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Old July 26th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #1
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Proposed Multi-use System: Everybody chime in with advice

All,

First off thanks for all the background I have learned from this forum. Esp: DSE.

I am a New Media Director (Online) for a small circ newspaper that covers a wide variety of news events in the hometown of a large state university. We are also beginning to do podcasting and vlogging. I am looking to build out a system to cover our needs. As for budget, well right now it is tight. Any advice would be appreciated.

I have embedded as many links as possible.


Goal:
Create a kit to allow us the most flexibility while getting the most bang for the buck.

Curent Video equipment:
Canon XL1s w/ MA 100
Canon GL2

Meet the following scenarios:
Video:
-Sports - Run & Gun
-Interviews
-Concerts and music
-News Conferences
Various podcasting situations:
- Skype (Voip) Interviews through computer -*http://www.podcast411.com/mixer.pdf
- 2-4 person roundtables
- On location and in the field interviews
- Sound-seeing tours
- Concerts and music

As you can see there is some overlap.

Notes:
Keep in mind we are doing audio for the web but these days with mp3s and mp4s that probably is just as demanding as other ENG.
"Another reason is that audio equipment is more of an investment than video. As people here are fond of saying, you'll still be using the audio equipment when your camcorder is in the trash."

Research:
forums on Podcast 411.com
"Now Hear This" sound forum in the commmunity forums on dvinfo.net

Proposal

Mixer: Tapco (Mackie) Mix 6.0 or Mix 5.0 ~ $50-60
-http://www.tapcoworld.com/products/mixseries/index.html

Analog/Digital converter: M-Audio Mobile PreUSB* ~ $150
- Needed for digital conversion for VOIP interviews & other Direct to Computer audio
- http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_u...eUSB-main.html

Wireless: Sennheiser G2 combo ENG - Body Pack, Lav Mic, Receiver, Plug-in ~ $600
- pros: Has about 300' range, freq. agile cons: no-diversity, unbalanced output
- Do we need wireless? Make interviews easier vs cost
- http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser...nsf/root/21418

XLR Adapters for Video Camera:
- GL2 does not have XLR that is commonly used at press conferences - One of the following:

- Beachtek - DXA-2s - Other than size, what are the difference between it and the DXA-4P? ~$170
- http://www.beachtek.com/dxa2s.html

- SignVideo XLR-PRO ~$160
-http://www.signvideo.com/xlr-pro_xlr_adapter-audio-mixer.htm

- Beachtek - DXA-6pro - has phantom power for condenser mics -Do we need it? ~$270
- http://www.beachtek.com/dxa6.html

Mics:

Mini-mics (one for each recorder):
- to stay with the iRivers for unobtrusive recording and on the go backup
- Oak Mini Stereo Mic ~ $23
- http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/gs/gs-oak.html

Shotguns:
- Rode VideoMic ~ $150
-3.5mm TSR Connector - mono input from mic to sent both channels*
-http://www.rode.com.au/?pagename=Pro...oduct=VideoMic

- Rode NTG-2(w/ SM3 mount) ~ $270* or ~$470 (w/ boom package)
- http://www.rode.com.au/?pagename=Products&product=NTG-2

Other Mics:
- Already have a Radio Shack Unidirectional Dynamic mic -imp 500 ohm (33-3002)
- http://www.cornwallelectronics.co.uk...7ee2cc7e57.jpg

- Do we need them? Esp. with the Sennheiser sytem? Hyper-Cardioid, Omnidirectional or Cardioid?
Thanks
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Old July 27th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #2
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Matthew, welcome to the forum. I could be wrong, but I think you may find that your request is too broad to draw the advice that you seek. Most every aspect of every type of item you mentioned, as well as every type of coverage you mentioned have been the topics of their own (sometimes lengthy) threads. We like to help, but please don't feel snubbed if most members don't feel they have the time to lock in on your post.
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Old July 28th, 2006, 09:23 AM   #3
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If you're getting a beachtek and the Rode Nt2 no real reason to pick up the video mic too...seems like you've done your research as these are constantly mentioned in the forums...

