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-   -   Newbie question about the SD302 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/105016-newbie-question-about-sd302.html)

Matt Buys October 4th, 2007 07:01 PM

Newbie question about the SD302
 
After searching this forum, I've decided on the SD302 for a field mixer. Primarily I'm hoping to use it for documentary sit down interviews. Possibly for film shorts later. My question is, can the SD302 work like my old beachtek and hook up to my HV20 by a 1/8 inch jack? Or what about an XHA1 which is on my horizon? Or do I need to buy something else too, like a DAT or a laptop? I know these questions sound ludicriously simple but please keep in mind I have NO experience in this area and did not see a neophyte answer in the online manual.

Dan Keaton October 4th, 2007 07:34 PM

There are multiple ways of doing this.

Personally, I would use the "Mix Out/Tape Output", which is an unbalanced stereo output. So all you need is a cable.

I recommend that you contact the dealer from whom you purchased the 302 or will purchase it from.

If you bought it used, just call one of the reputable audio dealers or one of the DVInfo.net sponsors.

A good alternative would be to call Sound Devices directly, they are very helpful. They are the best source of advice.

There are other ways, such as to use the XLR Mic/Line outputs, but I like the Mix Out/Tape Out solution better.

Matt Buys October 4th, 2007 08:16 PM

Thanks for responding. I haven't bought the 302 yet. I was going to buy it from BH later in the week when they open up again. But before I bought it I just wanted to be sure there weren't any other costs that I did not understand. So from what you're saying, (and pardon me if I'm wrong) I'm gathering that all I'll need to buy is a cable that goes from the tapeout to my HV20. Therefore it's like the Beachtek? Or am I making an incorrect assumption.

Ty Ford October 4th, 2007 09:01 PM

The 302 is a wonderful piece of gear. It's is so far above any Beachtek on the market.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Michael Nistler October 4th, 2007 11:41 PM

Beauty and the Beast?
 
Hi Matt,

Well, your SD302 certainly is the top of the line. But I'd guess the most common workflow is to feed the SD302 output into a better device than your HV20 - no way are the two devices on par regarding audio fidelity. A more likely workflow scenario is to output the SD302 into something comparable like the 7 Series recorders from Sound Designs.
http://www.sounddevices.com/products/7.htm
Then in the editing process, output the audio from something like the SD702 (via a digital signal) into your computer to maintain audio integrity. Otherwise, if you always plan to run the audio through your HV20, perhaps you'll want to consider a less expensive field mixer.

FYI - for many, something like the HV20 is more of a portable gun-and-run camera, where most would have a separate audio engineer when working with a high-end field mixer like the SD302. IMHO, it's hard enough for the cameraman to capture good video without having to also ride contols on an external device. If you're a one man show, you might even forget about mixing until post, recording all 4 channels in real-time (SD442 and SD744T). But I digress - good luck with your SD302, from all I've heard you'll love it.

Michael

Steve House October 5th, 2007 02:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Buys (Post 754546)
After searching this forum, I've decided on the SD302 for a field mixer. Primarily I'm hoping to use it for documentary sit down interviews. Possibly for film shorts later. My question is, can the SD302 work like my old beachtek and hook up to my HV20 by a 1/8 inch jack? Or what about an XHA1 which is on my horizon? Or do I need to buy something else too, like a DAT or a laptop? I know these questions sound ludicriously simple but please keep in mind I have NO experience in this area and did not see a neophyte answer in the online manual.

Your 302's balanced XLR outputs can be adjusted to send either line or mic level signal but the unbalanced Tape Outs are line level only. AFAIK, your HV20 external audio input only accepts mic level so that means you'll need to feed it from the 302's XLRs. And that means in turn that you'll need a dual XLR-F to stereo 1/8 adapter cable such as the Hosa YXF-247. http://hosatech.com/hosa/products/yx...d_yxf-305.html

Matt Buys October 5th, 2007 07:29 AM

I feel lucky I posted a few basic questions here before buying. It sounds like the SD302 might not be what I need. Although I have an HV20 right now, I'm planning on spending about eight thousand dollars more on camera and sound equipment. I have all the mics, tripods, merlins, I need. I also have a motu unicorn and a beachtek that has served me well. Here's my situation.
I want to do a documentary on this good/crazy chemistry professor who's going to Tanzania to start up a drug manufacturing plant for generic Aids drugs. It would be the first and only plant of its type and it's such a great story I think good things may come of it. They don't even have electricity in the area he's working on.
I want to follow him around and interview various UN types. I figured I would get the A1 since it's compatible with the HV20 but it sounds like the SD302 does not work well with it. I'm curious what other people might do if they were in my shoes. Unfortunately for this doc I will have to be cameraman and sound man. I'll have three weeks there in March. The advice I see around here seems that audio technology is a better long term investment than camera technology and I wouldn't mind owning something that could handle sound for a theatrical release five years from now.

