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Old July 3rd, 2015, 12:01 PM   #16
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

First, Michael, I am glad you made this post here in the audio forum as it should be. There are some VERY knowledgeable people here to help. Audio threads are common in the wedding forum but this is where they should be.

Please check you Tascam settings for the input your using and see if it is set to LINE LEVEL. I think you might be inputting mic level signals into line level? A complaint of a DJs signal being to weak is rare, most guys complain about it being to hot. I don't mean to be too elementary but I have to ask.

There are so many good ways to get a good signal from a board and just as many bad ways to do it. I understand mixers so I am trying to think like a DJ standing behind one and not knowing what he is doing. If I was you I think I would ask a DJ for the feed I wanted instead of "can I have a feed?" The later might get one of a number of outputs from the board that he might be afraid of and unwilling to adjust so you get a weak signal. What if you were to ask for the "Tape Out" feed (not my normal first choice). That way YOU know what your going to get. It is going to be a consumer line level at -10db, it will contain the entire mix so multiple mics will be there if used, it can be adjusted without changing his output, and you can send it through your Rolls to give you a known output/input level. I think just about any idiot behind a board knows what the Tape Out is for. There are often a number of other sends on a board amateurs do not understand.

Rodger, I think getting a feed from the DJ at a wedding is a great thing to do for ONE of your records. I think you have probably seen enough of my audio posts to know I am a big advocate of recording more than one high quality source. Especially in the crazy unpredictable wedding environment. I back up everything.

Steve
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Old July 3rd, 2015, 12:58 PM   #17
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Hi Steve,

I don't disagree with getting an audio feed from the desk as a backup and always do for music and performance work, but in the UK it is extremely rare to have a mixing desk of any sort for the speeches at a wedding, so I am used to miking the source most of the time.

Having been heavily involved in audio engineering for many years, I am also aware of the difficulties involved with the ad hoc connection of various unmatched bits of equipment, and the many ways of picking up hiss, hum, distortion etc. For me I like to be in control of my audio, especially at weddings where the levels of professionalism vary enormously.

In a theatre or music environment Steve, I would always take the main audio from the desk, but would expect to find a decent desk and an engineer with at least some basic knowledge of his system. Plus there are likely to be a multitude of mics being mixed. Even so, my backup is always using my own equipment to get perhaps just a stereo pair in case of an audio disaster.

Unfortunately in the UK, most sound systems available for wedding speeches seem to be a wireless mic held together with gaffer tape and plugged into a 20 year old hi-fi amp and usually with a nearly flat battery In the mic.

Roger
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Old July 3rd, 2015, 01:25 PM   #18
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Roger,

Agree 100%.....That is why good audio for video is not easy. Guys like us with a background in live sound reinforcement and audio recording in addition to video production have a distinct advantage over guys that got into this as video only guys. Even in corporate AV you can not count on the sound guy behind the desk to be real knowledgeable. Their skill level varies tremendously.

I have not had an audio problem I could not overcome on a video shoot in many years. I had one last month that did not turn out to be what I wanted it to be. It was at the only wedding I have ever done ;-) ;-) ;-) But that's another story, maybe I will put it in the private section.

Steve
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Old July 3rd, 2015, 02:51 PM   #19
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

One thing I like about weddings is that you have to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to audio and after over 30 years of them, I always find a way to get what I need and the thinking on your feet keeps it exhilarating :-)

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Old July 3rd, 2015, 07:59 PM   #20
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Thanks for all the replies! I won't be able to respond to each of them, but fortunately they seem to point towards similar ideas. One thing I noticed that really caught my attention is that Richard asked about my settings on the Rolls DB25b. I'm much more knowledgeable about video than audio, so with the DB25b I believed that if I turned attenuator to -20 and leave it there then that would work for pretty every sound board as long as I was given a line out. So when I've used my SKP 100, I've always had the attenuation turned at -20 and while it worked the first time back in April, it hasn't worked any of the other times I used it.

So my question is, how do I know what level to set it at?

I want to mention that this year I have been placing the DJ's mic on a mic stand for most speeches which has helped to ensure they don't hold the mic too low. I tried placing a G3 transmitter with an ME 2 taped near the top of the mic stand and the sound was decent, but I think the person's mouth was too far from the lav because it didnít sound great. Last week I purchased this microphone bar so that I can mount the DJ's mic next to my Electro-Voice RE50B which is connected to my Sennheiser SKP 100.

K&M 23550 Adjustable Microphone Bar 23550-500-55 B&H Photo Video


I have not yet tried it out yet, but my hope is that this will be a good option when thereís enough time to set up a mic stand for the person speaking. However, sometimes people will just grab the DJís mic and give a speech without us knowing in advance, which means the mic stand is not always the best option. Because of this, I want to make sure I am recording the feed from the DJ so that everything that goes through his mic gets recorded by us.

