What recording setup would work? What cables? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 14th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
What recording setup would work? What cables?

I'm confused a bit on which recording infrastructure is best for my work with a DSLR as a video camera. I've worked a bit with a Zoom H4n and heard audio from a Juicedlink and am pleased with both.

What I really want is a dual-system (as in the Ten Commandments of Sound for Picture) that can send a cable out to the 5D with a fairly hot signal like the way the Juicedlink adapters work. Is this possible with the Tascam DR100 or any of the portable recorders? I don't want to spend a lot of money, but it is important that I get better sound quality than the 5D stock sound without pre-amplifier. I'll hoping for any suggestions that are portable and only send one cable from my belt pack to the camera.

Also, can these portable recorders use their own mics at the same time as an XLR input? Can the DR100 use one of its mics on one track and record from only one XLR input? I like that it has both line and headphone out, unlike the H4n. How about the same question for the Marantz PMD661? Can the headphone output on the H4n be split into headphone and a decent signal for the 5D2? Are there any other recorders that I should consider?

Besides the recorder, I need to know if I'm looking at the right cables to get all this working with my 5D and Lectrosonics UM100 wireless lav. Here is what I have so far:

Lectrosonics CM40 - XLR-Female to TA5-Female Mic Level MC40 -

...to get from the XLR mic into the TA5 connector of my transmitter.

Hosa Technology Stereo 3.5mm Mini Angled Male to XLR XVM-105M -

...to get from the transmitter 1/8" output to the input of the mic pre-amp or recorder.

I'm not sure what cable to get to go from whatever recorder I get to put a strong signal into the 5D2 so I can turn it's noisy internal gain down. Of course, the Juicedlink won't need this cable as it has its own.

BTW, I need the XLR input for the transmitter to use with powered or dynamic mics or to send a signal from a mic-level output from a board. I also could use another cable to send line level from the board but I'm not sure which one that would be.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 08:06 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
You're mixing apples and oranges here. The Tascam is a recorder while the JuicedLink is an XLR mic adapter & mixer. Totally different functions. The Juiced by itself does not record and will not get you to double system where the sound is recorded separately from the camera. As an aside, cables are the last thing you worry about buying, not the first. Get the equipment that does what it is you need to get done at the level you need to do it, THEN buy or make whatever cables are required to connect it all together. So what is your priority, interfacing XLR mics to the camera or recording double system sound?
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,177
The Hosa cable is NOT the proper wiring for a (presumed) balanced output from the receiver to a mic input on a mixer or recorder. The Hosa cable combines the stereo, single-ended Left and Right outputs from a gadget like an MP3 player (iPod, etc.) and mixes them into a mono signal for the mic input. That cable would produce zero signal from a balanced source. You need a cable that is wired straight through, tip to 2, ring to 3 and sleeve to 1 (ground).

Tascam DR100 (and most portable recorders) have line-level outputs. It is simply a matter of using a cable with the proper connectors on each end (and likely a pad to knock the level down to mic-level) to get a "hot" signal into your DSLR mic input jack. For that matter most portable recorders have a headphone output that could also be used to drive the mic input of a DSLR with nothing more than an "attenuating dub cable" from Radio Shack.
Richard Crowley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 08:25 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Richard ... I'm assuming he has the Lectro UCR100 receiver as that is what matches the UM100 transmitter he mentioned. If so, the receiver audio output is unbalanced on a stereo TRS jack with the tip and ring both getting the mono signal in parallel (so one could monitor with earbuds and hear the mono signal in each ear). In that case, the TRS stereo - > XLR mono cable he has should work okay, both tip and ring together going to pin 2, sleeve to pin 3, XLR pins 1 and 3 jumpered together. Lectro says it is designed so one could use a either a TRS or TS plug and they actually sell a cable, the MC100XLR, that is wired unbalanced TS->XLR
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
Steve, that is my setup. I think I knew intuitively that is how the connection works because I can plug in a three-conductor stereo 1/8" headphone style cable into the receiver and it sends properly to both channels on a camera. I'm not wanting apples or oranges. I would like both, but if a recorder can not be used to also send a decent signal to the camera so it's own gain can be minimized, it is of less use and I will have to decide between the two. If I can get a decent signal from a recorder to go into the 5D2, then that is what I would choose. I'm not sure what way I would go if a recorder will send a weak and/or noisy signal to the camera. Some jobs don't pay and merit the extra quality gained by taking the extra time to sync external audio or I am in a situation where I would need to give someone else my video at the end of the day and supplying them with separate audio files might be a big turnoff for them. Also, due to my great distance from big audio/video shops, I like to do all my shopping at the same time so I can actually use the product when it arrives. This also saves on high shipping costs.

