Off the board, or off the speakers? - Page 2 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 April 13th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #16
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
Actually, some of the modular speaker systems do have a loop through feature
Yes, I realized that, and had some comments about it in reply #8 (above).

Strictly speaking, I guess I don't consider that an output from the speaker, it's really just a loop-through of the output from the board. As such, there's no advantage (except maybe convenience of cabling) to using that loop-through, instead of an actual output at the board. And with the loop-through you might have the problems I mentioned in #8 above.
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #17
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 122
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

I wonder if someone could summarize the differences (with respect to connecting a recorder) between the several output options on the Mackie mixer I'm looking at. There's a "tape out" that uses RCA jacks, a "line out" that uses quarter inch jacks, plus there's the option mentioned in this thread of connecting to the "loop out" on some speakers. Thanks!
Jonathan Plotkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 06:57 PM   #18
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

That's all basically "line" level outs. "Tape out" is usually RCA female, so you need a couple "RCA male to XLR male" cables. You basically need at least a couple of every kind of adapter (RCA, 1/4", XLR, 3.5mm) to go from a board, speaker, whatever, into your recording device. If your device records at line level then you're good, if not get the in-line attenuators I mentioned earlier. I have 2 and they have saved my butt:

Audio-Technica AT8202 In-Line Attenuator AT8202 B&H Photo Video

You must be prepared. Don't just get the bare minimum for this one gig, get what you need to cover any gig.
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 07:52 PM   #19
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 122
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
That's all basically "line" level outs. "Tape out" is usually RCA female, so you need a couple "RCA male to XLR male" cables. You basically need at least a couple of every kind of adapter (RCA, 1/4", XLR, 3.5mm) to go from a board, speaker, whatever, into your recording device. If your device records at line level then you're good, if not get the in-line attenuators I mentioned earlier. I have 2 and they have saved my butt:

Audio-Technica AT8202 In-Line Attenuator AT8202 B&H Photo Video
Thanks Chad. Just to be clear, all of these outputs are the same mix - essentially what's coming out the speakers, right?
Jonathan Plotkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #20
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Yes, all of those give you the mix as the sound person intends it.
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #21
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 1,104
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
as the sound person intends it.
...which can be a HUGE problem.
Jim Snow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 08:22 PM   #22
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

You can get "pre-fader" feeds of each track, but not all boards, or sound-people, can do that. But short of setting up your own mics on everything, we sometimes have to deal with soundmen, or DJs. Then you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

I just delt with the nightmare of recording an all voacal concert at a "state of the art" concert hall. There were 5 mics on stage. The soundman gave me all 5 as pre-fader, only there was a bad hum on all the tracks. He could not track it down, but we discovered the hum was gone when he gave me "post-fader". Not optimal, but we went with that because the show was starting. I hired a 2nd camera guy, I ran one camera, and setup/monitored the audio. I had my Tascam DR-680 getting the 5 mics. I got a full mis board feed to my Sony D-50, and a Rode NT-4 mic going into my camera. Buess what - I needed all 3 of those record methods to deliver a complete show to the client. As it turns out the sound man would turn off the mics when the audience applauded. So if I only got the 5 mics, there would be big blanks on the applause. So my Rode NT4 captured the audience and saved the day, and gave me a nice room sound to blend with the dry sounding mics. So it sounds like a hall, not a bedroom. But there was also a guy singing once with a wireless mic in the middle, the shoudman didn't rout that mic to one of my 5 channels in time, so I missed the first 10 seconds of this guy singing - BUT my Sony D-50 captured the whole mix as the soundman intended for the audience. So I used that, then faded to the better sounding signal I got 10 seconds later.

Moral:
Could have been a frickin' nightmare, but I got everything because I was prepared, and MY mix sounds better than the sound man's did in the theater. I can't stress enough the importance of being prepared, Maybe you can't afford everything at this moment, but at least have the goal to get everything you need for recording audio for your video. A 2 channel recorder is fine, but plan on a multi-channel recorder too. 800.00 for a DR-680 is not a lot in the big picture. Have a decent stereo mic. (Also have a hyper, a shotgun, and a wireless.) It's easy to set up a stereo mic, and any live event will sound better if you record the room as well as the board, AKA "Matrix" recording. Get the adapters and cables now and forget about them. You'll be stoked when an issue comes up and you have the solution. Aspire to be "Johnny on the spot" and you will not be at the mercy of the inevitable lameness of anyone you depend on for anything at an event that you aren't running.

