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Old June 6th, 2010, 07:31 PM   #1
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5dMk2 with XLR input

I've just ordered a HOSA STEREO 3.5mm (M) - TWO XLR(M), 3m (9.9 ft.) which for concert gigs I plan to plug directly into the soundboard and run the cable to a Boostaroo R234 Revolution® Headphone Amplifier & Sound Enhancer and then out to the camera and to headphones to monitor sound realtime.

Last night late this sounded like a great idea. But I'm having second thoughts about the Boostaroo R234 Revolution® Headphone Amplifier & Sound Enhancer since it could be more of a spoiler than enhancer. Is there another splitter that would allow headphone monitoring and possible control of volume etc.

Or is the two XLRs directly into the soundboard all I really need anyway?

I tried the manual level control pre-shoot and it tended to not work as well as regular auto for widely varying audio levels. I mean the rock music can go from a cymbol to a three guitar onslaught in a second.

I'm avoiding the Zoom Zn4 yet to see if a lined XLR to 1/8" connection may offer a solution. Any ideas?
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Old June 7th, 2010, 05:00 AM   #2
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Here is my input, for whatever it is worth. I have 7d and 550d, so I ordered a tascam dr680 so i could record 6 mics at the same time.

This might have changed with the new firmware, but historically the input on the 5d is mic level, so your xlr adapter would need attenuation from line level (the output of most mixers) to mic level. This can be as simple as some well placed resisters to a full input attenuation. As you get closer to varying the volume level, you get closer to the cost of a purpose built external device with more features and better design.

With a quality audio recorder (especially 24 bit) then you can have a broad variation of levels recorded cleanly. In post you can then tweak it as you desire or run some kind of look-ahead audio leveler/compressor. The recording capability of the 5d has never been described as a "quality audio recorder".

People will argue with this, and they aren't technically "wrong", but auto gain control can record a broader dynamic range when recording concerts. Its essentially what a compressor does, but poorly. The issue is the smoothness of how the recorder transitions from quiet to loud and back. Imagine having a friend familiar with the music with a fader turning the input up and down gently during the loud and soft passages, knowing in advance what the music will be doing. Now imagine that spastic kid from 4th grade gym class that would fall over when he tried to turn around too fast. Put HIM on that same fader and you have AGC.

On the other hand, with concerts, its far more rare than "dialog" to have really hard loud to soft transitions. Usually even with a loud hit, there is a fade out that can ease the agc to be less retarded in fading. In songs that go from mostly loud to rocking out then back to mostly loud? AGC can be fine and will also help prevent clipping that you'd likely have if you aren't following the meters carefully.

An "enhancer" is something that people put on to music as they listen to it. They seem to like how it broadens the image and randomly moves stuff around the stereo landscape. Since the goal of recording is to have as neutral a signal as possible so you can have control of the mix and configure it for the target playback device, then recording an "enhanced" signal seems like a bad idea. Pre-"enhancing" messes around with the signal in a random way and may or may not reproduce the signal in a pleasing way. The worst case scenario is to record an enhanced signal, run filters that further muck with the sound, then have somebody play it back using an enhancer. double-"enhancing" a signal always results in weirdass/ugly results.

The h4n is a nifty device. I don't know anyone that has been unhappy owning one. In fact, many that go on to upgrade to better recorders keep the h4n as a back/pocket recorder. Another advantage of the h4n is you can leave it at the board, and be free to wander around. The audio your 5d records on AGC should be ample for syncing.

