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Old November 21st, 2006, 10:39 AM   #16
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With the ENG-44, are the pre's on each input?

And can you route the inputs to any outputs?
For example, Input A going to Left Out and
Inputs B, C, and D going to Right Out?

And does each output have it's own pre?
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Old November 21st, 2006, 10:47 AM   #17
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there are four channels in, with four discreet mic preamps, a master loudness, and two discreet (L&R) channels out....each input channel is individually swithcable to L, R or Center....all inputs are individually switchable to mic or line in, and output is switchable to mic or line out(NOT individually but in tandem).....all mic inputs have individually switchable +48V
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Old November 21st, 2006, 12:08 PM   #18
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Hi

With these mixers, can you have one audio input but two outputs to go to seperate cameras?

Thanks

Trevor
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Old November 21st, 2006, 12:17 PM   #19
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One output for two separate cameras?


Depends on what you mean, and thanks for buying my book just now.

Each input can be sent to either or both of the stereo outputs. If you're using one side of the stereo output for one camera (let's call it R) and the other side for another camera (let's call it L), you won't get any audio from an input switched to R on the L side, and vice versa.

The ENG-44 also has a separate unbalanced stereo out. You could run it to one camera and the main XLR output pair to the other camera.

Any input set to BOTH would go to both channels of each camera. Any input set to L would go to the left channel of boith cameras. Any input set to R would go to the right input of both cameras.

There is also an XLR output that carries an unbalanced STEREO output.

Um, here's my complete review....


SIgnVideo Four Input Audio Mixer - Economy With Quality

Ty Ford
Baltimore, MD
Portland, Oregon-based VideoSign (www.signvideo.com) makes a relatively long line of audio and video gadgets. The latest in their audio line is the ENG-44, a light-weight handy, economical ($529 list priced + $15 s/h 30 day unconditional money back guarantee) four input, battery/AC powered mixer.
The ENG-44 weighs 2.25 pounds with four AA batteries loaded. On its left side there are four, balanced 2 k Ohm XLR inputs, each of which can be switched to mic or line. 48 VDC @ 14 mA Phantom Power is also individually switchable on each input. A 6 dB/octave high pass filter at 100Hz is next. It sounds fine, but there’s a dead spot in the middle of the switch that, mutes the input. As long as the switch is firmly to one side or the other, you won’t have problem.
There’s also a three-position LCR pan switch (with no dead spots) mounted below each of the four channel pots. The fifth pot is the master. Under it and to the right are a Mix/Tone switch that routes a 1 kHz tone or stereo mix to the adjacent double line of ten LED lights (-20 to +3) that comprise the meters. The Limiter LED, slate mic button, External and Battery power LEDs are under the metering LEDs. Finally, there’s a 1/8 inch stereo jack for the 10 Ohm headphone output, a headphone level control and a Mix/Tape Return switch that allows you to choose what you’re monitoring.
The right side of the side is populated by by a slightly unconventional three-pin XLR that feeds an unbalanced stereo headphone (for the boom op or some other purpose), balanced left and right XLR outputs, unbalanced stereo 1/8” line out, Aux In, Tape Return In and Mic Out jacks. The slate mic also outputs to the unbalanced Boom Headphone output. Finally there’s a power switch.
On the bottom of the ENG-44 are labeled recessed switches for Mic/Line, Phantom, VU meter intensity (high and low) and posts for adjusting left and right Tape Return levels. The LED intensity switch is a nice feature, especially when working in bright sunlight. The Power LED does not change in brightness. If you’re off-axis from it it’s fine, but if you happen to be looking right down into it, it’s a bit bright in indoor lighting.
The back panel sports a 2.1 x 5.5 mm coaxial power plug (center positive; input protected against reversed polarity) and the drawer for the four AA batteries. A 12 VDC wall wart comes with the ENG-44. The mixer auto switches between AC power supply and batteries. The battery drawer was a nail breaker. When I called the company, they said I had a early unit and the drawer had been fixed.
IN USE
Operation is straight ahead. The limiter is not defeatable and seems to kick in above +3dB. Using the ENG-44’s tone generator, I adjusted the Master to set the tone at 0 dB. That put the master pot between 10 and 11 o’clock. Connecting the ENG-44 outputs to a SV-3900 Panasonic DAT inputs, I adjusted the tone to hit the DAT inputs at -12 dB. Plugging in a Schoeps CMC641 hypercardioid, and adjusting the input to 2 o’clock and the master still set between 10 and 11 o’clock, I was able to get peaks at 0 dB on the ENG-44 with the Schoeps about six inches above my head. The meters change quickly enough for me to guess that they are peak reading. The limiter is actually pretty nice sounding. I found pushing enough level to occasionally cross the threshold, using the LIM flasher as an infrequent Peak Meter, worked nicely and did not degrade the sound. As I pushed the limiter harder with more gain, the output LED showed a slight level difference between the left and right outputs. Under normal operation, you’ll probably never find yourself in this situation.
The ENG-44 passed my T-Power/Phantom Power drain test. Some Phantom Power supplies just don’t have the power to keep the mics fed. The result is distortion and sometimes power supply motorboating. I connected two Schoeps CMC641, a Sennheiser MHK 416 and the Sennheiser 435T through the converter and they all sounded fine. The headphone amp was passably loud with my Sony MDR7506 headphones.
The ENG-44 also passed my noise test. We all know that some mixers can get pretty noisy, especially when the master pot is turned up higher than the inputs. The ENG-44 is quite quiet, even in that unnatural state.
VideoSign claims 14 hours for a set of alkaline batteries. Phantom Power does pull batteries down. I got about nine hours with a fresh set of alkalines. During that period, I had one Schoeps CMC641 always connected. My experiment with the other three mics lasted about a minute and I spent about a half hour on one other occasion with a Sennheiser MKH 416 fired up. Still, nine hours on one set of AAs shows that the ENG-44 was designed with relatively newer components that don’t chew up batteries as much.
IN CONCLUSION
The ENG-44 is a very good value. I can see it being used in schools and the expanding minicam market. Even in professional and higher-end video and film sound, the ENG-44 would be nice to have around. My first grab is my Sound Devices 442. When the director wants me to go some place slippery, wet and/or gooey, the ENG-44 sounds like the perfect mixer.
Ty Ford is a location audio pro in Baltimore, MD. He may be reached at http://www.tyford.com

