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

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Old February 19th, 2014, 09:08 AM   #1
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What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Hi guys

What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input for conferences (live speakers at a microphone on a podium)?

Company on verge of getting a new prosumer camera (possibly Sony's new HXR-NX3) which has a couple of XLR audio inputs.

The idea is for a 3rd party sound company to give us access to their mixing desk, from which we will attach whatever connector/cable is necessary in order to extract its audio and sent that directly to the video camera.

Basically we want a complete 'wired' 'swiss army knife' solution (connectors, adaptors, cables) to cover any eventuality should we encounter both 'cheap' and 'pro sound desks' at live conferences. As simplistic as possible to understand would be ideal!

So, what's your kit list? (connectors, cables--lengths, jacks, bits and pieces--any small item you think necessary)

Any thoughts or suggestions whatsoever would be truly appreciated.

Warm regards
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:29 AM   #2
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

I'm too lazy to search, and maybe you were, too, to find a thread awhile back listing exactly these items.

One mission critical item I almost always use are TRS-XLR patch cables. I soldered my own with Neutrik connectors and Canare cable, about a foot long, with a 1/4" TRS connector on one end and XLR on the other. This is because many sound boards I plug into offer only TRS outputs, e.g., direct outs, aux sends, etc. I made 6 because I typically multi-track stage productions, but if you're using only your camera, then I suppose 2 would do the trick.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:42 AM   #3
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Steven

Thought I'd do a fresh thread in case there were some new inventions etc since any older threads.

Thanks for the information about the TRS-XLR patch cables, very useful indeed, much appreciated.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Steven's suggestion really helped, so how about this--

Instead of a full kit list, what *mission critical* items would anyone here bring with them to video conferences etc that require taking live feeds from mixing desks of various quality?
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:09 AM   #5
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Because I use an external audio recorder that can take line and mic levels, and I can attenuate both if I need, I seldom need anything else for taking sound off a TYPICAL board. In your case, however, I would definitely add in-line attenuators. Boards that are supposed to output line level can still overdrive inputs, especially the relatively cheap ones on video cameras. In fact, that happened at my last gig; I had to ask the FOH to turn down his line level outputs as they were still too hot for me.

Add a DI box or two to your kit. Super, super handy problem solvers. If, for whatever reason, you're forced to take unbalanced outs from a board, you're going to need a DI box, one per channel or one two-channel box. Converts high impedance unbalanced to low impedance balanced, attenuates if needed.


Cheers.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:12 AM   #6
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

I have a bag in which I have just about every turn around, adapter and patch cable known to man. From XLR male and female to 1/4 and 1/4 to XLR M & F to mini to XLR male and female. RCA to 1/4 and back, I mean the list is huge.
This is stuff I've collected over the years and believe me when I say I probably have only used about 20% of the various connections but when I walk in to do a seminar I really don't know what the sound guy will have or give me to use and even though I know a lot of the sound guys I've worked with over the years sometimes they just can't (or won't) help you out so I'm prepared no matter what. As my first sergeant in Army basic training, back in the old days once said, "better to have it and not need it than to not have it and die for it".
Now granted we won't die for not having it but it could make the difference in being able to do the job or not. A lot of the stuff I have I got at Radio Shack. Most common connections for me are XLR so I carry a couple hundred feet of cable as well. You just never know what you'll need.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:13 AM   #7
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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
Because I use an external audio recorder that can take line and mic levels, and I can attenuate both if I need, I seldom need anything else for taking sound off a TYPICAL board. In your case, however, I would definitely add in-line attenuators. Boards that are supposed to output line level can still overdrive inputs, especially the relatively cheap ones on video cameras. In fact, that happened at my last gig; I had to ask the FOH to turn down his line level outputs as they were still too hot for me.

Add a DI box or two to your kit. Super, super handy problem solvers. If, for whatever reason, you're forced to take unbalanced outs from a board, you're going to need a DI box, one per channel or one two-channel box. Converts high impedance unbalanced to ow impedance balanced, attenuates if needed.


