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Old June 13th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #1
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How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

A friend of mine worked briefly with Sennheiser and while she was there I purchased the Sennheiser G3 kit along with a few other bits. I done this quickly and without much consideration because I was able to buy at almost cost price and there was a time limit.

I mostly shoot wedding videos and I use a Canon XA-H1. I've been using the on board mic, which I've found to be very reliable but I do know that I could do better audio wise and that's why I purchased the kit. Ideally I want to be able to get better audio coverage during the ceremony and speeches.

I've read a few suggestion about using mini disc to record or lavalier mics on the groom. My question is; based on the equipment I already have what is the best method you could recommend to recoding during the ceremony and speeches. I understand that I may need to purchase additional equipment to make this all work. So any suggestions there is also welcome.

Here is a list of the equipment I currently have from sennheiser

Sennheiser Evolution G3 100 Series
Sennheiser Evolution G3 100 Series :

MKE 400 Sennheiser
Sennheiser MKE 400 Camcorder Microphone

MZW 400 sennheiser Microphone accessory
professional microphone the evolution e-835
Sennheiser Worldwide - e 835, cardioid microphone, vocal stage microphone

As I mentioned before I have a Canon XA-H1
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Old June 13th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

What I would do with your present equipment is this: (a) hang the G3 lavalier on the officiant's cassock where it can pick up his speaking as well as the vows of the bride and groom and (b) use your MKE400 for the room. (I think I recall reading somewhere that the MZW accessory kit has an XLR plug adapter which would allow you to use both the wireless and the shotgun together on the XHA1). In editing, I would split the tracks and use each as appropriate. For toasts, speeches, etc. at receptions, I would pretty much rely on the MKE400. I would love to use a lavalier but I also do not want to intrude and hold up the festivities with mic set-ups. When the speeches are made from a table, I try to get close to and in front of the person speaking. Usually, I'll be sitting or kneeling on the floor so as not to obstruct the views of the guests and so as to not appear in the wedding photos. If the speaking is done from, say, a dance floor, I'll stand to one side with the camera on tripod or monopod and try to be close enough to get clear sound with the shotgun.

If I had an e-835 (a hand-held stage mic), I would relegate it for use in interviewing guests, getting stories, etc. during the reception. Stage mics are designed to be used close-up to the mouth, and that can make them problematic when used for anything else. The relatively narrow pick-up pattern helps with diminishing room noise/ambient sound if the interviewee holds the mic close enough to his or her mouth. I would plug it into the #2 XLR socket on the XHA1 when doing the interviews and remove it when shooting the events (speeches, etc.) Personally, I have found it easier to work with shotguns because they can be held away from the face while providing good pick-up and room noise reduction but this would be cumbersome and uncomfortable to handle with integrated mount of the MKE400.

I have a Sennheiser G3 lav and an AT100 Lav system plus three shotgun mics (which require battery or phantom power) and a couple of mp3 recording devices plus an old Shure omni (so old and so infrequently used that I cannot recall the model number.) For Roman Catholic weddings in my area, I place a lavalier on the priest on the front of the cassock so it picks up his speaking and also gets the bride and groom. (In every Catholic wedding I've done in 17 years, the couple only speaks when the priest is with them, so the lavalier picks them all up pretty well.) When I can, I will mic both the groom and the officiant, especially for outdoor ceremonies where there might be a breeze (which is almost always in this area). I shoot multi-cam (including an XHA1) so I like running audio feeds to several cams as: (a) there's always a fallback when one audio stream goes out and (b) it makes it easier to check sync. I've used the mp3 recorders for remote pick-up and recorder when I cannot take a wired feed to a camera. In this area, many of the Catholic churches are very large rooms, some almost like small arenas, with "difficult" audio characteristics. When I cannot get a good audio feed from the Church sound system (sometimes the "house mix" is appalling when pulled from the panel instead of heard over the loudspeakers), putting a small recorder on the lectern or podium can give much clearer audio. For me, they are a supplement to the audio feed to the main camera, but the recorders have a variety of uses. I use the same techniques with other denominations and religions.

One useful feature of the G3 kit is the 3.5mm accessory cord for the transmitter pack. You plug it into the transmitter in place of the lavalier and use it to take a feed a line level signal from, say, a dj board or house sound system. (Also works for ceremonies, too.) So, if the people making the reception speeches/toasts/etc. are speaking into microphones, you can use the G3 to feed one of the XLR channels on your XHA1 while using the other with your MKE400. Since the MKE400 is sitting in the accessory shoe on top of your XHA1, I would use the clip on the GE receiver and slip over the hand-hold strap on the side of the camera.

