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Old August 26th, 2014, 08:44 PM   #1
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Recommend tone generator?

Can somebody recommend a tone generator? I don't need anything fancy, just 1K tone on an XLR connection that preferably runs off of phantom power. I've seen a number of products built into a standard XLR plug but there doesn't seem to be any indication of what the output level is. I need something that gives me a hot enough signal that I can boost it to the top of the scale on my recorder and calibrate it with a DSLR. The fullscale tone emitted by my SD302 mixer is perfect, but the whole point of this setup is to not have to bring along a separate mixer.
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Old August 27th, 2014, 02:34 AM   #2
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

Errr....... Tone is there to set a level between things.

Do you want to put 1k tone onto a recorder / DSLR and then go to another sound source and then use a mic.... how are the 2 signals related to each other?....... they aren't.
That would be like doing a white balance on a camera outdoors in the sunlight and then walking indoors to do a shoot...
Or doing a focus check then moving the camera to a different location.

You mentioned a tone generator that runs from phantom power...DSLRs don't have phantom power.
Yes they are available and the output is 'mic level' as mixers will only ever deliver phantom power when the mic input is sellected, if you select 'line' level input on a mixer the phantom power stops to that input.

When you send tone from a mixer to a camera it is to reference the mixer o/p to the camera and then to the recording media and then to the post production work flow.
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Old August 27th, 2014, 07:00 AM   #3
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

OK let's see if I can make this clearer. I want to plug the tone generator into the XLR input of the recorder and then boost the gain on said recorder until the level reaches the top of the meter's scale. Then I want to connect the output on that recorder (DR60-D) to the 3/8" stereo input of the DSLR in order to calibrate it's meter by adjusting the gain so that the camera's level also just reaches the top of the scale. The DR60-D does not seem to have a huge gain range so I'm concerned that this product (which I'm considering) doesn't emit a stong enough signal to get me to the top of the scale:

Gold Line GL-1K Microphone Level Input Tester: Multi Testers: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

You notice that the first comment there mentions that it emits a 1K sine wave at -48DBv. I'm not sure if the DR60-D has enough gain to get me to the top of the scale. Both the recorder and DSLR have -12 markings on their meters that I don't particularly trust. I always feel safer if I can calibrate from the top of the scale.
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Old August 27th, 2014, 09:58 AM   #4
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

Marco,

The tone generator is putting out the right amount of signal, It's not there that you have to boost it, as you note, it's the input to the recorder where you would boost it to the top of the scale. FYI - as you've noted, that's not the standard way to do it. The standard would be to calibrate both to -20 or -12 or whatever. I suppose if you're used to doing it your way, then it would work out. Anyway, it's the input gain of the recorder you need to boost to get the tone to be at the top of the scale of the recorder, then send the output of the recorder to the DSLR. As long as you are sending the correct level from the recorder to the DSLR (don't know if you have both a "mic" and "line" level choice to send), then all you need to do is set the DLSR's input gain until it hits the top of the scale on it. The tone generator itself has no level control, and it shouldn't. I have a very similar generator that I use all the time. I like the small size and ease of use.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old August 27th, 2014, 10:31 AM   #5
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

Would not the autotone function or the slate tone function built in to the Dr60D do what you want? (pages 61-62 in the manual)
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Old August 27th, 2014, 10:35 AM   #6
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

Why not record a file with a -0.1dBFS tone beforehand and play it back from the recorder.
A lot cheaper than buying a portable oscillator as well.
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Old August 27th, 2014, 11:20 AM   #7
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

@ Rick: that's a great idea. I hadn't thought of that. Oh, and thanks for the recommendation on a gig a few weeks back. Hope I can return the favor some time.

@ Battle: the tone button only functions when recording (not even on pause) which is maybe not impossible to deal with, but less tidy than I like. Also, the manual states that the tone should register at -12 on the recorder's meter, but is off a few a notches from the indicating marker. I just don't trust it. As I mentioned, I like to calibrate from the top so that I know for sure that I'm not going to clip. I don't know how I got in the habit of that, but it has saved my butt a number of times. It's a good way to find out for instance that a camera man has enabled a limiter. Also, back in the day many cameras gave no indication on whether the indicating mark denoted -20 or -12. DPs often give me a hard time about this when they see me calibrating and it is annoying. Sheesh. I just had that argument two days ago.
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Old August 27th, 2014, 04:48 PM   #8
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
Why not record a file with a -0.1dBFS tone beforehand and play it back from the recorder.
A lot cheaper than buying a portable oscillator as well.
I have a couple of minutes of 1KHz tone at -12dB on all my cards for the Zoom H6. Helps when setting up using the line out to connect to cameras etc.
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Old August 28th, 2014, 06:23 PM   #9
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

With soundforge (and probably other programs) you have a tone generator as well !
Soundforge -> Tools -> Synthesis -> Simple...
Here you can set the waveform, length, frequency and amplitude/volume.
I generated a 1k sine and also "noise" for 60 sec at -0.1 dB
Noise will get you all frequencies at once while the sine is only at 1Khz
You can download the files here: Index of /1kSineAndNoise
Mini jack to xlr cables are widely available so you can use the output of your computer.
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Old August 30th, 2014, 10:39 PM   #10
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

If you're still looking to get a hardware tone generator:Behringer: CABLE TESTER CT100
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Old August 31st, 2014, 07:56 AM   #11
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Re: Recommend tone generator?

I have a TonePlug generator that works great.
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