Dan Keaton October 5th, 2007 07:41 AM

Dear Matt,

The Sound Devices is a great piece of gear. I highly recommend that you purchase it.

Yes, Steve House is right concerning the Mix Out/Tape Out being line level.(Steve's advice is always right on).

You will love the 302, if you purchase one. It will last you for years and will never be second rate. Later, it will work well with a Sound Devices "7 Series" recorder.

So, I am certain that Sound Devices or an audio house/dealer can make a proper cable, with attenuator's built in to convert the line level to mic level.

I have the Beachtek DXA-8 and the 302. I bought the DXA-8 first. It certainly is handy to have it mounted just below the camera. But the Sound Devices 302 is in a different league, and has the features that you need for more professional sound work.

In other words, the Beachtek DXA-8 will get you started, but if you ever need to do more professional sound work, or be more flexible, the Sound Devices 302 will be appreciated.

As an example, the Beachtek DXA-8 does not allow you to monitor the levels (there are no level LEDs).

Matt, I sent you a private email with more information.

Steve House October 5th, 2007 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Buys (Post 754719)
...It sounds like the SD302 might not be what I need. ...I figured I would get the A1 since it's compatible with the HV20 but it sounds like the SD302 does not work well with it. ...

Don't let the need for an adjustment in the setup menu of the 302 and the purchase of a $10 cable dissuade you from getting it. The HV20 needs a mic level signal presented on a 1/8 stereo plug. The A1 has XLR connectors. All that means is you'd use a different cable with the A1, that's no big deal. The 302's tape outs are line level only but you can always get an in-line pad if you wanted to use them. It's XLR connectors can be selected for either line level or mic level if you want to go that route. Sorry if you got the impression that the 302 wouldn't work well with the A1 - actually it's just going to be a matter of setting them up properly.

Craig Irving October 5th, 2007 08:09 AM

I hope I'm not hijacking the thread here by asking...
 
I've been very interested in buying this mixer but I am trying to decide whether to buy this, or the Sony DMXP01.

There really aren't too many reviews on the Sony DMXP01, and the Sound Devices is unanimously decided to be a great company for mixers. But I'm wondering which unit would perform better when compared? Has anyone here used a DMXP01?

I know it's not really fair to compare these units together since the DMXP01 is valued at twice the cost of the SD302. But I hope we can set aside price for a moment because these are the options I'm considering.

Ty Ford October 5th, 2007 09:17 AM

Craig,

Does your camera have a digital audio I/O?

A post very similar to this one keeps popping up here. Over in the location sound forums, nobody's talking about this mixer. And they are working with some cameras that actually have digital audio I/Os.

It's either way too early for its time or a "because we can" product to demonstrate the company's technical prowess.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Dan Keaton October 5th, 2007 09:20 AM

Dear Craig,

I would be a little worried about the delays caused by the analog to digital conversion, if I was using a digital mixer.

Ty Ford October 5th, 2007 10:08 AM

Dan,

Interesting thought.

I wonder if the camcorders with digital audio I/O automatically compensate.

If the Zaxcom wireless, which takes 3.2 mSec for the analog/digital-digital analog conversions, can be used as a model, then half of that (the first A/D conversion), would be 1.6 mSec.

I can't find my slide rule at the moment. How many frames is that?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Dan Keaton October 5th, 2007 10:48 AM

Dear Ty,

I searched my Sound Devices 744t manual for the delay (or latency) figures. I could not find them. But I did read this somewhere in the past.

What I remember from what I read, and from my experience with ADC (Analog to Digital Converters), the delay is based on the number of samples per second. Higher sample rates, such as 192k have the lowest delay.

The obvious: whenever going from analog to digital, or digital to analog, there will be a delay, if both are involved, there will be two delays.

The Sony unit only goes up to 96k, which is more than adequate for great sound, but this is double the delay time of 192k.

Personally, I would prefer a high quality analog mixer such as the Sound Devices 302 or 442 over a digital mixer. But the delay may be so small that it does not really matter.

At 60 frames per second, I calculate that each frame would be 16.667 milliseconds (1 second / 60 frames = .016667). So 1.6 ms would be 1/10 of a frame, (if you had 60 frames per second). My math and theory are subject to corrections (which are most welcome).

Craig Irving October 5th, 2007 01:43 PM

Hmmm. I'm guessing my camcorder doesn't have digital audio I/O. I really have no idea what that is, all I can see is that my XLR inputs are balanced (of course). What type of camcorders usually do? Shoulder-mount cams > 10K?

Are there any handheld camcorders that have digital audio I/O? Perhaps the Canon XH-A1 or the Sony Z1U or XD Cam EX?

I looked through the specs on my cam, the Sony V1U and couldn't really find anything that stood out about that.

Dan Keaton October 5th, 2007 01:45 PM

The Canon Cameras do not have digital audio inputs or outputs.

