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Old September 26th, 2005, 12:54 PM   #1
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ATR-55 and Edirol R-1

Yesterday I went to the location for my film that I am shooting next month to rehearse some setups with my DP and to get my sound guy up to speed.

After I got home and listened to the audio that was recorded, what I found was that the audio is VERY faint. So I did some tests in the house. Basically what I noticed was that unless the mic is VERY close to the mouth of the person speaking and they are speaking at a volume slightly higher then normal, the audio is VERY faint.

Additionally, it has always been the case that I have had to have the input sensativity on the R1 at max.

At first I thought it might be the K-Tek wind screen since this was the first test using that device - previous soujourns to the location indicated that the indoor foam windscreen was insufficient to overcome wind noise at the location. However, a series of tests at home bore out that this is not the issue.

So, this begs the question:

Is the issue the recorder or the mic? Is it reasonable to somehow amplify the signal that the mic produces to drive the recorder a bit better?

And, yeah, I verified the battery at all stages of testing AND I used the telephoto setting on the mic...

As a side note, when I tooke the audio into Adobe Audition and boosted the amplitude, the sound quality was excellent. But I do not want to have to do that as doing so will tend to bring up the BG noise level.

Any suggestions here would be GREATLY appreciated! I just need to understand what a reasonable solution is before I run out and buy a Sennheiser MKH-70 out of desperation!

Thanks!
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Old September 26th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #2
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Edirol's site says that the nominal input signal for the R1 with the input level set to maximum is -40 dBu, or about 13 milivolts. You'd have to shout into an AT897 to get that. AudioTechnica's site does not list the sensitivity for the ATR-55, which leads me to believe that it's lower than that of the AT897, not higher. If you want to know, you can submit a technical inquiry at their site. They're pretty responsive.

But unless I'm missing something here, the Edirol seems to require an awfully strong input, and is not getting it from the ATR-55. So yes, it looks like you need a preamp or a more sensitive mic.
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Last edited by David Ennis; September 26th, 2005 at 06:44 PM.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:24 PM   #3
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Thanks, Fred. OK, based on that, what would you reccomend? Either is fine with me. If it's a new mic, I need one that is self powered and unbalanced (non-XLR connector). If it's a pre-amp, then I need one that is battery powered and can take the same mini-jack connector that the mic has and the Edirol expects.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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Old September 26th, 2005, 08:54 PM   #4
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Shaughan,
I don't find much in the way of battery operated preamps. I'm thinking you might have much better results with a Rode Videomic. It has a senstivity of of 15 mV / Pa, and an output impedance of 200 ohms, which is a better match for the Edirol.

I decided to query Audiotechnica to see if they'll tell us the sensitivity of the ATR-55. If it's as low as I suspect, that would increase my confidence that the Rode could be a solution for you. I should hear tomorrow.

I wonder what other people are using for mics with the R1? I suspect that most people are using them with line level inputs. You might want to call or email Edirol and ask them what they recommend for a mic.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 10:18 PM   #5
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I don't know anybody who's running the R1 mic-in... it's all pres which supply phantom to the mic and then line-in to the R1.

As for pre's it's "sky's the limit"... some run MP-2, MixPre, FP24, etc... some run grace V3.

That's why the MicroTrack was supposed to be the holy grail (but totally ISN'T... at least not yet)... it would be the first little digi-jobbie that could phantom a mic cleanly and run 24/96... no extra box anywhere.

Well it 'aint working out that way just yet and I send everybody who asks me to Edirol... but they're still running line-in so it's not an issue.

It would probably fry your brain to hear what's really possible with that Edirol... right after I sold my Sound Devices MM-1 for $300 I'm finding about a million other people who should consider a new one at $350.

I'd hate to see that kind of a rig running a freakin' atr55... but this is like the other thread about phantom... and I kept saying to get an MM-1 'cause of all the extra stuff it does.

Well in THIS thread an MM-1 (or used mixpre or fp24) would give you a -126db SN pre-amp which is ULTRA-clean and it would open the door for you to use incredible price/performance mics like the Oktava Hypercardioid... (and that mic is only $165 with coupon code "DV" from sound-room)

So you're still climbing the ladder... as it were, but there are pre-amp options that compare to the best stuff available... for a few hundred. Then after THAT any mic you want is plug 'n play.