So, you probably *can* get an acceptable audio signal out of the 5d, but the odds are stacked against you and a failure can be pretty intense. I just don't know that tethering the 5d with a consumer headphone booster/enhancer is a particularly good idea. I'd be happy to be proved wrong, but I am pretty darn skeptical.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #3
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I don't think that will work because the Boosteroo is designed to take a headphone output, which is already much hotter than a mic signal, and then amplify it even more.
Plus for any XLR cable that you want attached to a soundboard's output, you would need female XLR connectors on the cable where it connects to the soundboard's male outputs.
This version of the Boosteroo also uses AAAA batteries which aren't as hard to find as they used to be, but are still much less common than AAA or AA batteries. The previous version of the Boosteroo that I've seen before used a AA battery I believe.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
I don't think that will work because the Boosteroo is designed to take a headphone output, which is already much hotter than a mic signal, and then amplify it even more.
Plus for any XLR cable that you want attached to a soundboard's output, you would need female XLR connectors on the cable where it connects to the soundboard's male outputs.
This version of the Boosteroo also uses AAAA batteries which aren't as hard to find as they used to be, but are still much less common than AAA or AA batteries. The previous version of the Boosteroo that I've seen before used a AA battery I believe.
Thanks for the analysis above!! I agree the manual (turn off AGC which i can now do on the 5dMk2) needs to be constantly monitored or it runs off the tracks. I may be best off leaving the boosteroo off completely and using the AGC even though I can turn it off.
Then, unless the soundboard output is perfect, I'd still need an intermediate control like the Juicelink or someother intermediate control mech to monitor the sound as it's entering the camera. That's the biggest drwaback to the manual audio control this latest firmware gives - you have to preset it before you even start recording - it's not real time adjustable.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 02:08 PM   #5
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An intermediate device can certainly be a necessity if the soundboard isn't under your control (or isn't operated by someone with your signal in mind) AND your camera has limited live control ability.
An intermediate device should also allow you the ability to have your own ambient mic routed into the camera in addition to the board feed. That way you aren't totally dependent on the board, which may need to have all inputs brought down at some times depending on the situation.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 09:46 PM   #6
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Look, repeat after me.

LIVE SOUND REINFORCEMENT and LIVE SOUND RECORDING are two COMPLETELY different things.

They have different purposes. They have different techniques. They require different skills and EACH requires different operational efforts in order to achieve quality results.

It seems that people think that simply by grabbing a tap from a sound board, they'll automatically get a fabulous recording. This is hardly EVER true. The REASON it's hardly ever true is because the FOH (front of house) mix being done by any competent mixer - has one purpose and one purpose ONLY. To make the music sound good for the live audience in the environment where they'll be listening.

On the OTHER hand, the goal and purpose of live recording is to achieve a musically satisfying RECORDING of the performance. Period.

If the FOH mixer needs to boost or cut the BASS of something in order to make it sound right in the mix, then he or she will do that - EVEN IF DOING SO WILL SCREW UP THE ACOUSTIC BALANCE OF THE RECORDING OUTPUT.

That's their job.

So ANY "patch off the board" may get you a good recording, or it may get you a mediocre recording, or it even may get you a CRAPPY recording. And there's NO WAY to change that.

Just THINK about it.

If the band has a sax and a trumpet, the trumpet in a small venue may CUT through the mix enough so that it doesn't really need to be mic'd. But the sax may be RIGHT UP on a mic in order to get some balance with the trumpet in the FOH mix.

YOUR tap from the FOH system will be HEAVY on sax, (with a nice mic right there) and the trumpet may sound a mile away since there's NO dedicated mic on the trumpet.

See how this works?

This doesn't mean you shouldn't take a feed from the board. You just need to understand that that while a board feed may sound "better" than an ambient recording due to (for example) a more direct recording route for the bass player that eliminates the crappy venue acoustics - once you start down the pathway to isolate each potentially problematic performance, the final result is going to eventually be a traditional concert recording where all the individual performances are fed to separate recorder tracks so that you can post produce what you want.

And that's pretty complicated.

By all means, experiment, try things, and have a great time.

Just realize that live concert recording rarely produces excellent results without a LOT of effort.

Good luck.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 02:36 PM   #7
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Thanks Bill!!

I've got an A/V engineer friend that's always telling me to hook into the sound board.....that's where that came from. Your explanation is excellent! Thanks!

The stuff not mic-ed will sound a mile off possibly - great point!!
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Old June 13th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #8
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If you're taking a line level signal into your mic level device, and it's an 1/8" jack - you need this:

Core Sound Attenuator Cables
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