Getting to know my FP33 a little better... at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 26th, 2009, 03:51 AM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 15
Getting to know my FP33 a little better...

So I've owned my FP33 for a little bit and I was wondering about a few things:

1. When I have the master gain control set to 0dB and I flip the 1 kHz tone switch, the meters are at about +2dB. Is that normal? If it's not normal, should I adjust the master gain control knobs so that the needles are at 0dB, should I calibrate the VU meters so that they read 0dB, or should I just set any devices downstream to read -12/-20dB from this signal?

2. I've been reading around on the forums here and it seems like people are saying that using 9V batteries in your FP33 isn't the best idea. Despite the fact that all the literature and specifications are based on this, people are recommending building 28V battery packs that plug into the side power plug instead of using 2 9V batteries. Is there some logic to this? If so, where can I get some battery packs made and where can I get a wall wart adapter that will properly feed my FP33?

3. I used to think that it was best to keep voice levels somewhere around 0dB on the FP33 VU meter, but from what I'm reading it sounds like that is too low. Should dialogue be somewhere in the red portion of the scale? I mean, I suppose from the literature it looks like the FP33 has another 18dB of headroom above the 0 mark, so it makes sense to have dialogue somewhere up there, right?

4. Maybe this is a really dumb question, but is there a reason not to have the limiters on all the time?

5. Is there a reason to use the low pass filter on my mixer instead of applying one in post?

6. When recording to a HD-P2, a Zoom H4n, or a DVX-100B, is it better to output line or mic level? I'd assume that it's always best to go out line level, but a lot of people have been telling me that it isn't always the cleanest signal path.

Thanks for all your help guys! I'm sure I'll have more questions eventually, but these ones have been bugging me for a while.
Alex Mitchell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2009, 05:16 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell View Post
So I've owned my FP33 for a little bit and I was wondering about a few things:

...
5. Is there a reason to use the low pass filter on my mixer instead of applying one in post?

....
The low-pass is to remove wind and handling noises. Because of the nature of human hearing, there can be a surprising amount of energy down there under 80Hz or so without it sounding especially loud and all that energy can trip limiters, drive inputs into clipping, etc. The earlier in the recording chain you can eliminate it, at the mic itself if possible, the better off you'll be.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Bristol, CT (Home of EPSN)
Posts: 1,182
Great questions, Alex. I hope we see answers to all of them.
__________________
Paul Cascio
www.pictureframingschool.com
Paul Cascio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2009, 09:28 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 456
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell
2. I've been reading around on the forums here and it seems like people are saying that using 9V batteries in your FP33 isn't the best idea. Despite the fact that all the literature and specifications are based on this, people are recommending building 28V battery packs that plug into the side power plug instead of using 2 9V batteries. Is there some logic to this? If so, where can I get some battery packs made and where can I get a wall wart adapter that will properly feed my FP33?
This is true... The mixer does seem to respond better to a hotter power source. You will face a lot less noise on the floor. Just be careful you don't overdrive the unit, of course. You can probably consult with any qualified local battery store to help you fashion a battery pack that takes on a decent form factor for portable use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell
3. I used to think that it was best to keep voice levels somewhere around 0dB on the FP33 VU meter, but from what I'm reading it sounds like that is too low. Should dialogue be somewhere in the red portion of the scale? I mean, I suppose from the literature it looks like the FP33 has another 18dB of headroom above the 0 mark, so it makes sense to have dialogue somewhere up there, right?
VU meters are analog meters, not digital. So, 0dB is not the same limit as it is on any digital meter your camera or editing system display may show. This is a vestigial remain from an older era in broadcasting, where everything was analog. In order to get proper level on any device measuring via VU, you need to allow meters to "peak in the red." That pretty much means, anything short of "pegging" - meters going all the way to the end of the scale on the high end. So, let it peak in the red, and you'll be doing the editor a favor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell
6. When recording to a HD-P2, a Zoom H4n, or a DVX-100B, is it better to output line or mic level? I'd assume that it's always best to go out line level, but a lot of people have been telling me that it isn't always the cleanest signal path.
Those people are wrong. Use line level as it is far less susceptible to noise.
Eric Darling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 2,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell View Post
So I've owned my FP33 for a little bit and I was wondering about a few things:

1. When I have the master gain control set to 0dB and I flip the 1 kHz tone switch, the meters are at about +2dB. Is that normal? If it's not normal, should I adjust the master gain control knobs so that the needles are at 0dB, should I calibrate the VU meters so that they read 0dB, or should I just set any devices downstream to read -12/-20dB from this signal?