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 21st, 2006, 01:35 PM   #20
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Hi

Thanks for this, and I look forward to the book, it is quite needed!

All I want to do is send the audio from one receiver to two cameras. If it is just one xlr to each camera then the camera will automatically add a second track.

Can it do this? I don't want the two audios to be dependant on each other just incase I lost one of them. It's just a fail safe on a multi camera shoot. On the last one the audio went to one camera and then failed! (Not a mic problem)

Is the other unbalanced audio output an xlr connection?

Thanks

Trevor
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Old November 21st, 2006, 01:50 PM   #21
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set the input to BOTH outputs. Each side (each XLR) will carry the same audio to your cameras at either mic or line level.

Ty Ford
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Old November 21st, 2006, 04:33 PM   #22
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as an aside, I ended up buying a Petrol PQMB case for the ENG-44, and it fits pretty nicely with just enuf xtra room to stuff some 1/4" foam in the panels and on the bottom....very well made, and only $125

http://www.adorama.com/PSPQMB.html
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 12:07 PM   #23
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Budget Mixer

oh, One MORE thing...in addition to tha Petrol bag, I just got a waiste belt, the result of a complaint by my sound op last week.....I picked up a Tamrac MAS (Modular accesory Belt)...its a padded belt wtih a web belt and Fastec buckle...I run it thru the wast slot on the back of the Petrol for some added stability, and it seems to work Quite well....padding is not great, but it is wide, about 4.5 ", only $20 or so, and it will keep the mixer from flopping around if youre running and gunning;, its cheaper than going for a complete harness....
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Old December 13th, 2006, 12:35 AM   #24
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After a bad experience trying to get good audio the other night (usually just run from my shotgun XLR to a XLR to stereo mini and on into my mic port). I usually use a Sony TRV10, but have been borrowing a GL-1. I was unable to get any audio unless I wiggled the plug, and even then, I was getting only the left channel. My old cheapo portable wireless system worked fine (mono signal, but in both channels - also works on the Sony). Now that I think about it, the other time I used the GL-1, it had a beachtek (or equiv) box with it, so I didn't use my cable. Apparently, there's a difference between the two inputs?

