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Old December 13th, 2004, 08:10 PM   #1
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Camera vs. Standalone Audio Unit?

Hello,

I am trying to put together a good audio setup to Record/Video Live concerts/recitals.

Right now I have a pair of Rode nt5's and an AKG shotgun. I will probably add two more condensers to the lineup.

My consideration right now is how to get the audio recorded.

I have a Panasonic DVC-200 camera and a Mackie 1202 VLZ-Pro mixer.

The mics run into the mixer, and the mixer's main outs go into the DVC's XLR inputs at line level, +4.

My question is,

Is it worth buying a standalone recording station with a hard drive or a laptop setup with a firewire sound card?

How much better is the audio going to sound for the $1500-2000+ hardware investment?

I could use the money to buy a higher priced pair of condensers instead.

Thanks a lot
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Old December 14th, 2004, 06:06 AM   #2
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Well your whole deal is going to be compromised when you try to record music with vocals this way, because you'll be recording the vocals after they come throught the PA. That sound will suck (as they say) when compared to sound taken from the live mixing console.

Now the problem with relying entirely on a live mixing console for you audio is that the person mixing has to pay attention mixing for the house PA and monitors and not your video. So a stereo mix (if in fact the music is even being mixed in stereo) will be optimized for the house PA. It might work for you video. It might not.

You might also get lucky by micing the room and taking a direct feed form the house mixer for the vocals, but you WILL hear vocals on the PA in the room mics andd that WILL degrade the quality of your sound.

If tther are no vocals, your job is easier. You chances off coming back with something good are much better, provided you use the right mics and put them inthe right places.

Here's how the pros do it. Get a mic splitter. The signal from each mic goes to the house console and to your mixer. That mixer should have direct outs and submix outs that go to your recording device. You might be able to do a mix of, say six mics on the drums, to a stereo submix and then just feed the stereo sub to your recording system. Take everthing else in to a separate channel.

How many direct sources and mics are used and how many your system can handle is also a factor.

You'll probably be recording dry (with no effects) what you get will have to be mixed in post with similar effects and EQ. In effect, you'll be rebuilding the mix.

Have fun with that. Please let us know about it.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:46 AM   #3
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Ty,

Thanks for your response.

This setup is more geared towards rectial-like performances. Mostly without PA's.

So Setting up mics around the room is all I will have to deal with.

My question is about the end recording device.

Will I be better off (how much better off) using a standalone recoding device compared to directing the signal into my DVC-200 camera?

Thanks
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Old December 14th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #4
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Tim,
When you say "stand alone recorder" do you mean multi-track, or stereo? If you get a mlti-track, then you can keep all your tracks seperate, and tweak and edit them later. If you don't want to be bothered with all that, you can either record direct to your camera ( if the sound is good) or use one of the other hard disk gadgets.
I've had good luck recording by micing the sources, running them through a mackie mixer, and recording into my Canon xl2. I have a home studio, and have also recorded a few of us jamming though my larger board, and direct into the xl2. The sound is fantastic.
Good luck
Bruce Yarock
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Old December 14th, 2004, 10:39 AM   #5
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I think multitrack hard disk recorders are what I am thinking of.

The unknown factor to me is the quality of the pre-amps and the AD converters in the camera compared to the dedicated units.

The camera is in 16 bit, some multitracks are 24 bit, but this does not bother me too much.

Thanks
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Old December 14th, 2004, 04:16 PM   #6
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Why don't you do a test run and record direct to your camera. I have a home studio and record to Cubase and Nuendo ( Steinberg). the sound I got going direct into my camera (xl2) through the board, was excellent.
Bruce yarock
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Old December 14th, 2004, 06:21 PM   #7
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I just finished an A/B comparison of an NT5 directly into my M-Audio Firewire 410 and a Mackie line out into the DVC-200.

With the Mackie EQ flat, the computer recording had more presence. When I boosted the high's & mid's on the Mackie and re-recorded, the camera sounded every bit as good.

So, given that I will be using my camera and a Mackie 1202 VLZ-pro, is their a level of condenser microphone that would be overkill for this setup? (Price range)

In other words, I don't want to over buy the system if that is even possible.

Any suggestions for mic's (condensers for live performance recording) under $2000 would be great.