If you'll be doing a lot of Voice over stuff...you might look into the electro voice mics...

Paul
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Old July 28th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #4
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A simple piece of advice from me. I know its a bit expensive, but I would hunt around for a used Sound Devices mixpre. You can probably get one for about $400-500. With something like that you can avoid the xlr adapters for the gl2 and have a really nice mini mixer/mic pre with decent meters.

I haven't used one in a while, but I'm pretty sure it has an 1/8" and 2 xlr outs, so you could run 2 mics into it (in mono), monitor with the headphone amp and meters, and send out thru xlr to your one camera and through the 1/8" to the other if need be. The way I look at it, if you don't know what kind of situation you might be in, a nice flexible unit like this could really save your bacon.

Of course, I'm coming from the viewpoint that every camera team should have a sound guy, mics shouldn't be mounted on the camera, and the sound guy should be able to monitor and affect the audio without touching the camera.

As far as the other equipment:
m-audio usbpre. I don't know, I'm sure it's fine. When I was looking at cheaper interfaces, the presonus firebox caught my eye. Course you need firewire, but my laptop has it. It has a built in monitoring mixer which is nice when recording music

Mics: depending on the type of situation, I'd skip wireless. Unless you know which one person you're going to be interviewing and you have a chance to wire him up, you're not going to be sticking a wireless (or wired) lav on them. You'd be better off with a boom pole + mic and have your sound guy just point the mic at whoever you need to. Fantastic sound that way (usually).

I don't know what the good buys are on boom mics right now - dont get a sennheiser me64/66. I don't think you'd probably want an oktava mc012 or whatever in non narrative situations because I thought I've read it needs a light touch. I could be wrong. I think the AT897 or AT835 are supposed to be decent buys, though from what I vaguely remember the rode NTG-2 is supposed to be a bit better.

Common wisdom is you want a hypercardioid boom mic for indoor recording and a shotgun for outdoor. Many times you can get away with the hyper outdoors too. You will need wind protection and a shock mount (ktek makes good stuff). I'm sure if you ended up with a sennheiser MKH416 you'd survive in most situations (might be too expensive, but look used) - it might not sound the best in all situations, but you'd have audio that is most likely intelligible.

If you want a lav for sit down type interviews, does it need to be wireless? Wired lavs are cheaper and sound better, though they can be a bit more of a hassle if you and your subject are not stationary. I would go with a wireless if you have something like a tour guide and your walking around the city. If Joe Schmoe is sitting in a chair and talking to you, wired is fine (and cheaper and less prone to audio screwups). Try to find an older lav that is a bit out of style like a Sony ECM 55b lav. You could probably pick one of those up for <$200 - my friend just got one on ebay with a whole bunch of other crap for $60. Or go all out and buy something like a countryman b6 ($315).

For walk around interviews, you might consider a handheld mic like an electrovoice RE50. It's omnidirectional (so you don't have to be too particular about placement - put it in the "face" area), wind resistant, handling noise resistant, and basically bomb proof. Find who you want to talk to and go stick it in their face.

What's the tapco mixer for? Though at that price, if it breaks or you never used it, no big loss. I'd also skip the little mics. Not sure how much they'd help. If you have the iriver and that can record a decent amount of uncompressed audio on it, plug it into the sound devices mixpre and you've got a backup. You've also got a simple audio only interviewing rig - a lav or handheld mic, the mixpre, and a recorder. Small and unobtrusive, and if you only need audio...

M-audio also makes a small compact flash recorder that takes mic ins - the microtrack or something. Amazon has it for $370. Something like that might be worth looking into if the iriver doesn't do what you need. Of course, I'm sure there's some new little device that is better and cheaper...

---

In the end, I might consider getting:

SD mixpre ($500)

rode ntg-2 ($500) - you'll need a boom pole, shockmount, and wind protection. It might be better to buy that separately from the mic, who knows.

EV RE50 ($150?)

usbpre ($150)

mic cables - go to markertek, buy 200' of canare L-4E6S star quad, and as many male and female neutrik xlr connectors as you think you need. Grab a soldering iron and make some cables. You will need cables if you don't have them, and it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money to buy them when you can save money and learn how to make new cables/fix old cables.

