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Old May 8th, 2002, 11:21 AM   #1
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Audio advice

I'm going to be recording the opening of a new music room at our local Junior School. At the moment I have no special audio equipment apart from the on-board mike on the camera.

The video is going to be 10-minutes long and show the children playing songs. I want to have really good audio, any suggestions on what I would need and how I would go about this?

Mini disk recorder possibly, if so how should this be used?

What mics should I use?

Any other general comments on audio for this situation would be helpful.

All the best,

Ed Smith

P.S They might also want an audio CD made with the songs the children will be playing.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 12:10 PM   #2
 
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a nice gadget....albeit not necessary...is an audio mixer to mix the vocal and music segments of your recording. I use a samson mixpad4, which is battery powered, provides 3 equalizer bands for adjustment, provides phantom power for a mike, has XLR inputs and balanced line outputs, and more. This is a great little addition. I can set up a guitar pickup and a voice mike, mix the two and run it into my MA100.

P.S. these are available on ebay for about 100 bucks.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 03:17 PM   #3
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Your budget dictates the quality of the audio gear you use.

Some suggestions:

Use directional (cardiod) mics that will reject sound from the rear. Some moderate priced single point stereo mics to consider include the Sony ECM-MS957 and AT-822 or AT-825.

Place the recording mic(s) placed in front of the audience and facing the performers. That way the audience noise will be reduced and will not tend to drownd out the performers.

A minidisc recorder can be fed by the 957 or 822, and free the camcorder to roam a bit. (The AT-825 uses XLR balanced audio). You can sync in post if youedit it. The audio quality will be OK, provided the MiniDISC recorder does not go crazy with AGC.

Try test your recording system at the venue inadvancve so you can work out any problems.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 04:16 PM   #4
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record the audio from a target point in the facility.
what ever your gonna use as far as mic input (shotgun prefered) or audio mixer you should capture audio from directly parallel to the stage performance which in turn will free the camera to shoot from any area.

If you capture the concert with an intention of superb audio quality, this is a
method of which i find usefull,

I dont have any audio mixers, though when shooting
concert venues or stage performances and this works best for me.

Bill had mentioned the audio mixer used for capturing sound, Im intersted on how this device works when recording audio, does this have XLR, and SPDIF
input? Is it XLR only or can it be routed through RCA for the XL1?
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Old May 8th, 2002, 04:29 PM   #5
 
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I've been playing with various methods of feeding audio input to the XL1s. The mixer I use has XLR microphone inputs(L & R) as well as line level stereo input(RCA). The outputs are 1/4 " balanced out. I should note that the output is also 6db line level, not mike level.

method 1 : use a Canare cable with XLR on one end and 1/4 balanced on the other. This mates with a Canon MA-100/200.

method 2: use the same canare cable as in method 1, but plug the XLR connector into a Radio Shack impedance matching convertor. The impedance convertor is then adapted to RCA jacks for feeding directly into the XL1s RCA jacks.

I'm still experimenting with the setup, so the jury's still out. Method 2 seems to work pretty nicely when feeding my ATi audio in jacks(RCA) to my computer. The MA100 is supposed to contain an impedance matching transformer so one shouldn't be necessary if you're using the MA100 and method 1. I've read some threads about overdriving the XL1s input when using a line level mixer like this, so, I always use the "ATT" (attenuate) setting on the XL1s. If you want to feed directly into the XL1 RCA jacks, bypassing the MA100, I'd use the impedance matching transformers of method 2.

I will report back with more info when I've played some more. I'm not an audio engineer, so, this is a little confusing to me. Still, my results have been adequate.

Hope this has been of some small help, wish I could say more.

Last edited by Bill Ravens; May 8th, 2002 at 04:46 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2002, 05:08 PM   #6
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ahh,,


didnt realize method two was possible, Ill have to check out radio shack and pick up one of those,, good input! though im still wondering if theres a way
to hook up a SPIDF or guitar input into some sort of device for shooting live.
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Old May 9th, 2002, 10:47 AM   #7
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Woooooooow,

From what I have heard then I need to buy a cardiod mic and set it up in front of the audience but facing the performers.

What would be best then?

1) Buying a minidisk recorder and placing it at the front with the mic?

Or

2) Buy a wireless system + MA100/200 adapter (if needed), and record the sound onto the tape so it saves on syncing the audio in the edit?

What would the benefits and disadvantages to either way be?

