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Old March 31st, 2006, 04:56 PM   #1
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick
So admitting that I simply canít manually control everything, this is the discipline I often leave to the automation. Digital audio means that no over-recording is permitted at all, as the overload effect sounds horrible. tom.
Great information Tom, just a follow-up on the audio part. Considering loud wedding receptions and assuming one audio channel is recording from the music source with a wireless mic, would you recommend setting the camera to auto on that channel? I ask because it has been an on-going problem getting clean audio because of DJs blowing out the audio levels with their microphone.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 08:30 PM   #2
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With overly loud passages, auto doesn't do very well. That's why I only use a single source fed into channel 1, split it to both channels and leave one channel in auto and the other in manual but set at about 1/4 gain. I always get good audio without the blow-outs. I've never lost audio with this setup even when I tape SWAT squad training and their .50 cal sniper rifle or a really loud wedding reception.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 04:58 AM   #3
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It sounds to me as if you're overloading the input Bob. Although I leave my VX2k in auto (audio only) I also use a Beachtek, so I can turn down the level of either mic (radio or shotgun) before it gets pumped into the Sony.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 07:00 AM   #4
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Mike-Does that include very soft passages like during a toast for example?

Tom-I do keep the levels very low and peaking is usually well below -12 dB. Most of the evening, the music sounds pretty good and matches well with the mic I have on-board. It's the sudden blast from the DJ's voice especially during the introductions that distort.

I just got an AT8202 attenuator and I'm going to try it between the mic and the transmitter. I might try it set at -10 dB and see if that helps the distortion.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 07:02 AM   #5
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I wonder if you're recording already distorted sound?
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Old April 1st, 2006, 08:18 AM   #6
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Now that you mention it, that might be true. I think many of these DJs don't know how to use a mic since I see them practically put it in their mouths. It just sounds bad in post and it happens at times when you need their audio.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 10:41 AM   #7
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This is a little more than you asked.

Auto on a PD150 is very good at picking up soft voices.

Your entire audio chain is suspect of overload until you chase the problem down and isolate it.

To avoid microphone problems, I usually use a Shure Beta 58A dynamic microphone (sometimes a Shure SM-81C) and a plug-on transmitter. The microphone is gaffer-taped to the top of the DJ's speaker. I have one of the hairy wind socks on the microphone and that kills any mechanical buzz caused by cabinet vibrations. The plug-on microphone is set to -10dB input attenuation. (These are Sennheiser wireless sets.)

The receiver is plugged into channel 1 and that input is split to both channels, one of which is in auto and the other in manual gain, usually set at about 1/4 - 1/3 loudness.

I frequently do not place a microphone on the DJ's speakers, instead I tend to use a microphone dirctly on the camera for a lot of the reception work and only change for the toasts. I favor a wired cardiod for interview use.

I've also found that having a second sound recorder isn't a bad idea. I've plugged a Sony MD recorder into a DJ's console and also used it with a microphone to capture sound from one of the speakers. I have an old Sony stereo microphone that cost me $78 at Fry's that is incredibly good for music and voice recording. I wrap that up in a wind sock and put it on the speaker or sometimes the speaker stand.

During ceremonies that cheap Sony is likely plugged into a Sony PC-110 mini-camera to capture the alternate angle or the rig is up high in the alter area on a stand or camera clamp so I can capture the bride and groom almost face-on. (I flip the LCD screen forward and tell the bride that if she wants footage from that angle, she'll move the wedding party ever so slightly to center them. Every bride has wanted that and moves the group.)

If the wedding party is going to move around (roses to the mothers, that sort of thing) then you cannot depend on the wireless lav to capture all the relevant sound. If I have a chance, a shotgun, feeding the MD recorder is hidden off to the side and aimed to capture the officiant/B&G. I learned this after wiring the groom only to have him walk off with a rose and the officiant continued to talk. Fortunately, for some reason, I had the shotgun set up for the first time.

I tend to switch microphones to avoid overload instead of fiddling with attenuators. The two microphones I mentioned can take a lot of pressure, shotguns and lav microphones a lot less. I think that if you require an attenuator in line with a microphone, you are expecting to operate dangerously close to mechanical overload on the microphone. Once you do that, the sound is gone, no matter what is downstream. A 10dB attenuator is about the most I'd go.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 01:08 PM   #8
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In the past, I used a Shure SM58 near the speaker but it just didn't match well with my on-board Senn ME66. Last year, I switched to a Senn ME64 and I mount it on a boom placed near a speaker if DJ or if live, near the center of the band but away from drums. Granted, it's a shotgun but it has a richer sound than I got with the Shure. Both mics use a de-tuned Senn K6 to offset their hot characteristic.

I'm not sure what you mean about overloading the mic if I use an attenuator. Are you saying the mic could fail? I'm no audio expert as you probably know by now.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 03:57 PM   #9
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I am surprised you think (and it is perfectly OK to do so) that a Senn shotgun sounds richer than the SM58 which is one of the prime music microphones. To me shotguns sound very tinny compared to a full-range microphone. Further, unless you have the shotgun way back, you are getting side-lobe sound that is at the least, heavily distorted (attenuated) if it is high frequency and unattenuated if it is low frequency where a shotgun acts like an omni. Maybe that is the 'richness' you describe? A single 58 wouldn't begin to adequately cover a band, I doubt the 64 can do that in the location you describe.

However, that aside, while it is probably impossible to damage the microphone element when capturing a band (drums & cymbols aside) you can mechanically drive the element into distortion. Once that happens, it doesn't matter what is downstream.

I think a Senn shotgun, even with the 10dB electrical attenuator, is close to mechanical overload when you use one on a band. Note that I have not taken my sound pressure meter and measured a band. (and this area of the discussion really belongs in the 'Now Hear This' forum and it is going there now) I think a rock band can achieve a spl of 130+dB??

The specification on the maximum SpL of the 64 is 130dB. So depending on how close you get with the microphone and the music played, you could be distorting the sensor and therefore the sound.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 12:50 PM   #10
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Mike,
I think this short example is what I'm talking about. Audio levels were set manually on both channels. You'll see the DJ take the mic and blow out the sound.

http://wms1.streamhoster.com/beaconls/media/audio01.wmv

The distortion came from the mic near the speaker. I'm just trying to find out if an attenuator set at some level between the Senn ME64 or Shure 58 and transmitter would help prevent distortion at the speaker or band.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 01:01 PM   #11
 
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From what I can hear in that stream (perhaps due to compression) it suggests that the PA itself was distorting, and regardless of whether you use wired, wireless, attenuation, patched in direct...it would have been there.
If it's not the distorting, then this is a good argument for AGC, somewhat. The DJ clearly is louder than the best man, and in that case, only a separate compressor or AGC could cope with that scenario. If you had an attenuator, you'd have reduced the level of the best man, too.
Since you're dealing with two very distinct levels, if you run into this often, you'll do best IMO, if you use one feed for two channels, and set one channel -12dB down from the other, as a buffer zone.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 03:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
...If you had an attenuator, you'd have reduced the level of the best man, too....
True, DSE, but would you agree with this?.....Having recorded without distortion, in post the DJ's passages could be reduced in level manually or by dynamics processing, then the whole track raised back up to a working level. What you gain over the two-channel/two level method is freeing up the second channel for another source. The trade off is that you raise the level of any noise indroduced in the cam.
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