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Old March 29th, 2006, 07:38 AM   #1
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Is attenuator the answer?

Last year I started using a Senn ME64 for capturing wedding reception music. I usually place the mic on a boom near one of the speakers and transmit to one of my PD-170s channels using a Samson UM32 wireless. The receiver is set for -30dB.

This usually works pretty good and the audio mostly matches the camera's on-board Senn ME66. I manually set the levels pretty low but I do have an on-going problem caused by DJs who place their mics practically in their mouths. When they do this, my audio distorts and it's a real balancing act trying to capture clean introductions, etc.

I just got an AT8202 attenuator and was thinking that this might help control peaking but I'm not sure what I should set it at, -10, -20 or -30. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Bob
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Old March 29th, 2006, 08:43 AM   #2
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The ME64 is a fairly hot mic, likely to distort the transmitter's input circuit if placed near a loudspeaker. An AT8202 between the mic and the transmitter would help. When set at -20 dB, I'd estimate that it would keep the signal between 0.2 and 20 mV, where most mic inputs are happy.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #3
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I don't understand why people mic a speaker when they could be jacked into the DJs mixer with RCA connnectors? You can control the levels independently and get plenty of ambient sound from the camera mic - you've got total control of the mix. It just boggles my mind why anyone would want to place a mic in front of a speaker when they could jack right in? I'm perplexed.

In over 100 weddings -every DJ has let me do it.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
In over 100 weddings -every DJ has let me do it.
While I don't advocate putting a mic in front of a speaker (doesn't work well anyway) I also read the wedding forums here and elsewhere, and read DJ forums around the web. There are a LOT of DJ's who aren't willing, or don't have the knowledge or gear to allow access to the DJ audio.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
While I don't advocate putting a mic in front of a speaker (doesn't work well anyway) I also read the wedding forums here and elsewhere, and read DJ forums around the web. There are a LOT of DJ's who aren't willing, or don't have the knowledge or gear to allow access to the DJ audio.
I can't believe I'm hearing this from DSE!

The majority of all pro mixers out there, right in the back, have two little RCA outputs labeled "REC OUT." What knowledge is required? A chimp could do it for a bananna.

In the few cases those outputs were occupied or the DJ/Band was using some old equipment I've asked if I could use a splitter at the headphone jack and everyone I've dealt with has been accommodating.

I always try to establish a relationship with the DJ right away. I make them feel important. For instance: When I ask for permission to jack in I explain to him/her that it's extremely important that his/her voice comes through nice & clean on the video and this is the best way to accomplish that. When they learn that it's all about them - they feel important and want to help. Maybe they are a bit hesitant at first but after I'm hooked in I frequently get comments like "hey no problem - I'm glad I could help." "We're here to help eachother."
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Old March 29th, 2006, 12:23 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
I can't believe I'm hearing this from DSE!

The majority of all pro mixers out there, right in the back, have two little RCA outputs labeled "REC OUT." What knowledge is required? A chimp could do it for a bananna.
yeah, well...a lot of people said for a hundred years that if you gave a dozen monkeys typewriters for a year, they'd accidentally type out the words of Shakespeare, too. And that was proven to be wrong. :-)
Don't make the mistake of assuming since you know it all, that DJs and wedding videographers do too.
Yes, the majority of mixers have aux outs. And your point is? It still boils down to knowledge on the part of DJ's and the shooter plugging in. "Pro" mixers don't have RCA, RCA is almost strictly a consumer connection. No "pro" camcorder has RCA audio inputs. Either way, it takes adapters, some input/output level consideration, and some knowledge on part of one or the other individual controlling the situation.
Search this forum, search the wedding forum, and spend a little time on the various DJ forums, since you don't accept what I've had to say on the subject. You'll find HUNDREDS of posts from people who don't understand it, so I guess they're all dumber than a chimpanzee.
Didn't say *I* couldn't do it, I said a lot of people don't understand it.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #7
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Eh...I own a mobile DJ business that plays about 30 weddings a year, and my mixer is mounted inside my rack...I'm not likely to take apart my rack to run a cable in there.


http://www.extremesoundonline.com/djgear/mixer.jpg


The headphone port is going to be useless if the DJ is using the headphones for cueing/beat matching, etc as it won't be giving a contant program out.


I'm more of a tech geek than most DJs, but I actually have a CD recorder mounted in my rack so I would just record the entire ceremony on CD for the videographer. How would that be? :-)
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Old March 29th, 2006, 01:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
I don't understand why people mic a speaker when they could be jacked into the DJs mixer with RCA connnectors? You can control the levels independently and get plenty of ambient sound from the camera mic - you've got total control of the mix. It just boggles my mind why anyone would want to place a mic in front of a speaker when they could jack right in? I'm perplexed.

In over 100 weddings -every DJ has let me do it.
The question was about using an attenuator to mitigate peaking problems often caused by DJs. It's not my choice to plug into someone else's equipment and I also prefer ambient sounds from both sources. If I plugged into the DJ's system I would only have a sterile source on that channel.
Bob
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:12 PM   #9
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to address the attenuator question, it's going to drop everything by however many decibels it is designed to attenuate. if most of your stuff is coming in at a good level, you could end up with most of your material being too low (with the attendant increase in s-n ratio that that entails.)

a good limiter circuit (like the one in the sound devices mixpre) would probably be the best choice. but obvioulsy more costly.

regarding direct outs from the mixer:
dj mixers virtually always have rca's out. xlr outs would be the rarity in the dj world. i've definitely come across dj's who are reluctant to share their jacks. (usually it's the ones who aren't very technically savvy.) although having the mixer in a rack is definitely a legit excuse in my opinion.

if you want the option to go direct from the mixer, you would be wise to get a direct box. a decent one will have inputs for rca and 1/4", line AND speaker level, and will ouput an isolated, balanced mic level on an xlr connection. this will be your friend in many instances if you're trying to record direct from a mixer, amp, whatever.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Harotunian
If I plugged into the DJ's system I would only have a sterile source on that channel.
Bob
Recorded "sterile" doesn't mean the finished product has 1 sterile channel.
When you mix the two channels in post - you get to pick and choose how much ambient audio you want.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 03:08 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Harotunian
The question was about using an attenuator to mitigate peaking problems often caused by DJs. It's not my choice to plug into someone else's equipment and I also prefer ambient sounds from both sources. If I plugged into the DJ's system I would only have a sterile source on that channel.
Bob
Bob, you can use line attenuators, yes. You can also buy speaker line taps, which will take audio directly from the speaker lines, transform/attenuate them to line or mic level, and feed from there.
Additionally, you *could* consider using a small mixer that allows you to blend the two (line and mic audio).
Additionally, you could use a secondary device for ambient recording, such as an iRiver, Microtrack, Rio, whathaveyou, and mix that with direct audio. It mostly boils down to answering what quality audio your client demands, and you're willing to work for. Direct connection is always best for the dance segments and for the toasts, etc but you'll always want a mic of your own in the room to fill out the direct sound as well, if you're a fan of ambient sound. Remember, you can feed one channel of the camera with live, and one channel direct, too.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #12
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Thanks guys for some very helpful info. I'm going to go finish my banana now.
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