For extra equipment, I would look first for some adapter plugs and cables. For example, you want something that will allow you to take the 3.5mm stereo plug from the G3 transmitter cable and convert it to a pair of RCA (stereo) jacks to plug into a "record out" jack on sound board. You also probably want an adapter for 3.5mm to full size phono jack (we call it ¼-inch stereo here -- is the metric equivalent 7mm?). This allows you to take a feed from an earphone jack on a board or sound system.

You would probably find a digital recorder or two handy. If I were buying new today and on a strict budget, I would look at the Zoom H-1 or the Olympus recorder that Taky Cheung recommended. (Sorry can't find the post yet, but I recall that the thread was in the audio section here and had some useful suggestions for positioning recorders near loudspeakers when you cannot easily get a direct audio feed.) These things sell for about $100 ($US). You can get much better equipment for more money, of course. It just depends on how small or how large your budget is. Budget matters a lot and "good enough" is more realisticlly stated as "good enough.for the budget."

There is a two-fold difficulty with using digital audio recorders: getting the audio tracks in sync with your video tracks and then keeping them in synch. There is a tendency for digital devices to drift out of sync due to slight differences in the internal clocks they use for their timings. Some folks find this easy to do by manually examining the audio wave forms. If you do much with external audio (or work with multiple cameras), you might find the Plural Eyes software useful.

Singular Software - PluralEyes

It goes for about $149 ($US). A fully functional demo version is available for try-out. One thing Plural Eyes does not do, however, is correct for clock drift that occurs after synch is set. I recall reading some threads here on how to address the clock drift issue.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

First of all I would like to thank you so much for the detailed and educated reply to my question and secondly I would like to apologies for taking so long to get back to the thread I started!

I've been shopping around, trying to test out my new equipment and trying to understand it all. Unfortunately the audio scares me and to be very honest I know very little about it.

I've carefully considered all of your advice and I'm purchasing 2-3 zoom DVR with accessories kits. In most of the post I've read the zoom keeps come up, its a good option and they are VERY competitively priced!

The first steps I will be taking is the simplest; place one of my new Zooms beside the music in the church....Nice and easy and no sync to worry about. The next step would be to put a lav on the priest and use my Sennhesiser transmitter and receiver to hook it directly up to one of XLR channels on my canon XH A1 (no sync with video necessary). Then I plan on mounting my MKE 400 on my camera and plugging it into my remaining XLR channel on my XH A1 (again no sync with video necessary).

The only concerns I have here is that the on board mic has served me well and it makes me nervous to switch it off but I guess if I have the lav and the MKE 400 running together then it may be very reliable? And the other thing; I don't know how the preist will react to me putting a mic on them....they can be a bit touchy! When I started out covering weddings I made the mistake of meeting with the priest and letting him know that I wouldn't interrupt the cemoney and that I keep a low profile .....Once I done this I would get a list of what I was and wasn't allowed do during the ceremony and then put in some corner with no view of the action! Now this wasn't the reaction of all of the presit but some can difficult and by avoiding them all I saved myself this hassle!

Lastly I have the cassock in the church. I was going to place another zoom DVR here to pick up the different speakers during the ceremony. I will need the PluralEyes Jay mentioned to sync this part of the ceremony. But it's only for short burst that there will be speakers at the cassock so I'm hoping I won't get too much clock drift.

So that's my ceremony plan...and were onto the speeches

Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
One useful feature of the G3 kit is the 3.5mm accessory cord for the transmitter pack. You plug it into the transmitter in place of the lavalier and use it to take a feed a line level signal from, say, a dj board or house sound system. (Also works for ceremonies, too.) So, if the people making the reception speeches/toasts/etc. are speaking into microphones, you can use the G3 to feed one of the XLR channels on your XHA1 while using the other with your MKE400. Since the MKE400 is sitting in the accessory shoe on top of your XHA1, I would use the clip on the GE receiver and slip over the hand-hold strap on the side of the camera.
This is exactly what I want to do for the speeches. The only problem is I don't know how. I've had a good look for decent G3 tutorials that might explain but no luck. All the speeches I cover have the hotels wireless mic's systems but I honestly don't have a clue how to get a direct signal from the house system. If anyone can explain how to do this I would REALLY appreciate it. And don't be afraid to dumb it down ;) So far I've worked out to sync a lav and my wireless mic to the G3 transmitter but that's as far as my wisdom goes. Ideally I want to get direct signal from the house system and then have my MKE 400 for the room and guest reaction this is the ideal and then I'm going to position one of my zooms near a speaker as a back up.

