View Full Version : Audio From Sound/Mixing Board
Jon R. Haskell
August 16th, 2007, 10:47 AM
I have a wedding reception shoot that will envolve several musical groups performing. They will be mixed thru a sound board and I have the opportunity to input the audio to my HD110U. (First time doing this!)
The sound guys are professionals and I will have an opportunity to speak with them by phone before the event, but I wanted to enquire here on some do's and dont's before talking with them.
Your advise would be most appreciated...thanks, Jon
August 16th, 2007, 12:36 PM
This may or may not apply to you, depending on the type of music - you do not specify what kind of musical groups will be performing.
The sound engineer (PA guy) will mix for the audience and not for your video. This could mean differences in the level of the different instruments and/or vocals. For example if a grand piano is used, the volume of the piano might be enough for the audience (or almost enough, needing just a little amplification) but in your recording it will be too low - so in the recording the piano will be bearly audible.
August 16th, 2007, 02:46 PM
when you talk to the sound guys, ask them what type of signal they output to you and on what physical connector they can make that signal available (such as line level on a pair of balanced XLRs, unbalanced TRS, or consumer level on RCA, ...). Make sure you have the necessary cables/adapters/limiters. Can your camera audio in be set to line level (I am not familiar with the HD110U)? If you do this a lot, you'll assemble a collection of little gadgets (and the knowledge how to use them) that will help you make any such connection work, but since you said that this is a first for you, I would suggest you arrange a dry-run prior to the event with the sound guys, hook up their mixer to your camera and ask them to output something at the level that they anticipate using at the reception.
Ervin brought up a valid point. Ideally, you'd mix completely separate audio for your recording, but it doesn't sound like that's an option for your event. You could place a couple of microphones close to where the bands will be playing, ideally where the loudest instruments are - that way they'll capture those instruments that the sound guys will NOT emphasise in their mix, for reasons explained by Ervin. Then mix these two mics with the stereo output from the sound board (using an additional mixer) and feed the result into your camera. Or record your mics separately with a small recorder (solid state, minidisk, etc.) and synchronize the sound later in your editing software - more work, but if you don't have a mixer available this might be easier.
August 16th, 2007, 06:10 PM
I recently did a job with the HD100 where audio was even more important than the video (well almost) anyway I actually ran a feed from the main board using the control room outs to MY mixer and ran my wireless plug in out from that. First let me say I would have prefered to hardwire but could not due to distance and the fact that I was going to have to be mobile and second now I had complete control over the audio coming into the camera. I made adjustments to the EQ etc during the sound check and the audio I got was fantastic. The sound guy could do what he needed to do for the room and I was able to do what I needed to do for the camera. Worked out really well.
Jon R. Haskell
August 17th, 2007, 05:49 AM
Guys....thanks so much for sharing your experiences!! I like the idea of a wireless connection for the mobility factor, but would prefer hardwiring.
As a jazz piano player, I was aware of mixing for the audience, but had no idea the audience mix would not be the same as for the camera....so thanks. I have to admit it took me quite a while to understand the concept.
The music talent is a top drawer 9 person group (brass, reeds, singers, keyboard, guitars, electric bass) from NYC and the grooms brother is a professional jazz trumpet player from NYC as well, so I am going to have some discriminating ears listening to this.
A question.....Since 99% of my shooting is where I have no electricity, can you suggest a battery operated, small, portable mixer unit, suitable for music/voice? (Emphasis on small) I can borrow a couple of microphones for the event
August 17th, 2007, 06:00 AM
Aaah, then my advice REALLY applies to your situation! The brass instruments will either not be amplified or amplified just a tad bit, while the rest of the instrument and the vocals will be full blast.
Here's an idea. If the audio board is sophisticated enough to have monitor outputs, which is probably the case, AND the monitor outputs are not used by the talent (highly unlikely), you could ask the sound guy to mix on that output just for you.