The relevance to this thread, is I'm thinking that with the ENG-44, I could work with both the Sony and the GL-1 and the occasional Sony Z1 - basically, with the right cord, I could do any of these? I want to be able to do dual audio - wireless and shotgun, which seems to generally rule out my "magic XLR to mini" cable. Perhaps a Beachtek (DXA2 or DXA6) would suffice, but I plan to upgrade to a XLR input camera, rendering the Beachtek useless.

The specs for the Sony MIC Jack (it is labeled "Plug in power" - I at first thought that meant plug into the wall to use an external mic, but when it worked anyway, I didn't know what to think):
"Minijack, 0.388 mV low
impedance with 2.5 to 3.0 V DC,
output impedance 6.8 kilohms
Stereo type"

What the heck is "stereo type"? I just checked and now I'm only getting left channel on the Sony - maybe my cable is bad now? I don't remember this before.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 06:54 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Sherwood
After a bad experience trying to get good audio the other night (usually just run from my shotgun XLR to a XLR to stereo mini and on into my mic port). I usually use a Sony TRV10, but have been borrowing a GL-1. I was unable to get any audio unless I wiggled the plug, and even then, I was getting only the left channel. My old cheapo portable wireless system worked fine (mono signal, but in both channels - also works on the Sony). Now that I think about it, the other time I used the GL-1, it had a beachtek (or equiv) box with it, so I didn't use my cable. Apparently, there's a difference between the two inputs?

The relevance to this thread, is I'm thinking that with the ENG-44, I could work with both the Sony and the GL-1 and the occasional Sony Z1 - basically, with the right cord, I could do any of these? I want to be able to do dual audio - wireless and shotgun, which seems to generally rule out my "magic XLR to mini" cable. Perhaps a Beachtek (DXA2 or DXA6) would suffice, but I plan to upgrade to a XLR input camera, rendering the Beachtek useless.

The specs for the Sony MIC Jack (it is labeled "Plug in power" - I at first thought that meant plug into the wall to use an external mic, but when it worked anyway, I didn't know what to think):
"Minijack, 0.388 mV low
impedance with 2.5 to 3.0 V DC,
output impedance 6.8 kilohms
Stereo type"

What the heck is "stereo type"? I just checked and now I'm only getting left channel on the Sony - maybe my cable is bad now? I don't remember this before.
I'm surprised you haven't noticed serious audio problems before this using your 'magic cable.' "Stereo type" woul be a TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) plug similar to what you find on headphones. Here's the problem ... XLR is a mono connection with the signal appearing on pin 2 and phase inverted on pin 3. XLR to TRS adapters can be wired in one of two ways. In the most common, sold by stores etc to adapt a balanced XLR cable to a balanced TRS input, the XLR pin 2 connects to the tip of the TRS and pin 3 connects to the ring. But in a stereo connector using the same plug, tip is the left channel and ring is the right. So if you record through a stereo mic input you'll have the same signal on both the left and right channel but the channels will be 180 degrees out of phase with each other. When you mix them into mono, the two cancel each other out and you get silence. To get your XLR to stereo plug cable to work properly, you need one specifically made to adapt a mono mic to a stereo mic input where the plug wired so the tip and ring are shorted together and connected to XLR pin 2 while the XLR pin 3 is left unconnected or connected to the TRS sleeve (ground). Hosa makes some of these but they're often hard to find (but easy to make if you're handy with a soldering iron).