Again as you've suggested I'm going to use my wireless mic for the guest messages and sync with my G3...pretty straight forward and easy.

I'm nearly there but I just need to work out how to take a live feed from house systems...
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Old July 13th, 2011, 12:36 AM   #4
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

As I have learned since my last posting, it may not such a good idea to do things the way I suggested --- using the "jack cable" from the sound board/sound system to the G3 transmitter with the transmitter's sensitvity (menu setting) turned down to -33db or lower. While this can work, it is is, depending on one's viewpoint, an undesireable kludge or a passable hack. Please read this thread for a detailed discussion about it:

Wireless from board to camera?

So, let us go back to what you want to do in taking an audio feed to your G3 transmittter.

You said you need basic info,

How basic do you want?

Maybe I should start with there being two kinds of audio feeds from a sound system. There is “line level” and “mic level.” Line level is what you get out of your stereo system from “record out” jacks and “vcr out” jacks. It is what comes from the earphone jack on an iPod and your home stereo if it has an earphone jack. (Same thing with earphone jacks on televisions if yours is so equipped.) Line level is a much stronger signal than what comes from a microphone which, self-evidently, is “mic level.” Because mic level is so much lower than line level, you want to avoid feeding a line level signal into a mic level input because doing so can damage the input circuitry without some sort of proteaction or attenuation. Feeding mic level into a line level input results in a signal that may not be audible or may be very faint. Feeding line level into a mick level input can burn out the circuity with excessive voltage.

Now, let’s talk about connectors. There are basically three main kinds of plugs and sockets. (Of course there are more than three kinds , but we’re talking the principal ones here.) Your Canon XH-A1 has two of these kinds of plugs for mic level inputs. There is a small one on the right side of the handle. This is a 3.5mm “mini” plug (also referrred to in North America as 1/8 inch mini plugs.). Mini-plugs can be mono or stereo. The 35mm mic plug on the handle of the XHA1 is a stereo plug. (Plugging stereo into mono or vice versa cans sometimes have the undesirable effect of producing a hum in your audio; it happens often enough that one tries to avoid doing it, although it is not always a problem.) You can tell (most of the time) whether a plug is stereo or mono by the number of rings on the barrel of the plug, One black ring near the tip means it it is a mono plug. If it has two rings, it is a stereo plug. (Your XHA1 comes with an AV cable which has a 3.5 mm plug on one end (with three rings, two for audio and one for video) and, on the other end, three “RCA” plugs.

RCA plugs are standard for home audio systems and many other devices. Usually one will be white or black, which is for the left channel (and also functions to carry a mono-signal). The other will be red and carries the right side of a stereo signal. RCA connectors are always “line level.” The RCA sockets on a device will generally be labeled. “In” or “input” means the device accepts a line leve signal through those sockets. (This is what you can use on a sound board to feed recorded music into the system, and how you can feed a CD player into your home stereo). Out” means the device can feed a line level signal out of those sockets.. You can use these to feed a signal to your Zoom devices or other recording devices including cameras (the latter requiring some care in how you set-up the connections, a subject we’ll come back to.) Often, when you are looking at a sound board or public address system. there will be a set of RCA plugs labeled “CD In” or “Tape In” (which allows you to feed recorded music through the system) and there will be another set labeled “record out” (from which audio output can be sent via RCA cables).

“Phono” plugs come in two sizes: “mini” which are 3.5 mm in diameter (think of the earphone jack on an iPhone and the “mic” jack on the handle of the XHA1) and regular phono plugs which will have a 7 mm diameter (¼ inch in the non-metric parts of North America). Some earphones plug into mini jacks and some plug into the larger phono jacks. There are adapter plugs (sometimes called “converter” plugs) that allow you to size up or down when you have ¼inch jack and a mini plug or vice versa. I don’t know where to look for them in Ireland but they are commonly available here at hardware stores, Wal-Marts, Radio Shacks and any “big-box” consumer electronics outlet.

