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Old April 28th, 2004, 02:59 AM   #1
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An "On The Go" Mixer + Recorder

Hey everyone,

What mixer + recorder (or is there a hybrid?) would you recommend in a documentary/electronic-press-kit situation?

I'm using an XL1s.

Earlier this evening, an opportunity arose to begin filming in the near future a number of 'behind-the-scenes' docs or 'EPK's. Much of the footage will be shot on-the-go as is the nature of documentaries and the rest will be interviews.

I figured the whole Sennheiser ME-66 (with necessary accessories) would be a good all-purpose mic to replace the factory XL1S mic. And figured it would be good enough for interviews as well.

But there's a possibility that the powers that be will spring for lavaliers...in which case, I think a mixer to maintain 16-bit audio is important.

I read a thread that mentioned a Mackie mixer (couldn't catch the model) and also a Korg D12, which looked handy - and appeared to also be its own recorder, or am I wrong? - but also sort of big and rather heavy duty for my purposes. Isn't it a bit 'substantial' to lug around?

So...any recommendations? As far as my limited vision can see ahead, it just needs to maintain 16-bit audio and handle at least two - and no more than three - mics simultaneously.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Joshua
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Old April 28th, 2004, 06:23 AM   #2
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The Korg D12 is a hard disk recorder and mixer, and it is not the most portable. It has to be plugged in, as it has no battery power. Other than that, it was great!
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Old April 30th, 2004, 11:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info! I figure I'll keep scouring the i-net till I find something a little less substantial.
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Old May 27th, 2004, 07:30 AM   #4
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FOSTEX MR8 looks like a nice portable multitrack recorder, I'm not sure how nice the mixing options are on it though but I do believe it runs on battery power as well and it doesnt weigh much. It records on compact flash cards 128mb for about 20min of audio at 16 bit sampling 44.1 khz. Runs about $399.00 USD it seemed to fit your needs, I want one myself, :) Hope this helps
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 03:01 PM   #5
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Joshua,
Mackie mixers are great, as clean and quiet as you could ever ask for, versatile and easy to use, and pretty much indestructible--unfortunately none are battery-operated. Behringer has some mixers that are battery-operated, I couldn't vouch for the performance or quality of these models because I simply have never tried them--they are pretty low-priced. You could get a SoundDevices MixPre, it's not cheap, but is built like a tank and has some really nice features--in fact some people buy it just for its "unclippable" peak limiters, which can be a lifesaver when recording digitally where even a slight overload is intolerable to the sound quality. Alternatively, the Shure FP-series mixers are popular with ENG guys.

One question, are you that dissatisfied with the performance of the XL1S's in-camera audio recording section? That is, is it worth the extra expense of purchasing an external recorder, to say nothing of the extra bulk and weight to carry plus the addtional hassles of syncing audio to video? Or do you just need to mix in the field?
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 03:27 PM   #6
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Mike, I just did two long shoots on the weekend with a sound guy attached to me. It was a big pain. He was a nice guy and we became buddies but anything to free the camera operator from the audio guy and vice versa would be a major advantage.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 07:24 AM   #7
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I'm creating a system that is portable and flexible for my outdoor recording needs. I wanted to be able to record standalone audio (to get a variety of background noise or nature sounds) OR use it to feed into my DVX100.

I use an inexpensive battery operated radio shack mixer, an Azden SGM2 sg mic, my seinheiser ew100 wireless system recording to a battery operated minidisc (SONY MZ-N10 64X NET MD PLAYER/RECORDER) and my Panasonic DVX100.

I also have some other mics and a battery operated preamp so I can mix multiple mics without having a cable attached to my camera.

I'll get the minidisc via UPS today and will do a lot of experimenting this weekend.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 10:55 AM   #8
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Keith, that's true.

Of course, if you DO have a sound guy (and it didn't seem that Joshua would) that's great...he can carry his own kit, and you are not encumbered with the mixer, recorder, mic & boom--AND camera! :-)

My usual mode of field production is just me & my cam (plus mics, lights, etc.) doing run-n-gun. Sometimes I have the luxury of plugging into mains, and once in a while I even have an assistant. When I am blessed with all the above and have a completely locked-down scene, I can go plug in my Mackie mixer and an HHB "Burnit" CDR-830 CD recorder for external audio.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:04 AM   #9
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Guys, I think what Joshua is looking for is a field mixer not just your regular plug into the wall recording mixer. Josh, I'm assuming you want to be able to walk around with this thing. I like Sound Devices mixers. You wanted a hard disk recorder as well...With hard disk recorders you need to consider how many channels of audio you would need. Hard Disk recorders range from 2 channels to 13 channels and the price ranges significantly as well.

My suggestion to you is to hire a sound person. They will know how to use the gear, get optimal sound for your recording, and most of them (myself included) have their own gear so all you have to really think about is shooting your project.

If this is for a client who you want to make happy and build a long lasting relationship with, get the sound person. Explain to the client that sound will be compromised unless you hire one.

And Keith, as far as your comment about being attached to your sound person, y'all just need to work on your choreography.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #10
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The SoundDevices is a great unit if a mixer is what you need. However, for "run-n-gun" work, which happens much of the time in doc/EPK field production, a field mixer is often not even used, except for when a separate sound person is along, and that mostly just to verify levels. This is because the main audio is mono-- and usually a single mic, as moviemakers use for dialogue.

The biggest first step is to LOSE the on-camera mic (at least figuratively, as in pretend it is not there) and plug in your choice of external mic, be it wired or wireless. That will take your audio out of the "home movie" category. A shotgun is no substitute for using an off-camera mic whenever possible.

As is, the camera can handle two mics, as can the typical external recorder, be it a hard disk recorder or a flash card recorder like the Marantz PMD 660. Then you mix down in post. Three or more mics, unless you are nailed down in one spot (and even if you are), can become a real handful for a solo cameraman. My rule of thumb is if you have enough inputs to require a mixer, you should at least be thinking about the possibility of having an extra pair of hands on location.
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