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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.


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Old August 17th, 2009, 07:58 PM   #1
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(force-)Feeding Audio into SI-2K Mini ;)

What do you guys use with SI-2K Mini and a laptop for sound?

I finally settled (I think) on E-mu Tracker Pre. Very low noise, good sound. (I loved the sound quality of its predecessor, E-MU 0202, as well.)

Issue: it appears that Mini's software (SiliconDVR) shows incorrect levels in its VU meters.

Say, when VU meters show -24dB, the same sound played in PPro shows -6dB. (and sounds more like -6dB too.)

Did you notice such behavior on your system?
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Old August 24th, 2009, 12:40 AM   #2
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The SI2K recorder unit running DVR also appears to display lower levels than are being input. In the good book, they caveat the audio performance by hinting it is suitable for guide tracks and suggesting a separate audio recorder be used.

I found that the tone from a MixPre is not correctly rendered in the screen display and it is impossible to use this to set an ideal level. For safe dialogue, I have bracketted the levels in the two channels in the SI2K, one lower, one higher and send the mono feed from the MixPre into both L and R channel at the same level.

I've gone into the operating system and found gains at default are already maxed. Maybe I have mismanaged the system. I am not all that computer savvy.

Critical material I also run into a DAT recorder.

There may be a correct management of the MixPre/SI2K combination but I have not yet found anything written down. However my researches have not been exhaustive.

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 24th, 2009 at 12:43 AM. Reason: error
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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:23 AM   #3
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I've been through a number of interfaces now, with the same result: VU meters in SiliconDVR appear to be way lower than the actual sound level (as displayed by playing that video file in NLE.)

The company seems to have a "whatever!" attitude on this subject.

Which is regretful, since the camera itself and the rest of the SiliconDVR software is absolutely marvelous and top-notch.

One would think, how hard it is to manage the sound VUs correctly?..
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 09:15 AM   #4
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The zoom h4n handy recorder is an SD card field recorder/mixer- recording to SD card, OR you can hook it up via USB and record straight to the laptop and use it as a mixer. Can be powered by AA batteries or USB power from the Laptop

WINDOWS SETUP:
USB H4 Levels in the windows mixer h4n recording audio properties have to be set at 25 for the levels on the mixer and with what is being recorded to match. Ignore the reference levels in DVR, they will not be correct. Monitor your levels off the H4n.

Set PLAYBACK to your default soundcard - NOT THE H4N (right click the soundcard and hit set as default)
Set RECORDING to the H4N

If laptop is turned off, you will have to re-choose USB IN/OUT on the H4N and reselect 48khz.

On H4N if you want USB power- choose external power ON.

QUIRKS:
Test your playback off a recording with the laptop - I have been unpluggin my monitoring headphones from the H4N and plugging into the headphone output on the laptop.

You may be able to play back OUT of the H4N and see levels as well, but I have not got it working- would likely need to take the mic out of the laptop and put it into the line IN on the h4n. - I haven't bothered, easy enough to unplug the headphones and replug into the laptop

If you reboot your computer you may have to just open this window up once to get the PC to confirm that it is using the H4N input. I have accidentally recorded off the laptop's mic from not reselecting the h4n as input... Easiest way to check this is to 'tap' your mic and see if the DVR levels jump.


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Old September 3rd, 2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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Looks great, BUT I cannot find specs anywhere.

With H4N as mic preamp, what is the noise? THD? Dynamic range?
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Old September 4th, 2009, 12:54 AM   #6
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can't find them any where?... c'mon now... type in google.. "h4n zoom specs" this was the first thing that popped up.

H4n Handy Recorder

geez louise.


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Old September 4th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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Been there, no THD/noise/dynamic range specs.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #8
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If you don't see what you're looking for in here, then i'd email them, and also consider a job as a sound man ;)



H4n SPECIFICATIONS

<STEREO Mode>
●Simultaneous Recording Tracks: 2 ●Simultaneous Playback Tracks: 2 ●Functions: Lo-cut Filter, Compressor/Limiter, Mono Mix, M/SStereo Decoder, Auto-Rec, Pre-Rec, Tuner, Metronome, A-B Repeat, Variable Speed Playback, File Dividing, Normalize, MP3 Post-Encode, Marker ●Recording Format: WAV (Quantization: 16/24bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48/96kHz), MP3 (Bit Rate: 48/56/64/80/96/112/128/160/192/224/256/320kbps/VBR, Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz) ●Playback Format: WAV (Quantization: 16/24bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48/96kHz), MP3 (Bit Rate: 32/40/48/56/64/80/96/112/128/160/192/224/256/320kbps/VBR, Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48kHz)

<4CH Mode>
●Simultaneous Recording Tracks: 4 ●Simultaneous Playback Tracks: 4 ●Functions: Lo-cut Filter, Compressor/Limiter, M/S Stereo Decoder, Auto-Rec, Pre-Rec, Tuner, Metronome, A-B Repeat, Normalize, Marker ●Recording Format: WAV (Quantization: 16/24bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48kHz) ●Playback Format: WAV (Quantization: 16/24bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1/48kHz)

