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Old May 23rd, 2004, 03:30 PM   #1
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Help With Reception Audio: Pro Insight Sought

I'm having trouble lately getting any decent natural audio. It seems the bands and DJs in
my area are getting louder, and I've haven't
been able to deal with it.
Yesterday we were out with a VX and a PD.
The levels were controled manually to
keep the meters in the -12dB area.
It was a DJ. The VX audio, using the
on-board mic, was distorted. (And it's not the best-sounding mic in the world at any rate.) The PD had an
AT4073. With no attenuation the audio
was badly distorted. With a 10dB attenuator
it was still distorted some. With the MIC ATT
(-20dB) activated it was not distorted
but there was no crowd noise. For example,
on the song "YMCA", when the DJ turns the
volume down at the part where the guests
sing Y-M-C-A, you can hardly hear the guests,
due to the attenuation. In general, using
the attenuators yields a sterile effect due to
the significant reduction in ambience.
I had a band last weekend where even the cam's
20dB of attenuation couldn't control things.
I want to get away from using attenuators but
still get good audio. Do I need to go with
low sensitivity mics? If so, what on-board mics
should I look at? How 'bout the mic that comes with
the PD? And what about something for the VX?
I tried an ME64, and that works about the same
as the AT does with the PD
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 10:18 PM   #2
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I use -15dB attenuation for my AT4073A during reception in channel 1 and use a Behringer B-5 omni on another channel and mixed it in the post. I never got any distortion with this set-up.
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 10:32 PM   #3
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With the PD150, I run one channel in auto and the other in manual and set for peak noises, i.e. usually set for about 25% gain.

Then I can swap source channels in post as required.

I, at least, cannot ride the gain on the 150 and operate the camera.

Big cameras have a front-mounted gain control so there is no fumbling.

The split channels is the best way I know to get all the sound regardless of the conditions.
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 11:50 PM   #4
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Mike, what mic are you using? The one that comes with the
PD?
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Old May 24th, 2004, 12:21 AM   #5
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I wonder if a dynamic mic like the Senn E835, AKG D770 or SM57 might do the trick. They certainly have a high enough SPL (around 150dB for the D770). The other problem is the dynamic range being recorded is probably getting quite high. Maybe try one channel on a dynamic and the other using a condenser(NV1) for the quieter stuff and swap around as Mike suggests?
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Old May 24th, 2004, 12:41 AM   #6
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I have considered going the dynamic route.
I have the AKG D230, but it's not that good around
music. Anything you can tell me about the D770?
Never heard of that one.
I did try putting a dynamic near one of the
speakers and going through wireless, but that
didn't sound too good to me.
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Old May 24th, 2004, 01:36 AM   #7
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I was looking at the AT site about the AT825
stereo mic. The mic sensitivity is rated at 4.4mV,
which from my understanding is on the low side.
Curiously, they state on their PDF that "the high sensitivity of the AT825 ... the microphone's high output may overload some sensitive electronic input stages ..."
I believe I have heard that the AT825 gives good
stereo seperation.

http://www.audio-technica.com/prodpr...25_english.pdf
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Old May 24th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent : Mike, what mic are you using? The one that comes with the
PD? -->>>

No, I normally use the microphone that came with my DSR-300. It can handle everything from gunshots to whispers with good results.

Otherwise, I normally use a Shure SM81.

The microphones, when they are camera-mounted, are placed in the Sony CAC-12 holder which screw onto the PD-150/170 in place of the regular holder. It adds about 1.25 inches of standoff and has a ball-joint which allows me to keep even long microphones mounted on the camera when they are in the bag.

In typical reception work, where I'm going for interviews, I use a Shure Beta58. It is relatively insensitive to surrounding noise and it is difficult for the interviewee to screw it up with regard to placement other than covering their face with the bulb. I get great voice recordings with this method.

Normally I have a Sennheiser plug-on transmitter on the microphone as wires are a quick way to get into trouble in the midst of a drinking crowd. It also allows the microphone to be passed around the table without running the cable through the candle-flame or tipping over the center-piece.

I also use that setup to capture the music by placing it on top of one of the DJ's speakers and allowing the bulb to just peep over the front of the speaker enclosure. A little gaffers tape insures it doesn't fall.

Oh, I also put a fur-ball over the microphone at all times. A little ugly but it stops rattles and helps kill the heavy breathing sounds.
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Old May 24th, 2004, 04:29 PM   #9
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That SM81 has an optional 10dB pad, I think.
When you use the SM81 at receptions (with the PD in the "MIC" position) when not using the 10dB pad, have you ever had it overload the mic pres and cause distortion?
Or do you usually use the pad?
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Old May 24th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #10
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I normally do not have the 10 dB pad in the circuit. I only seem to need that when I'm recording gunshots or un-muffled engine exhaust noise.

The microphone is designed with a large dynamic range and is designated for choirs and for cymbals. It's hard to think of a higher specific impulse noise than a cymbal.

I consider the microphone to be just short of magic for what it will handle. I bought it on the advice of a sound pro at my video distributor.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 11:35 PM   #11
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Thanks for the help. In hindsight it looks like I was
using the wrong tools for the job. This setup I've been
trying is something new this season. The SM81 seems
like a mic I'd like to add to my kit. How is the SM81
with handlng noise? Another one I'd like to try out is
the AKG D770. I saw the PDF for it and it goes into
detail about how to use it with different musical instruments.
Most of the rest of the dynamics seem more focused
for vocals. Here's a link to the D770. If anyone trys
it, you should post how it works out.
Another thing I'm going to try is using a preamp
with limiters going into the VX through line in.
I just figured out a way to mount the Sound Devices
MixPre to the VX. I've tested the setup around the
studio and the limiters seem like they'll work well
in high volume environments.

http://www.akg.com/products/powersla...nguage,EN.html
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Old May 26th, 2004, 11:46 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent : The SM81 seems
like a mic I'd like to add to my kit. How is the SM81
with handlng noise? -->>>

It has some. I do use it for interviews in situations where I can tell the person holding the microphone to hold it solidly and not 'play' with it. When I have it held by a sound person, I normally mount it in a LightWave Systems SuperMount which allows them to wave it around with no problems.
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