I like the idea that was mentioned about using a microphone splitter because it will bypass the DJís board altogether. However, Iíve met some DJs who have been hesitant to allow me to plug into their board with my DR-40, so Iím sure those same ones would be even less willing to let me split the signal. This seems like a good option when the DJ is very willing to work with me but I also need a backup in case they say "I can give you a feed but I don't want to split the mic signal before it enters the board".

The other option that really caught my attention is to put my G3 transmitter with the ME-2 on a stand right near the DJís speaker. This would probably be the simplest way to do it because I can control the levels on my camera. My questions is, how good will the quality be compared to using a microphone splitter and sending the audio directly into the Tascam DR-40? If itís almost as good then I could use the mic stand with my microphone bar and RE50B and then also place the G3 with ME-2 near the speaker so that all my bases are covered.

I could also try to bring my Behringer XENYX502 mixer and just see how it sounds in conjunction with my DR-40. I had previously been told that this would introduce lots of noise, but if it ends up sounding pretty good then that would be another good option.

So I guess the two questions that I have are:

How do I know where to set the level of the Rolls DB25b?

How do you think the quality will be when placing my G3 transmitter with ME-2 near the DJ's speaker?

Thanks!

Mike
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Old July 3rd, 2015, 09:51 PM   #21
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

How do you think the quality will be when placing my G3 transmitter with ME-2 near the DJ's speaker?

Michael, I will take just this part of your questions and leave the rest to others. My answer is don't even think about using an ME2 to mic a speaker. It could possibly be one of the worst mics you could pick for that task. Lavaliere mics in general are very proximity sensitive. The ME2 is Sennheisers all around "kit" mic for lack of a better term. Meaning it is not one of their really good mics. And it is not good at all for micing a loud speaker, wrong mic for the job. Your EV would be much better. Better yet, spend $99.00 and put a Sure SM58 in your kit. The SM58 has been $99.00 since Ben Franklin put a key on that kite. You could hand one to Mic Jagger and he would not scoff at it. And if your building a set and loose your hammer you can pound nails with it. It will also work on your mic bar or in front of a speaker. Every kit should have at least one SM58.

Steve
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Old July 4th, 2015, 08:34 AM   #22
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

+1 for the Shure SM58, I have a couple of them that can be adapted to almost any situation. They are bullet proof and have stood the test of time.

Roger
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Old July 4th, 2015, 10:27 AM   #23
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

DR40 low level issue: If using line level, be aware that the DR40s operating level is +4dB,. so if your input is from the DJ's RCA outs (-10dB), the level would be low... even if it is gain-staged properly.

Yes, the XLR output from the Rolls DB25 DI is mic level.. and if feeding an G2/3 SK100 transmitter, an appropriately wired XLR> 3.5mm cable must be used.. OTOH, an RCA output could be plugged directly into the transmitter using a line level configured cable. (ring terminal= hot; tip/sleeve= ground)
I too would not use a ME2 mic for a n y t h i n g. An SM57 or 58 would be a good choice for mic'ing a speaker cab.
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Old July 4th, 2015, 05:19 PM   #24
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

I figured that the ME-2 wouldn't work very well for miking the DJ's speaker. I use them for the vows and they work well enough for the time being (I'm sure at some point I'll upgrade) but I really like the idea of using a Shure SM58 to mic the speaker because I can just put it on a mic stand, plug it into the DR-40 and I don't have to worry about taping or clipping a lav anywhere. Also, I just read the reviews for the SM58 and people seem to rave about it.

I have been setting my DR-40 to the "LINE" setting, but I wasn't aware that this was operating at +4db. So just to confirm, if I use the Rolls DB25b with the Tascam DR-40 set to "MIC", how do I know where to set the DB25b? Do you just hook it up and then adjust the DB25b to the point where you hear the least amount of noise?

I actually own two DR-40s so I could hook one up to the DJ's board and use another with the Shure SM58.

Thanks!

Mike
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Old July 5th, 2015, 09:22 AM   #25
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

"if I use the Rolls DB25b with the Tascam DR-40 set to "MIC", how do I know where to set the DB25b? Do you just hook it up and then adjust the DB25b to the point where you hear the least amount of noise?"
- In this case I would set the DR-40 record volume to around 70% up and adjust the DI's pad for optimum levels on the recorder. Start with the Tascam's mic gain switch set to low, then increase to medium or high if needed.

