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Old February 9th, 2013, 03:48 PM   #1
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Wireless mics or digital recorders?

What do you prefer for wedding audio capture: wireless mics or digital recorders? I know a lot of people have moved to the latter, but I'm a bit nervous about not being able to monitor audio as it is recorded.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 03:58 PM   #2
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

I have a great Sony wireless kit. I rarely use it now if I can get away with my Zoom H1. It syncs with my video perfectly, the thing is easier to operate. It is a tad bulky but with a hi quality microphone, it sounds very very nice.

Normally I use both the wireless and the H1. I'm getting another H1 this year. The H1 is worth it's weight in gold to me. Yes, you cannot monitor the audio, but I don't care, it works for me just fine at about 50% setting on a groom. To me the key is a good mic, and I use a Rode lavaliere.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #3
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

Do you worry about the lav mic being accidentally pulled out of its socket while on the groom?
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Old February 9th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #4
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

I'm right at the point of investing in yet more audio gear. We already have a mixture of Zoom recorders and multiple wireless mic kits (Sennheiser G3).

The problem of the groom pulling the mic is real but unlikely, just like I had a groom hit the mute button accidentally on the wireless transmitter as he shuffled things in to his pocket as the bride came down the isle. Arrgghh!!! Good job I noticed and put the backup plan in to action.

There is no foolproof way, which is why we have backups, and backups to the backups.

Audio is by far the thing I worry about the most on the day.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

I switched to voice recorder long time ago. Use a small Olympus dm420 on groom. Two Zoom H2n near DJ speakers. One h1 anywhere I can place them.

For lav Mic, I am using RODe PINMIC. It is awesome. Only a small bump can be seen. No other visible wire, or clip with loop wire.

http://lacoloronline.com/blog/?10219...he-RODE-PinMic
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Old February 9th, 2013, 07:39 PM   #6
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

Hi Bill

2 sets of wireless mics most definately! I like to know that the mic that's on the groom, is, infact, working..I could easily forget to press record on a voice recorder, the mic might pull out, anything could happen and you have no way to monitor it! Tried recorders and really didn't like them...each to their own I guess?? I prefer to be able to listen to my audio and at very worst, I can gesture to someone else you might be talking and they are using the groom's mic...! I guess if you camera audio section is not very good like some of the inexpensibe DSLR's then a Voice Recorder is a sensible way to go!!

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Old February 9th, 2013, 08:16 PM   #7
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

Recording audio in a professional situation without monitoring it makes absolutely no sense to me. I would only consider it for backup systems. I run all main audio feeds in manual and adjust them as necessary.

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Old February 9th, 2013, 10:06 PM   #8
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

I'm still waiting to hear the story about the videographer who screamed "STOP THE WEDDING...I'M HAVING AN AUDIO EMERGENCY OVER HERE!!!" the moment he noticed his monitored audio feed went out.

If anyone has a link to it on Youtube, send me the link will ya ???

:-) :-) :-)
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Old February 9th, 2013, 10:07 PM   #9
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

In Rob Adams' course, he recommends never using radio mics -- hasn't had much luck with them in downtown Manhattan. I've personally run into interference problems twice in downtown Sydney, and that's more than enough to make me scared.

Later this year I'll try to a change to a Roland R-05 + Tram TR-50 setup; currently using Sony UWP-V1.

It's true that radio mics can at least be monitored while you're recording. And sometimes I will go over to my recorders, glance at the meters and think, "Gosh, that girl in the white dress sounds a little quiet; better boost the levels." But more often than not I'm too busy to monitor properly anyway.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 10:12 PM   #10
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

I've been using wireless for many many years and only once did I run into a problem and that was my fault. Today I use the AT1821 dual channel system (been using it since it first came out) and I love it...HOWEVER, having said that, I also have and use a Tascam DR-05 when I need another system going for whatever reason. I don't use it often but it's in the bag in case.Please keep in mind I'm very old school and there are some things I just won't change. ;-)
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Old February 9th, 2013, 10:18 PM   #11
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

I wrote a blog in 2007 talk about the same thing. In a live event, even if I can monitor the audio feed, if something goes wrong, nothing I can do about.

Wireless Mics vs Voice Recorders | L.A. Color Online Blog
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Old February 10th, 2013, 06:52 AM   #12
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
Do you worry about the lav mic being accidentally pulled out of its socket while on the groom?
Bill I had this happen to me

When would you interrupt a ceremony?

I didn't notice it at the time but what would you do - interrupt the ceremony?

BTW Interference issues have put me off radio mics for good - I use olympus WM-311M audio recorders - they work a treat - the controls lock off and a little tape around the 3.5 socket ensures te mic can't be pulled out
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Old February 10th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #13
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

Here comes an old school rant. No offence is intended and I hope I don't sound arrogant. As always I am blunt.

Audio for event video is something I have years of experience with and that means I know how BAD it can be. I will say, I do not do weddings, What do I do? Just about everything else there is, but 80% of it is in some kind of corporate environment which includes mostly live events and interviews. From the very high end to the basic job.

First, recorders like zooms and such. Fantastic little devises and very useful for back up audio. I said back up because, one, audio should be backed up, two, because they are good at “set it and forget it”.

On every job I have two goals that apply to everything we create. Do it right the first time. Do as little as possible in post. The first achieves the second.

One: Radio mikes, properly used as your main source, received by the camera in manual mode, monitored, and adjusted are the way I go. When in post I can compare that signal to my AGC backups and I use the radio signal almost every time. For me, I do not like the sound of audio that has AGC noise or has been repaired in post. I read hundreds more posts than I comment on. Something I read here a lot and see in the field is an over reliance on the comfort and security of today’s “auto everything devices”. Just because they do it does not make it the right thing to do. If you don’t know how to do it without the device doing it all for you then you should not be charging for it.