I think that covers most of what you wanted. It's about the same price as what you had too :)

---

Hope this isn't too long winded. Sorry if I covered any ground that you already knew.
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Old July 28th, 2006, 10:50 AM   #5
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Tim pretty much covered it i think but i'll chip in with a suggestion for indoor hypercardioid : Rode NT3. Battery-powered, doesn't need phantom power. Should be good handheld or on a boom.

Rode NT3, about $199
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Or at a rather higher budget (think about $420 when 'added to cart' the AT4053a hyper :
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

you can purchase & change the capsule on the 4053 to get different polar patterns - makes sense.

NT3 can be heard/seen here in this vidclip on a mic-stand, compared to internal camera mic from across the room (admittedly not the fairest comparison in the world!),
-- this time as a wireless with a Sennheiser SKP100 plugon transmitter:
http://dvcreators.net/products/indoormic_movieframe.htm

hope that helps a little

ps. echo Tim on the Electrovoice RE50....! :
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=76687&is=REG
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Old August 7th, 2006, 10:25 PM   #6
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Wordy response I know......

Thanks guys for all the advice. Since I am still in budgetary hell, I haven't been able to move on this yet but I am glad to have your input to refine my choices.

I think the main thoughts behind the wireless was sporting events esp D1 football. Most the time I will be without a sound guy because they NCAA and the schools are starting to cut back on passes in a crackdown the number of people on the sidelines. I also hate having extra cords hanging off me I can trip over when a 275lb tailback comes my way.

A little more background:

Kit will be used by a couple of staffers: Me - former photojournalist with some video, lighting and sound (last two mainly church stuff) skills and my Online Operations Manager (College radio and Movie theater Sound and Camera experience) and a whole passel of college interns (journalism, marketing, communication or computer types). I would like it to be like my Canons - total manual control or green-rectangle idiot setting as needed. Been done for video - is it even possible for sound?

This stuff will be used in D1 college sports coverage, sent into bars to cover fans after big games, agriculture pieces, ENG, perp walks, soft-fluffy feature pieces, interviews and lectures by a former president and his guests, VO, podcasts, sitdowns, etc.

Sometimes I will have complete control over the environment while talking to the Head Coach one-on-one and other times there are 25+ writers, tv personalities, cameramen, sound women, handlers, still photographers and radio guys so crammed in a 10x12 room people are nearly passing out and pressed up against each other talking to him.

I guess I am trying to find a balance but the reality is it will be a one-man operation many times. Even tv has this problem. I am not sure about elsewhere but it is not uncommon for the tv talent in small and mid-sized markets like this one to set their camera on a tripod, frame it, and then step in front of the camera to do the report. No sound guy, no cameraman!!

I was looking at the EV RE50 last night. I was wondering about the internal shock mount. It has a reputation toward being an excellent handling mic. Any cons to note?

I would love a SD PreMix but w/o a sound guy I am not sure it would be feasible.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #7
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Quote:

What's the tapco mixer for? Though at that price, if it breaks or you never used it, no big loss. I'd also skip the little mics. Not sure how much they'd help. If you have the iriver and that can record a decent amount of uncompressed audio on it, plug it into the sound devices mixpre and you've got a backup. You've also got a simple audio only interviewing rig - a lav or handheld mic, the mixpre, and a recorder. Small and unobtrusive, and if you only need audio...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Crawley
- Skype (Voip) Interviews through computer -*http://www.podcast411.com/mixer.pdf
For long-distance interviews VOIP has become the best standard because it results in cleaner, richer sound than analog phone calls. For post, I have found if you can use a mixer (tappco in original plan) to pan yourself to one side and the guest to the other, you have a much easier time matching levels.

But now that you have pointed out the SD USBPre and considering the MixPre - I am going to look to see if I can pull it off with that and ditch the M-Audio Mobile PreUSB/Tapco combo. Reading these boards and watching ebay - I see SD has a great reputation and hold their value well.

