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Old August 21st, 2014, 04:48 PM   #1
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Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

First let me say after the last day or so, for anything serious and that has a budget, a sound person is hired....

On to my problem:

I originally wanted to test my monitoring set up when I ran into some audio probs: Very distorted crackly audio when monitoring audio through Marantz 660 recorder with Sony headphones. The actual recorded files are bad as well.

The set-up:

mic feeding into Shure FP33 channel 1 set to mic level. xlr L & R out from fp33 (Mic level) to xlr inputs on 660.

Unity set on FP33 and 660. Audio from headphones plugged into mixer really good. Audio from headphones plugged into 660 recorder broken up and distorted.

Setting on recorder are Input: Mic, Output:Headphone/speaker, Atenuation: 0db,(there is a -20db setting too), Auto level control: set to manual.

So I tried this:

From FP33 xlr line Out to Line In (1/8" jack) on 660 recorder. This sounds better but still some crackling at higher frequency range, but I wonder why I can't connect the balanced xlr from mixer to recorder without problems?

Your advice appreciated.

Jonathan
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Old August 22nd, 2014, 06:38 AM   #2
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Just to be sure when you set tone on FP 33 to 0DB you should set to -20DB on the Marantz, Also you should try the limiter on the FP33 and set your levels so it only comes on occassionally
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Old August 22nd, 2014, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

The FP33 'mic level' XLR out to the Marantz 660 'mic level' XLR in should work. As Dan stated, the FP33 should be calibrated @ 0VU = -20dB on the recorder.
BTW, the 660's 'line in' unbalanced 3.5mm stereo mini-plug is -10dB (nominal) , and will occasionally clip the 660's input stage if feeding it +4dB program audio. OTOH, the FP33s 'tape out' should work using that config. A custom cable or connector would be wanted to feed both channels on the Marantz... The 660 does however have a single-channel mono mode though via the 'Left' mic or line input.
Note: I used to have a 660 to primarily record edu. seminars, but I always fed it line level from a 8-16 channel mixer followed by a comp/limiter (via an in-line -12dB pad). Never had a problem with it, and it's relativelylarge size ( by today's standards) was not an issue for table top usage.
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Old August 22nd, 2014, 11:17 AM   #4
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Thank you Daniel.

I keep the limiter switch on my mixer "On" all the time, but this brings up a new question: Should the limiter be off when doing the tone, and then turned on after, or doesn't it matter.

Rick, thank you too! And since you have had some experience with the 660, could you tell me this: in the settings there is a Record Level setting. The two choices are 0db or -20db. For what I am trying to achieve which would you recommend? My gut tells me that the -20dB is "Attenuation" for very loud environments and doesn't apply to this application.

Yesterday I remembered reading and was also reminded that in Jay Roses book to get correct levels for recorder is to do the following:

Turn ON the Auto Gain Control on recorder. do the tone thing, setting mixer to 0dB and note where the meter falls on the recorder. Then turn OFF AGC, turn on tone and set the recorder to the level that I got with AGC in the on position. I was all excited to see if this solved my issue, but I still get some clipping. AAAGGGGHHH!

All cables tested good, etc. I get decent recording plugging mic directly into xlr input(s) on recorder, just not so when FP33 connected to 660.

Any other help really appreciated.

Jonathan
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Old August 22nd, 2014, 11:22 AM   #5
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Here where I'm aiming for:
Attached Thumbnails
Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...-levels.jpg  
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Old August 22nd, 2014, 03:24 PM   #6
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Yes, "-20dB is "Attenuation" for very loud environments and/or 'hot' mics. The "Attenuation" setting only affect the mic XLR inputs. I would set the record level control a 12 o'clock (unity) and check out the meters. If it's real far off one way or the other, adjustments should be made to the source machine.
As I recall the meters on 660 are 'peaky' and further recall recording program audio so the the first orange (meter) LED illuminated occasionally during normally sound conditions.. which yielded 6 or so dB of headroom for higher peaks. That was with a comp/limiter in the chain.. YMMV.
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Old August 23rd, 2014, 01:55 PM   #7
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Rick et al.

