Mic/Headphone Cables 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 July 29th, 2009, 05:05 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Mic/Headphone Cables

What cables are people using for tethered (single system - or backup in the camera) recording?

LENGTH: I'm thinking that I want at least 25 feet from the camera to the boom operator. Additional length is needed to go up the boom to the mic.

CABLES: I want an XLR to the camera and a headphone return. Any specific recommendations? At B&H there are lots of well regarded mic cables (Canare, Audio-Technica...), but I found few headphone extension cables.

ASSEMBLY: The cheap/easy way is to use zip ties, but they snag. Any recommendations for pairing the XLR and headphone wires?

BTW, I'm planning to set up the system with headphones on the camera operator and the boom operator. I plan to pad the input to one channel for overload protection, and I plan to pad the headphone signal to compensate, so that the channels will be balanced. During normal operation, the safety channel will have more noise, and the normal channel might occasionally clip. The camera operator would be responsible for the set-and-forget gain level, and the boom operator would be responsible only for mic position.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 29th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
Posts: 4,087
Stick a field mixer between the boom op and the camera and you've solved all your issues:
-the boom op can SEE and HEAR what he/she is SENDING
-by referencing the camera input level to 0dB tone from the mixer, you can set up gain staging
- the boom op and camera operator can listen to the signal at COMPLETELY different levels
- IMHO the camera operator is SOLELY responsible for ensuring that the audio that ARRIVES at the camera is usable; the boom op can't see VU meters in camera so it is COMPLETELY unfair to expect top notch operation and levels without having the ability to ride levels independent of mic proximity to source.
__________________
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster
www.roaddogmedia.ca Blog: http://roaddogmedia.wordpress.com/
Shaun Roemich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 29th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Thanks Shaun, but that wasn't my question. I'm shopping for cables right now. I'm budgeting for lots of stuff, including lens rentals, filters, light rentals, and possibly another mic. An additional preamp/mixer isn't in the cards right now.

I'm interested in a) knowing what length cables people are using in tethered situations, b) if they have any suggestions for good quality headphone extension cables, and c) if they recommend any specific solutions for joining the mic and headphone cables.

BTW, the preamp/mixer I'm using is the juicedLink CX231 into a Canon 5D Mark II. The link between the two is unbalanced, so I need to absolutely minimize that cable length. The boom operator will be monitoring what is being recorded by the camera, so he'll be aware if there is no sound into the camera. I'm afraid that the camera op will be so focused on video that he might not notice if there is no sound; hence, the round trip to the boom op, rather than local monitoring.

But my question is really about cables, not operation or equipment.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 29th, 2009, 08:00 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Well, I'm with Shaun too. It's S.O.P. when the audio matters.

However, if you'll have the opportunity to reshoot when the "set and forget and a backup audio channel" eventually fails, then maybe you can recover whatever is needed.

25' to the audio operator is the most common standard. In your situation the boom op might then have another 8' to accomodate boom pole extension.

Back with SOP, it's usually a 25' breakaway cable that connects the mixer to the camera for single system sound, or, even with double-system. The breakaway sends two xlr channels from mixer outputs, and returns one headphone from the camera. The procedure is that the audio op sends tone, cam record gain is set. Then, with a good mixer, the audio op can ride gain by listening to microphones directly, or by hitting a switch, the headphone return.

So, you might rent such a cable (and mixer, darn it!). Usually it's a single 7 or 8 conductor cable, with a breakaway connector about 1' from the camera end. Handy.

To pair cables, the slick way is to remove some connectors and slide some heat-shrink tubing down the pair - then shrink it with a heat gun.

Otherwise, zipties - snaggy. Gaffers - sticky, but works for a few days. Twisty-ties - kinda' hokey, but they work, and can be bent down so they're not as snaggy.
__________________
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 29th, 2009, 08:55 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Seth,

Who do you rent from in the Portland area? I've checked the websites and called around (Pro Video & Tape, Picture This...), and they offer lots of video and little in the way of audio. I'm up for rentals for this project, but not hundreds of dollars for purchases right now. That said, I want some reasonably rugged cables, including spares. A breakaway would be great for safety.

The reality is that this isn't a paying gig, and my boom guy isn't very experienced. The last thing I want is for him to ride levels. I want him to focus on mic position only. I can wear headphones at the camera, watch the levels and control the juicedLink mixer gain. If we rent a field mixer, the main difference would be that I'd be standing with the boom op, rather than the camera.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 08:59 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
For joining the cables together I use self-amalgamating tape which works well and being soft and flexible, it doesn't get snagged. Just use it closely spaced. If you want something to cover both 'properly' then flexible braid is available that goes over the two cables and is simply then stretched to length which tightens it. It's then secured at each end.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Seth,

Who do you rent from in the Portland area? I've checked the websites and called around (Pro Video & Tape, Picture This...), and they offer lots of video and little in the way of audio...
Well, it's true. I wish we had more sound gear for rent here.