There are also adapters that allow you to convert between RCA and phono connectors. Your XHA1's AV cable is an example of this kind of converter/adapter cable. Sometimes you have plugs on both ends of the cable and need to connect with simlar plug on another cable. For that, you need a “coupler” which has a female socket on both ends. When buying couplers for phono plugs, remeber that you will need a stereo coupler for connecting stereo plugs. There are also addapters for converting stereo phono plugs to mono and vice versa.

Unlike RCA sockets, the sockets for phono plugs can be either line level or mic level and can have one or more channels. (Just to confuse things, there are a variety of adaptative uses so that a phono connector that looks like a stereo cable may actually be something else). The cable itself can carry either kind of signal. It is just a cable. But, when you are using the cable to connect devices, you need to know what the device on each end does. Fortunately, most sound boards and other public address audio systems will have the jacks labeled to tells you whether the jack is line level or mic level.

The other major kind of plug is called “XLR” which are the are the two large, round plugs on the right side of your XHA1 camera. XLR plugs can be either line level or mic level like phono plugs, but, unlike phono plugs, XLR plug only carry one channel of audio. If you want a to feed a stereo signal, you need an XLR cable for each channel.

As above, there are adapters and “gender changers” for connecting between devices. There are phono to XLR cables, some with male XLR connectors and some with female. Suppliers are the the usual outlets, music stores (if they handle electric instruments), and, as always, the net.

On some cameras, you can switch the XLR inputs between mic and line level. However, on the XHA1, you cannot. The XHA1 inputs are mic level only.

Your G3 system has a receiver pack and a transmitter pack. The connectors on both of them looks like a stereo mini-plug with a threaded locking nut around it. They are not actually stereo connectors but are referred to as “tip-ring-sleeve” (TRS). For more information on TRS connectors, see:

TRS connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Your G3 came with several conector cables. For connecting the receiver to your camera, you have two cables. Both of them take a mic-level signal from the TRS connector on the receiver and feed it to a mic-level connector on the other end. One cable has a mini-plug (this is called a “jack cable”) and the other has an XLR connector. The XLR is the preferable connector because it is a more robust connection and less susceptible to damage from getting knocked about.

For the G3 transmitter pack, you probably got only the lavalier mic (mic on one end and TRS on the other). The input on the transmitter is normally set to “mic” level but can automatically switch over to line level with one of Sennhesier adapter cables. There is one, called an isntrument cable, that has a ¼ inch (7mm) phono plug on one end that allows connecting instruments like electric guitars to the transmitter. Other cables have line level XLR connectors on one end and a TRS connector on the other that is wired to automatically switch the G3 transmitter to receiving a line level signal.

In theory, you can use the “jack cable” with the transmitter to feed a line level signal. To avoid overloading the transmitter’s mic level input, you need to be sure that the transmitter’s sensitivity is turned down. You go into the set-menu, find the sensitivity setting and turn it down to -33 db if it is not already set that low. (You can go lower and that may be a good thing.) By turning down the sensitivity, you are doing something akin to reducing the line level voltage down to the mic level that the transmitter can handle. While I have been doing this for years without apparent problems, the recent posting (cited at the beginning) points out why this may not be a good idea.

The recommended way of doing this is with what is called a “pad” or an “in line attenuator.” Search on those terms in the audio forum and you will find a lot of discussion and recommendations of devices ranging from inexpensive to amazing. And, there are the XLR adapter devices like Juiced Link, Beachtek, etc. which allow you to convert XLR and mini plug feeds from line level to camera mic-level and bolt onto the camera.

Sennheiser (or somebody else) may make a 3.5mm line level adapter cable with 3.5 mm plugs on both ends that works like the instrument and XLR cables. I have not been able to find one, but maybe your friend at the company can put you on to one or maybe you can make one for yourself (or know someone who can.)

Okay, so now that we have talked about the connecting the G3 units and connecting them to your camera, how do you connect to the a device to take an audio feed?

The answer is . . . . it depends. Sorry, but there are just too many devices out there and one cannot give a simple answer. It seems to be different every place I go.

If the venue has a very new digital sound board, you might not need anything other than a USB thumb drive. Some new boards will record out that way. (Shot a dance recital this spring where that was the case.) This avoids the need for a recording device or connections altogether.