How does the MixPre stand up to the Shure FP-24?
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Old August 8th, 2006, 12:43 AM   #8
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I would go with Hi-MD over any iRiver recorder. The uncompressed format and digital uploads to a computer are hard to beat in that price range. There are flash recorders that have good quality and also give you digital uploads but most of them are compressed and the recorders cost more. I see Hi-MD recorders on eBay for around $100 all the time.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 01:21 AM   #9
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Jeff,

Thanks for the advice. But since my output is going to be compressed for the web no matter what, am I going to be able to hear/"see" any difference when the end result is an mov, mp3 or m4a?

I loved my MD and keep it around for personal use and the occasions i need a fuller spectrum of sound. I will probably end up having about 10 of the iRivers for the my staff and the newsroom to use and they are pretty cheap to pickup if you watch for bargins. The ifp 890 series can take voice, line-in, mic and record from a built-in FM tuner so it ends up being pretty versatile for ENG.

The speed of having it compressed to mp3 automatically which is then drag-and-dropped on the desktop to be uploaded immediately to the web server if need be is guiding rule. Usually it gets run through Audacity and cleaned up but on breaking news - it gets cleaned up and edited the second go around.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 02:37 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Stu Holmes]Rode NT3. Battery-powered, doesn't need phantom power. Should be good handheld or on a boom.QUOTE]


Probably need a Mike Muff for the NT3 indoors
if he's going to be swinging it.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 02:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Crawley
For long-distance interviews VOIP has become the best standard because it results in cleaner, richer sound than analog phone calls. For post, I have found if you can use a mixer (tappco in original plan) to pan yourself to one side and the guest to the other, you have a much easier time matching levels.
Got you. I couldn't imagine you lugging it around on location, but for some kind of studio situation sounds like a winner, especially at that price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Crawley
How does the MixPre stand up to the Shure FP-24?
If thats the one that looks like a Mixpre, its the same thing. I think Sound Devices makes it for Shure, or something like that. Though i'd buy the Sound Devices one anyway.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Crawley
Jeff,

Thanks for the advice. But since my output is going to be compressed for the web no matter what, am I going to be able to hear/"see" any difference when the end result is an mov, mp3 or m4a?
I believe there would be some difference but not much. The ability to compress on the fly could end up degrading the sound some IMO. I've heard others say this too but I really have no experience with them. I just know that a small piece of hardware that needs to do two jobs at once and run on a weak power supply is just asking for sound issues IMO.

The price is certainly a concern. I was just thinking that you would have the flexibility of not compressing the sound at all when you needed better sound. I would certainly consider the savings of going with iRiver recorders because they are cheaper. You might think about maybe getting one or two Hi-MD recorders just so you would have some flexibility if you ever need a better quality of sound.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 07:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Phelps
The price is certainly a concern. I was just thinking that you would have the flexibility of not compressing the sound at all when you needed better sound. I would certainly consider the savings of going with iRiver recorders because they are cheaper. You might think about maybe getting one or two Hi-MD recorders just so you would have some flexibility if you ever need a better quality of sound.
Jeff, I think that is what I want to do.

Cheap is good though.... flashback 20 mins ago:

I couldn't make it to a daily press conference this afternoon and really needed one of our reporters covering the event to help out. He is not what you would call an early-adopter and had been hesitant to help when I mentioned it several days ago because he was afraid it would be too complicated or he would screw it up.

Knowing that I had to make it simple, I took the iriver and wrote "on" and "rec" with a metallic sharpie next to the appropriate buttons. I explained the situation to him and asked if could help and said he would just have to hit the appropriate buttons to record. He was hesitant but when he saw my "notes" on the side, he got all fired up and he said "hit the 'on' button - hit 'rec' - wow even I shouldn't be able to screw that up."

I am not sure I would write on a more expensive device but with the iRivers I didn't give it a second thought.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 10:11 PM   #14
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Cons to the RE50?
Everyone has it, they get confused unless you have a mic-flag.

No matter what I throw at it, it just wont die.

The paint kinda chips when you have to use it for a hammer.

hahahahahaha...
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