Thanks a lot.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 05:03 AM   #8
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That's a good question, and probably for someone with more "live" recording experience (Ty Ford?). That's something I wanted to ask about also. It also depends on whether you are talking about close micing, or looking for something to pick up from a distance, or ambience. I'd like to add a couple of ambient mics to my arsenal.
In my home studio, i use what i have-Shure sm 58's and 57's for micing guitar and bass amps, an Akg 414 for vocals, flute and horns, and a couple of akg c 420 micromics ( headphone condensers) also for vocals ( great sound). I use an at897 on camera, and also have the Oktava mco12 kit, with the 3 capsules.
I was down by the beach last week practicing with my xl2, and saw the air Force big band ensemble playing in a small band shell. I recorded them on camera with the at897 from about 30 feet. I assumed it would sound like shit, but when I got home and listened through my system, I was really surprised to hear how good it sounded. It's a great multi purpose shotgun.
I was at recital for classical guitar and string quartet a few weeks ago, and wondered what I would use in that situation. The guitar could have used close micing( they used a cheap samson mic through a tiny guitar amp!), but the string quartet was plenty loud. i'd like feedback on any reccomendations for ambient micing in front of the entire group in that situation.

A friend of mine runs sound for a local university and sometimes for the Palm beach pops. he mics every instument, and uses a laptop with Nuendo (steinberg), and several motu converters when he wants to record live multitrack. he's done up to 32 tracks, and it sounds great...but back to reality...
thanks to anyone with any reccomendations.
Bruce yarock
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:14 AM   #9
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Since I have the NT5's which I will probably keep in a stereo pair setup, I guess I am looking for two condensers that would act as boundrary mics to the stage.

They wont be right on top of amps etc..., but they will need to handle some sound pressure if I am recording a trumpet or drums.

My mixer only has four mic inputs, so room mics and two closer mics is all I can handle.

I have an AKG 563b shotgun and am happy the way it sounded recording music indoors.

The only problem with four mics is the video gets cluttered with stands.

I am trying to figure out how to setup two cameras and not have some blurry stand in the frame.

A compromise between audio & video has to be found.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 06:41 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tim Polster : I just finished an A/B comparison of an NT5 directly into my M-Audio Firewire 410 and a Mackie line out into the DVC-200.

With the Mackie EQ flat, the computer recording had more presence. When I boosted the high's & mid's on the Mackie and re-recorded, the camera sounded every bit as good.

So, given that I will be using my camera and a Mackie 1202 VLZ-pro, is their a level of condenser microphone that would be overkill for this setup? (Price range)

In other words, I don't want to over buy the system if that is even possible.

Any suggestions for mic's (condensers for live performance recording) under $2000 would be great.

Thanks a lot. -->>>

A piece or together?

The Schoeps cmc641 run about $1400 each. In some cases..in MANY cases, I'd rather have one of them than two of anything else.

Smiles,

Ty Ford
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Old December 18th, 2004, 02:35 AM   #11
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I am looking at two Earthworks omni mics mounted on large booms to act as overheads for the whole group.

I will still have the stereo pair in the audience.

Any opinions?

Thanks
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Old December 18th, 2004, 08:02 AM   #12
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I think you're on the right track if you're recording acoustic recitals like chamber music or classical recitals or even acoustic folk music (although that's more of a stretch). Here the audio is more important than the visual and I'd encourage a multitrack. Sorry I don't have experience with the Earthworks mics (maybe Ty or Douglas does) but they have a good reputation.
I record classical music for film and CDs and use a decca tree (3 omni mics in a triangle right over the conductor's head) plus 2 wide omnis and a lot of spot mics. But this is overkill for recitals and would look bad for the audience and the camera. 2 Cardioids in ORTF pattern (http://macmusic.org/articles/view.php/lang/EN/id/71/) and 2 wide omni mics is the better solution about 10 feet above the stage and 4-10 feet out from musicians. These distances are a matter of taste. The traditional approach is to recreate the concert-going experience - that is what the audience member in the best seat in the theater hears. My approach is what the composer heard in his head when he wrote the piece - so it moves close to far and instruments poke out occasionally. You'll probably want the former, but I'd still forget the audience mics - nothing but extraneous noise.
Here's a great article on recording the Santa Fe Chamber Festival:
http://www.stereophile.com/musicrecordings/209/index.html
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Old December 18th, 2004, 09:31 AM   #13
 
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I've had several occasions to work with the Earthworks, we used them extensively when working on the "New York" film, miking groups doing Irish reels, and so forth. They're a good mic, but definitely not in the class of the BK4001 or 4011 mics. Yet they carry about the same cost.
Depending on the room, the 4 channel solution you are proposing should work fairly well.
Since I've mentioned the 4011, here is a link to my favorite kit;
http://www.dpamicrophones.com/module...n=pdescription
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Old December 18th, 2004, 11:23 AM   #14
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Thanks for your replies and the links.

The DPA mics look great, but I was thinking a pair of mics for under $2000.

Any choices over the Earthworks in this price range?

BTW, the term mics in the audience, I meant the stereo pair a distance from the stage for the music, not the audience noise.

Looks like I have a setup I can go with.
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Old December 18th, 2004, 06:46 PM   #15
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The 4011 is a great choice, but I think I would try to afford a
pair of Schoeps MK-4s.
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