You also can hook one of your Zoom units to a sound system. How you do this depends on which unit you bought and what connectors it has. Sometimes, if you have a line input on your digital recoding device, you can take a feed from the earphone jack on sound system and plug it into your digital recorder. (Be aware that some, but not all, boards have separate volume controls for the earphone jack. Sometimes this requires special cables. For instance, I have an older mp3 recorder whose line input jack is a sub-mini (2.5mm) stereo plug. I have a sub-mini stereo to mini stereo cable. That comes out of the the recorder. The 3.5 mini plug gets inserted into a ¼ inch earphone adapter plug, which, in turn, might be instered into a ¼ inch stereo to mono adapter plug which I finally what is then inserted into the audio system’s mono earphone jack from which I want to get the feed.)

On many mixer boards, the earphone jack may have a separate volume control and you may need to adust it up or down to get a suitable signal. Always ask permission before you fiddle with a mixer.

If there are a “record out” jacks — which are probably RCA sockets but might be a phono plug — you take a feed from them. Using these can be a bit of trial and error. On many (but not all) audio mixer boards, the “record out” channel may have its own volume control (much like the earphone jacks). However, there may be routing buttons and switches needed to get the signal to the outputs. Best to have somebody at the venue handle the routing for you. Before the ceremony at the church or before speeches at the reception hall is the wrong time for trial and error fiddling with an unfamiliar system. Older and very simple sound systems may have a single RCA out for recording may not even have anything to set output levels to the recording. These are easy to work with as long as you monitor your input device to make sure the input level is kept low enough to avoid overloading. (You need earphones and time to check beforehand if you are not feeding the signal to a camera.)

A “monitor” out jack on a mixer also can be used but you have to be sure that you have the signal at a reasonable level before recording. My experience is that monitor feeds are apt to be quite strong and may produce a lot of distortion.. Again, there will be volume controls and there may be routing controls for these.

Taking an audio feed is not always desireable. In the room, the audio may sound pretty good with all the compensations that can be made on the panel. When taking a direct feed from that panel, however, you are getting the signal before it meets the room and it may sound pretty weird. I’ve found this to be particularly true with signals from the boards of DJs at receptions. Asking for feeds from a DJ also is, shall we say, potentially fraught with political complications.

Now, with all this long posting, we come to hotel wireless mike systems. I do not know about your area, but here, the systems run the gamut from ghastly and primitive (and no way to take a feed from them) to so complex that nobody gets to touch them. This is one of those things where you have to schmooze with the staff to find out what can and annot be done.

Audio can get complicated when the Hotel's system feeds ceiling loudspeakers. You want to get as close as you can with your MKE shotgun to try to avoid the echo that ceiling loudspeakers will inflict. A direct feed from the sound system, even if it is from an earphone jack, may give you a cleaner channel.

If there are flor standing loudspeakers (or a DJ system), there were a number of threads last summer (both here in the Wedding/Event forum and in the audio forum) about avoiding taking feeds from Djs by placing digital recording units (like the Zooms) near the loudspeakers at receptions. There were some very specific recommendations on how to do this and get good sound. Cannot recall the specific threads but I recall there were useful contributions from Travis Cossel and Taky Cheung, and that may help in searching the forums.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 01:52 AM   #5
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

Jay, thanks for that really comprehensive overview.

You did have me confused at one point as I have always thought that RCA plugs & phono plugs are two names for the same thing. Wikipedia agrees with me although that doesn't necessarily mean it's true:-) RCA connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In addition what you refer to as phono plugs I would call jack plugs or TRS & again Wikipedia agrees TRS connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old July 13th, 2011, 09:23 AM   #6
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

There are some local regional variations here but I seem to have been misdirected about TRS being device specific.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 08:19 PM   #7
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

Might I make one more suggestion to the mics you have already. The Sennheiser Compact Cardioid Mic E604. It is mostly used for drums. I Connect it to a MP3 Recorder and put the mic right in front of the DJ's tweeter. Now, this is my last resort setup when the DJ doesn't have "line outs" on his speakers and doesn't know how to give you a direct feed. (yes, this happens every now and then) It has got me out of a lot of audio jams. Not as good as a direct feed but you don't have to worry about distortion.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 08:55 PM   #8
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Re: How do I employ the best use of my Sennheiser Evolution G3

I've been using the Senn E604 for about 4 or 5 years with a Blueline Hyper on my cam and the audio is almost post proof meaning I hardly have to do anything to it in post. Please do notice I said almost. Occassionaly I have to adjust some levels but there is no clipping, no distortion and I don't have to worry about a DJ messing up my audio. If it does get messed up it my fault and no one elses.
One of the best investments I have made.
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