And he probably moved it. I will watch out for that in future.
And yes, I will try to learn to listen better as well. That's one of the main reasons why I got the SD 302 - so that I could monitor each channel separately.

Steve H - I couldn't seem to get a decent level out of the SD 302 without turning the gain up. But you can change attentuation in the menu from line to mic and many stages between. I'm now thinking that this is what should have done?

I think you've found me out in this respect. Levels are still a source of mystery to me. I didn't send a signal to the camera. Only to the Fostex. As far as I can see this only has an 'input option'. It doesn't state whether this is line or mic.
I synced the sound up in the NLE.
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Last edited by Richard Gooderick; July 9th, 2008 at 05:55 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old July 10th, 2008, 04:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
...
Steve H - I couldn't seem to get a decent level out of the SD 302 without turning the gain up. But you can change attentuation in the menu from line to mic and many stages between. I'm now thinking that this is what should have done?

....
To setup the gain staging, start at the input of the 302. Place the channel fader to "0", its midpoint, and while your talent is giving you a sound check adjust the Trim control until the signal is hoverinhg around 0 VU on the 302's meter. Connect the 302 output to a line level input on the Fostex. There are actually 2 diferent line levels commonly encountered, -10dBv usually found on consumer equipment and +4dBu found on professional equipment. According to the recorder's specs, its line level is the consumer -10dB version so you should set the 302's output level, the attenuation, to -10dB using its menu. Send tone from the 302 to the recorder and adjust its input trim to indicate proper level on recorder's meter - probably -12dBFS but check the recorder's manual to be sure.
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Old July 10th, 2008, 04:51 AM   #11
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To setup the gain staging, start at the input of the 302. Place the channel fader to "0", its midpoint, and while your talent is giving you a sound check adjust the Trim control until the signal is hoverinhg around 0 VU on the 302's meter. Connect the 302 output to a line level input on the Fostex. There are actually 2 diferent line levels commonly encountered, -10dBv usually found on consumer equipment and +4dBu found on professional equipment. According to the recorder's specs, its line level is the consumer -10dB version so you should set the 302's output level, the attenuation, to -10dB using its menu. Send tone from the 302 to the recorder and adjust its input trim to indicate proper level on recorder's meter - probably -12dBFS but check the recorder's manual to be sure.
Steve. This is absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much for explaining this.
I am packing to go sailing for ten days but as soon as I get back I am going to try this out and make sure I understand it thoroughly.
I really appreciate your advice.
very best
Richard
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Last edited by Richard Gooderick; July 10th, 2008 at 07:51 AM.
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