And another one. If sound is very important, and it most like is for a jazz musician, buy or rent a small mixer and do your own mix, using the effects output from the main mixer - I do this at my church. Also if you're lucky, and the sound board is sophisticated enough, it may have output "banks" where they can group together the instruments which are equally loud and all you have to balance then would be those 3 or four banks coming into your small mixer.
August 17th, 2007, 07:39 AM
Funny no one has mentioned that your feed from the soundboard could come from several different places. It could patch into the "record outs" on the sound board, or "aux out", or even the speaker out. Unless your signal comes from the speaker outs, most sound boards DO NOT apply EQ adjustments to the other outputs. So, while the signal is mixed, it's not EQ'd. Similarly, if you patch into the speaker outs, you'll absolutely need to attenuate the hot signal before it gets to your camera's line input.
The line input on the HD110 is, by the way, better quality thatn the low quality mic preamps provided with this camera.
As others have advised, be sure to talk to the sound guy ahead of time, get there early and run a test setup, and don't overlook monitoring the recorded sound with a pair of headphones.
August 17th, 2007, 07:43 AM
What is "speaker out"?
All outputs on a professional audio mixer are LINE LEVEL, no exceptions. The power amp takes the line level audio signal and further amplifies it to feed the speakers.
August 17th, 2007, 07:53 AM
Speaker out is the pre-amplified outputs to the speaker amps. I think that's a no-brainer. There are many times when the signal I get from the sound guy is way too hot. Even the pots on my mixer don't have what it takes to attenuate the signal and I get it distorted because it overdrives my mixer amps. I always bring some +4dB to -10dB line attenuators for these cases.
August 17th, 2007, 08:58 AM
We're probably talking about two different things. I'm talking about professional mixers, you must be talking about some mixer/amp combos where you can attach the speakers directly, like DJ gear or some other special purpose audio stuff. That explains why that output is called "speaker out". You cannot connect a speaker directly to the mixer (unless you have a powered speaker that has the amp built into it, in which case you will be still using a line level output).
Professional mixers never have the power amp built in. Output levels have been standardized for a reason...
August 17th, 2007, 01:23 PM
...Unless your signal comes from the speaker outs, most sound boards DO NOT apply EQ adjustments to the other outputs. So, while the signal is mixed, it's not EQ'd. Similarly, if you patch into the speaker outs, you'll absolutely need to attenuate the hot signal before it gets to your camera's line input...
But it really depends on the mixer. My Mackie, for example, has 4 AUX outputs, among the others, and so each channel strip has 4 AUX sends with their own level trims in addition to the master fader. The default setup has all 4 sends post-equalization and post-fader in each channel, however the AUX1 and AUX2 sends are switchable to come off the channel before the equalizer and fader if desired.
August 17th, 2007, 01:43 PM
That's curious because I have two Mackie mixers, both an Onyx 1640 and an older 1202VZL. Both provide "Tape Out" pre-EQ. The aux sends are, in fact post- EQ. I've read many complaints to Mackie about this being pre-EQ, but, quite honestly, I think I'd rather record unmodified audio signals and provide EQ in post. As someone noted, what you hear in an auditorium is never what you hear when you play back in a listening room.
Please get off your high horse. We're talking the same thing, here. It makes absolutely no difference whether the Line Out of the mixer is fed to an amplifier or to powered speakers. In fact, some of the best studio monitors in the world are self-powered. Perhaps I was wrong to call these "Speaker Outs" as they are really line outs...but, they contain mixed and EQ'ed signals. They're really "Main Outs".
As Lewis carol once said, "Listen to what I mean and not what I say"....Peace brother.
August 17th, 2007, 02:39 PM
That's curious because I have two Mackie mixers, both an Onyx 1640 and an older 1202VZL. Both provide "Tape Out" pre-EQ. The aux sends are, in fact post- EQ. I've read many complaints to Mackie about this being pre-EQ, but, quite honestly, I think I'd rather record unmodified audio signals and provide EQ in post. As someone noted, what you hear in an auditorium is never what you hear when you play back.