Seth Bloombaum October 5th, 2007 05:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Keaton (Post 754796)
...At 60 frames per second, I calculate that each frame would be 16.667 milliseconds (1 second / 60 frames = .016667). So 1.6 ms would be 1/10 of a frame, (if you had 60 frames per second). My math and theory are subject to corrections (which are most welcome).

Your math is right for fields per second, but not for frames per second. At (nearly) 30fps each frame is 33ms.

Per spec, the Sony DMX-PO1 has a max delay of 1ms at 96KHz, and 2ms at 48KHz sample rates. I'm really practiced at sub-frame lipsync correction - I'd never see a correctable error with a 1-2ms delay, I don't think anybody could.

To me it is a really interesting 4X2 mixer that offers a lot in a small package. More dynamics processing than any other... more configurable. I think you'd use the digital output to a sound recorder, and send analog to the camera. I don't know of any prosumer or prosumer plus camcorder with digital audio inputs.

Having said all that, like Ty I don't know any field recordist who has made the jump to a digital mixer. They've been around for a while for sound reinforcement, but mostly for high-end applications. I've only used them a couple times, but am only now starting to seriously consider one for pa work.

I think that pro recordists are very conservative. Every one knows that to stick a toe in the water early is to risk having it snapped off by a shark - and that most likely means never working for that client again.

Michael Nistler October 6th, 2007 04:21 AM

The SD302 is always the answer - now then, what was the question?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Buys (Post 754719)
I feel lucky I posted a few basic questions here before buying. It sounds like the SD302 might not be what I need. <CLIP> I'm curious what other people might do if they were in my shoes. Unfortunately for this doc I will have to be cameraman and sound man. I'll have three weeks there in March. The advice I see around here seems that audio technology is a better long term investment than camera technology and I wouldn't mind owning something that could handle sound for a theatrical release five years from now.

Rehi Matt,

Perhaps I'm swimming upstream against all those who advocate the SD302 for your solution but I'm not one to go with group think so I'll try another round at this. Subjectively to me, it makes little sense to restrict yourself to a $800 camera, spending twice to three times as much for the audio chain! But I'm okay discussing specs.

First, let's look at the specs for your HV20 (suspiciously, very sparse):
DV: 16 bit (2ch) 48 kHz
12 bit (4ch) 32 kHz
Microphone Terminal: 3.5 mm Stereo Mini-jack

This means for stereo recording with XLR inputs, you'll probably need something like the Beachtek DXA-2s
http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?t=88&page=6
or the Beachtek DXA-6vu
http://www.beachtek.com/dxa6vu_inside.html

FYI, your HV20 doesn't have 48 volt phantom power if you're connecting to condensor mics, you'll need something (of course, like the Beachtek unit, the SD302 does provides phantom power).

On that note, I suggest you give the HV20 forum a close look, including your questions on audio. For instance, some complain about its motor noise, so it's a good idea your mic will be off-camera. And everyone seems to agree the internal mic pretty much sucks (sound test):
http://hv20.info/yopu/AudioTest.mov
Those that do close-up work seem to use shotgun mics with good success.
http://www.hv20.com/forumdisplay.php?f=24

Anyway, now let's look at the specs for the SD302:

Equivalent Input Noise:
-126 dBu (-128 dBV) maximum
(22 Hz - 22 kHz bandwidth, flat filter, trim control fully up)
Input Clipping Level:
0 dBu minimum (trim control fully down)
Line Output Clipping Level (1% THD):
20 dBu minimum, 18 dBu minimum with 600 ohm load
Dynamic Range:
115 dB minimum (trim fully down)
THD + Noise:
0.007% typical (1 kHz, +4 dBu at Line out), 0.009 max (50 Hz to 20 kHz, +18 dBu at line out, fader fully up)
Output Noise:
-100 dBu (-102 dBV) maximum (22 Hz - 22 kHz bandwidth, flat filter, master gain fully up, faders fully down)

Doesn't it strike you as curious that Canon choses not to share similar specs on their low-end HV20? The serious videograhper would instead buy the high-end Canon XL H1 that can record decent audio:
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=12152
MPEG1 Audio Layer II: (Sampling frequency 48 kHz, bit rate 384 kbps/2 channels);

So personally, I'm not inclined to over-spend/over-engineer a mixer, only to feed the pristine signal into a so-so recorder. So rather than go the Beachtek route into the HV20, I'd be going from my mic/s to an external recorder (I'd probably use my Marantz PMD660). In post, I'd mix the audio and video.

Believe it or not, audio is also critical to me so if I was travelling abroad, I'd have two recording devices and certainly record both channels, each with a different recording approach (like a Sennheiser 416T shotgun and a Sennheiser G2 transceiver). I use Canon XL-2s so I can redundantly record into my portable MP-3 player as well as the camera's XLR jacks.

Finally, if you've got lots of extra cash to spend/invest, go ahead and get the SD302 and a SD 7 series recorder - someday perhaps you'll justify the expense or can always sell them for 80-90 percent of the investment. But if you're new to this all, I'd be willing to wager you'll be too busy capturing video to fiddle with controls on an external mixer. On that note, on higher-end cameras we use the onscreen audio level volume bars and headphones to monitor the recording. I wonder how the HV20 does in this department - something to carefully investigate.