<MTR Mode>
●Simultaneous Recording Tracks: 2 ●Simultaneous Playback Tracks: 4 ●Effect: 50 types, 2 Modules, 60 patches ●Functions: Tuner,Metronome, Punch-In/Out, Bounce ●Recording Format: WAV (Quantization:16bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz) ●Playback Format: WAV (Quantization:16bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz)

<STAMINA Mode>
●Simultaneous Recording Tracks: 2 ●Simultaneous Playback Tracks: 2 ●Functions: Lo-cut Filter, Auto-Rec ●Recording Format: WAV(Quantization: 16bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz) ●Playback Format: WAV(Quantization: 16bit, Sampling Frequency: 44.1kHz)

<Common Specs>
●A/D Conversion: 24bit, 128times oversampling ●D/A Conversion: 24bit,128times oversampling ●Signal Processing: 32bit ●Recording Media: SD memory card (16MB - 2GB), SDHC memory card (4GB - 32GB) ●Display: 128 x 64pixel, 1.9-inch backlit LCD ●Balanced / Unbalanced Input: 2 x XLR-1/4"phone combo Jack ●Input Impedance: balanced input = 1kΩ balanced / pin 2 hot, unbalanced input = 480kΩ unbalanced ●Input Level: balanced input = -10 to -42dBm, unbalanced input = +2 to -32dBm ●Phantom Power Supply: 48V,24V, OFF ●Built-in Stereo Mic: Unidirectional condenser microphone (Gain: +7 to +47dB) ●External Mic Input: 1/8" stereo phone jack(Plug- in powered,Input impedance: 2kΩ, Input level: -7 to -47dBm) ●Phones / Line Output: 1/8" stereo phone jack ●Output Load Impedance: 10kΩ or more ●Rated Output Level: -10dBm ●Phones Output Level: 20mW + 20mW into 32Ω load ●Built-in Speaker: 400mW 8Ω ●Phantom Power: 48V, 24V, OFF ●USB Interface: Mini-B type (USB2.0 High Speed compatible), Mass Storage Class operation / Audio Interface operation (16bit, 44.1kHz / 48kHz) ●Power Requirements: AA size (LR6) battery x 2, or AC adaptor (DC5V/1A/center plus) ●Battery Life (with alkaline batteries): 6 hours (Normal mode), 11 hours (Stamina mode) ●Dimensions: 70(W) x 156.3(D) x 35(H)mm ●Weight: 280g (without batteries)
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Old September 5th, 2009, 07:46 PM   #9
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Justin: just because I care about quality of my sound, does not really qualify me as a sound professional by trade. So I doubt I'd get a job.

As you can see, no THD, noise, or dynamic range figures are published for Zoom H4N.

It is usually the case when manufacturer has nothing to brag about.

Moving on to look at some other options now.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 01:42 AM   #10
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Hi

we use USB-Pre from sound devices it has some leds or sound monitoring, no problem so far.

-Kaspar
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Old September 8th, 2009, 06:43 AM   #11
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Kaspar, what mics do you use with USBpre?

What position your gain knobs are in?

Thanks!
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Old September 8th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #12
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Hi

I leave the fiddling with the knob to the sound operator ;) so this is why I have not hit the wall with DVR because I ignore the VU meter and the sound operator works with the feedback from the unit itself.

There is one weird thing that when I am recording the sound level coming to phones is much higher than in playback of DVR, but in editing the sound level is what expected.

-Kaspar
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Old September 24th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #13
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Yes, so finally Sound Devices USBPre mic preamp is the answer.

Purchased and used it on the short film this week, works great. No problems, and it gets power from USB bus so no hassle with batteries.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #14
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...and now USBpre does not work with any 64-bit OS - like Win 7... or Vista... because the company (Sound Devices) cannot come up with the appropriate drivers. This is the first and only fatality I have encountered so far due to Win 7 64bit, in my setup.

Anyway... I have recently discovered two great audio interfaces that play nicely with SiliconDVR.

First is Echo AudioFire 4 You can power it by FireWire itself. Great sound, low noise. Compact, light. (Note: make sure to use Legacy OHCI FW drivers on your computer's FW card, though. saves you a lot of aggravation.) Once set up correctly, seems to be fantastic, stable, pleasure to use. Two mic channels. (actually Echo says they are auto-sensing mic/line/instrument inputs, but I only tested mics on them so far.) $250 retail

Second one is a truly miniature, run-n-gun, USB solution - CEntrance Micro Port Pro. Again, wonderful sound (although not quite as open, low noise, and high quality as AudioFire above.) In A/B comparison with USBpre, I actually liked CEntrance better - which was a huge surprise to me. You can connect more than one CEntrance device to the same PC for simultaneous use. USB-powered. $150 street, so it's like $300 for 2-channel mic preamp interface.

Both provide 48V phantom, both work fine with Windows 7.

I own both and they are keepers for me now.
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