'Plug in power' refers to a low voltage the camera sends to the mic to power it. All condenser mics require a power source of some sort for their internal electronics and in a 'true condenser' for the bias voltage on the capsule itself. Professional mics typically use 48v phantom power for this. Some also have an internal battery in addition to or instead of the phantom power for those situations where phantom isn't available. The Rode Videomic is an example of one of those. Inexpensive consumer mics intended for use with a tape recorder, consumer camcorder, or your computer's soundcard use 'plug-in power' as their power source - a 3 to 5 volt bias usually applied to the ring of a TRS connector while the mic's signal appears in mono on the tip. One of the things adapters like the Beachtek do that simple magic cables don't is they block the plug-in voltage so it doesn't interfere with mics that aren't intended to use it. The rub is, there are also ways it can be wired to apply to a stereo mic jack as well. Figuring out exactly what you're dealing with is often a challenge as the manufacturers simply don't feel consumers need to know any of this stuff! Since Sony doesn't discuss stereo mics in regard to the external mic jack, I'm guessing its mono and will be split to left and right internally (but since they only discuss in the sesction of the manual on dubbing who knows what's really going on). This is reinforced in my mind by their use of the wording 'stereo type' rather than just 'stereo' in describing the jack - I'd interpret that to mean it takes a TRS plug like usually used for stereo signals but is not being used for a stereo signal here. The furshluginer manual for the TRV10 doesn't say much about the external mic jack beyond what you listed so you're going to have to experiment. The Canon GL1 mic input is definitely for a stereo mic - the tip goes to left and the ring goes to right. Your shotgun is going to have the phase issues I discussed above unless you have the correct cable wiring. The little jack labeled '5v' next to the mic jack is to provide plug-in power to Canon's stereo accessory mics which use two plugs, one for signal and the other for power, instead of just one.

Hope this helps. One thing's for certain - an external mixer is going to give you a ton more flexibility and reliability when using a variety of cameras and mics. A field mixer plus a Beachtek box and a small kit of adapter cables and you'll be set for just about anything you might encounter.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 09:18 AM   #26
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And you don't need a Beachtek box if you have the right cable from a mixer.
(The fewer boxes between the mic and the camera the better)

I have a "special cable" that I plug into the mixer's stereo out. Two runs. Female XLR to Male RCA, then a Y-cord of two female RCAs to a male 1/8" TRS. Plugs right into those pesky stereo camcorder inputs.

More about that in my "little book." ...a great stocking stuffer.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 13th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #27
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Thanks for the feedback, gents. (Ty, I'm adding your book to my Christmas list!)

I listened to some audio recorded with the cable a month or two ago on my TRV10 and it had just the left channel. I'll have to check even further back to see if it was always this way. I'm getting the same feeling when I noticed that it vignetted in certain situations -- after I had had the camera several years! Maybe its been a problem I just never noticed or paid attention to (I'm remembering having to pan to center some audio over the years now that I think about it).

I bought the cable from a Pro ENG shop along with the Sennheiser ME66/k6 I use it with specifically for the Sony - about 5 years ago. (Looking on BnH just now, I hope they've come down in price since then, because I recall paying a whole lot more for just the mic, k6, adapter cable, xlr cable and foam windscreen than what you can get now.)

The Adorama listing for the BeachTek suggests that the VX2000 and TRV10 share the same type of mic input - or are at least compatible.

I'll get out the meter and check the cable tonight, because the cheapo wireless puts the signal on both channels, even to the Sony... hmm.. maybe I should check that assumption as well.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 09:58 AM   #28
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I was tossed between the Sign and the Rolls and ended up buying the Rolls - mostly because it was the one that B&H had in stock (and it comes with a bag).

We've shot 4 days with the Rolls and have loved it. Easy to use, sounds great. It has the trim controls and limiter in addition to the volume for each channel.

We are running three lavs in to one channel, and a boom in to the other.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
And you don't need a Beachtek box if you have the right cable from a mixer.
(The fewer boxes between the mic and the camera the better)

I have a "special cable" that I plug into the mixer's stereo out. Two runs. Female XLR to Male RCA, then a Y-cord of two female RCAs to a male 1/8" TRS. Plugs right into those pesky stereo camcorder inputs.

More about that in my "little book." ...a great stocking stuffer.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Quite right - was just thinking about those items one might have in your kit to take on a shoot to keep all the bases covered such as when needing a long cable run between the mixer and the camera and wanting to use balanced cables between them for better noise immunity. Balanced XLR out on the mixer to the Beach right at the camera and then it's just a short unbalanced hop from the Beach into the camera's mic in.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #30
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Regarding the Rolls, I have been unable to find commentary anywhere, although it appears that it has been out for several years. Have there been any reviews?
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