I'm sure I'll have more questions eventually, but these ones have been bugging me for a while.
I have been using an FP31 for a year and just upgraded to a used FP33. I noticed the same same think when using the 1KHz tone. I don't think it matters as long as you can memorize where your Zero is, then you can reset it visually if it gets knocked.
Les Wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,267
As far as Question 2 goes I have had many blown fuses on a couple of the FP-33's I use with external power supplies. Not sure what the mixer voltage is rated to but I have not heard a difference in sound quality using either internal or external power. Just remember you have to remove the 9V batts to use the external power. There is a spare fuse stored in the mixer if it hasn't already been used.

As far as question 3 I think you should not run the mixer so the peaks are consistently in the red. If you have set your tone to 0DB VU on the mixer recording to a digital recording system at -20DB Peak you want to see your peaks somewhere around -12db on the recorder which does not mean you want to be at +8VU. You will find your peaks at 0db or even -3DB will be way above -20peak on the recorders and should give you plenty of signal to noise ratio on the recording. Look and listen at your recorder to determine how high you want your peaks to be. In my experience very few recorders need to be driven as hot from this mixer as you are talking about


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell View Post
So I've owned my FP33 for a little bit and I was wondering about a few things:


2. I've been reading around on the forums here and it seems like people are saying that using 9V batteries in your FP33 isn't the best idea. Despite the fact that all the literature and specifications are based on this, people are recommending building 28V battery packs that plug into the side power plug instead of using 2 9V batteries. Is there some logic to this? If so, where can I get some battery packs made and where can I get a wall wart adapter that will properly feed my FP33?

3. I used to think that it was best to keep voice levels somewhere around 0dB on the FP33 VU meter, but from what I'm reading it sounds like that is too low. Should dialogue be somewhere in the red portion of the scale? I mean, I suppose from the literature it looks like the FP33 has another 18dB of headroom above the 0 mark, so it makes sense to have dialogue somewhere up there, right?
Daniel Epstein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2009, 01:43 AM   #7
Slash Rules!
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,723
I have one and hope I never have to use it the way a sound guy uses it. What I mean is, I usually do one-man-band stuff when I use my gear so I hope I can watch my cam's meters which I trust way more than the 33's.

I know pro sound guys who still use these and they always go off batteries for a variety of reasons involving grounding issues and fancy science stuff that I don't really understand. Either 9v or the NP1 style seem to be popular.

I've had it recommended that the needle should hover around -3 or -5 most of the time, occasionally going higher.

Another thing about this type of meter, in addition to 0 not being that absolute hottest you can record, is that they're AVERAGE meters instead of peak. On your cam's meter, every little sound, no matter how long it lasts, will register. If a gunshot, hand clap, cough, etc. happens, you'll see the cam meter spike. you might not on the mixer meter because it averages the level every .3 seconds or something, so those quick events sometimes sneak through, or only register as a slight jump in the meter when in reality they can blow out your cam's inputs (distortion, I mean, not make them explode or something).

Also, for what it's worth, with my XL2 I found that setting the master on the mixer to 0 like you're supposed to can send a signal out of the mixer that is sometimes too hot for the cam, regardless of how you set the cam's pots, and regardless of what the meter says. I got this weird issue where something would sound good 90% of the time, but sounds like "s" and "ch" would cause distortion. It was weird. I was told it was due to the fact that the mixer outputs the right line level, and a lot of miniDV cams (or maybe all) have a consumer line level, if any. Apparently applies to mic level too, 'cause I got these same issues. We found a solution was to set the master to -10 instead of 0. Sounds weird, but I don't have those issues when I do that.

Something else I might try is buying some pads. . .shure makes a switchable one that's $40 a piece, and here is a cheaper one a sound guy recommended:

http://www.naiant.com/studiostore/cleverdevices.html.

This is probably a better solution than having to "dumb down" your mixer. Haven't tried 'em yet though.
Josh Bass is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:54 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network