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Old August 6th, 2004, 01:28 PM   #1
Fred Retread
 
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BeachTek DXA-8 - Mics only?

Looks like I was a little rash in ordering the DXA-8 for my GL2. I assumed that "The Ultimate Adaptor" added features to lower priced adapters without dropping features. When I saw that it didn't have Mic/Line switches I assumed that its added electronics made it autosensing.

However it appears that it is not built for line inputs. The enclosed brochure mentions only mics. The specs say that it will take an input as high as +1.5 dBu before clipping, but my understanding is that professional boards ouptut at +4 dBu.

The board I currently want to tap into has balanced line outputs with pots that let you adjust the output from +4 down to -10 as I recall, but that won't always be the case so I'll be returning the DXA-8 in favor of a DXA-6, which still has phantom power. I may apply the $120 price differential between these adaptors to moving up from the AT897 to the AT4073a.

Any comments? TIA
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Old August 6th, 2004, 02:05 PM   #2
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Bryan has one, I'm sure he'll chime in if there's a way to do it without any additional equipment. Personally I'd keep it and buy an AT8202 switchable attenuator to use with hot balanced outputs.
You can also use the Aux Sends from mixers. These can always be adjusted lower.
On the other hand, a 4073a is hot enough to not need the preamping, so it's up to you which direction you want to go first.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 02:55 PM   #3
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Thanks Jay, I think the attenuator option is a good way to go for now but I'll wait and see what Bryan and others suggest. I really like the flexibility of preamps and limiters.

I had as much fun setting up last night as recording. I routed 100 ft of XLR cable in order to put the AT897 in front of center stage...a bad choice for a shotgun at a musical production, but hey, I'll never forget the lesson. The results are unintentionally comical--reminiscent of that "Singing In the Rain" scene where silent screen folks first cope with mike placement. Fortunately I have three more performances with which to get it right.

I was left with the above result because the offsetting move of dropping a line down from the control booth didn't pan out because I was afraid to use it when I (somewhat belatedly) notice that the DXA-8 doesn't have line switches.

I should have just unplugged and used the camera mic, but after spending $700 on this equipment? No way.

Did the rest of you guys do stupid stuff before you became smart?
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Old August 6th, 2004, 04:18 PM   #4
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The attenuator is the way to go. Fred, fear not, you made a wise purchase. My Mix Pre is double the cost of DXA-8 and has limitations that are solved by a pad (attenuation). Certain functions of any mixer/preamp are supplemented by use of external attenuation. You can buy fixed for about $17 each or adjustable for around $45. Sound devices sell attenuation cables for use with their 302 and 442 mixers and they're above $2000 (442)
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Old August 6th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #5
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You're presuming we actually became smart! hehe... A big part of "smart" is not repeating mistakes and also striving to improve even when things went correctly. I always ask myself and the people that I work with "What could have been done better/easier/faster?" after it's all over.
See if you can use a mic with a wider pattern at the front of the stage. Since this is a musical it can even be a dynamic mic as long as it has a fairly high output like a Sennheiser e835. Softly spoken lines may be pretty low, but the singing and music will be fine. Lower output dynamics like an SM58 would be too insensitive.
Of course a good condenser mic like an AT3031 would be great.
You may also want to use an Aux output from the board and set at a lower level. Just make sure this send contains all the appropriate elements from the board and that it doesn't get adjusted during the performance. You will also need a balanced TRS 1/4-inch Male to Male XLR cable to use a balanced aux output over a long distance.
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Old August 7th, 2004, 09:30 AM   #6
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I have two AT8202's and they are the way to go if you get attenuators. They support phantom voltage, so can be used with a mic(s). They have solved an issue I have with hot audio (100-115dB) on my Beachtek DXA-8.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 03:56 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm missing something? I'm about to buy the DXA-8 as well, and your post concerned me and prompted me to go double check...

and sure enough, on the DXA-8 product page at B&H, it says that both channels do have MIC/LINE switches.

Is that incorrect?
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Old March 14th, 2005, 07:04 PM   #8
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The DXA-8 doesn't have the mic/line switches like the lower models have.
http://www.beachtek.com/dxa8.html
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Old March 14th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #9
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Well that's dissapointing. I guess it's a misprint on B&H's website?

I'm not really familiar with how the attenuators like the AT8202 mentioned earlier work... what exactly would I need to take a mixer's output into the DXA-8?

Or, should I get the DXA-6 instead and save some money? (although I'd really like to have the preamps and limiters... unless anyone tells me that they aren't as useful as they sound)
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Old March 14th, 2005, 10:44 PM   #10
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That is indeed a misprint in B&H's online catalog. No doubt a word processing snafu as the description of other BeachTeks was edited for the DXA-8.

I've learned a lot since I wrote the post at the top of this thread. I did return the DXA-8, but then ordered it again later, and that's what I use with my Canon GL2.

An AT8202 attenuator costs $43 at B&H. Its an in-line barrel shaped adaptor with XLR connectors at each end, and has a slide switch for -10, -20 or -30 dB. That is sufficient reduction for taking a line feed into the DXA-8, which can reduce the signal by another -10 dB if necessary by turning down its gain control (has a gain of -10 to + 15 dB). I plug the AT8202 directly into the BeachTek and then plug the XLR cable from the board into that. That way the slide switch is nearby if I need it.

For me, the limiters in the DXA-8 as well as its ability to add gain to a weak mic signal make it well worth the minimal trouble of using an attenuator when taking a line feed.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 11:03 PM   #11
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Great, thanks for the info.

I really want the preamps and limiters also, so I think I'll go with the DXA-8 and the AT8202 attenuator.

Now if only I could decide which mic to buy for it...
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Old March 15th, 2005, 12:10 PM   #12
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When I take a line feed, it usually means I'm indoors. Since I'm indoors, I don't want to use a shotgun as the ambience mic because of off-axis coloration. That narrowed the field a bit. I was debating between an Oktava M012 with a cardiod and/or supercardiod capsule, and the AT3031 cardiod. I opted for the AT3031 and am very happy with it. I actually bought two, so I can set up my own stereo pair in front of a stage if a board is not in use.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 03:08 PM   #13
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Hey, thanks for mentioning the AT3031... I've been considering buying that mic. I almost bought an AT897 after reading so many good reviews on it, but there were just as many saying that any shotgun mic will sound hollow indoors.

Since most of my shooting is indoors (wedding ceremony/reception, other events), I started to look at cardiod mics and found the AT3031. It's actually a bit cheaper that the AT897 too, depending on what shock mount you get.

Does the AT3031 work well when mounted on camera like a shotgun would be? I'd mainly use it for run-and-gun work... would it be a good general replacement for the GL2's on-camera mic?

Sorry if this is OT
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Old March 15th, 2005, 06:18 PM   #14
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I've never camera mounted mine. I use a DM-50 when I need a camera mounted mic.

The AT3031 is phantom only, so your Beachtek would have to be attached. I don't know if it's any more sensitive to handling noise than the AT897. Outside of those two considerations, I think it should better than the 897 for room coverage, but maybe a more experienced gent will chime in.
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Old March 15th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #15
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Yea, I'd really like to hear from someone who has used the AT3031 on-camera. It looks like this mic is what I want (as far as pickup pattern goes), but I'm not sure if it's designed well for on-cam use.

In other words, is it roughly the correct length, weight, and diameter to fit comfortably on a shock mount on a camera?

I'd still like to get an AT897 eventually, but I'd like to start with a cardiod mic since it has a pickup pattern I would need more often.

Thanks
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