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Old October 22nd, 2008, 01:11 PM   #1
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Sony Lav, Studio 1, Mixer

I'm using a Canon GL-1 with a Sony ECM-55 lav through a Studio 1 Pro XLR adapter. Two questions:

1. (Sorry, it's a bit long.) It's a new set-up for me. My first interview (inside, sit-down) worked like a charm. On my second interview, my mic check indicated an extremely low signal coming from the mic. I checked to make sure the camera's attenuator was off, checked the Studio 1's settings: mic, mono, no attenuation. I ended up using a back-up Nady wireless, which gave a good but sounded a bit distorted; unfortunately, I was out of prep time and had to proceed.
As soon as I got home, I ran tests. I found that the Studio 1 gave a perfectly good level when set to stereo. How come? It's a mono mic.

2. Based on this experience, I more experienced friend recommended that I invest $80 in a Behringer Zenyx 1202 mixer. Would this obviate or complement the Studio 1?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 11:19 AM   #2
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Couldn't say what's up with your Studio 1 adaptor - check the manual for mono vs. stereo operation. It does seem like it has worked for you in the past, with a little more info you should be able to make it work in the future.

The Beh. 1202 is ac-power only. That's fine for many uses, but not very versatile for video shooting away from the studio. It also needs a place to put it, etc. Probably not what you need.

If you do want to step up from your Studio 1, you'd either get a better device of the same type (check the comments on this forum regarding Juicedlink adaptors), or get a true field mixer (most will say "gotta get at least a Sound Devices MixPre", but there are some battery operated field mixers around $500, you do get what you pay for).
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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Practicality

Thanks for your idea. The Premix is way out of financial realm for me for now. The interviews I am conducting at present are indoor, and for now I am only using a single lav, sometimes with ambient recording from a locked-down wide camera's onboard mic in the blend for questions. The $70-80 Behringer would at least give me level indication, as well as something on which to practice some audio recording, and some help as I move to multi-mic interviews, etc.

I did just purchase a new Zoom Handy H-2 (nice bargain on Ebay, including a boomed mic stand, 4G card and USB transfer), which I intend to use for around-the-table sorts of documentary situations, along with a handheld GL-1's onboard mic picking up whatever is closest. The mixer may will be useful as well in post; it certainly will be simpler than the audio console software I have, which has a nearly 70-page "basic tutorial".
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 02:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Ulanowsky View Post
The $70-80 Behringer would at least give me level indication, as well as something on which to practice some audio recording, and some help as I move to multi-mic interviews, etc.
Yes, it should serve in that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Ulanowsky View Post
...The mixer may will be useful as well in post; it certainly will be simpler than the audio console software I have, which has a nearly 70-page "basic tutorial".
Such a mixer is very handy to have next to your PC/Mac for bringing audio in from a mic, a tape deck, whatever, and bringing sound out to monitor speakers. I have the Mackie 1202 sitting on my desk right now.

Do figure out what's going on with your Studio 1 box - you should get decent sound out of it, and when you are on the go it will be easier to handle than an external mixer.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 03:00 PM   #5
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Okay, someone has to ask... did you check the battery? ;)
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Old October 24th, 2008, 09:30 AM   #6
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Idiot check, aka battery check

Yes, in fact, I put in a fresh battery.
Yesterday, I received another Sony lav I got on Ebay. I haven't figured out the model yet (looks like an ECM44/55 but with a capsule only about 1/10" in diameter; the seller didn't know, and the price was under $40. It works! I tested it last night and found the same behavior as my almost new ECM-55, i.e., the level is fine withe stereo position of the Studio 1 switch, on either of the two XLR inputs, but unusably low with the swtich in mono position--I can hear if I brush across the capsule top with a finger or blow across it, but speech at any normal use position is inaudible.

The Studio 1, not the current model, was a used gift from a colleague. I lent it out once recently and it came back with a previously unnoticed short in the cord, right around the box exit. I had it repaired by an electronics-guy friend; the inside looks pristine, as far as I could see.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Ulanowsky View Post
I'm using a Canon GL-1 with a Sony ECM-55 lav through a Studio 1 Pro XLR adapter. Two questions:

1. (Sorry, it's a bit long.) It's a new set-up for me. My first interview (inside, sit-down) worked like a charm. On my second interview, my mic check indicated an extremely low signal coming from the mic. I checked to make sure the camera's attenuator was off, checked the Studio 1's settings: mic, mono, no attenuation. I ended up using a back-up Nady wireless, which gave a good but sounded a bit distorted; unfortunately, I was out of prep time and had to proceed.
As soon as I got home, I ran tests. I found that the Studio 1 gave a perfectly good level when set to stereo. How come? It's a mono mic.