Okay, back to the salt mines - good luck with your decision and don't be too quick to buy into what any of us are saying unless it really makes a lot of sense to you. Better yet, check out the gear locally before opening your wallet. If you go the HV20 and SD302, I can guarantee you that you'll be unique among your peers!

Good luck, Michael

PS - regarding mics, I'd recommend the Sennheiser 416T shotgun and a high-end lavalier mic (I use the $300 Countrymans, but there are a few better brands if you can afford them)

Chris Soucy October 7th, 2007 09:06 PM

Hi Matt..............
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Buys (Post 754719)
I'm curious what other people might do if they were in my shoes. Unfortunately for this doc I will have to be cameraman and sound man. .

Well, you asked, so here goes.

For this trip to Tanzania, I'd ditch the HV20 and go straight to the XH A1, do not pass go, do not collect $200! You start interviewing "UN" types at the other end of an HV20 and they won't be able to stop laughing.

Forget the SD302, you ain't going to have either the time or experience to ride shotgun on an interview, camera AND 302 mixer controls at the same time.

Invest in some decent radio mic systems if you don't already have them, minimum 1 X Sennheiser EW100 G2 kit with an extra receiver so you can run two mics off camera at the same time if necessary. Two kits plus and extra receiver would be even better.

Invest in a good, real long shotgun mic, pistol grip, Rycote CCA for the camera, dead cat etc, a wired lav for straight into the camera (in addition to the one that comes with the G2) and maybe a handheld omni/ dead cat etc just for good measure. Plus at least one decent quality mic stand with shock mounts suitable for all mics.

Finally if, as a result of "dry running" you can see an eventuality where three mic audio is likely, maybe go for a SD "Mixpre" unit or similar.

Get your anti - everything shots and go.


Just my 2 cents.


CS

Michael Nistler October 7th, 2007 09:47 PM

I Second the motion
 
I ditto what Chris said - way to go. And in addtion to monitoring the audio with good earphones, be sure to watch the onscreen volume level bars to avoid clipping, etc.

Regards, Michael

Steve House October 8th, 2007 04:01 AM

I'll add another second to Chris's statements for the most part, especially the part about ditching the consumer camera and going straight to one with a bit more ooomph. I can't imagine traveling halfway around the world expressly to shoot a documentary and putting all my eggs in a limited capability consumer basket. Not quite the sort of thing I'd do on a lark - that's a rugged and possibly hazardous journey and if you're spending that much time, money, and effort you want to make sure that you're properly equipped to bring home the goods no matter what the gods throw at you.

I'm not sure I'd agree with his advice to lose the 302 though. While trying to run the camera, adjust audio levels, and interview the subject all at the same time would have you busier than a one-armed paper hanger, you'd have the same issue just using a Beach. The 302's better electronics and excellent limiters means it'll send your camera a better signal even when only having two hands mandates a "set it and forget it" situation.

Since you have your sights on an XH-A1, which seems to be a very capable camera, I'd treat your documentary seriously and move to that camera now, far enough ahead of time to have used it enough that operating its controls and predicting its behaviour has become second nature to you, plus a good professional grade tripod, and get the SD302 as the core to the sound kit.

Matt Buys October 8th, 2007 10:28 AM

The biggest problem I have with this wonderful site is that after doing days of searches and learning everything I need to know about something Iíll post a question, as a mere afterthought, and suddenly I realize I know nothing. The only thing I can say is, Iím glad my wife doesnít view this site.

But I would like to thank Dan Keaton for talking with me on the phone last friday. It was very kind of him. Now at least I have a flashlight for all of the darkness that surrounds me on the topic of what audio equipment to purchase. I think Iím pointed in the right direction but would appreciate a few more comments or opinions.
Hereís my parameters. I have decent audio equipment: good mic stands. two wireless Senn EWG2ís with countryman B6 lavs, the ME66 and rycote softie, Rode NT5 and NTK. I realize itís not great gear but I feel like itís good, high quality stuff that should be enough for any documentary if used properly.

Thatís where I fall off. The HV20 and my Beachtek 4 leave me wanting for sound. After talking with Dan, Iím leaning away from the SD304 and more toward the 24bit sound of the 702 or 702T recorder. I use PP2 for editing and Iím planning on shooting 24p for Africa and it sounds like the 702t might be better for synching 24p sound. What are peopleís thoughts about that?

