What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input? - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 21st, 2014, 12:28 PM   #31
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Hey Shaun,

I was hoping to go too. But something better came up. I have a gig to work that week ;) I make hay when there is hay to make.

Maybe next year. I would love to meet the DVI guys!

Steve
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Old February 21st, 2014, 12:33 PM   #32
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

+ 1 Rick

Peter,

I would not spend too much time going over that list. He sent you a list of common mixers with no stand out problems. The kit you need to cover that list is the same kit you need to go out there prepared to take a feed from a variety of boards anyway.

My vote is still to be sure you have some type of limiting capability. Excluding AGC!

Steve
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Old February 24th, 2014, 10:53 AM   #33
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Ehrm okay where I'm at is focusing on the 'chunky' bits of gear I require to cover the aforementioned sound desks, before I start drilling down to cables and adaptors.

So, as a one person crew, getting sound from a sound desk that is only podium microphone (no Powerpoint SFX or music) from reading through many forum posts I'm seeing the following kinds of items in common:

DI BOX (ROLLS DV25(B) )
HUM ELIMINATOR
Line Level Shifter
ATTENUATOR
Sound Devices 442 Field Mixer

Is there a single box or device that can do most or all the tasks that the above do all by itself? If there was one box/device that could do all the above, then I think it would be a lot less mind-bending (for my nitwit brain) to focus on what exact cables I would require.

Any thoughts really appreciated!
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Old February 24th, 2014, 11:59 AM   #34
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Hi Peter,

Good start. I think the Sound devices 422 has been discontinued. But any Sound Devices field mixer will be an excellent addition to your kit. Your paying for arguably the best pre-amps in the business. That mixer will also take care of the limiting option I keep suggesting.

The Rolls DI will have a hum elimination switch on it. That is a simple ground lift that works like magic, sometimes. So that is two things on your list in one. Unless you are considering a true electronic hum eliminator?

Attenuaters come in lots of flavors?

If you can afford it....the Sound Devices 552 mixer is also a recorder. That would be a source of one back up for you.

A single podium mic? Every time, for sure? I thought we were helping you get ready prepared to walk into any AV situation?

Some might say a SD mixer is over kill for that. If you can afford the best, buy the best.

Steve

Edit: In this sound forum I ask and read more posts than I respond to because there are guys here far more technical than me. Listen to them. I got involved in yours because I do know something about AV. I am not the final word here.
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Old February 24th, 2014, 12:08 PM   #35
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

You can probably find a used Sound Devices 302 mixer for around US $1,000. (It is only a mixer, not a recorder, too.) It is bullet proof, has three channels, and has absolutely stellar pre-amps with colorless limiting and two low cut options per channel. I've never regretted using it. It will stay in my sound kit until I drop dead, probably.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 04:12 AM   #36
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Thanks Steven and Steven :o)

If I could prepare for only individual people speaking at a podium for now, which is coming soon, I could look for the extra equipment to cover music over the next few months -- there is no musical event any time soon. Getting some 'foundation' equipment for now to primarily cover individual people speaking would be great.

So, I'm looking at Sound Devices 442 Field Mixer with the Rolls DB25b Matchbox Direct Box/Pad/Ground Lift attached to it. Think these two bits of gear would be a good base to start from?

Rolls DB25b Matchbox Direct Box/Pad/Ground Lift
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rolls-DB25b-.../dp/B004FKIUDU

Sound Devices 442 Field Mixer
Sound Devices 442 Field Mixer

So, I guess the method of linking/attaching the above might be as follows:

Mixing desk (whatever output they can afford me) goes to...
...Rolls DB25b Matchbox Direct Box/Pad/Ground Lift, which goes to...
...Sound Devices 442 Field Mixer, which goes to...
...the XLR line input on the SONY HXR-NX3/VG1

How does that "sound" to get me up and running?

What advantages for me, as a single camera outfit, would a Sound Devices 442 Field Mixer have over a Sound Devices 302 mixer -- or would there not be much difference between them for my purposes?

Last edited by Peter Dunphy; February 25th, 2014 at 05:16 AM.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 09:15 AM   #37
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Peter, so far as your requirements for "chunky" bits of gear are concerned, your short list above looks OK. The first time I connected to a board, I downloaded the instruction manual and educated myself on what signal I probably would get. In your case, perhaps you really don't know. I'd throw in one attenuator and one Rolls DB25b per channel that you think you'll need.

The SD442 gives you one more channel and some nice additional features over the SD302. So, obviously, either is massive overkill if you need just one channel for the person speaking at a podium. I like to buy gear with future expansion in mind, and it sounds like you might, too, so think about needs for more channels: instead of one person at a podium, you might record a panel discussion with several people. Then more channels are required. You can mix to taste on the mixer -- duh! -- and route two channels to the L output, two to the R output, and then be able to isolate two speakers per channel. Or 3-into-1...you get the idea.

