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Old July 31st, 2008, 10:25 PM   #1
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Confusion of use

Hello everyone. This is my first post.
In any case, I was wondering what I might do with a current audio conundrum. I have an "ancient" Sony DCR-HC30 consumer camcorder with no XLR inputs. I recently purchased a Sennheiser MKH-416 and a Beachtek DXA-4 audio adapter as well as 20 feet of XLR-to-XLR cable. The Beachtek has 2 XLR inputs, thus acting as a surrogate microphone plug-in for the camcorder. So, it works like this: I plug one end of the XLR cable into the Sennheiser microphone, and the other into the Beachtek audio adapter. The Beachtek audio adapter has a 1/4 inch microphone input for the camcorder, so it plugs directly into the camcorder. Now for the stupidness. In short, what am I missing in order for everything to work? Maybe a good lecture on phantom powering is in order, because I have no idea how it works, other than it allows both the audio and powering transmissions to be simultaneously sent through the XLR cable without the need of additional cables. How is the microphone powered then? Do I need one of those $400.00 (+) powering boxes for the microphone in order for it to work? I thank you, whoever you may be, in advance, for answering this probably quite silly question.
God bless you,
Tyler.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 11:38 PM   #2
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The mixer that you have is designed for XLR input but your microphone requires +48V phantom power on the XLR cable. What you need is a mixer that has Phantom power like a BeachTek DXA-6 line of products.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 01:41 AM   #3
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Or one of the Juicedlink adapters that provides phantom power would be a viable alternative to Beach. I've had one for a month or so and like it.

Tyler: Some mics have internal batteries for power when phantom is not available and you would use the DXA-4 series with them but the 416 isn't one of them. It needs a source of phantom to work, either from the device that you're plugging into or from an inline phantom supply.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #4
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Microphone Powering

OK, you asked about mic powering, so here's a little bit. Some mics need power to work and they get that either from an internal battery or from the mixer or from the recorder or camcorder...or from a box. There are two main types, phantom powering which is almost universal or T powering which seems to be almost dead. They are not compatible as T powering sends the voltage up the two signal wires, whereas phantom uses both the signal wires for one leg and the shielding as the other. Phantom power can also be either 12 or 48 volts, whereas as far as I know T powering is always 12v.

Phantom powering is good because if you plug a dynamic mic into a phantom supply no harm is done, as the two signal wires are at the same potential; this is not true of T powering which could damage a sensitive ribbon mic.

T powering, it is claimed, is slightly more robust, but I don't know about that.

Sennheiser mics are easily identified as to which system they use: a T is placed after the number, eg MKH416T, if they are T powered.
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Old August 17th, 2008, 07:04 PM   #5
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Aha!

Yes, thanks to you all I realize why I was referred to the Beachtek DXA-4. The man who told me that that would work must have been using a T powered MKH-416 because he told me that MKH 416's run on a "AA" battery. I assume the T powered ones do? And obviously the MKH 416 P48 is phantom. Thank you all for your replies. They were much appreciated, and my apologies are owed for not replying sooner. Thanks again, all.
God bless,
Tyler.
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Old August 17th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #6
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it is the ME66 which will run on an AA.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 03:15 AM   #7
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T Powering

Yes indeed. An AA will deliver just the 1.5v, whereas an MKH-416T requires 12v. If I delve into my memory, I seem to recall Sennheiser 804 gun mikes and 405 cardioids having an adaptor that contained (it must have been) eight button cells that screwed onto the mic (this was when Sennheisers had Tuchel connectors on them, like 3 pin DIN plugs with a thread) and the mic cable screwed into that. Horrible things, contacts in the battery compartment always dodgy. There was also a thing called a KAT 11, which converted the 12v power output of the Nagra III on its mixer in socket (ah, dear , dear Nagra IIIs!) into T powering and converted the mic output to line level. The T in T powering stands for (I think) Tonader, a German word which obviously has Ton, Sound as a part of it. What the 'ader' part means beats me.

As a side line, and many apologies for wandering from the thread, the subject of Nagra IIIs reminds me of an odd recorder I used down a coal mine once. As naked lights are forbidden, and electric motors can emit sparks, both the camera and the recorder had clockwork motors. The recorder (quarter inch) was a Maihak (sp?) and the electronics were sealed and approved by the NCB, but I had to remember to wind up the recorder from time to time! No Synch.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #8
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Steady on Nick you are getting me all nostalgic about pilot tone and sep sound done the proper way with the Nagras.

It all went tits up with timecode and ENG recording at least the pilotone system was tried and tested and I spent most of my early 20's in the transfer suite doing all the film rushes to crappy sondor machines. That biiter plasticy smell of the warm mag as it goes through the gate still haunts me.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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More apologies for going off-thread!

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