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Old December 16th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #1
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Shure FP33 mixer questions

Greetings.

A friend of mine who is also a freelance sound fellow let me borrow a Shure FP33 mixer. He uses Sound Device stuff now and is interested in selling me this piece of equipment for around $200.00US.

The Shure is a cute little thing and the build quality seems impressive.

I have a few questions for anyone that might have experience with this unit.

1) I know that this mixer is listed on B & H for around $1300, but my buddy claims that this unit is not made any more, and in fact there may not even be any support for it if I ever needed that.

2) Is 200 a good price for someone like me who is going from plugging a mic into a camera to my first mixer?

3) A few of the gain/adjustment knobs are kind of noisy when turned, but fine when not turned. Can these be "lubed" so that they don't snap, crackle and pop when turned, or should I just live with it (if I buy this thing)?

4) This unit has three xlr inputs. Inside the unit are three switches 1, 2, and 3, I assume to correspond with the three channels. I am familiar, sort of with the difference between phantom power (mic gets power from camera/mixer) and non-phantom? power, mic has a battery.

What I am confused about is that there are three switch options:

Top position 12V T (A-B), used with certain Sennheiser and Schoeps mice.
Middle position (Dynamic) No DC power on pins 1, 2, or 3. Used with mics that have internal batteries. (OK, that seems obvious)
Bottom position (Phantom) An internal dip switch can select 12v or 48v. Right now that DIP switch is set to 12v, but I thought most phantom power mics used 48v?

So obviously if I am using a mic that has a AA battery I would choose the middle position, right?

So what is the difference between the top position and the bottom position. My guess is that the bottom position is just used to select either 12 or 48v.

I'm also guessing it would be curtains for my battery operated mic if I accidentally plugged that into an input that was phantom powered, either the top or bottom position, right?

4) This may be a dumb ?, but I am assuming that this mixer is also a pre-amp? Will my sound be better than if I just plug a mic into the xlr on the camera? I know there are lots of input/output/monitoring options with the mixer, but is the sound "better"?

Thanks for your help.

Jonathan
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Old December 16th, 2012, 05:08 PM   #2
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

I cant give a long reply at the moment.... but I own 2x FP33 mixers and like them.
$200 is a good price and worth while buying.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 06:32 PM   #3
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

I also have an FP33. It's a rugged unit and I am the second owner. Assuming your mic is modern, I doubt you would toast your battery powered mic if you accidently plugged it into a powered channel. That's not to say there aren't some condenser mics for which that would be bad news.

The noisy pots will get you when you need to change gain during a shot. I would find only being able to change gain between shots greatly limiting.

Shoot an email to Shure tech support about replacing the pots. It's only been in the last 5 years or so that they stopped making them.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

1) I know that this mixer is listed on B & H for around $1300, but my buddy claims that this unit is not made any more, and in fact there may not even be any support for it if I ever needed that.
-- http://www.shure.com/americas/produc...l-stereo-mixer
Shure still makes the 33 and would have parts and support. Not to be confused with the discontinued FP-32 and 32a which is similar in appearance and basic features.

2) Is 200 a good price for someone like me who is going from plugging a mic into a camera to my first mixer?
-- A $200 FP-33... That is awfully cheap... could it be a FP-32 or 32a?

3) A few of the gain/adjustment knobs are kind of noisy when turned, but fine when not turned. Can these be "lubed" so that they don't snap, crackle and pop when turned, or could I just live with it (if I buy this thing)?
-- Not a good sign, Better to replace the pots, no access w/o disassembling anyway

4) This unit has three XLR inputs. Inside the unit are three switches 1, 2, and 3, I assume to correspond with the three channels. I am familiar, sort of with the difference between phantom power (mic gets power from camera/mixer) and non-phantom? power, mic has a battery.
-- then you don't need Phantom power for that particular mic, but most other pro condenser mics require it. Each channel on the FP 32 or 33 has a 3-position switch: Phantom, T-power and Dynamic and are mic/line switchable as well. The output buss has a limiter w/ user adjustable threshold.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
Greetings.

