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Old March 21st, 2012, 10:10 AM   #1
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My new Sound Devices SD 302

Greetings to all;

I'm not going to do a review of the '302'. I couldn't say a thing, not said numerous times before. Suffice to say, it's a well made, small form-factor, field recorder.

I'm waiting for delivery of the Battery Distribution System (BDS).

Regards,

J.
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Old March 21st, 2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

OK, so we all are envious.
Happy now? :-)

I did a recording of a local choir a couple of weeks ago, ORTF straight into a Zoom H4n. It was OK, but when I mentioned to a chap in the church who works for the Beeb he said "You should have let me know - I would have brought my Sound Devices gear and maybe you could have used a few more mics"

It would be nice to be able to work with top line audio gear. Maybe next time!
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Old March 21st, 2012, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kuhn View Post
Suffice to say, it's a well made, small form-factor, field recorder.
It is of course a mixer, not a recorder.

Edited to add: It is a great device, very quiet preamps and nice features, and I'm sure you are really going to enjoy it.

Last edited by David Sholle; March 22nd, 2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old March 21st, 2012, 10:47 PM   #4
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

For your interest. The Sound Devices 302, not mine unfortunately, was very handy for correctly mixing three channels into two for recording into two channels of a Zoom H4n from a Decca tree mike arrangement.

FRA DIAVOLO ARRANGEMENTS FOR IBTTS.mp4 - YouTube
The Decca tree was constructed from an industrial light stand, three window cleaning mops with telescopic handles, the squeegee heads, some foam pipe insulation and foam blocks for mike mounting and acoustic decoupling from the structure. I have since ordered three proper suspension cradles for the three mikes which were Rode NT2a.

The rubber lined ring thing on top was a crude attempt to acoustically decouple the cables from the structure without them being too hard to set up and dismantle later.

Good sound engineers will cringe at my abuse of their craft but their inputs here were a great help in getting it as right as it could be in the available timeframe and budget.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 10:19 AM   #5
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

To all...my mistake. I mean't to say 'Mixer'.

J.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 10:30 AM   #6
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

Bob...how far away was the 'Decca Tree' from the ensemble? It sounds pretty good, considering your dealing with the limitations of YouTube.

I love 'DIY', and 'Guerrilla' a audio!

Regards,

J.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

I'm looking forward to assembling my system, i.e., SD 302 Mixer, PMD 661 Recorder (Oade Super Mod), AKG C451 B/ST mics. This is my stereo recording set-up, e.g., X/Y, ORTF, DIN, etc. I'll eventually delve into Mid/Side technique, but for now this is a manageable kit. The only time I'd break out the 'stereo kit' is for ambient backgrounds and Foley. Dialog for the most part will be mono, and on interviews I can mic-up three (3) three people, summed to two (2) outputs. Most of the time this rig will be used for EFP, using a RODE NTG-3 Shotgun and 'blimp', along with an AT 4053(b) Hyper-Cardioid, and Sennheiser EW 100 G3 wireless kit. I think I've got a fair amount of versatility built into my system. I'm sure the 'Recordists' out there are ROTFLTAO!! I've come to the conclusion Video is a compulsion, and Audio is a real sickness. Heh, heh!

Several people have 'built' DIY 'Blimps' for outdoor nature recording. DIY projects speak to me on two levels. First, apparently there is some Scotch/Irish blood in my Danish heritage which makes me naturally frugal...okay, I'm cheap. The second is, I like building things.

Take care of yourselves and those you love,

J.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 09:12 PM   #8
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

Congratulations on your 302 James, it's a great rig.

Makes sense you have to get familiar enough with it so you don't get caught out on your first gigs.

Soooo one of the first things I did was to set mine up with a mic right in front of the TV speakers* to work out the audio metering, PPM and/or VU**.
Using h/phones, you can try out the limiters and low cut filters, how bright you want the panel light and a bunch of other stuff.

btw it's interesting what you can hear like that on some TV shows .. loose boom swings, weird room tone, distant traffic and one time
I heard muttering from the crew lol.

Be careful when selecting the correct power setting for your NTG-3, 48V off - plug it in - 48V on.
And you might be able to include it on your household insurance ..? Have fun.

Cheers.

*much to my wife's amusement.

** I use VU metering.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 08:42 AM   #9
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

Thank you Allan for the thoughtful and insightful response. I appreciate the 'tips'. LMAO! The first thing I did was hook everything up in my living room and record Primus on the 'Fallon' show. I have to say, it sounded pretty good, considering it was coming from the tiny little speakers of my TV. Heh, heh!