Two: I have never stood up a interrupted an event in 20 years of live production and recording. I have, countless times, had last minute audio issues before the event started (that’s why its backed up, sometimes). In the vast majority of those cases the issue was resolved very quickly because of experience and good basic audio skills. I am not one of the audio technical gurus in the audio section of this forum. I still read that section constantly because I learn so much there. Do I know something about audio? Yes I do, good basic skills, because I care and I want to do it right. Saying there is nothing that can be done anyway is a voice of inexperience (no offence to anyone, I say it the way I see it). I often work in environments with hundreds of thousands of dollars of high end gear in use. That applies here to for weddings and basic events. Why? Because when something is wrong and the trouble shooting starts it does not matter if it is a complex system or a wedding, good trouble shooting starts and usually ends with basic signal flow repairs. Here, I always advocate backups, because I do it, and believe in them. Believe it or not when we run complex audio systems in a highly professional and expensive system with EQs, limiting, compression, reinforcement, and multiple sources I have never seen a Zoom H2N in the room. Those systems are often not backed up, not by my choice, on my gigs they are if we are delivering a recording to the client. The point is, we MUST get it right. There are no second takes in live shows.

When I try to be helpful here I understand budgets are limited and gear is expensive. That applies to me too with some of my own contracted productions. That does not preclude me from doing it as well as I possibly can. So I do not throw auto switches on (on just about anything) because it is skill, knowledge, and experience that allow me to avoid the price that comes with things like AGC or the failures of auto iris. I am not trying to sound arrogant, I expect the same thing from freelancers I often hire for crew. It is an expected standard in the professional environment. So for this old school dog (I’m proudly 53), putting an unmonitored device in someone’s pocket as your main and only record, and running to the back of the room and HOPING it works is unprofessional and irresponsible. That device belongs in another role. Radio interference? Change the frequency! If you are at a facility, did you bother to ask if there is or soon will be someone else in the building that may be using radio mics too? Did you arrive early enough to test things? It is not that hard guys, but what we do is not easy either.

If the devices alone could get it right every time then Uncle Bob would be able to do it and there would be no work for any of us.

Sorry Chip, No you tube video exists of my me standing up at ANY of my events and saying “Stop the show! I have an audio emergency!” See Goals 1 & 2 above :) :0 :) ;)

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Old February 10th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #14
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

With all due respect, a "live event" is entirely different from a wedding "event"...

I've done live audio plenty of times, where there is a full PA, and whatever other equipment, either "house" or hired. Sure when there's a proper sound setup and a crew, that's one way to be able to get good audio (and presumably a good "feed").

That's a different animal from a wedding, where you may or may not have access to the "house" gear, and you have to rely on what you can carry (sorry, when you used the word "crew" you gave away the lack of experience with weddings...).

Like it or not, in order to meet a wedding video budget, in most cases you can't cart in a PA/mic system and wire everyone (at least not in most cases). BUT you still need to deliver better audio than the typical "ambient" (try doing an event in high winds, outside, those are the MOST fun). Sure, it helps if you have sound experience (mic placement and such), but you still have to "bring the studio" with you, and it needs to be discreet.

I've got a couple modded Sony Bluetooth mics (less risk of interference), I can set those to a single channel on a small camera... not my first choice, but usable for backup. I gave up on wireless when I found many venues now have pretty much every channel already allocated, so you'll be crosstalking somewhere...

I like the old venerable iRivers, which I'm updating with a couple similarly small Olympus units - they can be set and locked (so only screwup is to forget to turn them ON, just set em and pick 'em up after the ceremony). Sync is easy enough in post, and usually the best "track" to choose from.


The nature of most live events is "just keep playing" - sometimes there needs to be a halt, but I don't want to be the one that calls it... I know I have enough audio sources that I can "cover" if something goes wrong with one of them, that's the way to do things professionally. Maybe the digital recorders have a weakness, but I haven't had a "fail" yet, where wireless has proven to be problematic more than once.

Sure, it would be great to have a multi-channel wireless audo setup with a dedicated audio guy, but that would be far from a "typical" wedding situation.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 09:24 PM   #15
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Re: Wireless mics or digital recorders?

Dave,

You are not disrespectful and there is nothing for me to “give away”. Over the course of twenty something years in the industry I have filled just about every role imaginable in video production and audio visual production, and sometimes I still do. I don’t do weddings, but I do run and gun in one man docu style, recording events.

I have no problem telling you all this story. Several years ago I did my nephews wedding for their wedding present. Everyone was thrilled “The Pro” was coming in to save the young kids money and do a bang up job for free. I even had a second person on the job to help me. It was one of the few video productions I did that I sucked at! It was horrible compared to what everyone thought they were going to see. And yes I was out of my environment, during the ceremony I kept looking at the other camera operator and wishing we had ClearCom. Can you imagine how stupid that would have been? The two of us up in the back corners of the alter and I wanted to “call shots”!

Please believe me when I say, I don’t do weddings that is not coming from a place of arrogance. I respect the hell out of what you guys do. Often going in as a one man band to do everything an entire orchestra creates. I think the essence of my rant and I will stand by it, is there are a lot of guys out there in every genre representing themselves as professionals and they know very little about the technicalities or the craft. Take the auto button away and they go down in flames. I know that to be true.

A decent wireless microphone system costs far less than anyone is charging for one wedding. So does a Zoom. So my point is use both. The Zoom for backup and the radio for best quality. But hey, that’s just the way I DO IT. Each to their own. Live and let live. The garbage will sink and the cream will rise to the top.

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