A friend of mine who is also a freelance sound fellow let me borrow a Shure FP33 mixer. He uses Sound Device stuff now and is interested in selling me this piece of equipment for around $200.00US.

The Shure is a cute little thing and the build quality seems impressive.

I have a few questions for anyone that might have experience with this unit.

1) I know that this mixer is listed on B & H for around $1300, but my buddy claims that this unit is not made any more, and in fact there may not even be any support for it if I ever needed that.

Certainly in Australia the dealer has spare parts, I bought some knobs for a FP33 about 6 months ago, so certainly in the US it should be good

2) Is 200 a good price for someone like me who is going from plugging a mic into a camera to my first mixer?

Yes it is a good price

3) A few of the gain/adjustment knobs are kind of noisy when turned, but fine when not turned. Can these be "lubed" so that they don't snap, crackle and pop when turned, or should I just live with it (if I buy this thing)?

Often pots that haven't been used for a while go noisy, give each pot about 15-20 end to end turns and see what they are like then

4) This unit has three xlr inputs. Inside the unit are three switches 1, 2, and 3, I assume to correspond with the three channels. I am familiar, sort of with the difference between phantom power (mic gets power from camera/mixer) and non-phantom? power, mic has a battery.

What I am confused about is that there are three switch options:

Top position 12V T (A-B), used with certain Sennheiser and Schoeps mice.

T powering is not often used these days

Middle position (Dynamic) No DC power on pins 1, 2, or 3. Used with mics that have internal batteries. (OK, that seems obvious)

That's correct

Bottom position (Phantom) An internal dip switch can select 12v or 48v. Right now that DIP switch is set to 12v, but I thought most phantom power mics used 48v?

set it to 48v as this is now the standard

So obviously if I am using a mic that has a AA battery I would choose the middle position, right?

Yes, many battery mics will also run on phantom as well as batteries like the Rode NTG2 and many Lav mics if that's the case leave the phantom power ON

So what is the difference between the top position and the bottom position. My guess is that the bottom position is just used to select either 12 or 48v.

one position is '12v T' powering, the centre position is 'dynamic' used for dynamic mics, self powered mics or radio mics and the last position is 'phantom power' and the DIP switch will select 12v / 48v phantom

I'm also guessing it would be curtains for my battery operated mic if I accidentally plugged that into an input that was phantom powered, either the top or bottom position, right?

Most pro mics will not be damaged if accidentally plugged into an input with phantom power on it BUT they might be damaged if plugged into T powering

4) This may be a dumb ?, but I am assuming that this mixer is also a pre-amp? Will my sound be better than if I just plug a mic into the xlr on the camera? I know there are lots of input/output/monitoring options with the mixer, but is the sound "better"?

mixers normally have better preamps and limiting than cameras.... so it should be a slight improvement than just direct to camera.

Thanks for your help.

Jonathan
There is a link to the operational manual.....
http://www.shure.com/uploads/user_gu...fp33_en_ug.pdf

My suggestions for the DIP switches..
1...off
2...short
3...short
4...off
5...off
6...on
7...off
8...on
9...timed
10..on
11..48v
12..off
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Old December 16th, 2012, 08:22 PM   #6
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

Thanks to this thread, I learned my mixer was set to 12v instead of 48v. Awesome. However, neither the UG or the DIP switch block is labeled as to what is ON or OFF. The block is labeled "Open" on the left side of the block as you look at it with the numbers upright. Using switch 9 for the light, I deduced that pressing the DIP switch on the left is 12v and the right 48v.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 09:45 PM   #7
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

This site is amazing. I have been here for years but did not start posting again until a couple of weeks ago. You asked a question and these guys instantly poured out good advice to you.