Picture This is usually the first stop. For harder-to-find gear, check with these folks for a referral. PS&L has an extensive inventory of pro audio for music - sometimes their gear crosses over to video.

I'd forgotten about the flexible braid Paul noted for bundling cables - it expands enough that you don't have to remove connectors. I think Markertek has it.

Sounds like you'll be a busy guy on this shoot!
__________________
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 82
Jon, what you want to do is taking i.e. a 4-stranded cable like a star-quad and then terminate the endings according to your needs - that is you split the endings into an xlr + a mini-plug (mono - no need for stereo) on both sides. Make sure that both plugs can be spread apart enough to fit your camera. Keep one side male and the other female - your boom op plugs his headphones into your mini-jack and his boom cable into your xlr 3pin. This way it's also easy to add-on more length in case you'd need 50ft or whatever. Don't make the first cable longer than 25ft and depending really on your shoot it might even be shorter. It really depends of the setup. You can make this cable easily yourself of course, no need to overspend here ;-)

There's also cables out there with more than 4 strands in case you want to go stereo both ways. really no need to tape different cables together or using cable binders.

Good luck ;-)
Karl Lohninger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
Posts: 4,087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Thanks Shaun, but that wasn't my question.
I understand your point. I wasn't answering your question but I was giving good, solid ADVICE. Which, as with ALL advice, you can take under advisement and do with as you please, based on your needs and your budget. I just think it is completely unfair to place the burden of ensuring adequate audio on a boom operator who has not been given the tools he/she needs to do his/her job properly. Even the best mechanic in the world can only do so much with a pair of pliers and screwdrivers...
__________________
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster
www.roaddogmedia.ca Blog: http://roaddogmedia.wordpress.com/
Shaun Roemich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia (formerly Winnipeg, Manitoba) Canada
Posts: 4,087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
I'm afraid that the camera op will be so focused on video that he might not notice if there is no sound
I've never heard that rationale in 11 years. Unless you're running two system audio, it's the op's JOB to ensure that he/she has video as well as audio, even if it's not up to the op to GET the audio (ie. boom operation or wireless lav placement)
__________________
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster
www.roaddogmedia.ca Blog: http://roaddogmedia.wordpress.com/
Shaun Roemich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 11:53 AM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I've never heard that rationale in 11 years. Unless you're running two system audio, it's the op's JOB to ensure that he/she has video as well as audio, even if it's not up to the op to GET the audio (ie. boom operation or wireless lav placement)
Keep in mind that this is an unpaid job, and I'm working with a team of people with limited experience. It might be the camera op's job, but I want the redundancy of the boom op hearing what is actually being recorded.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 12:07 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Lohninger View Post
Jon, what you want to do is taking i.e. a 4-stranded cable like a star-quad and then terminate the endings according to your needs...
Thanks Karl,

I'm handy with a soldering iron, so I'm comfortable building my own cables.

Any idea where I can buy 8-pin breakaway connectors? My first choice would be from a DVInfo sponsor, but they generally sell finished goods, rather than components.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 82
Coffey sound and Locationsound in L.A. both tend to have them in stock (plus Mogami or Canare cable stock). Also Wilcox sound in Burbank is a good place to get parts. Also, if you need special cables made the Wilcox guys are very price competitive and do very nice work!

BUT, do you really need 8pins? The simplest is really one audio line and one headphone (mono) return. By doing it that way you can easily add additional xlr cables or headphone cables extensions if you're in a bind. If you go 8pin etc. that would mean you'd have to build additional splitter cables that break those 8pins up into 2 xlr plugs of wich essentially only one get's used by the boom operator.....that would make sense only if there's a (stereo) mixer used by the boom op.
Karl Lohninger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 12:23 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami, FL USA
Posts: 1,483
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Keep in mind that this is an unpaid job, and I'm working with a team of people with limited experience. It might be the camera op's job, but I want the redundancy of the boom op hearing what is actually being recorded.
I hesitate to jump in here, but you might like this: Rolls | PM50sOB - Personal Monitor Amplifier | PM50SOB | B&H
for the price of a good xlr cable you get monitoring and only have to deal with one cable. This is what we use when we occasionally have the luxury of someone to hold a boom for us...the mike signal feeds through and is unaffected by the high-impedance monitor circuit, so the boom op can hear and you only have one cable to deal with....if you do want a long monitor cable, consider xlr to trs adapters, available from such vendors as Markertek and make such a cable from an xlr cable....but it's not necessary...however, this is mic monitoring and does not monitor the camera....if that's how you want to do it.../Battle Vaughan/Miami Herald.com video team
Battle Vaughan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2009, 12:30 PM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 82
What exactly does this thing do besides what the combined mic+headphone return already does? You still need 2 (!) cables?
Karl Lohninger 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 04:03 PM.


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