Iíve already done some interviews and as Chris pointed out the HV20 is not taken seriously. At least not until I show them the footage and then there comes an inevitable, ďThatís amazing.Ē But I will be interviewing some heavyweights and I wonder what an archbishop or what have you will think when they see what looks like a plastic wal-mart cam sitting on a tripod. What Iíve done thus far is say, ďYes, itís small. Technology is amazing. In five to ten years most broadcast cameras will be this size.Ē And then quickly move on. Most people seem suspicious. It half makes me want to glue the HV20 onto my old VX1000 so people think itís bigger. The truth is I have a 7-8k dollar budget for the next year. I will probably get the SD702 and although Iím leaning toward the A1 thereís a part of me that says just take an extra HV20 to Africa--who cares if people think you look amateurish, the footage will be fine--and wait for the new sony exdcam to work out its kinks and drop in price and then Iíll have a tapeless camera that will last years. Thoughts?

Dan Keaton October 8th, 2007 12:02 PM

Matt and I had a nice, in-depth conversation concerning his needs and priorities.

Matt, thank you for the kind words.

Matt wants pristine audio, and this is a very high priority of his.

Also, he would like to use the Canon HV-20, if possible, but wanted higher quality audio than the HV-20 was capable of recording.

Matt also wants equipment that can be used to record music, as he has recorded bands in the past and wants to continue.

We discussed the benefits of the Beachtek, specifically it is easy to mount under the camera which is a big plus, but riding levels would be difficult, or nearly impossible, as a one-man band.

We discussed the difficulty of using a mixer, such as the 302, recording into the camera, as a one-man band.

Then we discussed the advantages of 24 bit recording, where it is possible to set the levels once and be reasonably assured that you will get a decent recording, especially if the recorder has good limiters.

So, on Friday, our conclusion, was that a Sound Devices "7 Series" recorder might fit his needs (including music recording) well. Matt wants to record two channels, and all of the "7 Series" records have two very good mic preamps. Also, any of these recorders will have adequate capacity to record the amount that will be necesary for his trip. Of course, if he chooses a recorder with only Compact Flash, he will need more than one Compact Flash card.

So, on Friday, Matt was leaning towards the Sound Devices recorder and skipping the Sound Devices 302 for now. Weight was another primary concern.

Michael Nistler October 8th, 2007 04:02 PM

Matt,

I'm glad to see you've got a guardian angel - way to go, Dan. At this point, you're certainly on the right track to ensure you're getting the right gear that meets your needs. Since you're doing an out of country documentary and unable to do reshoots, reliability and backups should be paramount on your needs assessment. In that case, I'm all for seeing you use the HV20 that you've fallen in love with as a second camera - you can roll both, doing cutaways in editing. And you'll sleep better knowing that if something goes wrong with you're primary camera you're still in business (BTW, I'd carry both on the plane with me, along with my wireless lavaliers, etc)

Regarding the audio, I'd split the XLR into two signals going to two different recording devices (camera and SD 7 series, etc). I'd be using two primary mics - boom (on C stand doing a one-person shoot) and lavalier, and have a third hand-held mic that the interviewer can hold and dynamically direct to other talkers. The third mic is also double feed to two devices (as the HV20 and one channel of the Canon A1 or SD 7 series). Even though you may not have plans to have an "interviewer" with other subjects, you'll be glad it's in your bag which gives you loads of flexibility and avoids embarrassing off-axis audio from third parties.

Anyway, you get the idea - be sure to go beyond putting all your eggs in one basket. And most importanly of all, never record without religiously monitoring the sound quality throughout the entire shoot. While headphones are recommended, I often cheat and use my Sennheiser CX300 earbuds because they are so comfortable and have such awesome frequency response - but in a noisy environment, I'd pull out my AKG K171s, etc.

Have fun, Michael

Chris Soucy October 8th, 2007 05:17 PM

Gentlemen........
 
Sounds to me as if Matt is well and truly sorted.

Can't think of anything more to add on the sound front.

Your logic with the cam is good too, tho' the "street cred" issue still niggles, but hey, if it doesn't worry you, who cares?

Only one other thing I can suggest, and this is based on total ignorance of your circumstances whilst in Tanzania. You're going to be packing a heck of a lot of (very expensive) gear one way or another, and it would be adviseable, if it can be arranged, to somehow get yourself assigned two local "minders" for the duration - one for your well being and the other for your kit.

Their sole purpose is to ensure that neither yourself, nor your gear, comes to grief (it can be an exceedingly dangerous part of the planet for the unwary).


Good luck & Happy Travels.


CS

Peter Moretti October 8th, 2007 06:23 PM

I'm sorry but I have to chime in here. Buying a camera to look professional is not a great reason, IMHO. If he shows up good gear w/ an HV-20 on top of it all, can't he just say something like "Don't let this little camera fool you, I've done a lot of work with it and have made some special modifications, so it works wonders."?

I highly doubt anyone is going to walk out of an interview b/c they see an HV-20. Throw it on some rails and add a matte box if the need to look pro is important.

The XH-A1 offers A LOT more fuctionality, and that IS a VERY GOOD reason to get it. But to look pro? IDTS, IMHO.

Pro is how you carry yourself, not what you carry. James Cameron could walk into an interview with a 110 instamatic and never have anyone doubt he knew what he was doing... even if they didn't know who he was.