I have a Mackie 1642 VLZ Pro. All of its equalization takes place on the input channel strips before they're routed to any of the mix busses and there's no additional equalization available on any of the busses themselves. Each channel strip has 4 Aux sends. Aux Sends 1 & 2 are switchable to either come off pre-EQ & channel fader or post-EQ & fader. Aux Sends 3 & 4 are post-EQ & fader only. (Channel's 1 through 8 also have their own individual Direct Outs which are also post-EQ & fader only.) The Aux Sends on the 4 stereo channel strips are mono containing an equal mix of the L&R input channels. Tape Out comes off of the Main Mix bus in parallel to the Main Outs, right after the Master Output fader and so has whatever EQ the Main Mix has, like the mains inheriting any EQ that has been applied to the signals before they joined the bus. Tape In has its own dedicated input channel, separate from the others, that can routed to either or both the Control Outs or Main Mix (or nothing at all). Although it has a level control, it has no equalizer block of its own and so while it can be sent to the main mix if desired, there's no place along the chain where any equalization can be applied to it.
August 17th, 2007, 03:00 PM
Regardless, when I record live audio, I submit it's much better to record a clean, flat signal for each instrument. What if the sound guy, for example, loves to juice up the bass EQ? If you recorded the signal post-EQ, you'd have to live with it. A juiced bass response will easily overdrive smaller speakers, such as those on a TV monitor. If you try to compensate by lowering the incoming mixed signal gain, you stand a very good chance of losing the hi-freq. Of course, you could accept the post EQ signal and run it thru a compressor/limiter before it hits your audio recording system. But hey, now we need to hire another sound guy to run our own sound system. Funny how it goes.
So, give me a clean, flat EQ signal for each available channel. Let me mix it down to two channels thru my own mixer, monitoring what I'm recording with my own ears, which are isolated from the environment with a good pair of studio headphones. The more channels I record, the more flexibility I have in my studio to both mix and EQ the flat signals, to my taste and to my intended audience.
Douglas Spotted Eagle
August 17th, 2007, 03:06 PM
I'm with you, Bill, but you already knew that.
Splitting off of direct outs to a EchoFire or two (or three), it's nice to be able to record live to multitrack on a laptop for mixing in post.
August 17th, 2007, 04:27 PM
I'm with you both, Doug and Bill. Was just explaining how that one mixer is set up.
August 19th, 2007, 10:33 AM
If you're not going to pull separate channels from the main mixing board into your own mixer, as some others suggested, talk to the sound person. See if his board allows sub-mixes (most larger boards do). If it does, have him provide you with a sub-mix that is tailored to your needs, this is usually what I do when I'm doing live music recording for festivals. I run my own set of mics on-stage, in the audience, and pull in a couple of channels that are mixed for me from the main board. I put each on their own track on my Deva and then mix everything in post.
However if you're only concerned with the music, just have them give you a nice mix for your camera. Also, it might be a good thing to plan ahead and make sure you have some attenuators for their board. Depending the soundboard, the signal may be too hot for your camera's line input. Knocking the sound down -10 dB or -15 dB should help prevent overdriving the camera's input.
Jon R. Haskell
September 7th, 2007, 05:12 AM
all....I am a little late in thanking all for their comments. The bottomline was that I learned a valuable lesson underfire. I was to meet with the sound man before the band got going, but that did not materialize. The band's flight from NYC was delayed, they got there late and there was a made scramble to get 9 peoples mics going, etc.
Though I explained my concern about getting a mix for video versus a mix for the audience, I got the former. Instrument mix was a little low in comparison to vocalists. It sounded OK in my earphones realtime, but suspect I was hearing ambient sound in addition to the earphone audio. (the audio guy was very professional and helpful to me, so I appreciated that) He fed the audio via RF to the camera. That worked fine with only one loss of signal pop.
It is apparent to me that I should have been self sufficient and set up several mics in the room, with mixer, and get some attenuators.
live and learn....thanks all,