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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 5th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #1
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PD170 and ME66/K6

All..

I have done a couple of weddings now with the above combo and the setting of the audio seems quite a chore and difficult. I have used the canon XM2 before and that seemed to give quite a good balance on auto sound settings.

However I have noticed that the ME66 on the pd170 gets overloaded when you use it in environments with lots of bass, namely loud church organs and disco's. I know its the mic that is getting overloaded because I have the it on manual (AGC off on both channels) and the levels set so that they do not go above normal levels. If I set the channel 1 Mic Attenuation setting to on and switch on AGC or indeed set levels manually,that seems to give reproduction without distortion, but surely I'm loosing some of the shotgun qualities of this mic by attenuating it so much on the camera. The sony NV1 camera does not overload at all, but its much quieter and is not in the same league as the ME66.

Also when monitoring sound what volume would you set the headphones on the camera screen to hear the levels. I know you should use the meters, but you can have the volume up full on the headphones and then if you have AGC on and hence the meters dont appear all the time its easy to be under the false impression of having the correct levels when what you are actually recording is much lower. I also use the Bose quietcomfort2 noise cancelling headphones to try and minimise external noise and get a truer indication of what is being recorded.

As you can tell from my rant I have become quite confused about the sound from the PD170. Overall the picture quality seems way better than the XM2, especially low light capability which is where it excels, but sound from the PD170 unlike the XM2 seems real hard work..

Please someone help and put me right..

Many Thanks

Mark
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Old June 5th, 2005, 10:22 AM   #2
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In the situations you've already noticed, you cannot win with the ME66 unless you send it back to Sennheiser and have it modified for lower output.

The trick to using the sound on the 150/170 as long as you are using a single microphone is to send the microphone output to both channels. Then set one channel to Auto and the other to a manual setting, usually 1/4 to 1/3 of the level setting bar. That way you will catch the whispers and not lose the really loud sounds. All you have to do in post is switch from one track to another at appropriate points.

Listening to sound levels while running the camera is almost a waste of time in noisy environments. I do wear headphones (except at weddings) but I do so to detect problems in the sound other than level. From lots of experience I know the camera settings will get me good sound so I only monitor the sound from time-to-time. I do watch the level bars all the time, however.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #3
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Mike..

Yes good idea with the one auto and one manual. The problem is that during the disco or service the audio will distort on both channels, regardless of what setting I use, the only way to minimise the distortion is to use the Mic Att function.

For the moment I'm thinking that the pd170 mic is best in both those situations, however the stock mic can be backed up with the wireless lavier on the groom during the service( sen G2 series), and I use and MD42 with the wireless option (SKP100) for the speeches with the now stock mic as very loud clapping can also distort sound.

I was going to check out the stck mic specifications and see what other mics come close, have you any ideas of a better match for the PD170 ??

Many Thanks

Mark
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Old June 5th, 2005, 11:34 AM   #4
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The distortion is in the microphone as I said before. Either get it modified or pick something like the AT835B or, surprise, the stock microphone from a DSR-300 class of camera. Personally, I think using a shotgun in a reception/disco environment to be a bad idea. The microphones get overloaded quite easily, they are too directional to pick up the 'real' ambience and, in my opinion, don't sound all that good anyway.

I prefer something like a Shure SM81 which almost cannot be overloaded, has a nice pickup pattern and is relatively small compared to a shotgun (which looks menacing at best).

For interviews in noisy environments, I either use a Shure Beta 58A with wire or wireless which really can isolate the speaker's voice. And if the drunks drop it, it doesn't break.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #5
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Mike..

Thanks again for your response...Do you own an SM81 ? If so can it be camera mounted. The shaft from the pics I have seen looks a little tapered and therefore looks like the type to be mounted on a seperate mic stand. Most sites I have seen do not list it as a camera mounted mic.

What do you use as your choice of general purpose camera mic ?

Forgive me for asking stupid questions, but I'm learning as I go along :-)

I now know at least to limit the use of the ME66, but looking for a good replacement mic for general on board use capable of picking up a wide range of volumes like you find in a church. Perhaps that is the SM81...

Best Regards

Mark
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Old June 5th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #6
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Thanks again for your response...Do you own an SM81 ? If so can it be camera mounted. The shaft from the pics I have seen looks a little tapered and therefore looks like the type to be mounted on a seperate mic stand. Most sites I have seen do not list it as a camera mounted mic.
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Yes I do. I use it when I'm working with the police as it handles gunshot noise very well up to and including the .50 cal Barett sniper rifle. Also handles open exhaust sounds very well. It was designed for use as an overhead choir and cymbal microphone.

I wrap the shaft (which is not tapered) with Gaffer tape. A couple of rounds and it is up to the size of the CAC-12 I have on the 150 and the 300.
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What do you use as your choice of general purpose camera mic ?

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I really like the microphone that is standard on my DSR-300. It is somewhat directional, will handle a lot of overpressure and it sounds pretty good for a run and gun microphone. I also use the standard 150 microphone. It isn't bad sounding, it is just a bit insensitive. But my all time favorite is the stock microphone from the 300.
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Forgive me for asking stupid questions, but I'm learning as I go along :-)
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They aren't stupid, they have to be asked because other than a site like this (use Search) the information isn't generally available.
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I now know at least to limit the use of the ME66, but looking for a good replacement mic for general on board use capable of picking up a wide range of volumes like you find in a church. Perhaps that is the SM81...

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There are other good microphones for the purpose and you can discover many of them by moving over to the Sound forum and using the search tool.
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Old June 6th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #7
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Mike..

Thanks for the reply, have spent countless hours now going through the sound forum, and EVERYONE has an opinion. But I guess the nature of this business is that it is very subjective. Which is nice to hear such a diverse set of opinions..

Though one thing is for certain the ME66 is way too hot for the PD170 without attenuation. Suspect a 10db attenuator would do most of the job for the ME66 and then use the -20db camera option if really required, but understand now that for those type of inddor shots I might be better of with another type of mic.

The Red dot modificationfor the K6 sen unit appears to be rated at -18db so not worth it as the camera is rated at -20db for the attenuation so might as well use that and have the flexibility of the hot output if ever required.

Thanks for the pointers.

Regards

Mark
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Old June 7th, 2005, 06:30 PM   #8
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The ME66 is not the problem. The K6 unit however will overload at the mic. This is a known problem at Sennheiser and they will modify your K6 under warranty. They refer to it as the Red Dot modification. This was true several months ago so I'd suggest checking with Sennheiser tech support. (Since I had mine modified, it behaves much better.)
Bob
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Old June 8th, 2005, 03:24 AM   #9
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Yes I'm aware of the red dot modification. It appears though that it attenuates the K6 unit by -18db, and the camera has -20db switchable, so unless the red dot modification has any other improvements then I might as well just use the onboard switch.

Regards

Mark
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