Best settings on Sony P150 to capture audio output from sound deck? at
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 04:57 AM   #1
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Best settings on Sony P150 to capture audio output from sound deck?

I have to tape a conference next week and the organizers want me to take my audio feed directly from a sound desk. Only tried that once before(ended up with a bit of background hiss) and I was wondering what settings should I make on my Sony PD150 to input the best audio. i.e what should the input level switch be moved to . . . . line, mic or mic att? or should the phantom power switch be set to off as I presume should be the case?
And should the levels be set to auto gain or would it be best to turn them to manual and to ride the levels?

Any advice much appreciated
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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Hi Mark,

By sound desk, do you mean a recording/sound reinforcement mixer? If so, definitely set your camera for line and kill phantom power. Presumably there will be an A/V tech or sound recordist handling sound reinforcement for the conference, so I'd coordinate with them in advance to find out how they're going send you a feed from their board. It'll probably be a 0db line level feed or a -10db line feed from the tape outs.

Also, since you'll probably be getting a mono signal, you could set one channel so that most speaking voices peak around -12db and other to peak around -20db, which should give you a nice recording level and yet leave you plenty of headroom. Alternatively, you could take one channel from the board and put a mic on the other channel to get more of the room sound (applause, general ambience, etc.)


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Old July 23rd, 2008, 10:45 AM   #3
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depends on the output you get from the sound board.
I've done LINE and MIC-it depends. As for MIC ATT...Don't. That lowers the MIC level 20db. As for where to set the levels, again it depends. I try to keep the levels around -20 to -12db but again, I've set channel 1 to AGC and channel 2 to manual setting the sound check level to -20 or there abouts. That gives me 2 channels to choose from. As for the hiss, that's the 150s preamp. It's inherant in the camera. I have a noise reduction preset I use to knock it out. Easy as pie. Get some ambient room noise on tape BEFORE the event starts then you've got something to take a noise print from so you can knock out the garbage without affecting the vocal quality of the presenters.
First thing to do when you get there is talk to the sound guy (or gal) and find out what kind of output they're giving you. More than likely it'll be a LINE OUT (but it could be a mic level) so switch the camera to LINE and do a test BEFORE the event.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. I finally managed to get hold of the sound guy and we have agreed to meet a couple of hours before the event to setup and test out the connections. I think I will run with a feed from him on one channel and some form of microphone input on the other to make sure I'm covered.

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Old July 28th, 2008, 07:50 AM   #5
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If you are working at some distance from the sound mixing board and you have your camera or any other AC powered items, like a larger video monitor, plugged in to a separate power circuit, it's possible to get a ground-loop hum.
It's cheap insurance to have a passive direct-box with a ground-lift switch handy, especially if the feed the sound tech is giving you is an unbalanced output to begin with. You can use the passive direct box to balance the long run, attenuate the signal if needed and safely lift the ground if needed.
You can also use a more expensive but still very affordable device like an Ebtech Hum Eliminator that can handle either balanced or unbalanced signals and doesn't change the level of the signal. It just isolates the grounds.
You can also run AC power cords back to the same circuit the mixer is on if that's practical.
If you use a passive direct box, then you'll be converting an unbalanced line-level signal down to a balanced signal at a lower level. You may in that case need to use the Mic ATT position, which is used either when a very hot condenser mic is attached or a signal between Mic and Line level is used.
It's good that you'll get there early and work with the sound tech as there are an infinite variety of hook-ups that can't all be addressed here. That will give you time to listen for problems and use whatever connection gives you the best signal with the lowest noise.
As you mentioned, it's critical to have your own mic connected as well, hopefully in a position to give adequate sound on its own if the feed from the board goes bad.

That could be the title of a book, "When Board-Feeds Go Bad!"
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