Ty Ford, has been a tremendous resource, he recommended I set my 'Output Limiters to + 12 d Bu' as a starting point. So, this will become my first 'Custom Setup'.

I have a ton of reading I have to do before I feel comfortable with the SD 302. I'm kind of intimidated by the 'firmware file structure' and 'drill-downs'. It all comes with time, I guess.

To all; any operating tips, favorite settings, or other recommendations are greatly appreciated, so please feel free to 'share'. Got to get back to my reading, "Gain Structure...It's Not Just About the Wood?". Heh, heh!

Take care,

J.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

James.


The Decca tree is about 2 metres behind the conductor, overhead on a stand and facing the orchestra. It is to the credit of contributors here, Allan Black among them, that we managed as well as we did so you are in good hands with advice here.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 11:05 AM   #11
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kuhn View Post
Ty Ford, has been a tremendous resource, he recommended I set my 'Output Limiters to + 12 d Bu' as a starting point. So, this will become my first 'Custom Setup'.

To all; any operating tips, favorite settings, or other recommendations are greatly appreciated, so please feel free to 'share'. .
.
IMO, +12dB is an awfully early threshold for the -20dB ref. gain structure, I usually set it around +18dB. Ty certainly knows where to set a limiter's threshold, so I'm sure +12dB is in a specific context.
The main-out attenuator can come in real handy on devices that can't handle high output levels... Zoom recorders for instance. as does the tape-out for a camera-hop or other sends.
Experiment using the full scale tone
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 12:45 PM   #12
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

Rick...I think Ty 'knows' exactly who he's dealing with, so he gave me a little more 'room' for error. Heh, heh.

Your recommendation with regard to the 'Main Output Attenuation', I haven't messed with that, yet. When I first tried attempted to 'calibrate' my Marantz PMD 661 recorder to the desired -20 dBu 'Input value', using the SD 302 Mixer 1kHz Tone, I noticed I had to turn down my "Record Level" dial to ~2.5 (0 -10 scale). It was a pretty 'hot' signal. Of course, everything at that point was 'factory default'.

I don't understand 'Full-Scale Tone', yet. I've 'read' the Owner's manual a few times, but still haven't wrapped my head around it.

Thanks for your interest in this thread.

Regards,

J.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 06:01 PM   #13
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

James, I seem to remember that when I first got my SD 302, there was a very slight difference between the printed manual included with the 302, compared to the pdf manual available online at the SD website, and I seem to remember that the difference was in a section dealing with full scale tone, so if my memory is correct, you might want to check that out.
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Old March 24th, 2012, 10:16 AM   #14
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

David...thanks for the tip. I've got both the 'hard-copy' and the 'PDF'. The PDF is v. 3.6, I think. I'll take any and all tips, tricks, settings, and techniques you 'Old Hands' are willing to share. Many thanks to all that have offered recommendations, so far! Keep those 'cards and letters' coming. Heh, heh!

Best regards,

J.
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Old March 24th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #15
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Re: My new Sound Devices SD 302

BTW, once I 'followed' the directions (read the U/M), I was able to calibrate both my HXR-NX5U camera and the Marantz PMD 661 using 1kHz tone from the SD 302. I believe during my 'initial' attempt to 'calibrate' the camera and recorder, I didn't have everything set for 'Line' signal strength. Once I had had my 'switch-list' correctly configured, the pieces and parts all seemed to play nicely together.

The 'menu-structure' takes a bit of getting use to. Unfortunately for me, I don't believe I will ever reach a 'Zen Moment' where the menu is second nature. : ) While the 'firmware' drill-down is not very intuitive, it's manageable. At least SD uses a 'numbering convention' for 'commands' and 'value options', e.g., (-30) is always the first choice and (-26) always seems to be your second choice for commands and values. Other 'values' are assigned different LED meter lights. Although, at first I thought (-30) was always "Off" and (-26) was always "On", after scrolling through the menu a few times with the 'manual' in-hand, I discovered it is not always the case.

I do have one question to anyone who cares to answer. Regarding Menu item 12, "Default Restore", can you save to memory more than one (1) 'User Default' or 'Custom Default' at a time? I don't believe you can 'save' multiple 'setups'. If someone could confirm that, or tell me how to 'save' multiple 'User/Custom' settings at a time I'd appreciate it.

My best to all for a safe weekend,

J.
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