Your setup lacks any backup audio, however. You're relying entirely upon your camera to reliably lay down audio, to never falter, and then do so only through circuits and at a quality that are far, far inferior to the Sound Devices component earlier in your chain. Like dropping a V-8 into a Volkswagen.

For far less than the price of the SD442, you could pick up a Roland 8 channel mixer/recorder (see picture below). (Not sure where in the UK you shop, so here is one useful link in the U.S.):

Roland R-88 8-Channel Recorder and Mixer R-88 B&H Photo Video

That would give you multi-track flexibility, mixing, limiting, recording, and whopping expansion for future work where you might need or want more channels. Then you could take one or two outputs, feed them into your camera's L and/or R channels, and lay down a backup (or scratch) audio track. Then you could sync in post using the audio waveforms. And you have some cash left in your pocket.

When I was building my audio kit, I got the SD302 and a 2-channel external recorder. Now I use a Tascam HS-P82 8 channel recorder, which is great for stage productions. I still use the 302 and smaller recorder from time to time, mainly for run-and-gun audio-for-video, but I could have saved money in the long run by splashing out for the 8-channel up front.

Hope this helps.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 09:41 AM   #38
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Thanks for the info Steven,

Okay how does this seem to start off with (just recording a person speaking at a podium), with options to expand down the line:

Cable from whichever output I can get from the sound technician mixing desk output to...

...Attenuator ( ATTY Stereo Attenuator, Studio Volume Control, Line Level Volume Control, A Designs Audio ), which then goes into a...

Rolls DB25b Matchbox Direct Box/Pad/Ground Lift
Rolls DB25b Matchbox Direct Box/Pad/Ground Lift: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics which then goes via a cable into a...

Roland R-88 8-Channel Recorder & Mixer
Roland R-88 8-Channel Recorder & Mixer which then goes into...

.....the XLR line input on the SONY HXR-NX3/VG1 ?
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Old February 25th, 2014, 10:03 AM   #39
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Yep. Looks solid to me for starting with your project. With any luck, you won't even need the attenuator and Rolls. I view those as problem solvers, so if you have no problems with the board feed (balanced, not too hot), then you don't need solvers.

By the way, make sure you do the following on your camera (and I don't mean to suggest you failed to realize this already): the Roland and just about every other mixer outputs at line level. So make sure your camera's XLR inputs are set to line, not mic. It will be painfully obvious if you don't. ;) Set your camera's audio control to manual. The Roland should have a toggle switch or button to generate a 1kHz tone. Flip that on, then adjust your camera's audio pots so the level peaks at -12. (Some camera's audio display even show a little tick mark or hash at -12.) Then you know your camera's audio has plenty of headroom to handle audio peaks.

You can't control costs of these components, but you sure can save money by building your own cables. Perhaps for this one project you'll just buy whatever cables you need with the appropriate connectors, obviously XLR and maybe TRS from the board. For the future, however, I can't more highly recommend building your own that will last a lifetime.

Good luck!
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Old February 25th, 2014, 10:56 AM   #40
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Steve R. This has become a long thread. many of us have stressed the importance of a back up track.

Peter, your first post this morning about just one guy at the podium is a game changer. You started this thread of asking about feeds from a board to be prepared for everything. You asked the clients audio guy about which boards he uses, so he gave you a list. He may not always use one of them!

Having just one speaker at a podium opens up another possibility here that could blind side you. There may not be a mixer in the room at all. For a single presenter it is common to tie into nothing but the crappy house sound system. The XLR goes into a wall jack and the mixer could be in a cat walk three floors up.

For just one presenter I am going to put my OWN lav on him. If there is a board in the room I would record that for a back up feed.

I don't have time to explain everything I want to but your last two posts make it clear you don't understand all that we have tried to explain. The Rolls is an attenuator, you don't need to put another one in front of it. And as Steve R said, you need to know when you need them or not.

We have talked a lot about adapters and in line tools. Adapter rule number ONE still applies. Never put anything in line that does not have to be there.

