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Old February 5th, 2010, 10:31 AM   #1
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wanting to double-check audio settings...

Hi there,
Would someone mind looking at the info below, and telling me if my settings and levels are good?

(I have two Sennheiser EW100-G2 wireless units, each with a Sanken COS-11 mic)

Sennheiser transmitter sensitivity set to -20
Sennheiser receiver AF out set at -12

EX1 external trim dials set at "5"
EX1 internal trim set at -41

When I bring up my audio meters via the Status window I see that I'm getting levels that average between -25 and -18.

Is this about right?
Thanks very much for any advice.
Malcolm
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Old February 5th, 2010, 11:14 AM   #2
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It might depend on whether your subject whispers or shouts.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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Malcolm,

I also have the receiver AF out set to -20. This gives you some headroom if the one wearing the mic suddenly starts talking more loudly. Everything else looks good other than turning up the camera volume a bit to compensate.

- Don
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Old February 5th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #4
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Craig and Don, thank you. And yes, Craig, if I get a loud talker, or someone given to sudden outbursts, I would just use the external dial to lower input.
The guy who sold me the Sennheisers said (and I'll quote, because I don't understand this):

"The only thing that I can recommend is if your camera has any indication as to where the dial should be positioned for “unity gain” then I would set it there and make any necessary adjustment on the Sennheiser receiver to get back to the same nominal levels"

Do EX1-users have a "unity gain" to worry about?
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Old February 5th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #5
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Audio is a bit of a black art for me. too. Basically, the audio 'sweet spot' for camcorders like ours is set to around -10dbU. Unity gain setting is always OdbU. On the other hand, studio mixing consoles are usually set at +10dbU, hence the origin of the '10 - 10 rule', but that's another phone call :)

In our case I would consider the volume setting of five (5) on the camcorder adjustment wheels to be our Unity setting, meaning that there's sufficient headroom on both sides to adjust for audio that's falling off the radar because it's too low or getting distortion because it's too high. The adjustment wheels are the very last thing to be adjusted because you want the mics, whether they're radio or standard shotguns to be "in the ballpark" before you do the final adjust for volume. Also Don't forget about the camera's internal trim as being part of your preliminary adjustment.

- Don
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Old February 5th, 2010, 02:46 PM   #6
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I think what he meant by unity gain is:
1. With your mics connected, turn on automatic (switch is on the back of the camera), then observe your meter level, how far to the right it goes.
2. Now switch back to manual, and adjust your trim until you get the same meter level output.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 02:54 PM   #7
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Thank you Don and Warren.
Don, I'll try to get as close as I can with levels with the internal settings, and then leave the adjustment wheel tweaking as a last resort, only if needed.
Warren - - when I go to automatic at the back of the camera, I'm peaking at -10. In manual, it's -20. Sorry to have to ask, but what does this tell you I should do? Change my internal trim to something like -50?
Malcolm
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Old February 5th, 2010, 09:37 PM   #8
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Hi Malcolm. My settings track pretty close to yours. The first level you listed will always be different due to the varying sensitivities of the mics you plug into the transmitter. With my G2 units, I run:

Transmitter Sensitivity: -20dB with my Senn MKE2 lavs
Receiver AF Output: 0dB (this is higher output than you are running yours)

On the camera input, I'm running:

Mic Level setting on the input switch, and the Input Gains at -20 to -23dB depending on the loudness of my subject. This is with the exterior trim controls set to "5" which corresponds to no cut/no gain. The trick to all of this boils down to this.....run the hottest, non-distorted audio you can from each link in the audio chain. One of the worst things you can do is to run a too soft level into the next component and then try to boost that level up to a usable level. If that component has noisy amplifiers, you boost your signal along with all the built-in noise of that particular amplifier.

As to unity gain, the previous explanation was a bit off. Here's a link via my Google Assisted Memory:

Home Recording: What is Unity Gain?

dave
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Old February 6th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #9
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Thanks for the link, Dave. Good article.