I think I found the problem. Attenuation setting on the recorder definately needed to be set to -20dB, not 0db.

Not sure why, but sound is much better, and I am able to set tone to 0 on mixer and 20 on recorder. Sounds good to m ear, but I will bring a file into editor next week to be sure.

My friend and pro sound guy Tim also suggested actually recording the tone generated from the mixer to have that as a reference in editor. Made sense to me.

More testing next week. This is how I am spending my vacation :-}

Thank you for your help. Any other insights welcome.

Jonathan
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Old August 24th, 2014, 10:23 AM   #8
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Many devices mic input sensitivity is different, so the pad could be necessary. When I had a 660 I never actually used the mic inputs so I don't know. As I stated, if the 660's record volume knob is far from 12 o'clock, one way or the other, I would further investigate the level structure.
Additionally, the FP-31 probably has a meter/output level adjustment like the FP 32-33, which I also used many times.

Recording a calibration tone is SOP... but not as necessary as it was in the analog days. I'm 'old school' and still do it , and generally add a verbal location slate as well.
FWIW, In my music recording studio days, recording multiple tones for frequency response calibration was also SOP.
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Old August 24th, 2014, 02:55 PM   #9
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

I've never used a Marantz 660, but the specifications in the manual indicate the mic inputs are for very weak mic-level signals like you would have if plugging a dynamic mic directly into the input.
The mic-level output of the FP33 can go a lot hotter than that, so engaging the -20db ATT on the Marantz would likely be necessary to prevent overloading the input. Or use a -10db external pad if -20db is too much.
It seems lots of my equipment has -20db attenuation switches when really -10db is exactly what is needed.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 11:15 AM   #10
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Thanks Rick and Jay!

In talking with a buddy of mine, he mentioned in the old days that war correspondents wore what I think he referred to as a "Lip Mic"? so that the sound of bombs dropping wouldn't overpower the audio.

Because these were so close to the mouth, the recorder/mixer had to be attenuated even with mic in.

Anyone who is as old as me or beyond care to comment/correct me on this bit of info?

Jonathan
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Old August 25th, 2014, 05:24 PM   #11
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

WWII was even before my time... I have no idea what was available at that time. But most of the WWII field/battle footage was MOS anyway.
The Coles Lip Microphone has been quite common for some time. at least on the other side of the pond.
I've never encountered one, though they're highly regarded.
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Old August 25th, 2014, 07:08 PM   #12
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

You can still buy Coles "lip microphones". For example:
Coles Microphones 4104B Lip Microphone 4104B B&H Photo Video

Coles Microphones 4104PTT Commentators Ribbon Microphone 4104
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Old August 25th, 2014, 08:02 PM   #13
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

So close!!!!!!

OK. Ran tests all day today with fp33 and 660 recorder. All is pretty darn good but the meter on the recorder really kinda sucks.

I think Jay is correct that -10dB would have been a nice third choice but that is not an option.

I do still have one issue: I have a cable going from the headphone out on the recorder to the monitor in on the mixer. However I am not hearing any audio when I switch the monitor switch to monitor the recorder, or at best it is very faint. Everything records well but I'd like to be able to monitor the mixer AND the recorder.

Any ideas? You are the best!

Jonathan
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Old August 26th, 2014, 04:15 AM   #14
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

To adjust the return level on the FP33 is a little different than you might expect.....The return is 'fixed' what you need to do is adjust the 'direct' feed (I've been caught before also)
The instructions are on page 10 of the FP33 manual.

Here is a snippet.
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Old August 26th, 2014, 09:37 AM   #15
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Re: Audio issues with FP33 and Marantz 660...

Problem solved from the gentleman in Australia!

Thanks Brian. That did the trick, but was a little counter intuitive at first. Thank goodness for jeweler's screwdrivers and a flashlight.

Best to you, sir.

Jonathan
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