If you're not ready for all that I second the value of the Rode mics... at any level. They're great mics for the money if you spend $150 or $1K.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Rode Videomic
Problem with that unit is that it's married to that mount and I need it to go on my boom/shockmount.

These two have been suggested:

Sennheiser ME66 + Sennheiser K6

Audio Technica 897

Would either of these mics solve the issue? If so, which is a better match for the R1? Also, what is a good converter to go from XLR to 1/8" mini plug?

Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by Shaughan Flynn; September 27th, 2005 at 10:16 AM.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #7
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I got my reply from Audiotechica. The ATR-55 is definitely not sensitive enough for the Edirol.

The ME66/K6 will deliver at least 10 times the signal voltage as the ATR-55. but probably more like 12-15 times as much when the impedance match is considered. The AT897 will only deliver about 2-3 times as much.

I looked again and I see that the Edirol supplies plug in power through its mic jack. It is probably true that only a plug in power compatible mic will drive the Edirol without a preamp. Trouble is, there isn't much of a selection of plug in power mics out there. Certainly nothing in the pro league. I think Sony has a couple, but I believe they're stereo mics, not shotguns.

With it's great sensitivity, the ME66 is probably worth a try, but only if it's returnable.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 07:38 PM   #8
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The RODE Videomic is actually a good choice. It has 1/4" and 3/8" threads on the bottom too. You can also unscrew the mic from the shockmount. A $99 boompole is also becoming available in Oct.

Or go with maybe a BeachTek DXA-10
http://beachtek.com/dxa10.html

DANG! I just tested the R-1 with the RODE Videomic. It sounds killer! Amazingly clean at 320kbps MP3.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #9
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Here's the MP3 file I just recorded...nothing scientific, but I'm impressed...woulda been better without all the computers in the room, but you'll hear what it sounds like for yourself at least.

http://dvestore.com/media/R1_videomic.MP3
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Old September 27th, 2005, 11:43 PM   #10
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OK, I ordered the ME66 setup and picked up the adapter for it today. I should have it Thursday and I will do an A/B test with the ME66 and the ATR55 and post an MP3 on here.

Like I said, I would have opted for the Rode if it was not for that mount that it uses.

Thank you all VERY much for your assistance here, gentlemen. I hope to be able to repay the favor sometime!

Shaughan
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Old September 28th, 2005, 02:27 PM   #11
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I just wonder if even the ME66 will have enough output
if the Edirol is designed for line in and not mic in.
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Old September 28th, 2005, 04:06 PM   #12
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Dave, the Edirol does have a mic input, it just seems to require kind of a high signal level. Anyway Guy's comments about his success with the Rode encourage the hope that the ME66 will do it for Shaughan even if Shaughan is trying to cover more of a dynamic range than Guy.

But Shaughan, I do hope you got the right adaptor. It's very common to be sold a straight through XLR to stereo mini adapter, where each pin of the XLR is wired to a separate section of the mini plug, and that's wrong. It results in a reecording where the left and right channels cancel each other out during playback when mixed down to mono. Whatever you bought should be explicity sold as being wired for connecting a mono mic to a camcorder's stereo input jack.
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Old September 28th, 2005, 05:05 PM   #13
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Alright, just to be a total maniac...here's the Edirol R-1 with the Sennheiser ME66/K6 in the same room.

http://dvestore.com/media/R1_me66.MP3

Definitely a crisper, tighter sound with better off-axis rejection - and it should be at 3 times the price.

The set-up: Sennheiser ME66/K6 to XLR male to male to Sennheiser CL100 XLR to 1/8 mini adapter to a 10' 1/8" miniplug extension cable.

The R-1 is recording with MIC type switched to CND (condenser). An AA battery is powering the K6.


Jeez, while we're at it...should I bust out the MKH 416 with the BeachTek?
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Old September 29th, 2005, 09:34 AM   #14
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Guy, you are the MAN! It sounds great!

Fred, do you have a specific brand/model of the adapter that you can suggest?
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Old September 29th, 2005, 09:55 PM   #15
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OK, here is a quick test. Each mic is positioned at the same place and I am speaking at the same volume for both tests. The input level on the R1 was at about 1/5th of it's travel up from 0. For the ATR55, the input level is at max. First in the file is the ME66 and then the ATR55.

I am VERY satisfied.

Thanks for ALL of your help here folks!

Test MP3
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