"For that matter most portable recorders have a headphone output that could also be used to drive the mic input of a DSLR with nothing more than an "attenuating dub cable" from Radio Shack."

I realize levels can easily go down in strength, even though I don't understand the specifics, hence my question: "Can the headphone output on the H4n be split into headphone and a decent signal for the 5D2?"

Does anyone know how to provide a DSLR a hot mic signal along with a headphone signal from the Zoom H4n? I don't think it is possible, and, if it is, there would be no way to adjust the headphone level without changing the mic level going to the camera. I guess I would then need to set the headphone output to work through a splitter going to the mic input and a headphone amplifier with adjustable volume. This seems like a pain.

So! I guess I've answered one of my own questions. I require a recorder that can send both a headphone signal as well somehow send a mic-level signal with nothing more than the right cables. I'm guessing that the the Tascam DR100 is what I need (unless someone suggests otherwise) so I would need RCA line-level to be converted to a hot mic-level signal.

********************************

My new questions are therefore:

Is it possible to get a cable to convert the 1/8" (3.5mm) line-out on the DR100 that is labeled "(-10dBV)" to a fairly hot mic-level signal so I can get a clean signal that allows the input gain to be turned down on the 5D2?

If yes to above, does anyone know that cable and it's pad/attenuation level to get the 5D2 set to very low volume? The purpose of this is to get some of the Juicedlink functionality out of the recorder even if it isn't quite as good (but acceptable to non-critical standards).

Is there a recorder better suited to this purpose that is not heavy or outrageously expensive?

*********************************

Steve, I think you can see why the cabling is something I need to sort out up front. I probably can't build a reliable cable of my own and I won't know if the recorder works for what I want until the cables are sorted out. Buying locally may not be possible and by the time I got the right cables and found out the recorder can't send a decent signal to the camera it might be too late to get an exchange.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Don't get too carried away by the idea of sending a 'hot' signal to the DSLR in order to minimize the gain in its preamps. Send it too hot a signal and you run the risk of overloading the input and clipping upstream of the recording gain controls. If this happens, no matter how far down you turn the recording level the sound will still be distorted. The best bet is to send it a signal level that will give you proper recording levels with the recording gain controls set somewhere in the neighborhood of 60%-70% up - this is usually where you get optimum performance. If you have to set it lower you're sending too hot a signal and conversely, having to set it higher means your input signal is too weak. Proper gain staging at each step in the chain is vital to optimum results.

I gotta say, I'm not too thrilled at the notion of taking a monitor output from recorder and trying to use it as an input to the camera. Just seems really kludgy to me and fraught with peril. Recording single system with the Juiced to interface the mics and the camera seems a better way to go. Are you sure the recorder even outputs a monitor signal on its line out during recording? I don't have one and I can't find anything in its online manual that actually says a signal is present on the line out during recording.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
I will have to inquire about the line level out during recording. From the way people are discussing these recorders, it seems that it is enabled.

The hot mic level input is how the Juicedlink works. The instructions are to turn the volume to 1 on the camera and then adjust the Juicedlink. This is done to eliminate as much gain as possible within the camera's noisy audio circuits. Yes, it is that bad, but the hot signal coming into a low input volume helps tremendously as long as it is a clean signal and fairly strong. Volume level 1 is something like 1 out of 64 so that is really low input volume. I'm hoping the output on the recorders is similarly strong and clean so the camera gets acceptable input audio as backup/reference to the recorder.

I finally found a thread that wasn't labeled well as pertaining to this topic on the 5D forum. It started as another subject but diverted into discussing input attenuation levels from recorders. The values people are using go as weak as -20db and there is a cable made for DSLR at Markertek that is -35db to attenuate 4db pro line level (until this week I didn't know about pro line level). Since consumer line level is coming out of the DR100, that might explain people using -20db pads instead of the -35db cable. Of course, if I've got things reversed and consumer line level is really stronger than pro line level, this won't work. It's not clear what is the best solution from any post I've read and the input volumes aren't mentioned but at least people are giving some positive indications toward me doing what I am hoping.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 02:44 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 1,843
Generally...without getting into the specifics of measuring dBV, dBm.,dBu. Bal/ Unbal.
Pro line level: +4dB.
Consumer line level: -10dB.
Mic level: -60dB
If the source is at an 'actual' +4dB operating level, a 20dB pad (line to mic) may not do it.
Rick Reineke is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 15th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
The Tascam DR100 is a -10db device as seen on the side of the unit. Even so, -20db does sound a bit weak. Perhaps I'll try the -35db cable from Markertek to get a little closer to the -40db that apparently is recommended for consumer line level to mic level while keeping a strong signal.
Marcus Marchesseault is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:55 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network