I have a budget of about 300-400 (if needed)

Cheers guys,

All the best,

Ed
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Old May 9th, 2002, 12:47 PM   #8
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not sure how much 300- 400 can get you..
but I have used the wirless systewm before and that worked very well...
i would even recoment just using a very long XLR cord if room will allow,
or if your going to be shooting in a confined area of movement. If that would
seem to get in the way for you then i would recomend the wireless system.
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Old May 9th, 2002, 03:49 PM   #9
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Hi Ed- How will you be editing the video? Will you just dump the video into a VCR, or use a NLE system?

I use a hard disk recorder to get the audio, and sync it to the video with Premier. I use either wireless lavs, and run the reciever into the recorder, or preferrably, run the house P.A. system or mixing board into the recorder.

The mixer Bill mentioned sounds sweet- and about $900 less than what I spent on my Korg D12.
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Old May 9th, 2002, 03:50 PM   #10
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Just be aware that low noise, low distortion wireless mic systems are not modest in price. For less tahtn the price of one good wireless mic you could buy a good single point stereo mic and minidisc recorder.

Watch XLR adapters, some may not be balanced, and some (e.g., the $18 Radio Shack models) may result in an impedance mismatch that can cost record level.

The MA-100 does not contain a transformer. It uses a transformerless design that is based on using several operational amplifiers to obtain balanced-to-unbalanced conversion.

These days I use a Sony ECM-MS957 mic and a Sharp 722 MiniDISC recorder for school music recital recording. Works well, and no problem getting lip sync in post . But if I were building a system to record school youth musical groups in stage performances today, I would probably buy the AT-822 mic for better bass performace.
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Old May 9th, 2002, 04:00 PM   #11
 
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yes, Don, you're right. The MA100 contains an op amp, not a transformer. But as for the Radio Shack impedance adapter.....the point is to convert from balanced to unbalanced....and to do it with as close to an impedance match as possible. The RS adapters are the best thing going for the money...if you've found better, please let the rest of us know. I've seen several posts on other forums about soldering up resistors as a bridge between the tip and ground...don't like this solution, ILO impedance matching.
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Old May 10th, 2002, 11:17 AM   #12
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All good advice again, cheers guys.

A few more Q's:

I don't have an MA100/200 XLR adapter yet, but would be willing to buy one, and will be buying one in the future (if not now).

Don + Bill, You mentioned that the MA-100 does not contain a transformer, but is based on using several operational amplifiers.
How does this effect the audio, and does the MA-200 use this way as well (advantages/ disadvantages)?

Capt Quirk, I think going down the hard drive route will be a little bit on the expensive side at the moment, but will be editing with Premiere 6.

The only problem I see with using a minidisk recorder is that I will be unable to monitor the sound, so I would be going totally 'blind' on the audio, which I feel is not a good thing. How would I overcome this (without hiring a second person)?

If I go down the wireless route, which systems would you recommend?
I've been looking at the Sennheiser Evolution 100 series. Are these any good, are there any other manufacturers to look into which people would recommend, any thoughts?

All the best,

Ed Smith
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Old May 10th, 2002, 01:23 PM   #13
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Most of the better recording devices have built in headphone jacks. Just be sure you have a very good set, the kind that cover the entire ear. You can then tell if your sound is coming through, and adjust the levels from there. I try to set up my recorder next to my tripod so that I can monitor as I shoot.
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Old May 10th, 2002, 04:45 PM   #14
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The XLR adapters I've seen at Radio Shack are low-to-high impedance (600-to-50,000 ohm), or unbalanced. CALRAD offers a moderate cost with a switch to select between 500-to-50,000 and 500-to-600. I've found them at electronics parts suppliers (but not Radio Shack). These are low cost items about the same price point as the RS models. For highest quality it may be best to go to a specialty electronics store that supports musicians and go for professional equipment (e.g., Shure?).

Using a 600-to-50,000 with a low impedance (600 ohm) mic and the 600 ohm input impedance of the XL1 will result in roughly 20 dB of signal loss.

An advantage of the op amp approach in the MA-100 (I suspect the MA-200 is similar) is that it gives about 6 dB of gain. And modest cost transformer-based designs may pick up stray magnetic fields. Disadvantage is it requires power (from the XL1) and cannot provide full isolation from the source.

Either can work in most situations.
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Old May 10th, 2002, 07:16 PM   #15
 
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thanx, Don
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