Jut my $.02.

Ian G. Thompson October 8th, 2007 06:49 PM

Peter...i got your back on this one. I agree with your statements and let me ad...that Matt, in addition to what Peter said you can also bring a laptop of some sorts that displays some work you did with the HV20. Use this to show what that little cam can do and go with the explanation that this is what pro cams will look like in ten years. Let you work speak for itself. I too am a sound guy and I know very well how important good sound is. My device is a Roland VS-1680 24 bit digital studio workstation. It's probably a little big for you but it does the job and something like this can future proof your needs for recording music. I'm not necessarily recommending this gear to you.....but I would go with what was recommended to you earlier. Me personally...even if I had an A1...I would stil use outboard gear to control the sound just the way I need it.

Chris Soucy October 8th, 2007 07:27 PM

Whoa, Peter........
 
Keep your shirt on.

I (as in me, myself) have no issue with the HV20 (I have one too, BTW) as a tool to get a job done. I don't use it to impress but to work, exactly as with my A1.


HOWEVER - "street cred" is an issue when dealing with clients, potential interviewees and what can loosely be termed "the general public". Pull a HV20 out and stand on any street corner shooting away and you're just good 'ol Joe Public, possibly taking good close up video of yourself as it's back to front, but hey (this can be advantageous on occasions if I'm trying to be subtle).

If I'm dealing with a new client or potential interviewee, do I pull out the HV20 and say, ok, lets go? I did once and the look I got said it all - this guys a jerk!

Nope, out comes the pimped out A1 and the message comes across loud and clear - hey, this guy's a pro, I'd better listen!

If I want to cut a path through a crowd to get some tasty local action on video, I do not use the HV20. Mount up the A1 and the crowd will part like the Red Sea to let you at it.

Stand on any busy street with an HV20 on a suitably sized tripod and passers by don't give a second glance and will walk straight through your shot like you don't exist.

Whack the A1 on the Fibretechs and V3 head and they'll leave a 3 metre corridor all round you, a heck of a lot more if they see the boom pole etc.

This is just a fact of life. I didn't make it that way. I use it as and when necessary. It has it's up sides and it's down sides.

My point, and Matt did acknowledge his own reservsations, was "How is this fact going to play out for him in doing his job in Tanzania?"

Your point about personality is well taken and correct, it still doesn't alter the fact that, in a situation where I need to be in total control right from the start, the "shock and awe" treatment is a great step in the right direction.


CS

Michael Nistler October 8th, 2007 08:19 PM

Does Size Matter?
 
Okay, since we've all weighed in on our techie view, it looks us gadflys can chime in about perceptions vs reality. Permit me to ask a few rhetorical questions - if you're at a wedding and the videographer is using the same camera as wedding guests (or appears the same), what's your perception of the videographer's value? Would you feel as comfortable going to a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc) without a staff, in a low-cost office, etc?

Actually, I'm sure there are many of us that quid-quo-pro, we're more into substance than form. But let's not kid ourselves, in our profession many of our clients are guided by initial appearances and perceptions. If I go out on a job with contractor lighting, cardboard cookies, shower curtain diffusion, PVC pipe holders, etc, I'm probably not going to impress my clients. If I'm using a low-end HD camera with a teeny screen that doesn't show up the snow in a low-light situation (until I edit in post) versus an external monitor that catches issues before starting the shoot, etc, then my client will appreciate my investments that make him/her look better. Ditto on sound, which we seem to have well covered here.

As the saying goes, quality is like oats - if you want good quality oats you must pay a fair price. And if you're okay getting the oats after they've been through the horse, it's somewhat cheaper... Seriously though, I'd prioritize my investments and quality something like this (excluding post-production), with percentages of investments in each area:

1. Audio and music (30%)
2. Video cameras (50%)
3. Lighting, reflectors, etc (10%)
4. Other (10%)

Your percentages will probably vary based on your priorities and business model, but I doubt there's many that are spending twice the percentages on audio then they do on video.

Okay guys, flame on <wink>
Michael

Chris Soucy October 8th, 2007 11:54 PM

Thanks Michael.........
 
Good job, but not really necessary.

I can see how my "off the cuff" comments can be easily misconstrued and appear far more "base" (if that's the appropriate expression) than actually meant.

Unfortunately my shorthand has a tendency to get me into these situations more often than I would like. C'est la Vie.

To change the subject entirely,

Matt, where's the end product of this visit going to end up? I'd be really interested to hear how the trip worked out and see/ hear some of the results.

Any plans?