Here is my .2 cents:
Will the mixer make my audio better?
Not necessarily. If it has a limiter, as yours does, then yes. If you know what it is and how to use it. Here is my point. All video and audio capture is about signal flow. These days I see guys putting things in the signal flow process just because they own the piece of gear. Less is best. Any cable, adapter, or processing device should not be there unless it is enhancing the signal. Mixers route signals, and they often have features that can improve the signal before it is recorded on the final medium. In your case a limiter, but limiters can be problematic if you don't understand it. Mixers, in line with a singal mic, offer the ability to consistently monitor and adjust your signal to the proper level. If your mixer has dirty pots that defeats that purpose until they work. Even in the digital age, don't put something in the flow unless it is enhancing the signal. And audio still starts out analog, then goes through a A/D codec process
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Old December 16th, 2012, 10:17 PM   #8
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

The pots may be dirty, or the resistive element may be worn away from heavy use.

As a stopgap measure, you could try spraying DeoxIT F5 Fader Lube into the pots, then rotate a few times to evenly disperse it over the resistive element. If that seems to solve the problem, then the pots were probably just dirty. If the problem remains, or comes back very soon, then the pots probably are worn, and should be replaced ASAP.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 12:35 AM   #9
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

sure no longer makes the Fp33. thats a fact. they no longer actually repair them, but swap them out with the last stock they have.. cost $600.

if the pots are bad, maybe Trew Audio can service it and replace them. not a good sign.I'd call Trew and ask them how much to replace the pots first before buying because cost of repair might be more than you want to deal with.

T power is completely different than Phantom power. short answer, only mics designed for T power can use it, any other will will be FRIED by T power. OTH, Phantom power can be left on and will not normally hurt a dynamic mic. its better to power mics with phantom power anyway as it eleminates one more point of failure.

if you want the FP33 to work right, either power it with dual 9V ( rechargeable !!! ) or use external 24V + power. using 12-14V will work, but the mixer will not make it specs and distort / clip way before it normally would when getting enough voltage. It likes HOT power up to 30V.

its not a bad mixer at all, but I sold mine and moved up to a SD 552
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Old December 17th, 2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

As Steve O says, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES apply 12 volt 'T' power to any microphone that does not explicitly state it's designed for it. It is NOT a low voltage version of phantom but is wired completely differently. Applying 'T' power to a dynamic mic is almost certain to fry the capsule beyond repair and can seriously damage mics wired for conventional phantom. A mic might say it's usable with phantom from 12 to 48 volts but 12 volt phantom is not the same thing as 12 volt 'T' or 'A/B' power.
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Last edited by Steve House; December 17th, 2012 at 12:08 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 11:00 AM   #11
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

WOW!!!!

You guys are amazing! I love you all. Sorry I didn't get back to you all sooner, but I wanted to play with this thing a bit and then ask all my silly questions:

Brian: thanks. I'm actually thinking maybe a barter or something if he's interested. And I did download the user manual from Shure. And all the switches except the 12/48v were set like your list. (The dudes a sound guy, so I guess he set it up OK)

Everyone: I will avoid the "T" power setting like the plague. Yes, this a F33 NOT F32/A

So just before writing this, I've had a chance to play around with a AT 822 stereo microphone.

Initially I had set all the mic power selection switches to the bottom (Phantom) setting. Upon connecting the mic, I had no sound through the headphones, meters not responding. I then tried the middle position,(Dynamic) and then I had sound. This is probably because my AT uses an internal AA battery.

I checked all three channels and they work. In fact, all three Pan knobs when turned were not scratchy. All three Input Gain control knobs are quiet when turning back and forth. So that's good.

One thing I noticed, and I'm not sure if this is normal or not, you guys would know, is if I have nothing plugged into the inputs, and I turn up any one of the gain knobs to 8 or above, I can hear a distinctive "sssshhhhh" for lack of a better word.

Is this normal?

The other thing I noticed is that I have to turn the input gain up to about 8 or higher to get the VU even register -7 (black) I get can more "volume" if I turn the Master Gain up, but something doesn't seem right.

As far as noisy controls, the one control that does crackle and bark and growl is the Headphone monitor mode switch. (Can't figure this one out anyway, so back to the manual)

If you guys have any other advice based on the information I've mentioned above, I'd be most appreciative. All so new to me.

