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Old March 14th, 2009, 07:56 PM   #1
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Accessories: Three items to add to my kit... Your thoughts?

Hi,

I am looking at purchasing these three items:

Audio-Technica AT8202 Attenuator with 10, 20 or 30 db of Selectible Attenuation - In-Line XLR Barrel

... and ...

Whirlwind IMP 2 - Passive, Single Channel Direct Box for PA or Studio

... and ...

Rolls MX56C MiniMix A/V Battery Powered Mixer

Basically, I want to have some handy items to handle the various audio setups that I might encounter... But I also do not want to carry around huge mixers.

I do not have a lot of money to spend, and the above items seem pretty cheap, but could be helpful in numerous situations.

Looking at the above accessories, can you recommend alternative/better options?

I am really anxious to get my hands on a mini mixer, but is that Rolls the best pick for the price?

Any help and advice would be spectacular!

Many thanks in advance!
Cheers,
Micky
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Old March 14th, 2009, 08:44 PM   #2
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The switchable attenuator you link to is invaluable. I would get two of them. Also, I'd get two of their 54 dB pad barrels.

I don't know about the Whirlwind and Rolls boxes. Is the idea that you would go from some sort of unbalanced connection to the Rolls and from there to the Whirlwind to get a balanced connection? It won't be at line level. There's gotta be a better way to do that.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #3
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I have a Whirlwind Imp-2. They are made in the US AFAIK and the build quality is worth any little extra money. The Imp-2 is small and very handy when the only available output of the house board is 1/4" line level. The Whirlwind gives me a mic level for my cameras that don't allow individual settings on each XLR input and an XLR input for my mixer which does not take 1/4". YMMV

My only experience with portable mixers is the one I own (a used Shure). When I was researching it, and talked to a couple audio engineers, I came away purposed to only get good equipment. I think you get what you pay for. If you have noisy channels, what's the use of all the other equipment delivering clean audio to your recording device? You will spend a lot of time in post cleaning up every track of every recording. There are better brands and searching here will tell you what they are. That box is worth saving for and getting a good one.

Last edited by Les Wilson; March 14th, 2009 at 10:04 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #4
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From a simple economics standpoint, there is no way to make a high quality/low noise field mixer for under $100.... maybe not even $500 for that matter. The Pre Amps in that Rolls unit may serve home movie-amateur use, but will not give you the clean signal you seek I am quite sure. Not dissing the mfgr ( I own a Rolls device and think it is well made for its purpose- no pre amps in the signal path in it however), just saying I doubt it is possible at that pricepoint to do what you are expecting of it.

[That said, see Battle Vaughn's post below on the Rolls Mini-Mix to the contrary.]

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; March 15th, 2009 at 07:00 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 10:23 PM   #5
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Hi all! Many many thanks for the replies. :)

Great feedback! Exactly the kind of professional advice that I was looking for. Again, many thanks.

@Marco:

"I would get two of them. Also, I'd get two of their 54 dB pad barrels."

Sounds good to me, adding it to my list of audio equipment to purchase in the near near future! :D

Thank you for the advice and tips.

@Les:

So, it sounds like you are recommending the Whirlwind Imp-2... I will also add that to my list. :)

"I think you get what you pay for."

Good point... Sounds like I should save the $$ and do it right the first time... I mean, if the audio sucks, then the video is gonna suck too.

I am open to suggestions for portable mixers...

I actually have this mixer:

Behringer XENYX 502 - 5 Channel Stereo Output Compact Audio Mixer

One negative to the 502 is that it does not have XLR line out. It is also bigger than what I would prefer.

Maybe I should start packing that around with me? Gosh, I would love to have something good, but as small as possible? Am I dreaming?

I guess I would be willing to spend more money. :: dusting off credit card ::

@Chris:

Good good points. Thanks for the advice. :)

Any suggestions for the price ranges that you mention?

Thanks all for the help and pro advice!!!

Have a great night!

Cheers,
Micky
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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
... Sounds like I should save the $$ and do it right the first time... I mean, if the audio sucks, then the video is gonna suck too.
As the saying goes, "Audio is half the video".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
I am open to suggestions for portable mixers...
Search this forum for "Field Mixer". Most are 3-4 channels. Names that came up when I was searching were Sound Devices, PSC, and Shure. With care and ethical sellers, eBay can help you get into some pro-level gear at significant savings. Always ask how many channels are clear and if it's been serviced. And don't forget, if you get good enough deal, you probably have some headroom to get it serviced yourself and still come out ahead. Also, the features on pro gear are there for a reason and when I start using a device, I appreciate it even more. For example, the mixer I got had a slate mic and individual line/mic switches for each input and output. Love those features. YMMV
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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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Price for value, the ENG 44 is high on the list. It is about $550. Here is a link: http://www.equipmentemporium.com/Art...usingENG44.htm
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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #8
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Two out of three, I own...the attenuator is a good thing to have, the idea to get two also good. Useful anywhere you may get a hot signal.