CS

Petri Kaipiainen October 9th, 2007 12:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael Nistler (Post 755131)
<snip>
First, let's look at the specs for your HV20 (suspiciously, very sparse):
DV: 16 bit (2ch) 48 kHz
12 bit (4ch) 32 kHz
Microphone Terminal: 3.5 mm Stereo Mini-jack
<snip>
Doesn't it strike you as curious that Canon choses not to share similar specs on their low-end HV20? The serious videograhper would instead buy the high-end Canon XL H1 that can record decent audio:
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=12152
MPEG1 Audio Layer II: (Sampling frequency 48 kHz, bit rate 384 kbps/2 channels);
<snip>

Stop for a moment. Those HV20 specs quoted are standard DV video audio specs. Which are REALLY GOOD, awesome, in fact, better than audio CD! (nobody uses the 4 channel 12 bit recording). It is a different matter entirelly if the camera electronics can utilise those specs, and in cheap cameras thay can not. Even better cameras need to be fed line-in audio from good mixer to approach the limits of the 16/48k audio specs, which surpass the limits of human hearing, by the way.

Those specs given for XH-A1 are the HDV standard audios specks, which are exatly equal in HV20 also when shooting HDV format. XH-A1, when set to SD uses the same DV audio given above with HV20... so there is absolutelly no difference between the cams as far as standard audio specifications, which are video standard specific, not camera.

Here we have to note also that the specks for XH-A1 in the quote above are vastly INFERIOR to the DV audio given for HV20. DV audio 16/48 is totally uncomressed WAV type audio, HDV MP2 audio at 384 kbs is about five fold compressed compared to DV audio and unsuitable for critical work. This is unfortunate, but necessary to save space to be able to fit the HDV data to a DV-tape.

Just to get facts staight.

Jim Boda October 9th, 2007 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matt Buys (Post 754546)
After searching this forum, I've decided on the SD302 for a field mixer. Primarily I'm hoping to use it for documentary sit down interviews. Possibly for film shorts later. My question is, can the SD302 work like my old beachtek and hook up to my HV20 by a 1/8 inch jack? Or what about an XHA1 which is on my horizon? Or do I need to buy something else too, like a DAT or a laptop? I know these questions sound ludicriously simple but please keep in mind I have NO experience in this area and did not see a neophyte answer in the online manual.

Well, I thought I'd give you another option...

If you need to use the HV20 for now and you have a limited bugdet...here would be a plan of action.

1) Get a less expensive mixer that matches well with the HV20. If it's a one man show then it should have a usable limiter and reasonably quiet preamps. The ENG44 gives you that mic & -10 line out (1/8") along w/ the XLR balanced outs + a send to the boom operator. It seems like a good match for the HV20 when you have to use it. Put the mixer in a quality bag (petrol) and hang it off the Tripod to mix the levels when you don't have a sound guy. You could use it in conjunction w/ the 302 in the future upgrade if you needed more inputs.

2) Plan to upgrade as you go.

A) The 302 would be a valuable tool and workhorse to match w/ the better camera.

B) A two track 24 bit recorder would be a valuable upgrade to work w/ both setups. The Edirol (R-09) or Korg (MR-1) would be options I would consider for the combination of price, quality, and size...would match w/ the HV20 setup. The SD multitracks would match well w/ the pro camera in a matching timecode scenario.

C) Better Mics- Upgrading mics can often make the greatest difference in quality. For me, going from the ME66 to the CMIT 5U shotgun made huge upgrade in sound quality.

3) Practice sound mic & recording techniques. Mastering your mic placement, controling the invironment, recording optimum levels, and hearing and fixing onsight problems as they pop up.

Obviously, you can only do what you can afford to do. Upgrades are costly and worth there weight in quality. Sometimes you have to take it one logical step at a time.

Peter Moretti October 9th, 2007 09:56 PM

Chris and Michael
 
I AGREE with you both wholeheartedly when it comes to working for paying clients. It would be foolish and unprofessional to show up with consumer equipment.

But Matt is shooting a documentary, not a wedding or a kid's Bar Mitzva. So he probably has to worry a little less about the look of his equipment.

And it's easier to justfy a small camera when doing a documentary with something like "I've found this small size doesn't intimidate the subjects as much so I get more natural results."

But I will be testing this theory out in a few months. I'm going to be using an SD 302 and SD 702T and an HV-20 for a documentary.

My rationale is: if I wind up needing an XH-A1, I'll still want an HV-20 anyway to use as a deck, a second cam, to shoot B-roll, so I bought the HV-20 and I'll see what I can do with it. I am new to this world and there is enough for me to learn even with the HV-20 and all the sound stuff... it will be while before I realize that I need a better camera.

And I actually like the challenge of using a smaller camera. For a documentary, I THINK I can get away with it.

Matt Buys November 6th, 2007 08:51 PM

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to Dan Keaton and others for talking me through my audio questions.
I settled on the Sound Devices 702T. After using it these last two weeks I have to say I'm stunned at the difference in quality vs my HV20 and Beachtek. I'm not a gear hound and previously I thought the beachtek was plenty for my needs and it was but after semi-mastering the mixers nuances and realizing it's limitations, especially with mics like the SM57, I now hear exactly what Ty and others are saying when they suggest that if you want professional sound you need professional gear.
Two other unanticipated plusses: it's made in the US by workers earning a living wage and the controls are so brain dead easy to use that even Jerry Garcia could have learned to use it. I was importing sounds into Adobe Premiere the day after it arrived that sounded five times better than anything I'd ever gotten out of my other gear. I could be wrong, but I think buying the SD702T and an HV20 along with a Brevis and a good mic or two is more than enough for a talented filmmaker to take a film to Sundance and beyond.