"I just read the reviews for the SM58 and people seem to rave about it."
- To say the least... the legendary SM58 (vocal mic) has been used by everybody whose anybody.. from Frank, Mick, Paul, Robert, Bruce, Billy, Bono and on down the food chain. It was originally released in 1966 and has always been great sounding and pretty much indestructible. (I recall there's videos from Shure of 58's being dropped from helicopters and run over by tour buses and such) The sibling model SM57 (instrument mic) is very similar in sound and has been on every US president's podium since LBJ. It is also 'THE STANDARD' go-to mic for guitar amps and snare drums as well. There was also another sibling SM59 (vocal mic), that was primarily designed for TV, with a little less of a presence peak, it's smaller/slimmer body/pop filter and an elegant champagne color appearance. AFAIK, it wasn't in production for too long.
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Old July 5th, 2015, 07:15 PM   #26
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Mike, from my dumb suggestion box: have you checked the integrity of your audio cables lately, preferably with a cable tester?

From a recent project, I discovered that one channel of a stereo signal appeared to be absent. In my NLE, I found that it was recorded, but about 25 dB lower than the other channel. All settings on my mixer and recorder were perfect, so I had about 5 minutes of utter frustration over what went wrong. On a hunch, I disassembled the XLR connectors on my mixer-->camera cable, and I discovered the culprit: a solder connection had broken within one connector.
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Old July 5th, 2015, 07:51 PM   #27
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Michael,

When hooking up to a mixer the tricky part is understanding what level the board is going to send you. If you know your own gear you know what it can be set to receive. I don't have a DR40 so I am glad that Rick clarified it's line level is Pro line level +4db.

Some Mixers can output three or four different levels or a combination of the four. And two of them are completely different but both called "Line Level":

+4db Professional line level
-10db Consumer line level
-20db Mic level
Speaker level - you find this on self powered boards, don't use it, it is coming from an amp.

Most mixers output Pro line level at +4db, the exception is the Tape Output will always be consumer line level -10db, it is there primarily because some of us used to record to analog tape ;-)

That is a simplified explanation. Not to mention sound mixer outputs are attenuated. Ninety nine percent of the time the level a DJ or band guy gives you before the gig starts is not what what you will get when things start rocking. Even though they should not change your feed to get more volume in the room they seem to do it somehow. That also depends on where your feed is coming from. In your case the rolls is your friend. You can input a variety of levels and It will give you a known level out to feed your recorder with - MIC LEVEL. Put together a kit with an assortment of patch cables and adapters if you have not done so already and you will be fine. A GOOD board feed is sometimes the best sounding audio signal you can get. Back it up the SM58 on a speaker cabinet and you have two sources right there. For me, I often have an XLR feed coming from the mixer straight into one channel on my camera. It is ALLWAYS monitored and adjusted live. I am very comfortable with that and it is usually the signal that ends up getting used, the others are back ups.

Steve
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Old July 5th, 2015, 11:15 PM   #28
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Steve, Steve, and Rick,

Thanks for this information. I just purchased a SM58 and a mic stand, so at the wedding this coming Saturday I will plan to hook it up to one of my DR-40s and place it in front of the DJ's speaker.

I will also see what happens when I use the DB25b with my other DR-40 and set it to "MIC" instead of "LINE".

Hopefully between the two of those I should be able to get what I need for the speeches. I'll still keep in mind the idea of using a mic splitter, but hopefully these two solutions will work for me.

Thanks to everyone for all the help!

Mike
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Old July 6th, 2015, 12:06 AM   #29
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Woah, I hope you understand I did not mean in any way this is what you should do to get your audio recording. We are trying to explain it is one good way to do it, sometimes. I think Rodger was the one that pointed out he does not like it at all because he goes in self contained not relying on anyone. At least one of your feeds has to be that way. H O P E can not be part of your audio equation. When you tie into a board or mic a cabinet you are hoping the DJ does not put you in the toilet even if you did your part. You are responsible for your own delivery.

The cool thing about audio is there is so many ways to do it. I advocate several of them because I use several of them. I back up everything with independent sources. This forum is littered with threads that say "help I have no audio", that is inexcusable, it must not happen. I have seen it happen on big time well funded events for various reasons, all of them come down to stupidity and finger pointing in the end.

Don't hope, have a fail safe signal somewhere in your plan :-)

Steve
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Old July 6th, 2015, 01:51 AM   #30
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Re: Trouble getting a good audio feed from DJs

Sharing equipment is always a risk. Getting access to other people's equipment requires tact and diplomacy. The upshot being a plan B is always required. A DI box and a recorder capable of working at -10dB levels can cover 99% of interconnections. A wireless receiver comes in handy too, I have a few Sennheisers laying around and as DJs here frequently use radio mics to do the three feet between them and the equipment, I can steal their signal. The differences in radio technical specs are rarely important for this kind of signal sharing, and with Shure and Sennheiser being popular with DJs here, a receiver can be very handy.

As many DJs now use powered speakers, there is often a very easy to get to empty output. A radio transmitter and a couple of adapters is simple to attach covertly, and nobody even notices it's there! Probably a good place for a small recorder too, but never done it yet.
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