Cheers.
Magic, Steven, thanks.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:16 AM   #8
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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 Don Bloom View Post
I have a bag in which I have just about every turn around, adapter and patch cable known to man. From XLR male and female to 1/4 and 1/4 to XLR M & F to mini to XLR male and female. RCA to 1/4 and back, I mean the list is huge.
This is stuff I've collected over the years and believe me when I say I probably have only used about 20% of the various connections but when I walk in to do a seminar I really don't know what the sound guy will have or give me to use and even though I know a lot of the sound guys I've worked with over the years sometimes they just can't (or won't) help you out so I'm prepared no matter what. As my first sergeant in Army basic training, back in the old days once said, "better to have it and not need it than to not have it and die for it".
Now granted we won't die for not having it but it could make the difference in being able to do the job or not. A lot of the stuff I have I got at Radio Shack. Most common connections for me are XLR so I carry a couple hundred feet of cable as well. You just never know what you'll need.
Thanks Don, apart from the long cable what mission critical items are in your 20% that you commonly use, would you say?
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Quarter to XLR male. Some of the sound systems I have to patch into leave me nothing more than a 1/4 to pull from so I have a few 1/4 to 1/4 cables and I need the XLR to get into the camera so that's a big one for me. Also RCA to XLR. Although THAT takes an RCA female to 1/4 male to a1/4 female to XLR male to camera. It's a real PITA. Those are my go to connections. I also make sure I have my audio bag just in case I have to play audio guy which honestly isn't my forte but I do what I need to. I used to run AV for a client at all of their seminars and I would end up with 2 or 3 laptops going thru the mixer as well as 3 to 6 mics so lots of different concoctions of connectors were needed.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Absolutely have a DI or two. The isolation and/or ground lift can be a gig saver when somethings 'not quite right'. Many here use the affordable Rolls DB25(B) passive DI. Both models have attenuation and ground lift capabilities. Obviously you will still need a some adapters or custom cables for HP, RCA, 1/4" outputs.
Personally, I won't leave home w/o a few IL19s (1:1 iso transformer) either.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:33 AM   #11
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Looks like Don's advice is consistent with mine. Be aware that RCA outputs are unbalanced, so if you must use (or are only given) these, use a DI box as close to the source (board) as possible: RCA in, XLR out. You don't want to have long runs of unbalanced signal else you stand the risk of introducing all manner of noise. If I was shooting next to the board, in a pinch without a DI box, then I might feel comfortable with a short run of RCA-XLR cable.
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Last edited by Steven Reid; February 19th, 2014 at 01:53 PM.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 01:36 PM   #12
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

At least three or four 50-foot XLR M/F "mic cables".
I find indispensable: Rolls DB25b "passive direct-box" Rolls Corporation - Real Sound - Products DB25b I have four of them. These are great for: isolation, unbalanced to balanced conversion, and continuously-variable attenuation TO ACCOMMODATE A VERY WIDE RANGE of source signal levels.

Since the Rolls DB25 has 1/4-inch inputs, I have several 2~3 ft cables with 1/4-inch TS (unbalanced) on the DB25 end, and on the other end:
* 1/4-inch TS -- for both balanced and unbalanced 1/4 inch outputs
* Female XLR -- for XLR outputs
* 1/4-inch TRS with T connected to S (for "insert" jacks on individual channels where necessary.
(NOTE THAT THESE SHOULD NEVER BE CONFUSED WITH REGULAR TRS CABLES!!!!!)
* RCA
* 3.5mm to two RCA or 1/4-inch TS
1/4-inch TS to RCA adapter plugs

I also have some XLR Male-to-Male and Female-to-Female "turnaround" adapters where the venue send your feed back through an existing "mic input" available run.

I also have a spare microphone and a small boom stand in reserve for places where you just have to put up your own mic. Or cases where you need to record something that is "acoustic" and not accommodated in the venue sound system. Audience reaction is a very common example.

And, actually, a case back in the van full of other odd bits and adapters and cables collected over several decades of doing all sorts of audio and video things.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 01:38 PM   #13
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Just out of curiosity, Steven, could you explain to me how an RCA output (which I understand is the same as what we usually call a "phono" in these parts) could ever be balanced as it has only a ground and a signal connection? Not trying to be a smarty pants, just puzzled. :-)
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Old February 19th, 2014, 02:04 PM   #14
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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
Just out of curiosity, Steven, could you explain to me how an RCA output (which I understand is the same as what we usually call a "phono" in these parts) could ever be balanced as it has only a ground and a signal connection? Not trying to be a smarty pants, just puzzled. :-)
No, I cannot because it never is. (I realized and just corrected my ambiguous statement.) Thanks for the catch.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 05:03 PM   #15
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Re: What's your kit-list to attach various sound desks to your cam's XLR input?

Peter,

These guys are covering the adapters and cables. A small field mixer to control your feed is also useful. The other very important thing is a back up recording for safety purposes. I just saw the Tascam DR60 reduced again. On sale now at B&H for $184.99 with a copy of plural eyes. It has a limiter and a safety record mode for a track at -12db below the other track. It could be your life saver. You will be dealing with EXTREAM level changes. From the person that whispers into a mic to my personal favorite: the PowerPoint guy who downloaded audio stingers into his slides from the web and the audio guy who did not check their levels. All of a sudden the fifth slide hits and BOOM, audience members are knocked out of their chairs! Presenters can not be expected to understand normalization, but any audio guy that goes live without checking all his levels is an idiot.

So my method...limit and or compress, back up, back up, back up. Sometimes one of those back ups is my own lav on the presenter, if the situation permits. I think a mistake some video guys, that are not familiar with corporate AV make is the assumption that it will be just some guy standing at a podium. I have worked on shows with a budget of $100,000.00 per day.

Bottom line....be prepared for anything in corporate AV.

Steve

Peter, I am not assuming you are not familiar with av. I respond to assist everyone ;)
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