Dan Keaton November 6th, 2007 09:11 PM

Dear Matt,

Thank you for the very kind words.

It is very easy to recommend Sound Devices equipment.

They build great gear and they are very good to their customers. They are also very helpful when you have a question.

Once you experience the quality of any one of their products, it is easy to feel inclined to purchase more of their gear.

Ty Ford November 6th, 2007 09:21 PM

Hello Matt,

Yahoo for you! There is nothing quote like getting the right gear and hearing or seeing a substantial improvement. And thanks for taking the time to make the point. There is nothing quote like getting the right gear and hearing or seeing a substantial improvement in your work.

The idea that good gear really does make a difference does not necessarily mean that all expensive gear is better than cheaper gear. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. The RIGHT gear sounds best. Frequently, it's expensive.

I have a list of "good gear" in the back of my little book. Not all of it is expensive. All of it is good.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Larry Vaughn January 7th, 2009 12:40 PM

HV 20 and XH-A1 and 302 mixer
 
I've been considering buying an HV30 to supplement my XH-A1 for b-roll when the A1 is too bulky and I could get interesting angles with the smaller camera. Not to mention that I could buy 6 of them for the cost of one XH-A1.

But that pro look factor is something I have experienced. People look at my camera on location, then google the price. I've heard them talking about this.

By the way, many seem impressed by my Photoflex softbox. Whatever works! Several clients want them for general illumination uses.

I also just picked up a 302 mixer. From what I've read here, the line in on the XH-a1 requires more signal from the xlr outs on the 302. So if you set them up normally, the audio level is quite low.

Any ideas on how to do this correctly? I'd like to avoid the XH-A1 preamps entirely, but again, from what I have read, line in doesn't actually do this.

On another thread someone suggests cranking up the camera audio level all the way, max.

That doesn't seem right to me, why crank up the XH-A1 preamps all the way, since the 302's are better.

What am I missing here?

Guy Cochran January 7th, 2009 01:58 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I'm glad you found a working solution. I wonder what the comparison would sound like side by side SM57>302>HV20 vs SM57>702T.
Just wondering if that little extra clarity is worth the syncing. Let us know if you develop a nice workflow.
As for the HV20 looking wimpy. Here's a pic that one of our customers sent in. It's the HV20 with a Formatt FM-600 Matte Box . He does 2 camera shoots with an A1 as well as the HV20 and wanted something to beef it up the smaller cam. The cool thing was that he fell in love with using ND Grad filters in the Matte box with the A1 after he got it. You can get some cool ND grads or "Sunset grads" that really give some nice results.

Ty Ford January 7th, 2009 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry Vaughn (Post 990633)
I also just picked up a 302 mixer. From what I've read here, the line in on the XH-a1 requires more signal from the xlr outs on the 302. So if you set them up normally, the audio level is quite low.

Any ideas on how to do this correctly? I'd like to avoid the XH-A1 preamps entirely, but again, from what I have read, line in doesn't actually do this. On another thread someone suggests cranking up the camera audio level all the way, max. That doesn't seem right to me, why crank up the XH-A1 preamps all the way, since the 302's are better.
What am I missing here?

Um, out of the box the 302 comes set to mic level out. Did you miss that part in the instructions?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Petri Kaipiainen January 8th, 2009 03:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry Vaughn (Post 990633)
Any ideas on how to do this correctly? I'd like to avoid the XH-A1 preamps entirely, but again, from what I have read, line in doesn't actually do this.

On another thread someone suggests cranking up the camera audio level all the way, max.

That doesn't seem right to me, why crank up the XH-A1 preamps all the way, since the 302's are better.

What am I missing here?

You are missing the fact that when using line in levels in XH-A1 you are apparently bypassing XH-A1 preamps entirelly. That is the whole idea of using line levels, there is only one preamp, in this case SD302.

It is stupid to use SD302 and then lower the signal to mic level and reamplify this in XH-A1 again. I can not understand why some people insist on doing this.

SD302 and XH-A1 match perfectly at LINE LEVEL: Set SD302 to normal, standard line out output level (max level it can go), set XH-A1 to line level and potentiometers FULLY OPEN (no attennuation). That's all there is to it. You will get over 90 dB dynamic range and S/N ratio.

Just test this with both 0 dBVU and +20 dBVU test tones, they will fall to -20 dBFS and 0 dBFS like they should on the camera meters. After this you can forget the XH-A1 dials and meters and use SD302 only (monitoring from the camera or return, of course).

For added safety adjust the limiter on the SD302 to +17 dBVU, that gives added 60 dB of headroom = impossible to clip the signal.


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