- Don
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Old February 6th, 2010, 12:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Hamilton View Post
Warren - - when I go to automatic at the back of the camera, I'm peaking at -10. In manual, it's -20. Sorry to have to ask, but what does this tell you I should do? Change my internal trim to something like -50?
Malcolm
I have my internal trim at -47 with the external knob at 5. Try adjusting the output of the Senny until you get -10 (or whatever you were getting on auto). It's best to do these adjustments while playing back a constant test tone.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #11
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I really want to thank all of you who've posted with your thoughts (and settings).
I'm going to make some changes based on this, and head out on my next shoot feeling much more confident.
Regards, Malcolm
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Old February 7th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #12
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Malcom:

I use the Sennheiser EW100-G3 Deluxe wireless units.

The stock lavalier mics that Sennheiser ships with the kit are Sanken COS-11 mics. The Deluxe kit comes with the extra two VT500 Voice Technologies lavalier mics. The first thing I did was test the difference between these two lavalier manufacturers. There are two noticeable differences. The first is that VT500 has nice flat and broad response from 20-20k. The second is that the Sanken's require almost 10db of extra gain at the transmitter end to obtain proper levels in the EX3. What helped me to sort out all of the various settings was that the VT500 mics came with the following explicit instructions:

"Your VT500/506 lavalier microphone is wired to perform optimally with the sensitivity of your Sennheiser EW wireless transmitter set at -20. Please use this -20 setting for typical everyday speaking dialogue application."

So my settings are as follows:

Sennheiser transmitter sensitivity set to "-21db" (per VT500 instructions)
Sennheiser receiver AF out set at "0db" (factory default)

EX3 external trim dials (both) set at "5" (i.e. optimum gain setting)
EX3 external Audio Select set to "Manual" (i.e. to eliminate AGC pumping)

EX3 internal Trim CH-1 set at -29dBu (for a softer voice)
EX3 internal Trim CH-2 set at -35dBu (for a louder voice)

My audio meters via the Status window indicate levels between -20 and -10 which are the optimum range to avoid the EX1/3 internal limiters.

With the above settings, I get very good audio every time. If I need to adjust levels for a softer or louder person, then I adjust the internal trim settings up or down to get meters levels in the status window between -20 and -10.

So to conclude for your situation, I would recommend that you set the gain on the receiver to 0db and then add gain on the transmitter end to compensate for the lower levels coming off the Sanken lavalier mics. Good luck and cheers!

Last edited by Barry J. Anwender; February 8th, 2010 at 07:55 AM.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #13
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Hi Barry,

It's good to know someone has tried the same mics that I'm using. And your list makes things easier for me. But I have a question.

When you say that the Sanken mics require (compared to your -20db) and extra 10db of gain at the transmitter end...
does this mean (my math is bad at the best of times, but when it comes to minus-db numbers, it's even worse: I'm not sure whether "extra" means up or down) that my Sennheiser transmitter sensitivity whould be set to "-10db"?

I'll try setting my Sennheiser receiver AF out to "0db".

I'll also try your internal Trim settings: -29dBu (for a softer voice) and -35dBu (for a louder voice).
Cheers,
Malcolm
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Old February 9th, 2010, 10:12 PM   #14
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The "extra" gain math is puzzling. I did my testing last November when I received the Sennheiser kit. At this point all that I remember is that there was about a 10db difference between the VT-500 and the stock lav's that came from Sennheiser. I recall having to change the transmitter level by that 10db to get the same sound level at the camera end. Whether that was up or down from the -21db for the VT-500, I cannot recall. I'd have to dig out the stock lav's (now in storage somewhere) and redo the test to answer your question. Sorry about that. All I can say is that I am very glad that I did go for the VT-500's as they truly do deliver very good sound quality. Cheers!
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Old February 10th, 2010, 07:09 AM   #15
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O.K., don't worry about re-testing Barry. I'll try it a few different ways, and re-read the other posts as well.
Regards, Malcolm
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