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Old January 24th, 2005, 01:16 PM   #1
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Device for monitoring a boom?

What is the device a boom operator uses to monitor the boom?

What I mean is:
- there's only one cable from the boom operator to the camera. He obviously can't plug his earphones into the camera - it might be too far, and would require 2 cables (boom to camera, camera to headphones)

- this would be a "splitter" which takes the boom output and has an output going to the camera with unaltered signal, and an output for the boom operator's headphones.

- it can't be a regular splitter as it would diminish the signal level. It would have to be a powered device which keeps the signal level.

What is the device I just described? What are the best options on the market? Yes, money is a factor.

NOTE: Phantom power for my Senn ME-67 would be a good option.

Thank you!

-- Andre, finishing preproduction, going postal real soon.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 02:31 PM   #2
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Hi Andre

Check out the "PSC DV Promix 3"

this gives you the possibilty of plugging your boom mic into the mixer as well as your headophones... with a cable back to the camera... the boom operator can have the unit on his belt or in a bag and monitor the sound...

I'd suggest the camera operator check it on camera too... as this is what is eventually laid down on tape...

They even do a smaller DV Pro mix 1 that only has one input and ouput but would work well for one boom operator mic...
Search on the web for their site...

Otherwise you have more elaborate and expensive units by Sound Devices..

cheers

Gareth
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Old January 24th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #3
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I just ordered the following for the task you specify.

Rolls PM50sOB - Personal Monitor Amplifier - Battery Powered

at

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=231436&is=REG

$65 bucks. I dont have it yet. If I forget to report back on it remind me to in a couple of weeks (ball@tcnj.edu).
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Old January 30th, 2005, 04:16 PM   #4
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Here is a quick report on the Rolls PM50sOB. It doesnt have phantom power but it will allow your boom operator to monitor the mic output.

The box is very sturdy but there are some issues.

The power swtich sticks way out where it could easily be tripped--a recessed switch would have been much better. However powering it off would only affect the boom operator's headphones, not mic the signal to the recorder.

The XLR in allows a locked connection but the XLR out does not. So I will be worried about the cable being pulled out the socket while recording.

There are switches for mono and ground lift but these are jumpers! The way they are mounted in the box it is 95% certain that the little jumper connectors will disapear inside the box the first time you pull them in the field.

When I pulled off the battery door it was an even bigger shock to see the 9V battery simply wedged between the top inside of the box and some capacitors mounted to the circuit board. There is no battery holder in this thing. Obviously that needs to be remedied. I guess I'll mount a 9v battery clip somewhere.

I see Rolls has a belt clip for this unit on their website now but I cant find a retailer yet. That will be worth the $5

I did not detect any quality issues with the sound. The XLR in is hardwired to the XLR out and the headphone signal is just tapped out of that so I would not expect any. The headphone volume seemed nice and strong into my Sony MD7506. It's nice to have a headphone volume control.

I already found another use for this thing. I use the headphone out as a pre-amp to create a (more or less) line level signal into my MP3 player/recorder (Iriver 790). It provides a quick way to digitally record from a mic with gear that fits in your pocket. Then it's just a USB transfer to the PC.

Overall the thing seems worth the $65 if that's what your budget allows. With a bit of tinkering (and maybe packing a pair of tweezers if the jumpers ever come out) it should do the job.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #5
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Bill
Thanks for the report. It is the first time that I got user feedback for this product.

I will forward this post to Rolls as they are pretty good in improving their equipment based on end user comments.

BTW: According to the manual you can use condensor mic's (I assume that it passes Phantom Power)
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Old January 30th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #6
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Yes on the mics. I just meant that it did not have a phantom power supply as the OP was looking for. I tried the unit with a ME64/K6 and Rode NT3, both on internal battery.

It would just take a bit of effort to make this thing just the ticket for boom monitoring. Even if a redesign increased the price 50% it would be a cheap alternative to the $300+ Shure FP23.

It will do the job as it is.
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Old February 1st, 2005, 06:11 PM   #7
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Very useful in the field

We used the Rolls PM50sOB for 2 days to monitor the sound off of ME-67 (into Senn 280 Pro).

It was attached to the boom operator's belt using some gaffers tape - a belt clip would be nice.

I agree that the on/off switch looks alfully exposed and vulnerable - but no problems for the 2 days.

I like the metal casing.

I would highly recommend this device - despite the DIY feel and the few imperfections. It does a simple job and does it very well.

Regards,
-- Andre
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