I know you're talking weddings, but in general a lot of this applies.

Cheers
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 08:55 PM   #23
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Plotkin
Just to be clear, all of these outputs are the same mix - essentially what's coming out the speakers, right?
I don't think it's quite that simple. What comes out of the speaker may have gone through an overall room equalizer, which you do not want; and there may be differences in level, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson
You can get "pre-fader" feeds of each track, but not all boards, or sound-people, can do that
Right. And there are pros and cons. Your example was, painfully, a good one, Chad. Depending on the event, getting a pre-fader feed might be helpful. Or, in a different situation, it might leave mics open that should be off, or give a bad mix.

Two issues not addressed are various levels, and overall room EQ.

Scenario 1: no room equalization, amplified speakers.
In this case, the "line out" or "main out" from the mixer will go directly to the amplified speakers. A loop-through feed from the speaker will be the same as "line out" from the mixer. "Tape out" will probably be the same mix but possibly a different level. (As we all know, there are different standards for "line level", so you really need to consult the manual for each specific mixer.)

Scenario 2: no room equalization, separate power amp and speakers.
In this case, you do not want to record from a speaker tap, because the signal going to the speaker will have gone through the power amp. It will be much higher than line level, and will include any noise and distortion from the power amp.

Scenario 3: room equalizer in use ahead of amplification.
In this case, the "line out" or "main out" from the board feeds into the equalizer. The equalizer output feeds to the power amp, or to amplified speakers. You want to record directly from one of the outputs on the board. If you record at the speaker, the signal will have gone through the room equalizer, so it will not be flat. You want a flat signal for the recording so you must get that directly at the board.

The safe choice is always to record directly from the board. Otherwise, you need to be aware of whether or not the DJ is using room equalization, and whether he's using amplified speakers, or separate passive speakers and a power amp. Also, "tape output" is probably the best choice. On some boards, that might be ahead of the main faders (or else you can get a sub that's ahead of the main faders) and that will eliminate problems with the DJ changing main output level to compensate for changing noise levels in the room.

IMHO, it's simplest always to get the signal at the mixer... probably tape out. Less worries in the long run.

But, as I said, Chad's example was excellent. It's more than an "electrical" question. You need to be prepared for the "Board Op (or DJ) Surprise" that will bring you down.
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #24
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 1,104
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Another little surprise that DJs often dish out is a nice blast of feedback during the first toast. This is the way these 'entertainers' establish their volume level. They crank it up until it squeals and then back it off a bit. They sometimes will do this 2 or 3 times before they are happy with it. When that happens every mic in the room will pick up the squeal whether it's on a recorder, camera or anything else. I always have two cameras recording during the toasts both aimed at the speaker. That way I can edit out the squeal without looking like I did a jump-cut and took something out. You can switch to the other camera when you edit and cut out the squeal. Almost always when this happens, people stop talking until the feedback stops. I just shot a wedding where that happened three times during the reception toasts. One of the feedback episodes was so bad that the speaker (the groom) took two steps back and looked very annoyed. I cut that piece out and switched cameras at the same time. You cannot tell anything happened. That sort of scowling reaction isn't something you want to leave on someones wedding video whether or not it was your fault.

There are some really professional DJs who are a pleasure to work with. They know their stuff and they won't hand you any surprises - at least not very often. Unfortunately they are in the minority. When the DJ shows up and look like a punk zit farmer or beta test site for drugs, watch out, you're going to have a tough evening. The more independent you can be from these jokers, the better.
Jim Snow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 04:31 AM   #25
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Plotkin View Post
Thanks Chad. Just to be clear, all of these outputs are the same mix - essentially what's coming out the speakers, right?
Not quite. The "Tape Out" is post main mix fader so it tracks with the master output coming from the XLR main out but it is at -10dBv consumer line level while the XLR outs are at +4dBu studio line level. But riding gain on the Main Mix fader does adjust the levels coming from the Tape Out as well as that of the speakers. If at all possible try to take your audio from the board from one of the Aux or Monitor bus sends as they will be pre main mix output fader and not subject to the level variation caused by the board operator riding gain on the speakers.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 07:26 AM   #26
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Northampton,MA
Posts: 38
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