>>Operator error. :)

2. Based on this experience, I more experienced friend recommended that I invest $80 in a Behringer Zenyx 1202 mixer. Would this obviate or complement the Studio 1?

More experienced in what? Location audio is a pretty vertical field of knowledge. I don't know any experienced location audio people who would touch Behringer gear unless it was in a "throw-away" situation where they didn't want to put their good gear in peril. The same for Nady.

Since you got the gear to work properly once, I suggest you spend more time with what you have until you understand what it does. Stereo may just mean it feeds a mono source to both channels. What does the manual say? Any chance you somehow switched the camera input to line instead of mic?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Purcellville! (Pur-sa-vul) I used to roller skate at the rink in Purcellville when I was a kid and staying with this wonderful gal in Waterford.
Great memories.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #8
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It's just my shallow pocket.

Good advice indeed: know thy equipment.

While I certainly don't know audio brands, I am aware that Nady is not a pro line, and, from all I read on this and other boards, $80 for a mixer is just silly from the pro standpoint. Were I a pro, my considerations would be otherwise. My pro work was all in still--using film--from 1976 and 2005. I never had much to invest, but eventually built a significant pro-level equipment "kit" with three camera systems, studio strobes, etc.

In video, I began with an Optura pi, which is now second camera to my GL-1, so you see where that locates me on the scale of things. I can compose and light pretty well, and my occasional experience some years ago as a camera op with a pro events company taught me a few things about laying 100' cables. I now work occasionally as DP on 3-camera webcasts from hotel ballrooms and a small studio--not my equipment.

I am re-reading Jay Rose's book, first edition, on sound for video. The videography I am doing for myself at present is single-person interviews, indoors, and some events of various kinds; largely for historical documentation. So, I am trying to learn as much as I can with what I have.

So, you lived in Loudoun, eh? We moved here in '85.

Last edited by Philip Ulanowsky; October 27th, 2008 at 11:26 AM. Reason: Addition
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Old October 29th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #9
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I can only speak about the BeachTek adapters that I've used, but I imagine the Studio 1 adapters could react in the same manner. When set to MONO, both inputs, and both rotary level controls affect the signal. It's all mixed together in MONO, 2 inputs to 2 level controls to 2 outputs as all one signal. If using a single mic with the Studio 1 set to MONO, you could be attenuating the signal unintentionally with the opposite input's controls.
Or there could be a problem with the internal wiring of the Studio 1.
You should be able to experiment with this and figure out where the problem is.
When set to STEREO, both channel inputs, both controls and both outputs are kept separated. That maintains the separation for stereo when two mics in a Left/Right pattern are connected. Or keeps two separate mics on two individual sources isolated on the two tracks of your camera.
The Studio 1 adapter can be a complement to the mixer when using a camera that doesn't have XLR connectors.
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Old October 30th, 2008, 01:45 AM   #10
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If you have the original Studio 1 XLR adapter (not the new plastic one), it is actually made by SignVideo and still sold by them. If this is the one you have (see the pictures in the link below), call the number on the page linked below and talk to the guy who makes the unit. He can quickly tell you what's going wrong:
XLR-PRO XLR adapter

If you have the new Studio 1 (plastic), I don't have an answer.
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Old October 30th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #11
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Model

Mine is the plastic model, just not the very latest. But thanks.
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Old November 3rd, 2008, 09:27 AM   #12
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Forget the cheap mixer. Your biggest problem is that the GL1 does not have manual audio controls. It's a nice camera, but you have to do double system. No way around it. No matter what levels you get, the background noise is going to shift all around and you won't be able to cut your footage together. It'll pump up when no-one is talking and pump down when they do. Also, you will have mixed success in trying to prevent loud dialog from clipping. That plastic adapter is a piece of junk by the way. Pity, since the original model (now made by Sign Video as stated earlier) is a nicely made box.
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