Thank you so much again.

Jonathan
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Old December 17th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #12
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
...
One thing I noticed, and I'm not sure if this is normal or not, you guys would know, is if I have nothing plugged into the inputs, and I turn up any one of the gain knobs to 8 or above, I can hear a distinctive "sssshhhhh" for lack of a better word.

Is this normal?

The other thing I noticed is that I have to turn the input gain up to about 8 or higher to get the VU even register -7 (black) I get can more "volume" if I turn the Master Gain up, but something doesn't seem right.

...
The "ssshhhh" is preamp input noise and it's normal for it to be higher for an open input that it is for one with a mic connected to it. Any unused inputs should be turned all the way down for this reason.

The Master Gain should be set to the zero mark on the dial, found at about the 2 o'clock position, and left there for normal operation. That's the unity gain setting. Then adjust the input gain controls on each input channel to bring the signal to a normal operating level, hovering about 0VU on the meters.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #13
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

Steve, thank you for your info. Advice taken.


I think I am really disliking my stereo mic. There seems to be a "dead" spot if you talk directly in front of the mic. However there is noticeable gain when shifting to the right or left of center. BTW- mic was given to me as a present a long time ago.

So if I speak into either the right or left side of mic, levels seem to be better.

Since I am so new to this, could someone explain the limiter switch and when I should or should not use it?

I am also trying to figure out the 1 khz tone. My sound friend said to use that to send the tone to the camera, adjust the gain on the camera with tone to 0 then tape the camera gain settings so they don't get moved during shooting.
I see that with the unity gain setting set to 0 (or 2 o'clock), and you activate the 1 khz tone, the vu meter is reading just above 0.

Am I correct that I'd set the camera with that tone to about the same?

Thanks for teaching an old dog new tricks.

This has been really fascinating.

Jonathan
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Old December 17th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #14
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

The limiter should be switched on in most cases. It's purpoase is to prevent an unusually loud signal from over-driving the recording device or camera with subsequent clipping. Normal speech should have the mixer's meters bouncing around 0VU. This corresponds to a mixer output level of +4dBm (dBu is approximately the same). With the default setting the limiter kicks in at +15dBm, reducing the gain to prevent the output from going above that level.

The tone is used to set the input levels on the device following the mixer, ie your recorder or camera. 0VU is an averaging analog measurement that represents the "normal" level of the signal. Digital devices like cameras use peak reading meters calibrated in dB Below Full Scale, dBFS, where 0dB represents the maximum signal that is possible to record, the level where the binary number representing the signal becomes 1111111111111111. Anything attempting to go over that is cut off, clipped. The standard calibration levels in SMPTE country are 0VU = +4dBu = -20dBFS.

You set the output of the mixer to unity gain and turn on the tone. You then use the recording level controls on your camera or recorder to adjust the signal until the meters on the recording device read your desired calibration level, typically -20dBFS. Turn off the tone and turn on the limiters. Now voice that reads 0Vu on the mixer will record at about -12dBFS on the recorder's meters (-12, not -20, because of the different energy distributions in a voice signal versus a pure sine tone) and the limiters will kick in to prevent clipping if the signal threatens to go all the way up to -1dBFS on a loud peak.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #15
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re: Shure FP33 mixer questions

well I basically agree with you steve H except the FP33 meters are pretty useless. they are some sort of peaking meter and beyond setting tone don't seem to match anything else. There is a mod in the manual to dampen the meter response to probably act more like a normal VU meter, but I didn't have a chance to do it and see. it was one of the big reasons I upgraded to the 552.

in actual operation, once you have tone you should see a genereally lit green channel light with occasional flickers off. rarely should you see it go red which means its -3db under clipping... but hey peaks happen don't worry unless you see it a lot.

of more concern is to avoid having the output limiters kick in. I adjusted mine to more like 13db. you really don't want the output limiters kicking in because they really seem to hardclip the output... and if you undervolt the mixer its worse, so feed it a solid 24V for best performance because it does make a difference in how much more headroom you will get
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