Steve
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Old February 25th, 2014, 11:45 AM   #41
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Reid View Post
...The Roland should have a toggle switch or button to generate a 1kHz tone. Flip that on, then adjust your camera's audio pots so the level peaks at -12. (Some camera's audio display even show a little tick mark or hash at -12.) Then you know your camera's audio has plenty of headroom to handle audio peaks.
...
It should be mentioned that setting 0dBu tone coming out of the mixer to -20 or -18 dBFS on the camera meters results in normal speech (0 to +4 on the mixer meter) hovering around -12dBFS. Your suggested method can result in reduced headroom in the camera.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 05:00 PM   #42
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Never xlr to jacks of any kind, balanced or unbalanced. Always a couple passive DIs to cope with mono or stereo.
May I ask why you say this? Is the reason for the possible impedance and level mismatches or just for precautionary isolation?
My bag of tricks includes some XLR to TRS cables and a bandolier of attenuators. I stopped using DI boxes (except for guitars and keyboards) after finding they caused more problems than they solved.
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Old February 25th, 2014, 07:26 PM   #43
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
My bag of tricks includes some XLR to TRS cables and a bandolier of attenuators. I stopped using DI boxes (except for guitars and keyboards) after finding they caused more problems than they solved.
I have 4 Whirlwind IMP-2 DIs. Bought them brand new. After occasional headaches with sound not getting passed correctly, I figured I'd TEST them all. Yup. One dead one.

I use DIs where they make sense and cable adaptors where THEY make sense.

YMMV.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 08:39 AM   #44
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

For the SONY HXR-NX3/VG1 camera we're getting, the Audio Input is as follows:

XLR-type 3-pin (female) (x2), line/mic/mic +48 V selectable

I take it that means that I would need a female XLR connection on the camera side?

As regards everything else, I'm admittedly lost, but trying my best to understand, so I am going to carefully read more and return once I'm a bit more up to speed. I truly appreciate your patience with me.

Things I think I've learned so far:

It's better to have audio recorded from the mixing desk (both as backup and as a higher quality recorded) into something like the Roland R-88 8-Channel Recorder & Mixer-- which not only records the audio in a higher quality than the SONY HXR-NX3/VG1 camera can manage (is this strictly true?), but also it features a limiter, which will prevent sound passing through it from leaving it in the 'red'.

Only if the limiter on the Roland R-88 is unable to prevent the levels from going in the 'red' (but surely a limiter can handle high levels--maybe it can't handle VERY high levels?), it is then that I introduce an attenuator such as a ROLLS DV25(B) passive DI to take the sting out of the levels. I can also use the ground lift switch on this device for hum elimination if needs be.

Last edited by Peter Dunphy; February 26th, 2014 at 09:39 AM.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 10:28 AM   #45
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dunphy View Post
For the SONY HXR-NX3/VG1 camera we're getting, the Audio Input is as follows:
XLR-type 3-pin (female) (x2), line/mic/mic +48 V selectable
I take it that means that I would need a female XLR connection on the camera side?
No.
Mic inputs in general (including your camcorder) have FEMALE inputs, and they require a MALE connector to plug into them. Most connectors remain steadfastly hetro-sexual despite societal changes. Homosexual (or more correctly "hermaphroditic") connectors are quite rare these days.

Quote:
It's better to have audio recorded from the mixing desk (both as backup and as a higher quality recorded)
That is a complex issue that does not work well as a simple generic question. Certainly there are many cases where recording from the venue sound system provides a mix that may be impossible to achieve by any other method. But it has its limitations and is not a universal solution.

Quote:
into something like the Roland R-88 8-Channel Recorder & Mixer-- which not only records the audio in a higher quality than the SONY HXR-NX3/VG1 camera can manage (is this strictly true?),
No, it is no strictly true. Certainly pro-sumer digital recorders like the Roland (and Zoom and Tascam, and Sony, et.al..) are better than low end consumer camcorders and DSLRs of ANY price/quality. But better video camcorders with proper XLR inputs are roughly equivalent to most of those portable digital audio recorders. There are advantages and disadvantages to using separate audio recording devices. Again this is a complex issue for which there are no simple general-purpose answers.

Quote:
but also it features a limiter, which will prevent sound passing through it from leaving it in the 'red'.
Yes having access to limiters and compressors is a useful tool to manage recording levels. But again, it is not a universal solution as they are frequently too "mechanical" for high-quality use, and typically make music sound terrible.

Quote:
Only if the limiter on the Roland R-88 is unable to prevent the levels from going in the 'red' (but surely a limiter can handle high levels--maybe it can't handle VERY high levels?),
Correct. Limiting is useful for taming unruly level differences. But it is NOT a solution for proper level matching. A limiter won't solve the problem of taking a line-level signal and feeding it into a mic-level input.

Quote:
it is then that I introduce an attenuator such as a ROLLS DV25(B) passive DI to take the sting out of the levels. I can also use the ground lift switch on this device for hum elimination if needs be.
The Rolls DB25 is a great little gadget. I have four of them along with a kit-bag of cables and adapters to accommodate connecting to a wide variety of connectors and signal levels.
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