You mentioned that the "drums" are coming through the sound sytem. So this is more than just a DJ with a DJ console. Right? Sounds like you are saying you want to record the band as well. Rarely will you get a good band mix off a mixing console unless you are taking a feed from an Aux mix that someone is monitoring. For a decent band mix I recommend that you find a sweet spot in the room to place a mic. Probably up high away from crowd noise and place where you get a good mix of speaker and stage sound. If it is just vows and MC that you are looking for then taking a out from the board will work fine. You could probably get decent sound micing the speaker assuming there are not ground loop hums or other noises coming through the speakers.

Andy
Andy Turrett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 07:57 AM   #27
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

I just spotted the mention of drums - which made me too wonder if it's a bit more than a few CDs? The assumption was made that everything was miked up, so would be balanced. Not so! In smaller venues, the back line amps the guitars/keys and bass player use make quite a lot of noise on their own, and the drummer is a loud source on his own - so the mix the sound man produces has less drums in it because they're already loud. Much time is spent getting the quieter sources up to the total level of the others, so if there's a sax, or flute and voices, they will be only through the PA, so will be higher in level than the drums - because they don't need any more. As a consequence, a feed direct from the mixer will sound very strange - often bass light and a bit thin sounding. Even with the best operator, you will get a level - which if they are not too busy, they'll keep an eye on (not ear - they just monitor the led meter on your output channel) What you actually get balance wise is very hit and miss. Their primary aim is good room sound, not video feed balance.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 12:59 PM   #28
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 122
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Not quite. The "Tape Out" is post main mix fader so it tracks with the master output coming from the XLR main out but it is at -10dBv consumer line level while the XLR outs are at +4dBu studio line level. But riding gain on the Main Mix fader does adjust the levels coming from the Tape Out as well as that of the speakers. If at all possible try to take your audio from the board from one of the Aux or Monitor bus sends as they will be pre main mix output fader and not subject to the level variation caused by the board operator riding gain on the speakers.
Still a bit confused... is it correct to say that the Aux or Monitor bus sends the same mix as the speakers (i.e. the same "proportions" of each input) except for overall gain? Thanks again, this thread is super helpful.
Jonathan Plotkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 01:11 PM   #29
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Firstly, are you just recording toasts & ceremony? Or will there be a band going through the PA too?

Without getting too involved with trying to get the DJ to give you specialized feeds, I have found that just getting a "Tape Out" feed of the board has worked fine for these small sound requirements, i.e. one or two people talking through a mic. Let's not make it too complex here. The big thing is to talk to the DJ/Sound person as far in advance of the event, to see what they can give you, and so you have time to get the proper adapters.
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #30
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Re: Off the board, or off the speakers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Plotkin View Post
Still a bit confused... is it correct to say that the Aux or Monitor bus sends the same mix as the speakers (i.e. the same "proportions" of each input) except for overall gain? Thanks again, this thread is super helpful.
No, they don't. The aux busses are parallel to the main bus. Each channel strip sends to each bus separately. The aux busses also have completely separate output levels, independent of the main mix. I could, for example, send a mic on input channel 2 to aux 1 out without it appearing in the main mix at all, or the other way around - have it in the main but not send it to aux at all. Or I can send it to both. The output from those busses will also have its own level control completely independent of the main level. By using an aux out you can setup a proper recording mix to come out of the aux while the board op does his thing with a house PA mix on the mains, and the two won't interfere with each other.

There are variations from manufacturer to manufacturer and between different mixers with a given manufacturer's lineup. The best bet is to download the manual for the specific model you'll be working with and study the block diagrams and routing info. It can be bewildering. My Mackie 1642 has direct outs on each mic channel, 4 mono aux busses with their own outputs with the input channels routable to any or all of them in any combination, four submix channels with their own outputs that can either send a contribution to the main mix or out inpdendently, the main outs and a tape out, plus a mono out that sends a mono mix tapped off the mains post-fader. Then there's also a set of tape level inputs and aux inputs as well!
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House 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 05:40 AM.


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