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Old June 12th, 2009, 11:55 AM   #1
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Using a mixer for interviews

I shoot with an EX1 and my method to date has been to use lavs and go straight into the camera. I've been pleased with the results so far (certainly compared to the hissy PD150), but someone recently told me the quality of the sound improves using a mixer. What if any advantage is there to go through a mixer if you are going to go through the cameras audio circuits anyway?

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Old June 12th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #2
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Bill... generally when you use a mixer (either a field mixer which is more rudimentary) or a studio type AC powered mixer (which has more controls than the typical field mixer) you connect to the recording device (in your case the camera) using line level signals. ... bypassing the cameras preamp circuitry.

In the majority of cases a quality mixer has much better preamp circuitry than the camera. Hence you have improved your signal chain by using a mixer. In the case where you can actually use an AC powered mixer you may have other matitude to Eq the signal pre recording.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris. I didn't realize the line inputs bypassed the camera's preamps. That makes sense. What mixer would you recommend?

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Old June 12th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #4
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There are other reasons for using a mixer as well as bypassing the preamps - better limiters, better filters, more control over levels, etc. But FYI - I don't know about the EX-1 but in some cases the line inputs do not bypass the preamps. Some cameras instead have line inputs that have attenuators ahead of the mic preamps to knock the high input signal down to the mic levels the preamps can handle and send it on to them. Then it's a situation of the mic level inputs bypassing the attenuators, not the line level inputs bypassing the preamps. I believe that's the story on the Canon XH-A1 and I wouldn't be surprised if the Sony EX-1 was set up that way as well.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 05:44 PM   #5
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Best reason for external mixer is the ability to make adjustments while not interfering with the cameras operation or operator. Many cameras make level adjustments difficult which mixers are made for. As for whether the cameras pre amps sound worse or better than the mixers I agree with Steve that internal wiring often defeats the idea that you can bypass the cameras circuitry but it doesn't mean one way mic or line sounds exactly like the other.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 11:08 PM   #6
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I did use a Shure FP24 with Schoeps CCM4 ORTF setup for concert, and record to EX1 and Olympus LS-10. The result sounds better than direct to EX1 for the limiter play an important role.
When direct connect, the level on EX1 must be kept low in order to make sure EX1 won't go clipping. With FP24, I made pre-adjustment with the limiter, and align the EX1 input level, so the maximum level will be kept at -2dBfs (both on EX1 and LS10). During the recording, only high peaks trigger the limiter, I estimate I gain 6dB higher average level, that is about 6dB higher SN ratio than direct recording.
I recommend a quality mixer/pre such as Shure FP24, SD Mixpre, SD302... with EX1.
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