I sometimes have to log pool video feeds from courtrooms, (yawn) county and school board meetings, exciting stuff like that; I use the Rolls Mini-mix between their audio feed and my Sony GV700 deck to control the levels, or when I have to patch into a local stations' live truck, or whatever. While I have never critically analyzed the specifics of the audio preamp, suffice to say it does the job, is very versatile with lots of inputs, is compact and cost effective. Two things I did: I put a switch where the phantom power jumper is, it's inconvenient to use the jumper; and I made an external battery pack with a Radio Shack 8-aa cell holder and a plug. The 9v battery runs a good long time, but I like having more juice, and the unit accepts 12 volts. (Watch the polarity, it's center negative, unlike most other makers' dc inputs) /Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team

UPDATE NOTICE I made a correction to center NEGATIVE on the dc input, most gadgets are center positive, Rolls does it their own way but all their stuff I have seen uses the same setup. Teach me to work from memory..../bv

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; March 16th, 2009 at 03:18 PM. Reason: correction
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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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I will defer to the man with actual experience on the Mini-Mix. Thanks Battle.

If you can swing it though the ENG-44 will offer much more versatility (and undoubtedly a cleaner signal...though if it a school board meeting, maybe we don't really WANT that clean of a signal ! <grin>)
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Old March 15th, 2009, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Two out of three, I own...the attenuator is a good thing to have, the idea to get two also good. Useful anywhere you may get a hot signal.

I sometimes have to log pool video feeds from courtrooms, (yawn) county and school board meetings, exciting stuff like that; I use the Rolls Mini-mix between their audio feed and my Sony GV700 deck to control the levels, or when I have to patch into a local stations' live truck, or whatever. While I have never critically analyzed the specifics of the audio preamp, suffice to say it does the job, is very versatile with lots of inputs, is compact and cost effective. Two things I did: I put a switch where the phantom power jumper is, it's inconvenient to use the jumper; and I made an external battery pack with a Radio Shack 8-aa cell holder and a plug. The 9v battery runs a good long time, but I like having more juice, and the unit accepts 12 volts. (Watch the polarity, it's center positive, unlike most other makers' dc inputs) /Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
That's the only one I don't have. How clean are the preamps?

The other two items are great!
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Old March 16th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #11
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Chris, I assume you are asking about the MiniMix preamps, or preamp, like I say I'm not an audio engineer, so I can't give an analysis except the personal experience that it does the job and I'm not aware of any glaring deficiencies. That's not damning-with-faint-praise, just my anecdote that I'm fully pleased with the device, it does what I need. YMMV..../ B. Vaughan

PS Actually, the Herald has the SignVideo ENG44, which I can check out if I need it. Nice piece of kit. But I can't keep it with me and while it is not large, it is far less convenient than the palm-sized minimix for my needs.

It's small and fits in my audio adapter kit, I have it with me all the time. It is a good and versatile interface for whatever gonzo audio feed I have to tackle, usually something approximating line level. The mike input, which I seldom have opportunity to use, records cleanly as far as I can tell. It is a mixer in that it has mike and line inputs of various types but for my needs it is basically a control device for a single audio source of unpredictable characteristics. That, it does nicely...if one needs a multiple mike mixer, one needs a different product, it only has one mike in. Rolls and Azden, on the economical end, make 3 channel mike mixers that are small. They also make 4-channel field mixers in the same price range as the ENG44 (I have the Azden FMX42, about $600; don't keep it in the car for same reasons as the company's ENG44) that are approximately equal (except the ENG44 has peak-led reading, an advantage over the VU meters for digital audio) BTW the minimix has no level metering, of course (I use the audio readout in the Sony deck). /BVaughan

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; March 16th, 2009 at 12:19 PM.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #12
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WOW!

You folks have been extremely helpful!!!

THANK YOU! :D

A lot for me to think about.

On one hand, I find myself in similar situations as Battle (i.e. things like school board meetings), but then I have also been in situations where I need to get the highest quality audio as possible.

I think I will start saving some $$$ and invest in the ~$600 range (ENG 44/FMX42), but also get the Rolls Minimix for the quick and dirty sound grabs. :)

In other words, it sounds like everything on my list would be worth the $$$.

Thanks a billion all!
Have a great day,
Cheers,
Micky
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Old March 16th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #13
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As between the ENG-44 and the Azden, my advice is go for the ENG-44.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 12:41 AM   #14
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Hi Chris! Thanks for the reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
As between the ENG-44 and the Azden, my advice is go for the ENG-44.
Ah, good to hear your opinion... I definitely need that kind of input. :)

Thanks for the recommendation Chris!

Have an excellent night.
Cheers,
Micky
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